When Covid-19 struck, the life that we all had came to a standstill. For the music industry, major festivals and tours were getting cancelled or postponed. Anything that had any semblance of a crowd was in an uncertain climate. Given that the arts and music industry relied on actual physical turnouts to earn revenue, the income came to a screeching halt – a red light whose dream of turning green seemed bleak.
Indeed the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people experience music, said Wayne Lee, general manager of Zouk Singapore. “Club and music operators are no longer able to derive revenue from ticket sales or the physical sale of goods. We had to innovate and change our business model to generate revenue,” he added. Natalie Ng, programmer for Esplanade – Theatres on
the Bay, agreed: “Covid-19 has affected Esplanade and the entire performing arts industry, not just performers but other creatives, technical production crew and those working at venues as well.”
But the industry is adapting and fighting back. Ng said: “When the circuit breaker was implemented, we dug into our archives and released selected performances online at Esplanade Offstage for everyone to enjoy from home. We also presented three ticketed online theatre and dance productions by Singapore arts groups via Sistic Live, where audiences could choose to watch the performances for free or pay as they wish.”
In May, top dance club Zouk organised virtual dance festival “Zouk Phuturescapes” in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board, featuring homegrown talent Jasmine Sokko and international stars like Diplo. “As we held it via Zoom, the guests were able to interact with each other via the different screens and have conversations as well,” said Lee. “We also customised virtual backgrounds that guests can use, and even got dancers to join in to dial up the party atmosphere.”