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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Fernandes

Quarantine in the Portuguese Music Business

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Last week the European Music Industry was hit with an unprecedented wave of cancellations, postponements resulting in unsettling artists, technicians, suppliers, agents, labels, venues and festivals. What shall we do now?

Mentioned in the previous post, MUMI, an event gathering professionals from Portugal and Galiza meant to premier last weekend, was cancelled. Moved to 2021 was MIL Lisbon, Lisbon International Network.

Organized by the Portuguese Festivals Association, APORFEST, the International Music Festivals Forum, Talkfest was postponed to 15-17th of October. Equally postponed was the first of its kind - the conference, artist residency and festival Westway Lab, to the same weekend 14-17th of October.

I wouldn´t be able to name all the festivals and venues who cancelled events for the next couple of months. Tremor in Azores, Évora Jazz Fest are a few I was really looking forward to attend.

There is a word of courage and union, from our music exchange platform WhyPortugal whose speech is in consonance with internationally oriented Portugal Muito Maior and Portugal em Jazz, or AMAEI , an Association of Independent Musicians, Artists and Labels. All have posted or written letters of solidarity, expressing support, appealing for special measures to maintain the industry.

Last Friday 13th, the Portuguese Government has announced help not only for private companies and their employees but for freelance professionals (and that´s a first).

All this raises the question: what are we meant to do now?

Behind closed doors, artists and venues are now faced with opening their cameras to the world, live streaming house concerts, dj sets using patreon or zoom as platforms to give music lessons.

How about us agents, producers? Besides re-scheduling, cancelling flights, re-organizing our paperwork?

Over here I´m in the start. Only opened my business in January. I feel like setting aside sales newsletters, it doesn't seem to be the best time to pitch a concert. I´m focusing in producing content, support the artists I manage, expand my contact network trough online sources like Virtual Womex, or Jazzahead.

This weekend I went over the vinyl collection, placed a few dusty old records for sale.

Above all, it is time to reconnect, to listen to a lot of music, which is the reason why I started doing this in the first place. Who knows, perhaps this virus will bring a new set of priorities, time for mindful being, heartfelt-songs.

Don´t forget to meditate and exercise at home.

Wishing everyone good luck, be brave, courage!

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