The Face surveyed 314 young people aged 14 to 23 across the UK about life in the pandemic. The answer by a 14-year-old Lucy tells a lot and is very, very sad: “Being 12 when this pandemic began and turning 15 this year, it scares me how I’ve had the majority of my life in lockdowns. I got my first period, my first ​‘love’, and although I feel like so many others have had a far worse time than me, I feel like I’ve lost my life to this virus. I think my experience is probably very similar to others, but I always wonder what life would be like if I could have gone out and experienced the things that a 13-year-old does".

Nine in 10 UK musicians were earning less than £1,000 per month, and 22% were considering giving up music altogether, according to UK charity Help Musicians which made a survey among 929 musicians in August. One-third of musicians were still earning nothing after restrictions on live events were lifted this summer, according to Help Musicians, BBC reports.

An interesting chat in The New Cue with the hit-balladeer James Blunt who talks about his life in pandemic: "I've been on the road for 17 years and I was forced to go home. I discovered all kinds of things. I discovered I had children, I didn't know that… Where the hell did these come from?!?". On life post-pandemic: "I suppose people are just excited to be out and able to socialise with each other. And then I've been playing live shows and that's been amazing too because again, people are thrilled that there’s any live music. I can play them Baa Baa Black Sheep and they’d still probably turn up. They might be expecting some other singer, but they'll take what they can get".

"I’m a walker, I love walking. That’s funny" - Steve Gunn says in a Tone Glow interview about his new album 'Other You', which features a few songs about the mundane habit. Why does he like it? - "Partially the walking correlates with being open and exploratory. I do a lot of walking that isn’t to a specific destination. I’m just being receptive to what’s around me, being observational. I’m present in my current space. Particularly with this record, and the fact that it was a very isolated time, walking was really important for me. Being in the park close to where I live was a godsend and it was an important part of my process, an important part of opening myself up a little more".

The New Cue talked to the "psychedelia-lovin' Texans" about putting their last album 'Mordechai' in the middle of the pandemic and not being able to play it in front of people: "It was really hard. We had to do it. We had the music ready and there was no reason not to put it out. It 100% should have gone out. But it was really hard not to be together. It was hard not to know how people were really feeling about it and digesting it. And it was hard to have so much time to read [people talking about it on] the internet". They have a 'Mordechai' remixes album out. They really liked what they got back from the remixers: "I really appreciate freedom when I create. I think it works better when you give artists permission to do whatever they want. They're going to end up doing their best work".

"It's an album that was created during the pandemic but it's not about that" Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry says in The New Cue interview. She goes on: "I think maybe lyrically and creatively living through those things and being shut inside with your own thoughts makes you have to think about things in a way that you don't want to and I guess that I feel like the 2020s reflected in it in that way, but it's not like the themes of these songs are 'the world as it stands in 2020'. It's more just like it was an enforced lyric-writing camp I didn't want but that I'm grateful to have had".

"As clubs shut down across the world, however, a shift was occurring in China: the sleeping giant of the East was waking to the steady rumble of bass and the snipping of hi-hats. 'Literally as soon as they opened, everyone went to the club; they got really packed, especially in Beijing', explains Ranyue Zhang aka Slowcook, a resident at Beijing’s Zhao Dai Club. 'As soon as you turn on a smoke machine or a flashing light, people start screaming… It’s not even about the music; anything will make them happy'" - Mix Magazine writes announcing a shift in the Chinese electronic music scene which, for a lack of options, turned to itself.

Wickedly funny, as per usual, Noel Gallagher in The New Cue interview talks about the lockdown, his new studio, and a certain "fat c***". He went on to compare touring to being in lockdown: "You do live a bit of a Groundhog Day when you're on tour. It's kind of the same but it's different because you're traveling. You live in the same day but in a different country. This is living the same day in the same fucking house. I think I've seen the same dozen people for a year". Apart from watching the telly, he says he's been wasting his days by - wasting himself: "The biggest thing was the drinking... I'm on the go slow at the moment but there's nothing else to do".

20,000 fans stood shoulder to shoulder for their first star-studded concert in over a year on May 2nd at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Foo Fighters, Jennifer Lopez, J Balvin, and Eddie Vedder performed for Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite The World, at the first large-scale music event for a Covid-compliant audience in the US. It wasn't exactly like before - the show’s attendance was far lower than the 70,000 the L.A. stadium can seat, attendees had to show proof of vaccination, they were masked and alcohol and concessions weren’t available. The goal of the concert was to raise money to send vaccine doses to India, Africa and other places. Rolling Stone is happy to report from it.

In Australia, the road to recovery for live music is happening six to nine months ahead of the world, promoters say, according to Rolling Stone. Clubs are pumping in Brisbane, where venue capacities have been entirely lifted. Artists like Courtney Barnett, Keith Urban, Guns N' Roses and others are announcing tours on a daily basis. Festivals have resumed with all-local lineups, venue capacities are slowly lifting, and dancing is now permitted. By late April, Australia recorded 910 deaths due to Covid, with fewer than 30,000 confirmed cases among its population of 25 million. Community transmissions have been close to zero for months. Visitors aren't really welcome yet - a 2-week quarantine in a hotel room is compulsory.

Most of the music festivals in the UK still due to take place this year could be scrapped without the safety net of government-backed cancellation insurance, the Association of Independent Festivals has warned. A quarter of UK festivals have already been called off, but 76% of the rest need "urgent intervention" from the government to save the season, BBC reports. Festivals contribute £1.76bn to the UK economy and support 85,000 jobs.

Sometimes playlists are stranger than fiction
April 22, 2021

"Oddly Specific Playlist" - a group to share strange lists, and feel better

"As increased loneliness and stress have contributed to declining mental health, people have turned to online communities to seek reassurance and companionship" - and some have found Oddly Specific Playlist, a Facebook group with bizarre playlists, such as songs i listen to when the gang of 15 year olds at the train station are intimidating me or looking for songs that make you feel like a misunderstood villain who is just struggling with past trauma. Slate insists it's not just about the music, but also the community - "people wrestling with heartbreak, trauma, nihilism, low self-esteem, and other personal issues find not just song recommendations but also people who empathize with their struggle".

"Music has always acted as a pillar on which teenagers hang visions of their ideal life, with each generation forging a sound representative of their era. This time, the urge to escape is magnified and, in the face of a global pandemic, increasingly unrealistic" - Clash Music looks into slowed + reverb, re-worked songs in a way that features the angst and longing for post-COVID freedom, mirroring the moodiness of its teen creators. Slowed + reverb edits have catapulted into popularity over lockdown, because, as one of its producers, Slowerbed believes - “people might be very bored or sad during lockdown because their freedom is limited. They find their escape in slowed songs which make you relax and get your mind off bad things”.

"Cannabis is a very different social lubricant from alcohol. It heightens sensitivity to the emotional states of both yourself and those around you, rather than numbing everything into a blur. The intimacy and introspection that weed brings to a party is a different kind of energy that makes is well-suited to the need for post-pandemic healing in spaces of social reunification" - Rave New World newsletter writes ahead on 4/20 weed parties about to happen next week.


Pitchfork did a great job of talking to the owners, bookers, and managers of 36 independent music venues in the US to see how they’ve been doing over the past year, and what their fans can do to help. The thing all of them are waiting for is best described by the Washington, D.C., 9:30 Club operator: "The show’s been booked, tickets have been sold, production is finished, soundcheck is done. The artist is excited and ready to go, and the audience is, too. It’s a magic moment".

75% of Britons have turned to a musical instrument during lockdown, a research from Yamaha has revealed. Other research found UK sales of instruments and music equipment have risen by 80% during lockdown. Guardian talked to dozens of new musicians, with 67-year-old retired infant teacher Liz saying - “I had never had the slightest desire to play an instrument before but it is magical. I prop up my iPad, secured with a bit of Blu-Tack, so my teacher can see and hear me, and it is a glorious experience. I would never have done this without the lockdown”.

The Snuts

"Covid has definitely humbled me. You realise nothing is set in stone... I’ve learned to never push anything back in life. Do it while you have the chance" - Darkoo, British-Nigerian vocalist, tells the Guardian about his lockdown experience. Oli James, tour manager for singer-songwriter Sam Fender, who took a job on a fishing trawler, says "it’s been great seeing more of the family and I’ve enjoyed woodland walks to keep my brain active". Jack Cochrane of the Snuts describes how they got through thanks to being close - "we’ve been friends since we were kids – three of the band met in nursery – and have played together since we were 12 or 13, which helps you pull together. It was just another thing to go through as a group of friends".

Two streams a day keeps boredom at bay
March 23, 2021

California vocalist posts twice a day through pandemic

Northern California singer-songwriter Jenna Mammina began hosting twice-daily webcast/livestreaming events on March 23, 2020, and hasn’t missed a single day since she started, which amounts to 730 unique shows in one year. She calls these live-streams “11:11 with Jenna” - with a new episode debuting daily at 11:11 a.m. and a totally different one following at 11:11 p.m. (those are New York Times, meaning that's 4:11 PM and 4:11 AM in Rome, and in Singapore the 11:11 AM episode is at 11:11 PM and the 11:11 PM is at 11:11 AM). She hosts these shows via Zoom and people can join in by visiting She plans to continue indefinitely, as she's told the Mercury News - "I never want to stop. I love the community that we have created, the inner connectivity with people all over the world. I’m ready to keep going for as long as it stays in line with my life".

Do they play the Doors?!?
March 11, 2021

Frankfurt: Classical concerts - at the front door

In Frankfurt, people can order a classical concert to their door with the musicians from the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra cycling to the audience's doors. The concerts last up to 10 minutes and are free, but donations are welcome.

This past January and February, New Zealand pop-rock band SIX60 held a Saturdays Tour, on consecutive weekends, playing to, all summed up, 125,000 people, Pollstar reports. Their tour began at Waitangi Sports Ground in Waitangi (Jan. 16) when they played to 20,000 people, as well as at Tomoana Showgrounds in Hastings (Jan. 23). The TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth (Jan.30) attracted 15,000, Hagley Park in Christchurch (Feb. 6) had 23,000, The Wellington show was on Feb. 13 with 32,000, and the final date at Claudelands Oval in Hamilton was to 25,000 on Feb. 27. All this was possible thanks to New Zealand’s successful response to COVID-19. With no social distancing restrictions or bans on mass gatherings, no other act in the world has played to an audience that size in 2021 as well as for most of 2020.

Germany’s revenues from physical music sales and streaming grew 9% year-on-year to €1.79 billion in 2020, Music Business Worldwide reports. A good portion of 71.5% of revenues came from digital music, growing 24.6% in a year, from €1.13bn to €1.27bn. CD sales in the market fell 18% YoY, remaining the second-strongest format in the German recorded market with a 21.6% share of sales in 2020. totalling €387m. Vinyl revenues grew 24.7% YoY to €99m, and had an overall market share of 5.5%.

No strings attached
March 03, 2021

Classical musicians in lockdown doing - delivery

Three classically trained musicians tell the Guardian about the delivery jobs they turned to during the pandemic. Classically trained trombonist Rachel Allen had to take shifts with the delivery firm Yodel to make ends meet. Violinist Catherine Martin, who delivers groceries, says that "without concerts in my diary, I totally lost my motivation. I got quite depressed and I really realised I needed to do something”. French horn player Jake Bagby found pleasure in talking to people he delivers groceries to because everybody is alone (and lonely).

More than 100 Italian artists staged a silent protest L'Ultimo Concerto last Saturday to raise awareness for the struggling live music industry. Italian musicians came to the venues and prepared everything just like for a normal show - with their instruments and sound-checks and all - and then just stood still in silence.

Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds bandmate Warren Ellis made a new album in lockdown - their first non-soundtrack album as a duo - called 'Carnage' and it was just surprise-released today. Warren says "making 'Carnage' was an accelerated process of intense creativity. The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two-and-a-half days and then it was, ‘let’s just make a record!’ There was nothing too premeditated about it". Cave calls it "a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe". Read the lyrics here.

Gig it yourself
February 24, 2021

LA backyard gigs - keeping the punk scene alive

Huck tells the story of the LA punk scene which survived the pandemic with dozens of backyard gigs. The magazine argues "this attitude – of taking personal responsibility for yourself and your actions, despite what the rules say – is a common one in the DIY punk scene". Beko, the singer and frontman of punk band Lazy Dream, explains the attitude: “Our whole method is do-it-yourself. We were tired of waiting for people to do the recording thing, so we just did the recording ourselves… With the shows, we did that as well. We were like, ‘Ok, we have this backyard right here, might as well throw a show. Because if no one’s going to hire us or invite us anywhere, might as well do it ourselves’”.

“Borders are a dreadful invention of mankind, and so we are just putting up another one, and I think it’s a dreadful retrograde step” - Queen's drummer Roger Taylor said about consequences Brexit will have on UK touring bands, NME reports. His band is OK, he said - "we can fall back on our songwriting and our publishing", it's the road crew that are suffering - "it’s a daily, weekly job for them and so it’s made it really hard for our industry, very hard indeed”. Guardian reports about road crews for some of the biggest bands in music that are being forced into homelessness and turning to food banks to survive during the pandemic.


DJ Mag describes what have the UK night clubs been up to in lockdown. Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh - reopened as a pizza bar; Printworks, London - hosted production projects and live-streams; Studio 338, London - transformed into a food bank; Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool - used as a COVID-19 testing centre; Fabric, London - has been reflecting and “identified lots of little details and some larger improvements"...

Quick coronavirus testing could enable nightclubs and theatres to reopen, British premier Boris Johnson said, according to Daily Mail. The PM said "rapid" lateral flow tests "in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward", could be used by "those parts of the economy we couldn't get open last year". Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government would rely on rapid testing and "making people access their own personal vaccination records" on the NHS app, rather than issuing vaccine passports.

Space - the final frontier
February 10, 2021

New Covid-venus: Barges, hot-air balloons, piers...

Unable to play in "standard" venus due to the pandemic, the artists had to come up with novel ideas for places to play. It seems as if they're just getting started. Hot Since 82 played his sets from a hot air balloon and from under a pier, Liam Gallagher played aboard a barge as it floated down the River Thames with London's lockdown skyline and landmarks in full view, Biffy Clyro played from within a cube, Disclosure played a DJ set from above a waterfall at a national park... BBC reports about the start of something really new.

Tom Moulton is one of the pioneers of remixes in disco music, the inventor of the breakdown section and the 12-inch single vinyl format, and in his 80s he decided it's time - to work. He is releasing mixes on his Bandcamp, five disco volumes since the pandemic began, made in his apartment while he avoids the coronavirus. All the music is new, drawn from his towers of authorised multitrack tapes. Guardian talked to the never-stopping producer...

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