Live concerts and COVID-19: What does the future hold?

The coronavirus pandemic is being called a "complete calamity" for musicians that has everyone from Billie Eilish to Cher apologizing to their fans.

This summer's live concerts in a wide variety of genres had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, and billions of dollars were lost along with tens of thousands of jobs.

It's hard to imagine a scene that's more conducive to the spread of COVID-19 than a concert.

"Singing, shouting, being close together, it increases the spread," said Dave Brooks, who covers the industry for Billboard Magazine. "It's dangerous."

Venues shut down as a result, and the concert business stands to lose as much as $9 billion this summer.

But Brooks sees a ray of hope.

"I also hear from my sources a lot of ideas and a lot of trying to figure out what the future looks like," he said.

One futuristic solution is Micrashell, described by Billboard as a "wild Hazmat suit designed for clubbing."

"When you have one model that collapses, it's time for a new model to come in and take its place," violinist Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger said.

She is married to Mike Einziger from the group Incubus, and together, the couple developed a new technology called Mixhalo that allows music to be fed directly from a mixing board at any event directly to your cellphone using a proprietary Wi-Fi system.

"The entire live entertainment industry is trying to re-invent itself and try to figure out ways to provide safe entertainment for people," he said.

And what's cool became essential when concerts were canceled.

"It allows people to be in their perfectly socially distanced car pod and listen to pristine, sound board quality audio," Simpson-Einziger said.

Keith Urban staged a drive-in concert recently for Tennessee health care workers and posted about it on YouTube. He used FM radio, but in situations like this, Mixhalo would work well.

And Simpson-Einziger remains optimistic.

"The desire of fans to hear their favorite musicians, the desire of musicians to share their music in a live community way, will never go away," she said.

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