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COVID-19

Summer looks different for musicians this year

Andie Corban Jul 2, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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A stage in Las Vegas in 2015. In 2020, it's hard for musicians to find performance venues. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
COVID-19

Summer looks different for musicians this year

Andie Corban Jul 2, 2020
A stage in Las Vegas in 2015. In 2020, it's hard for musicians to find performance venues. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Chicago-based musician Seth Shulman has been out of work since March, when the school he teaches music lessons at shut down and gig work ended.

“Unemployment [insurance] didn’t really work out so well,” Shulman said. “I’ve been calling them back and trying to figure something out, but it doesn’t look so good.”

Since March, Shulman has been teaching music lessons online. Now he has around 20 students. “Teaching is keeping me alive,” he said. “I could always use more students just to keep my car payments and student loans going, which I’ve deferred on. It’s nice that you can do that, but I just really want to get those things paid off and not have that haunt my life for the next 20 years.”

As we head into July, Shulman’s summer is looking a bit different from the usual. He said he typically plays three to five gigs a week, most of which aren’t happening this year because of the coronavirus. However, he and his band recently did a show in Los Angeles at the Whiskey a Go Go.

“It’s a pretty famous venue, and they offered us to do a livestream there,” Shulman said. “In our show, we’re a tribute band, and there’s usually a whole crowd part which really couldn’t happen. So, you just kind of have to pretend that you’re in front of people. You technically are, but you’re not. It’s super-bizarre.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What does the unemployment picture look like?

It depends on where you live. The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month. That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%. Unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.

Will it work to fine people who refuse to wear a mask?

Travelers in the New York City transit system are subject to $50 fines for not wearing masks. It’s one of many jurisdictions imposing financial penalties: It’s $220 in Singapore, $130 in the United Kingdom and a whopping $400 in Glendale, California. And losses loom larger than gains, behavioral scientists say. So that principle suggests that for policymakers trying to nudge people’s public behavior, it may be better to take away than to give.

How are restaurants recovering?

Nearly 100,000 restaurants are closed either permanently or for the long term — nearly 1 in 6, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. Almost 4.5 million jobs still haven’t come back. Some restaurants have been able to get by on innovation, focusing on delivery, selling meal or cocktail kits, dining outside — though that option that will disappear in northern states as temperatures fall. But however you slice it, one analyst said, the United States will end the year with fewer restaurants than it began with. And it’s the larger chains that are more likely to survive.

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