Concert life stands still. And because the pandemic is ongoing, the local musicians have to stay in the home office for better or worse and work on their projects at home. As a result, a large part of the income for you as well as for your business environment – such as labels, management and booking agencies – falls by the wayside.
Which is why the RFV decided last year to adapt its Business Support funding program, aimed at music SMEs from the region, to the adverse conditions. “It was already clear in the first half of 2020 that there would be no ‘business as usual’, but that the first thing to do for those affected is to stay afloat,” explains RFV specialist manager Claudia Jogschies.
The situation is difficult despite the funding program
According to her, the funding program was by no means intended to compensate for lost income, but rather aimed to support music SMEs in “investing in projects and infrastructure that are necessary to maintain economic operations”. Ultimately, at the end of August 2020, the RFV spoke with its Covid special edition of business support for six music SMEs for a total of 36,000 francs.
But how did those involved actually use the money? And how is your economic situation today?
David Burger, one of the two managing directors of the Basel music agency Radicalis, admits that the situation is difficult: “We are trying to maintain the structures and have to constantly adapt our strategies to the changing situation. The turnover has collapsed to 95 percent and due to the restrictions we are currently no longer making any money with concerts. “
More like a drop in the ocean
The company received 9,000 francs from the Covid edition of Business Support. These were used, for example, in the areas of marketing, e-commerce and merchandise. “If you put the slump in sales plus the long-term consequences in relation to the spoken contributions, one could say that the support is more like a drop in the ocean. But we certainly don’t want to complain. However, our existence is fundamentally at risk, as our industry will only recover in the long term, ”says Burger with conviction.
It will take years before one can build on the previous financial years. “But we have done everything necessary to get through in the next few months and avert bankruptcy.”
Radicalis is currently concentrating on those business areas that are still active despite Corona and with which sales can still be achieved. “Most of it is about label work, the publishing of music and the management of our artists, who do a lot more than ‘just’ give concerts,” says Burger.
You feel taken seriously
When asked whether the company would like more support from the RFV or the public sector, he replies: “The RFV and also the cantonal and national authorities are enormously involved in this exceptional situation.” At least in the canton of Basel-Stadt, the company feels that as a music agency and label with a focus on pop music, it is heard and taken seriously by both the RFV and the culture department of the presidential department. “We really appreciate that.”
The Frederyk Rotter label, Czar of Crickets Productions, was awarded 3,500 francs by Business Support in 2020. These were invested in an online shop (“to achieve better sales”) and in the renovation of the infrastructure. The contribution is essential and at the same time not really sufficient, said Rotter. “Every contribution helps, but is also used up quickly.”
Crowdfunding would be too expensive
The main source of income for Czar of Crickets is promotion for artists. “But because fewer records are published, we have a significantly lower income. We’re just above water. “
In the current situation, is Czar of Crickets also experiencing increased support from the public? “We and some of our artists booked increased orders for physical products in the Corona crisis,” said Rotter. “There were also a few private donors.” A crowdfunding campaign was also considered. “However, this is currently too expensive for us.”
Missing income and SUISA royalties
It sounds a bit more positive with Raymond Tschui from N-Gage Productions: “Since we offer a so-called 360-degree service with label, publisher, management, promotion and booking, we are broadly positioned and have so far coped with the consequences of Corona fairly well . ” Due to the numerous concert cancellations and postponements, the booking area in particular is acutely affected. “We are missing the income and the associated SUISA royalties.”
Although Tschui does not currently consider his company to be at risk, the managing director and founder is grateful for any support. Not least for the business support money in the amount of 3,500 francs, which he used to maintain operations and recurring infrastructure costs.
Jannik Roth from Planisphere, who received a total of 7,000 francs from BusinessSupport 2020, admits: “Our agency almost suffered a total write-off in the higher six-digit range due to Corona. As a young and disruptive agency, we cannot yet fall back on a broad customer base. “
Everyone tries to fight their way through
Many of the acquisitions, some of which have been carried out with partners for months or years, have evaporated due to the pandemic, states the Managing Director. “In order to stabilize the cash flow somewhat, we took out a loan,” says Roth and calls the financial support from the RFV a welcome sign of solidarity.
The fact is: To date, none of the regional music SMEs has thrown in the towel. According to Claudia Jogschies from the RFV, everyone tries to keep fighting their way through: “That is also something that characterizes the pop music scene: being tough, biting through at all costs and just doing it.”