AK: How are musicians coping during the coronavirus crisis?

Reigo Ahven
Reigo Ahven Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

The income of many musicians is mainly dependent on live concerts. With the coronavirus restrictions being extended, how are they coping? ETV's current affairs show "AK.Nädal" spoke to several musicians to find out.

When the Philly Joe jazz club turned off the stage lights due to COVID-19, the owners understood that a contingency plan needed to be developed.

"Failure is a nice way of describing what's going on. Catastrophe would work or that, for musicians, the world has ended," musician Reigo Ahven said.

Ahven said it is difficult for musicians to accept they are not needed at the moment. "The psychological stumbling-block is quite strong regarding the feeling of not being needed, music is free on Spotify and nobody is concerned," he said.

Ahven said the streaming model has been unprofitable for musicians for a long time. Usually, other activities compensate for sharing music free online but this year has made people face up to the issue call for change.

"A musician practically receives no money from streaming platforms, less than 0.1 percent of the musicians do and they are the superstars. The rest of the musicians give away their music but don't even earn a fraction of the money spent on recording, not to mention the working hours. I and some fellow musicians had an idea to create a platform which changes that," Ahven said.

The change they want to see is that musicians get paid for songs that are listened too. The name of the Startup is Fairmus - fare trade and music.

Ahven hopes that such changes will help musicians survive long breaks in the future.

Musician and pianist Mihkel Mattisen is using his experience and passion for music in a new profession. He's now a music teacher at Kadrina High School.

"I prepare every week's lesson as if it was a lecture concert. My aim is that students will be interested in music. That what I show them or play them widens their horizon," Mattisen said.

Mattisen is hoping that soon musicians can get back on stage and give concerts - and he can't wait. Additionally, his new job has become so close to his heart that he is not planning on giving it up.

"I can say I have started to like it so much that I'm ready to take on one extra school in autumn. I like it more than I would have thought," Mattisen said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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