INTERVIEW: Local effort to help live music venues during the COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: September 23, 2020 06:01 PM
Created: September 23, 2020 06:59 AM

The music industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and faces as much as $9 billion in losses.


Minnesota is feeling that impact, as iconic venues, like First Avenue, remaining closed.

That's why there is a nationwide fight to protect live music venues through the "Save Our Stages" movement. 

Aaron Meyerring, co-owner of the record store Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, said the store has also faced some challenges. 

"I think that is the hardest thing for us, along with everyone else to figure out, is what happens tomorrow, and so it's a day by day basis and we really don't know. We are navigating things we have never thought of before," Meyerring said.

That's where In.Live comes into play. CEO and Co-founder, Calvin Lui, says the next generation live streaming platform is designed specifically for the music industry. 

For its kick-off tour, the team is traveling around the country and streaming live shows in places like Minneapolis.

"It is not just headliners. It is artists of all types, all genres, all sizes, music venues as well as record stores. Anyone who actually creates events, including live entertainment, can leverage our platform to get their businesses back up and running, get Americans back to work and we have designed it so it can be a growth platform in the future,"  Lui said.

Whether it's from a venue, or even inside a musician's home, artists can choose how they would like to perform through In.Live.

Here in the Twin Cities, Gary Louris, the lead singer of the Jayhawks, is performing in his in-home studio Wednesday. The band hasn't played a live show since early March.

"Since we can't play live anymore, our revenue stream has dropped to zero. But more importantly, you can't interact with the fans, and artists like to do that. There are all kinds of opportunities. How can we reach the fans, maybe make a little bit of money? It's really kind of the Wild West," said PD Larson, manager of the Jayhawks.

"If there is something that can provide us with a little bit of that hope and feeling and bring some of that joy back, we are all ears," Meyerring said. 

Proceeds from Wednesday's performance will help the national movement called "Save our Stages." 

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, has been at the center of the federal push to help the music industry. She co-sponsored the Save Our Stages Act.

Klobuchar visited First Avenue in Minneapolis earlier this month to highlight the bill which would give grants to independent live music venues. 

The grants would give five months of financial support to pay employees and help keep the locations afloat.

View the interview via the player above.

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