I’ve just watched a free livestream on Bandcamp. Allison Russell celebrated the first anniversary of her wonderful album Outside Child by performing the whole album with three fellow musicians from what looked like her porch. It was absolutely terrific. But here’s what struck me. This was an artist performing an album which was widely critically acclaimed, and made the higher reaches of various AOTY lists in 2021. Deservedly so. And, yet, according to Bandcamp, there were precisely 33 people watching. I don’t know if thats worldwide or just in the UK, but either way it makes it barely worth doing. Two of us made donations, so far as I could see, and two others bought some vinyl.
This combined with thin audience numbers at recent gigs I have been to by The Delines, and Yorkston Thorn and Ghatak (Khan not being able to get a visa) make me reflect that this feels a deeply tough time to be a working musician. Sadly acclaim, great reviews, and even the love of The Afterword, don”t pay the bills.
Is this a post Covid thing? Or a sign of something deeper and longer term? Or am I just interested in the wrong artists?