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U.S.A. -Live Music Struggles With Omicron As Congress Considers New Funding Round

The Omicron variant is reeking havoc on the global live music sector as fans weigh the risk of attending live shows.

New ticket sales for shows in January and February have ground to a halt in recent weeks. Multiple booking agents and promoters tell Hypebot that 20-40% of the fans who previously bought tickets are opting not to attend, even when no refunds are offered.

Those same sources tell Hypebot that as much as 50% of shows booked for January are cancelling or postponing because of COVID.

The outlook for late Spring and Summer touring remains stronger, but already beleaguered venues, promoters, managers and booking agents are worried that they may not last that long.

Many received some funding from the SBA’s SVOG grant program, but most have spent that money.

New SVOG funding round under discussion

There may be some relief coming from the US Congress and other countries discussing similar new bailouts.

“Democratic and Republican lawmakers have held early discussions about another round of coronavirus stimulus spending as they seek to blunt the fast-spreading omicron variant and its threats to public health and economic recovery,” according to the Washington Post. “The efforts have focused primarily on authorizing billions of dollars to help an array of businesses — including restaurants, performance venues, gyms, and even minor league sports teams — that face another potential blow to their already-battered balance sheets as a result of the evolving pandemic.”

We’ll be closely tracking these and other efforts to throw the live music sector and the artists the fuel it a much needed lifeline.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.