NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new report from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce shows how much the coronavirus affected the city’s music industry.
The report details a sharp decline in Nashville’s music scene starting in March, when the first COVID-19 cases were diagnosed.
Of studio and performance musicians, 79.4% said they had experienced unemployment since March and 67.5% estimated their 2020 income will be at or below $36,000, a $10,000 drop from last year’s average.
The study also shows the virus’ impact on Nashville’s many music venues. Venues in Metro Nashville lost 72% of their revenue in 2020 and lost and 73.5% of their employment. According to the report, that equals $17.1 million in lost wages and $24.8 million hit to Nashville’s GDP.
“When you see those things on paper it hits you, but when you realize those are people you know, it’s that much more heartbreaking, ” Dave Pomeroy, President of the Nashville Musicians Association, said. “There’s no question that this has had an impact like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime in the history of the music industry.”
The fallout comes after a decade of growth in Music City’s music scene. In the report, Nashville ranked first for industry job growth from 2009-2019, outpacing other cities with a large industry presence like New York, Los Angeles and Memphis.
“The growth was unprecedented and almost, I hate to say it, and almost unrealistic,” Pomeroy said. “It was a bubble that had to burst, who would’ve known it would have been COVID that made that happen.”
When asked about the future of Nashville’s music industry, Pomeroy said he expects things to look different, but that could be a good thing.
“It’s never going to be the same, but I think it could be different in some good ways,” he said. “Nashville can lead the way on this comeback.”