4 ways creators are responding to COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis continues to reshape the music industry, with gigs cancelled and many creators and institutions facing an uncertain financial future. Despite these sudden changes artists, musicians, DJs and broadcasters are adopting new ways of working to adjust to this new normal.

All across our community, creators are leading the way, innovating new ways to connect with their fans and each other.  We run-down four ways we’ve seen creators responding to this new reality.

1. Live Streaming

With IRL events on pause, many creators, promoters and venues have turned to live-streaming to connect with their supporters in real time. In response to the needs of our creative community, we’ve been working hard to deliver the first integrated live-streaming solution tailor-made for audio creators.

Mixcloud LIVE is licensed and legal, and allows Pro creators to go live, upload their archive and sustainably monetise their craft through SELECT. We’ve launched the beta and we’re improving it every day. Try it out and let us know what you think. We’re building it around you.

This is something we’ve been working on for a long time, but we were inspired to get it out early in order to support the resilience and innovation of the creator community. Adapting existing tools, creators have found imaginative ways to deliver exciting interactive experiences to their fans in lockdown.

We’ve seen creators play live gigs and DJ sets, give Q&As and workshops, collaborate with their fans and other artists to make tracks, and even host or appear in virtual nightclubs and festivals including Defected Records, E-V’s new EV TV series, Lil C and Cosmo Baker.

Whether it’s MikeQ & Stephanie Hirst’s Facebook livestreams or Matthew Law & Max Denham’s IG Live sets, a common approach has been to broadcast regularly (weekly or daily), recording the show to upload later. 

Licensing restrictions on most social platforms prevent recordings of music shows being readily available. As a fully licensed platform which pays royalties to artists and rights-holders, many creators have turned to Mixcloud to archive their shows, whether they’ve been streaming from their own channel or booked as part of a wider livestream event.

Matthew Law records and uploads his daily Law’s Lair series to Mixcloud, increasing the reach for those who couldn’t tune in live. Other creators, such as Darker Than Wax and Beatbreaker, offer a live experience that’s available to as many people as possible, while making the archive exclusive to their Select subscribers so fans can support them & grow a sustainable revenue stream that doesn’t rely on gig income.

While some streams are free, some include donation links and some charge entry – making use of the archive and tying it into creators’ Select offering has added another level of sustainability, allowing the connections built through the stream to translate into longer lasting support from fans.


2. Charity Fundraising

As the COVID-19 crisis impacts society’s most vulnerable people and puts pressure on medical institutions worldwide, many creators are using their platforms to fundraise for different causes. 

Drum & Bass heavyweight Bryan Gee contributed to the livestreamed Stay At Home festival, raising money for the UK’s National Health Service, while jazz artist Shabaka Hutchings performed on behalf of Worldwide FM as part of the ‘Streaming From Isolation’ series raising money for The Global FoodBanking Network.

3. Sharing Knowledge & Resources

Coming together to share resources and knowledge on how to adapt and survive – emotionally, physically, financially – has become a lifeline for many creators, as the impact of the crisis continues its ripple-effect throughout the creative industries.

Anja Schneider hosted a special edition of her Club Room series, speaking to Davide Squillace, Voitek, Neil Evans and Reform about the pandemic’s impact on the nightlife industry, while & Foundation FM have been regularly sharing educational content and financial relief resources on their social media for creators in lockdown.

4. Lockdown Inspired Audio

As music lovers find themselves in an uncertain situation and mostly at home, creators have been making shows tailored specifically to their fans in isolation.

Disclosure launched Self Isolation FM, gal-dem put out a mix of ‘vibes for those inside’, Janelle Wynter’s released her Lock Down mix series and Eats Everything’s been bringing fans together with his Quaranteam mixes

Audio culture helps people connect with each other. By finding new ways to spread that connection, creators offer something personal and meaningful to their listeners. In response to the lockdown, Dublab have been putting out extra audio for their community and supporters. The Quarantine Tapes podcast sees open conversations with creators across the arts, including Edwidge Danticat, Saul Williams, Werner Herzog & Henry Rollins, while their new ‘Weekly Recommendations’ see them reciprocate their listeners’ support with curated links, videos and resources for subscribers to explore.

In our recent ‘In Conversation With’ Q&A, Foundation FM’s Heléna Star put it this way – “It’s just about changing how I create, I don’t have to stop playing and creating.” We want to celebrate the creative community who despite all the challenges continue to keep audio culture thriving.

This is only the beginning. As creators continue to push the industry forward and find sustainable ways to continue their craft, there will be more changes that will last throughout the crisis and beyond. Now more than ever is a time to learn from one another and work together. Here at Mixcloud, we’ll continue to amplify and listen to the creative community. Want to chat? Drop us an email, send us a DM or get in touch with us direct HERE

Our mission working towards a fairer, more sustainable future for the creative community has never felt more urgent – we’re waiving our SELECT revenue share until the end of June and offering extended 90 days Pro trials so you can fast-track to SELECT and start getting paid for your work. Find out more here.


Photo credit: Sanaa Abstrakt