North Texas Daily

Artist’s delaying music during the pandemic does not make sense

Artist’s delaying music during the pandemic does not make sense

Artist’s delaying music during the pandemic does not make sense
April 11
11:00 2020

With the World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic and the Center For Disease Control issuing a statement recommending the cancellation or postponement of events with 50 or more attendees, it was safe to say the concerts, festivals, award ceremonies and other live music events once scheduled for spring 2020 would no longer be happening as originally planned. Hearing that South By Southwest was cancelled and Coachella would be pushed to October is anything but music to the ears of concertgoers who no longer have concerts to attend, but despite my own disappointment with the situation, I believe the organizers behind these events made the right decision.

However, I draw the line at delaying the release of new music, as Lady Gaga did recently when she announced that her upcoming album “Chromatica,” which was due to be released April 10, would be postponed indefinitely due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I would be more supportive of the decision if, like the cancelled and postponed concerts, delaying the release of “Chromatica” would discourage crowds of thousands or more from gathering and risking further transmission of the virus, but I highly doubt that many Little Monsters would dare to violate stay-at-home orders in the name of “Stupid Love.” Streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music would have made it possible for the album to be heard on its original release date without making anyone leave home. 

Additionally, those who pre-ordered digital downloads of “Chromatica” and other albums delayed due to the coronavirus such as HAIM’s “Women In Music Part II” and Willie Nelson’s “First Rose Of Spring,” will now have to wait longer to hear music that was otherwise complete and ready to be released. Postponing the physical release of music is one thing, but I see no point in delaying digital content from being downloaded by fans who already paid for their albums and have plenty of free time to listen to their purchases.

Thankfully, not all artists with album releases slated for spring 2020 are delaying the release of their work. In fact, pop singer Dua Lipa did the opposite of Gaga, Haim and Nelson by putting her sophomore album, “Future Nostalgia,” out a week early in the hopes that it would “bring some happiness” to those practicing social distancing and self-isolating during this difficult time.

The decision to release “Future Nostalgia” sooner rather than later has translated to success for Lipa, who has since debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the first time in her career and earned the largest streaming week ever for a pop album released under her label, Warner Records. Although Billboard did not mention the COVID-19 pandemic in its analysis of the album’s success on its charts, the postponement of other pop albums as well as the additional time many are spending stuck at home likely played a part in the album’s popularity on streaming platforms. 

If the success of “Future Nostalgia” is anything to go by, this is not the wrong time to release new art into the world — in fact, I believe now it is needed more than ever. We do not know when this pandemic will be over, so why delay music to an unknown future when it could help us get through a difficult present? 

As Gaga said in the statement announcing the delay of “Chromatica,” art is one of the strongest things we have to provide joy and healing to one another. Although it may not feel right to release art in a time as chaotic as today, doing so could help others find happiness as we continue to stay home.

Featured Illustration: Ryan Gossett

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Audrey Vieira

Audrey Vieira

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