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A Playlist for the Pandemic

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A Playlist for the Pandemic

By Sorcha Collister, Jason Blaine, Sarah Molloy, Anyi Wong-Lifton, and Diego Pineda Davila, The TMA Music Team

COVID-19 is forcing us to reimagine our life in a totally different way, and the cultural shift has affected most industries, especially the music industry. The way we consume content has changed – tens and even hundreds of thousands of people tune into livestreams every week, so artists need to get on board. What we are listening to is also changing – people are opting to listen to happier tunes during this time, and songs that address the current climate are doing particularly well – Twenty One Pilot’s song “Level of Concern,” which describes the emotional complexities of quarantine, reached almost 33 million listeners within its first couple weeks.

Music has been one of the few consistent saving graces that people have been turning to during quarantine. Back in March, videos bombarded the internet of Italian people singing songs to their neighbors from their balconies and windows in an effort to keep spirits up. Musicians are even playing music for COVID-19 patients in hospitals through FaceTime audio to boost morale.

Record labels, managers, publishers, our partners and peers – it is wonderful to be a part of this community and to see the exciting and kind work that is happening. So, we asked our partners from the UK and US to provide a comment on the state of the music industry through COVID-19. Many of their choices reflect the overall trends we are seeing during the quarantine.

We also asked them each to send a song that is getting them through quarantine days and as you can imagine, they had a few:

Dan Kruchkow – CMO, Crush Music

Music Contribution:

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

Generally speaking, all the rules are out the window, so get out of the box and don’t be afraid to take risks. They’re not really risks anyways, they’re called progress now. Be bold.

Dougie Bohay – Senior Manager, YM&U Group, Steve Aoki Management

Music Contribution:

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

I think in Hip Hop they are showing the power of livestream battles, i.e.: Lil Jon VS T-Pain or Teddy Riley vs Babyface. These have been amazing and fun with crazy engagement.

John Dabrowski – Associate Director, Brand Partnerships, The Orchard

Music Contribution:

I broke down last month and downloaded TikTok. I discovered this song through endless scrolling and it instantly transports me to sunny days, Hawaiian shirts, and pina coladas on the beach.

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

Pop act Jake Miller launched a Quarantunes series on TikTok where he creates quarantine-inspired songs using household items and his family to great comedic effect. Check out “House Party” here.

Brad Rains – SVP, Brand Partnerships & Commercial Licensing, Atlantic Records

Music Contribution:

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

I think the charitable component is still extremely important as we’re living in COVID times. No artist (or brand) wants to come off as insensitive with a #ad.

Rick Marcello – Associate Director, Sync, AWAL

Music Contribution:

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

My favorite event that has risen out of our social distancing is the PAPER x Club Quarantine zoom party–it’s featured artists like Dorian Electra, Kim Petras, Rebecca Black, JoJo, Big Freedia, Charli XCX, and more and provides a beautiful fun and safe space for queer folk to party together and share looks and dance moves. Here’s a PAPER MAG article on the virtual rave.

Lori Feldman – CMO, Paradigm Talent Agency

Music Contribution:

“Beautiful Day” was in my Peloton ride and I thought it was a profound notion. Here we are in quarantine, the whole world is in crisis and yet the sun in shining, my family is healthy and Bono is daring us to commit to a positive outlook. This song is about losing everything, but still finding joy in what one has. I’m completely in.

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

Whether they are partnering with brands, or out on their own, musical artists are continuing to connect with existing fans, and bring new ones to the table, while at the same time, raising money for various charities or helping out on specific initiatives to aid people/animals/environments in crisis. Big stars and working musicians alike are striving for the same goals, enhancing with their communities while trying to do some good for the world and help those in need.

Liam Klimek – Creative Sync Manager, Warner Music Group UK

Music Contribution:

“Beautiful Day” was in my Peloton ride and I thought it was a profound notion. Here we are in quarantine, the whole world is in crisis and yet the sun in shining, my family is healthy and Bono is daring us to commit to a positive outlook. This song is about losing everything, but still finding joy in what one has. I’m completely in.

On COVID-19 and the Industry:

Two things that I’ve loved since lockdown began:

1) seeing Charli XCX write, record, and produce her new album live from the confinement of her home and broadcast the entire process to her fans. Such an inspiring, DIY attitude and the tracks are great too.

2) NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series. Continuing a great thing under difficult circumstances. Lianne La Havas’ performance being a personal favourite.    

Listen to the full playlist below…

[Note: may contain explicit content]


About TMA Music

We help brands harness the power of music and use it to foster a deeper bond with your customers. Our team of seasoned experts helps you navigate the music industry to develop a comprehensive music strategy, ideate on creative music concepts, license songs, partner with the right talent, and execute on every facet of a music marketing program.

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