As an entertainer, I find myself always reminded of how different life has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the COVID-19 guidelines, which caused just about half the country to shut down in March 2020, I had already done five shows. Those shows allowed me to promote my newly published poetry book, make money by performing and selling books. It also allowed me to gain new fans who may not hear me before. It was something about allowing my admires to see me up close and personal and take a piece of my home by buying my book, cd, or DVD. I did not consider when I published my book that there would be an obstacle such as COVID-19 that would put a stop to my plans. I had a book tour all set up that would allow me to perform in as many places as possible. Plan b was not on my list of options until I had no choice. Thanks to innovation and technology, my fans can still see me up close and personal, and I can even make money and sell the product. With fans, entertainers like myself and promoters should not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to stop them from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now I am not saying it is the same experience, but it is an experience none the less. It was a time I would do a show, talk, take pictures, and sell merchandise with my fans after a show. I would listen to fan after fan tell me how my poetry made them feel, and then COVID-19 happened, and everything changed. Fans can still be entertained by another artist they like and me during this COVID-19 pandemic through the internet and live stream. The only kisses and hugs I get now are virtual. Although it is a different kind of energy that's (giving from the computer screen, I am told its best to get something than nothing at all. "It's cool to create access for people who are more compromised in their health or are more anxious about getting sick," Register says (Edwards, 2020); because of COVID-19, fans are not able to buy tickets to shows and experience the live feeling of being at a venue. They are now able to sit in a safe, healthy environment in their own home and enjoy their favorite artist and me from the screen, without any concern of catching COVID-19. Truth be told, I do not want to catch COVID-19 either, and if this is the only way my fans can keep up with me and the art I create until life changes, if life changes, this will be the road I will be on.
More importantly, if it does not make money, it does not make sense. As an artist who makes a living based on shows I do and merchandise I sell, coming up with a plan b was my only option. Something had to happen to keep money coming in. Thankfully, I was to find out that artists like myself could still put on shows and make money without selling seats for a venue. My performances are my commercials for buying my product. So, when I do not perform, other than word of mouth, my art is being heard, and my merchandise is being sold. My way of living depends on me being seen performing. Thankfully, I do not have to be in a venue now to put on a show. Live streaming is the closest digital analog to an in-person presentation, and now an artist of all sizes is racing to organize virtual events for their fans. (Hu, 2020, para5) This quote relates because artists do not have many options other than live streaming to do a show or nothing at all. The artist needs the publicity as well the need to make money. The only safe way about doing so is by putting together a show online and live streaming it. I get it; it's nothing like physically being right there, but being there during these times does not sound so bad when money is still being made.
Over time we went from standing in front of the king performing to being in stadiums with thousands of people yelling, jumping, sweating, screaming, drinking, amongst other things enjoying their favorite artists do what they do best. No one saw COVID-19 coming, and no one knew when it first came on the scene what it meant to the entertainment industry going forward. Fans, promoters, and artists like myself have not been the same since the shutdown. Although many industries have opened back up like before, the entertainment industry has not returned to the promised land of big bucks. For artists and promoters putting on shows and fans standing in long lines just to get in a venue so they can have something worth writing in their personal journal, we are not there yet. COVID-19 pandemic may have stopped live shows from happening in venues, but it did not stop fans from being entertained, and artist from putting on shows online while still making money and staying relevant.