Quarantine Culture

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Last week when I wrote about Coronavirus, I hoped it would end up looking alarmist. Now we know it wasn’t. I still don’t think existential dread is helpful, but there are certainly lessons to be learned from previous pandemics.

What we are seeing now is a combination of highly irrational and extremely smart thinking. Somewhere in the intersection lies the truth. The cancellation of SXSW cost the city of Austin over $350 million dollars and scrapping Ultra Music is going to have huge ramifications, too. But it’s the right decision. They have, however, made the very controversial choice to not refund tickets purchased for the festival.

Coachella is pushing back six months and I expect most Spring festivals and tours to follow suit or cancel outright. The wildest part is that most of these production companies and promoters don’t have insurance, which could decimate many organizations and individuals in the short-term. Live Nation stock, which was at an all-time high as recently as February 19th, is down 40%. Sadly, we’re likely in the early stages of this free fall.

Of course this will reverberate across all aspects of the industry. Warner is pushing back their IPO, the latest Bond flick, No Time To Die, bumped its release, and I imagine many more films will opt to go direct-to-DSP without theatrical releases. Overall, this Spring looks like one that could be spent inside.

So what will the world look like when we are all quarantined? In my opinion, new lifestyles will be created and new cultures will emerge. The streaming economy is already getting a big boost and the same will be true for video games, virtual worlds, streamed panels and concerts, and chatting via FaceTime & ZOOM. The demand for in-home entertainment is going to produce huge opportunities to innovate, experiment, and break new ground. Order that Oculus, my guy.

What are you seeing? How is your company evolving to adjust? Let’s talk about it… from a respectable, entirely not panicked 5-foot distance.

In all seriousness, if you think you are sick, for the good of humanity, stay your ass home.

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