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SA's entertainment industry is finding novel ways to stay afloat amid the escalation of Covid-19

Our entertainment industry is nothing if not resilient, Texx and the City's editor Tecla Ciolfi takes a look at some of the ways musicians are rising to the occasion as Covid-19 takes root in SA...
As South Africa heads into a 21-day lockdown, the future for many is uncertain. The future for those who work in the entertainment industry, however, seems catastrophic, owing mainly to the fact that most survive on a month-to-month income.

Tecla Ciolfi - © Alet Pretorius

Venue-wise, things look bleak. Cape Town’s bastion of live music, Mercury Live, became the first casualty of this pandemic, as the iconic 20-odd-year-old venue closed its doors last week because they couldn’t afford to stay afloat. And that happened before our lockdown. A total of 21 days of no income for any business big or small is no laughing matter – for the functionality of a venue, but also, for every single staff member who works there.

Musician-wise, the situation is no-better. Festivals have been postponed or cancelled, tours have been called off and, just like that, the lifeblood of the professional musician disappears.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

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On Saturday, singer-songwriter Arno Carstens joined forces with Webtickets to host an overwhelmingly successful and slick live stream of his concert on YouTube.

This Friday, live electro group GoodLuck will perform as a part of Global Citizen’s #TogetherAtHome series, spearheaded by Chris Martin, and the event will be streamed on Instagram.

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Live streaming is the way of the foreseeable future, I have said this at least 100 times over the last week. With the National Arts Festival the first large-scale event to announce that its 2020 edition will be fully digital, expect many events to explore ways of making this a possibility for them too. It’s also exciting to see a whole host of legit platforms and brands come to the party in order to make the option of live streaming a concrete reality.

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Musician and entrepreneur, Jon Savage, has also come up with a novel way for musicians to earn from their fans while they’re live streaming. BUSQR is the world’s first live donation solution that allows fans to send contributions via Snapscan to musicians in real time. “Gamers have been doing this for years. BUSQR bring gaming culture to the music industry,” explains Savage.

In a project that’s a bit leftfield for me, considering that my roots are in entertainment journalism, Texx and the City has joined forces with Nodwin Gaming for ‘Bring Back Sports’, an online gaming tournament to raise funds for Covid-19 relief. In a relatively short space of time, creative director Glenn Kisela and I amassed some big-name players, musicians and brands – proof that there are corporations out there willing to come to the party. It’s unchartered waters but hell, it’s exciting.


This is what we all need to do to survive – think outside the box – because these are strange times that call for novel ways of action.

Just remember to stay safe out there while you’re making those money moves.
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About the author

Tecla Ciolfi is founder and manager of music news website Texx and the City has been a part of the music industry in South Africa for the last 10 years in various capacities, namely journalism, radio presenting, event curation and artist management.
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