Philippine music industry professionals discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Philippine music industry professionals discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

The entertainment industry was certainly one of the biggest groups to get hit the hardest as the coronavirus pandemic plagued the world.

Artists, labels, and productions have turned to holding virtual shows in place of the live concert experience to keep the scene running during the lockdown. They turned to Facebook Live and Zoom to play gigs. Even songwriting and recording sessions at the studio were out of the question—everyone was forced to write and record new material separately. This is the "new normal." But that only covers one part of the industry. What about the people who work behind the scenes?

Bandwagon caught up with several people from the Philippine music industry—from major concert producers, label and artist managers, recording studios, live music venues, to PR companies—to share the struggles they continue to face with the music world on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rhiza Pascua, MMI Live

MMI Live is behind the biggest concert productions in the Philippines, having produced concerts by U2, Coldplay, Madonna, The 1975, Guns N' Roses, and more.


How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

First of all, the mandatory home quarantine prevented people from going out, operation of mass public land transportation was suspended and all business establishments were closed down. Entertainment is not essential, and therefore the first one to shut down and will probably be the last to reopen. 

Under normal circumstances, our events are scheduled one, sometimes two years in advance. If artists are in-demand, or up in the charts, and tickets are reasonably priced, we foresee a sold-out show—the likes of Bruno Mars, Coldplay, LANY among others. There are shows scheduled for the first to second quarter of the year. 2020 is no different from the previous years. Shows have been lined up for this year since last year, which are mostly sold out. That said, we all started the new decade with an optimistic outlook expecting it to begin with record-breaking shows. In recent weeks, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 completely changed that.

What initially seemed like a 10-minute break for live music turned into a longer one, then a complete standstill. That, combined with an uncertain economy, remains a big threat to our industry. Most of our shows are being rescheduled to next year, very few are moving to the end of the year but it is still uncertain if these will push through. In the meantime, everyone in the business, namely promoters, suppliers, staging companies and food/merchandise vendors—continue to receive bills with no income.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation?

Music is a big part of my life and I believe that a lot of people share this passion too. During isolation, we feel that music is necessary especially when you start to feel alone. Virtual concerts and live streams via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms have helped us get through the tough times. 

A lot of music events, including festivals, have shifted online, are there any plans by MMI Live to do the same?

We, at MMI Live, also have several upcoming live streaming projects this year. I know, it’s not the same concert experience but these “quarantine concerts” are keeping the concert scene alive. It will clearly be a different experience compared to actually being there. It's a totally different experience when you get to see and hear them live.

In a post-COVID-19 world, the live music experience will definitely be different from what we've been used to, how can MMI Live give fans a great live music experience with the "new normal" in mind?

Honestly, I would like to equate 'the live music experience now' with SAFETY. The most ideal scenario is to find treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 so we can slowly and cautiously go back to the mass gatherings with the new security protocols in place. I’m sure people have missed live entertainment so there is a major longing for that “concert high”. I just know that live entertainment is here to stay so I can’t wait for all the great acts to start coming back to Manila again. 

Also, the first “socially distanced” concert will be held in the southern part of the US this month. They were surprisingly allowed by the governor but the feels would obviously be very different. I’m not sure if this will be the new normal but we’re all awaiting feedback after it happens. 

These are following precautions this venue will be taking:

  • The venue will be sanitized before each event by the use of fog sprayers.
  • There will be hand sanitizers stations at all entrances and exits
  • Attendees’ temperature will be taken upon arrival and venue staff will actively wipe-touch points in the venue and restrooms - this includes walls and other places that are often touched.
  • Face masks will be required; also available for purchase before the show.
  • Venue staff to direct people to use one-way walkways to maintain social distancing.
  • There will be 10-person limit in toilets, all soap and paper towel dispensers are no touch
  • Seating will be at least 6 feet apart in groups of 2-12. Groups are mostly families. Will see how this turns out and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. If it works, then this may be a part of our new normal.

Follow MMI Live for updates.

Darwin Mariano, Ticket2Me

Southeast Asia's first blockchain-enabled ticketing marketplace and the ticket solutions to concerts by Ebe Dancel, music festivals like Summer Noise, and theater productions such as Maxie The Musical.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Because Ticket2Me is an events ticketing company, we were greatly affected because our client organizers had to cancel or postpone their live events due to COVID-19. Unless they organize purely online events, there are no physical events for us to ticket for.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected the canceled and postponed events, your employees, etc.?

Before the start of the Luzon-wide lockdown, Ticket2Me was able to quickly repurpose its technology to accept donations for our brave health frontliners. With our partner organizations Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership and the Office of the Vice President, we launched the fundraising campaign on the evening of March 13. We were the first Philippine e-commerce site and the only ticketing platform to launch a campaign like this. Other more established e-commerce brands followed suit. To date, we have helped raised over PHP 18M from various campaigns loaded on Ticket2Me.

Now that artists and events have shifted online, how has Ticket2Me adapted to these changes? 

Because Ticket2Me is a digital platform, we only had to make small adjustments in order to serve our organizers who have shifted to online performances and classes. At the height of the lockdown, artists were more than happy to showcase their talents and their craft online for free. But we feel that over time they should be able to get paid for their online efforts in order to survive. This is where Ticket2Me comes in as we create value by making sure they get just compensation for their craft. We are currently strengthening technology to support and protect more ticketed online classes, workshops, and performances to be streamed over the Internet.

We also want to add that in the post-COVID-19 era, the live events industry will never be the same again. It is more convenient and safer for organizers to sell tickets and for buyers to purchase their tickets online from Ticket2Me to greatly reduce the risks of the virus being transmitted using the old paper ticket system. It also enables contact tracing should it be necessary for organizers to do so.

Toti Dalmacion, Terno Recordings

Terno Recordings is an independent Filipino record label and home to the likes of UDDAOUIGiniling Festival, Lenses, and more.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

It has affected the industry tremendously as music is about experience, both personal as well as communal and until there is a vaccine,  I don’t think people will risk being in a crowded room like in bars or concert venues which was the norm then in as far as entertainment and way of supporting your favorite artists.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases, your artists, etc.

Well, it varies. It’s hard to release something physical like a record given the situation. It seems wrong timing to get people to spend on your release when they might have to use it for essentials. It’s kind of awkward although saying that,  international acts have released records during the past two months so it can be also a matter of perspective and survival. 

As for digital releases, It’s easier, all the more if you just want people to be aware. I mean you can release any time you want. Most people are at home so you do get some attention, short as it. maybe because they also have other things they distract themselves with. So it can be temporary and fleeting but with hundreds of artists releasing every day all over the world in the same streaming sites as you are, it’s really difficult to make people notice so it’s not really a new problem. 

There's a surplus of online shows at the moment, do you see Terno artists going digital as well and how will you guys set yourselves apart from the overflowing sea of digital content?

We’ve done several yes. It seems online will be the avenue regarding live performances for now but as to how you separate yourselves from the rest is the challenge.  You just hope that your content is interesting enough and that you can rely on the fans to support until you come up with something so new and different which might attract new people. Remains to be seen for most. 

Check out the Terno Recordings roster here.

Line In Records, Nik Amarnani

Line In Records is a recording studio based in the South and has worked with the likes of Lola Amour, Basically Saturday Night, The Great Dane, La Crema, and Hey Moonshine.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

The professional recording industry heavily relies on physical recording sessions done at the studio, and because of lockdowns happening globally, studios aren’t allowed to accept clientele. This switches production to home and bedroom recording, overall changing the fundamentals of how production takes place. This will boost the home and bedroom recording scene which will increase online mixing and mastering services. 

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases, recording sessions, etc.?

Since we aren’t permitted to have people in the studio to record, we have diverted to the online realm, accepting songs to be mixed. Since Line In Records also does retail we are currently accepting orders through the means of Grab and Lala Move. At the same time we are about to release our online store, this is to ease the buying and shopping for our clients and customers, overall supplying them with their home recording needs. We are in close contact with our partners in Singapore, Solid State Logic, in bringing these products into the local market.

Currently, a couple of the albums and singles we’ve been working on had to stop, however, pre-mixing them, and working closely with the client to make future sessions run efficiently is the key. This applies as well to artists that have bookings but have-not yet recorded.

Preparing them for the future sessions eventually making everything more efficient. I believe that you can make something good out of situations, in this case, we have time in our hands, to make sure future sessions run smoothly and effectively, at the same time improving the studio as a whole. 

Your studio is home-based, but now your artists won't be coming over to record anymore. How has this lockdown affected the recording process, and how do you see this going post-COVID-19?

Currently, we have diverted to the online means of mixing, at the same time we are preparing artists for sessions after lockdown. Future recording sessions will have to be taken with more caution. Basically limiting the number of people in the studio and observing some safety protocols, such as wearing of masks and protective gloves, social distancing, and sanitising the equipment after every session. 

Contact Line In Records here.

MC Galang, The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise is a Philippine-based production outfit behind regional music festivals All of the Noise and Summer Noise.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Like many others, we had to make significant adjustments with our operations and our future plans—at least in the foreseeable future. Since The Rest Is Noise (TRIN) is essentially a two-person team, the economic impact in this respect wasn’t detrimental. The main change obviously was that the pandemic wiped out our event calendar for 2020, which is a yearlong 5th anniversary show series. This also includes effectively cancelling all music-related travel plans, if you will, which I was personally looking forward to.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? You've made plans for your 5th anniversary, and that was canceled due to the lockdown, how else has this crisis affected your upcoming events, your future plans, etc.?

I redressed our website (which was initially made to promote our major shows) in January as part of our plan to develop our digital content, which has been keeping us busy in the last few months. We also intended to use it as our major promotional tool for our shows, starting with our 5th anniversary in April. That and all other shows this year have since been postponed and the rest are unlikely to happen, if not cancelled altogether.

We’re now looking into ways of transitioning into holding events online, but those are still in very early stages. It’s not hard to think that it’ll take very radical steps (and hopefully, policies that will make the industry less vulnerable in these types of crises) to go back to the way it was, if that’s even possible. So we’re also mentally preparing for that. Right now, my focus is on the website and optimizing connections online as it is one of our core projects and will remain to be.

Events, including music festivals, have moved online. You've recently strengthened your digital arm with features and music reviews of music from Asia, but do you have any plans to take The Rest Is Noise event experience online?

Yes. As mentioned, we’re already brainstorming. There are many integral, yet fundamentally different, factors when it comes to online shows. We haven’t produced one before, so we want to do it right and we want to do it well.

The problems we encountered before at shows are more on the logistical and technical side and I think those will still be our challenges now, but a different set of things to prepare for. I’m neurotic (to say the least) about online privacy so this ranks really high on my list of preventative measures. As for the experience itself, the most important thing for me is to produce secure, enjoyable, and meaningful shows within small-scale, at-home environments.

Follow The Rest Is Noise for updates.

Nick Lazaro, La Balls Studio

Established in 2011, La Balls Studio has since worked with a variety of artists - from James Reid to Oh, Flamingo!

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Recording a full band or even a solo artist at my studio is now with great risk of harm. I care about the safety of all my clients and myself over anything, so, unfortunately, my studio in Makati will be closed until we all have a for sure way to avoid getting infected. 

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases?

The good news is that months before the COVID-19 situation, I built a fully functioning recording studio complete with instruments and a full drum set in the safety of my own home. I've actually had success with keeping my work alive by offering new types of "at home" recording services.

Now that you're working-from-home (and not in the studio) with artists, how has your work process changed?

Solo artists have sent me their demos and I have arranged fully produced/arranged versions complete with real drums, bass, guitars, piano, synths, strings, etc. The downside is that they must send me their own vocal tracks. Many have had the problem of not owning recording equipment or high-quality vocal mics, but I have taught them an effective method of recording their own vocals with their cell phones as a mic in a quiet part of their home. This method allows me to clean up the audio and bump it up to clean, broadcast-quality vocal recordings. 

Also, some full bands who had means to record their own tracks had members who didn't have the privilege to record a full drum set or whatever instrument. I have been able to provide live drum tracks, guitar and bass tracks, and even vocal harmonies for a few bands as well. Me being a well-rounded and trained musician with a home studio definitely is a blessing for keeping my company alive during this unfortunate time. 

In addition to all of these unique services, I also offer mixing and mastering. 

Contact La Balls studio here.

Nicole Sarmiento, Route 196

Route 196 is home to many homegrown acts out of Katipunan.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Just like most businesses, we had to close which of course meant that we wouldn't be earning anything for the time being.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming events, your employees, etc.?

Most productions understood right away that their gigs had to be cancelled, some still message to remind us that once we can open again they'll be scheduling a date for an event. We get to check on our employees from time to time and they're doing okay. We're also grateful for prods like Gabi Na Naman Production and The Rest Is Noise who organized a fundraiser for music venue staff and listed the Route 196 employees as part of them.

Some live music venues have started to shift to food deliveries to tide them through this crisis, how can patrons help out Route 196 during this time?

We love seeing people's posts that they miss Route 196. As of now, we're still discussing what our next steps will be. But for sure we'll make some kind of announcement on social media.

Follow Route 196 on Facebook for updates.

Vicky Malong, Warner Music Philippines

Warner Music Philippines is currently home to Filipino acts Leanne and Naara, IV of Spades, QUEST, Keiko Necessario, and more.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Needless to say that this global pandemic has affected virtually every single person living today. The music industry as a community is one of those that are overtly hit. As early as February, international artists have cancelled their tours. And as soon as the lockdown was imposed, local artists have stopped playing weekly gigs. Some cannot properly record due to lack of home equipment and many have reconsidered putting new music out there—asking themselves if it’s even the right thing to do at this time. So in general, just like many others—we’ve been plagued with uncertainty and internal pressure to play on.

But, I think what’s happened is that we’ve also realized even more how essential music is in 1) providing comfort and relief; we’ve noticed an increase in consumption of catalog or older songs during the lockdown, 2) entertaining people and preserving our need to connect as humans—just look at all the songs being popularized and shared on platforms like TikTok (!), and even 3) facilitating social commentary and activism in such crazy times. Although we are dealing with our worries, I think many of us still feel incredibly lucky because this just proves that “music will never be cancelled”.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases, your artists, your employees, etc.?

While not cancelled, music consumption has also definitely evolved in such a short period of time. As a label, our goal is to catch up quickly and make sure that our artists continue connecting with their audiences despite all the changes. This has meant reevaluating release schedules, reimagining promotional tactics, and discussing how we can futureproof the business.

I personally have been asking myself—“is what I do essential?” I think a lot of us definitely had this internal crisis especially our artists whose main source of income and to a certain extent, of happiness was suddenly taken away from them. Not to mention everyone who’s involved in putting those shows up – from promoters to roadies; it for sure feels bleak. For our roster, the dynamic is now about making sure that they are supported in their plans and that they are assisted financially if need be. It’s also been about reaching out to partners in the industry (events agencies, content creators, etc.) and finding a way to develop business together.

As for employees, since we’re a compact team that can deliver from the comforts of our homes, the company is able to prioritize the safety of all workers and consequently, everyone we get to interact with. We can only hope others are as lucky.

Jigger Divina, Lockeddown Entertainment

LockedDown Entertainment started out many years ago with friends joining the then mostly hiphop roster. It has since grown into a massive family of artists with the likes of Tarsius, Assembly Generals, Peaceful Gemini, Juicebox, SQUID9, Basement Lung, The Diegos, Bente Dos, Toni B., area25, JULYXIV, and more.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Man, a lot. We can’t do shows, no financial flow, limited marketing avenues, and missing hanging out with music industry friends. Ideas and plans are still there but limited execution. It put us on a slow movement.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases, your artists, your employees, etc.?

Re: the music side, we keep on releasing materials (singles, videos, EPs, albums, livestream performances). Re: the office side of it, planning through online messaging. And waiting what will happen next.

Digital releases are fine, but it’s not on full blast because of no physical marketing (launch, shows, guestings). Our artists have different approaches - some are still writing songs, some are recording & shooting at home, & others are on hold. Our staff—waiting, and thinking [of] what to do with the current situation. No income though.

Support Locked Down Entertainment's roster here.

Li Perez, A Spur of the Moment Project

A Spur of the Moment Project is a record label, events production outfit, and artist management agency rolled into one.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

This might be a bit long as ASOTMP functions as a record label, a event production, and an artist management outfit. 

As a record label, our releases have been delayed indefinitely as the bands find it difficult to commit to a timeline. Being in isolation, they are unable to schedule or book a studio for either songwriting or recording purposes. There was also a huge impact on our physical sales. While we have our online shop, we have suspended international shipments which make up most of the physical sales.

As an event producer, like other producers, plans have either been delayed or cancelled. We wanted this year to be the year wherein we experiment with our show formats. Unfortunately, we never got to try it out. It's the middle of the second quarter and we've no recorded events which would likely continue until the end of the year.

As an artist manager, you realize that even if there are ways to write songs remotely or produce content, it's not for every artist. Some excel in isolation, some perform better in the presence of their peers. Others have the right equipment to make it work, others find it difficult even with the right equipment. You have to acknowledge that each artist has a unique process in creating music and needs the right environment and mindset for that process to work.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming releases, your artists, etc.?

Very recently, we've relaunched #ASOTMPlays as a music discovery campaign. Before, it was just a playlist that we put together with artists whose music we enjoy. In its revamped version, we've added a playthrough/live performance video, a feature article, and an option to give monetary support to the featured artist. All of our plans are pushed back indefinitely but it doesn't mean that we stop nurturing the community. 

Aside from being a record label, ASOTMP also produces shows. There's a surplus of online shows at the moment, do you see ASOTMP going digital as well and how will you guys set yourselves apart from the overflowing sea of digital content?

I agree that it's very saturated right now but we're not in the business to compete. I take it as an opportunity instead to learn and see which aspects may or may not work for us and put our own spin to it. We've never been the type to put out things first. But we've always made sure that whatever we do is in line with our values and caters to our niche. 

In a post-COVID-19 world, the live music experience will definitely be different from what we've been used to, how can ASOTMP give fans a great live music experience with the "new normal" in mind?

This is difficult to address right now as I am honestly still in denial that we won't be able to experience shows like we used to. We are still waiting to see how things will unfold in the next few months and what platforms will be available for us to utilize. 

Support A Spur of the Moment Project here.

Maddie Castillo, Make Good MNL

Make Good MNL is a bespoke boutique agency specialising in music and lifestyle.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

We are not necessarily part of the live events industry, but a big part of music PR includes promoting concerts, festivals, and other live shows. The absence of live events has definitely affected us.

Adjustments needed to made as well. PR is largely dependent on the public's perception of things, and there has been an evident shift in the way individuals perceive things since the pandemic started. We're sure that these changes will, if it hasn't already, affect how and why stories are told.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? Have you seen an increase (or decrease) in the demand for PR during this time? What has been a common sentiment or messaging that musicians/labels want to get across?

The pandemic is horrible, but it did provide us with time to step back, reflect on what we've done so far and how to move forward. We have been exploring different ideas on navigating the new norm without straying from our ethos, which is still to identify and share stories worthy of time and attention. We have also participated, both as attendees and speakers, in different online talks and seminars that we think are interesting and relevant. We try to be supportive by promoting causes and fundraisers not just for frontliners, but also for daily wage earners and others who are less fortunate than us. We’re supporting The 101s by Independent Play, a series of webinars aimed to enrich the business side of the independent music scene.

There hasn't really been a change in sentiment or messaging; if anything, the most recent events have provided more avenues of creative expression. It is true that art and music keep us sane while in quarantine.

What is music PR's role during this time of crisis?

We think our main role is making sure that good stories are still seen, acknowledged, and heard despite the bad ones we encounter every day. It's so easy to just succumb to uncertainty and insecurity. Weaving tales of light and hope provide us with sort of a comfort blanket that everyone seems to need nowadays.

But pushing out good stories doesn't mean ignoring bad news. It's important for us to keep our ears on the ground, whether for trends, current affairs, public disposition, or whatever else. The best stories are always rooted in the truth; how can we craft honest and authentic narratives if we ourselves are disconnected from the reality we are experiencing now?

We are hoping that, over time, we'd be able to provide support beyond promotions. We'd love to be able to educate musicians, artists in general, and even SME owners on the importance of proper PR, especially now when everybody's focus is mostly on their screens.

Learn more about Make Good MNL here.

Ian Urrutia, Nyou

Nyou is a music, lifestyle, & entertainment consultancy startup.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

The music ecosystem is one of the most badly hit industries worldwide, and is projected to incur more economic and financial losses in the coming months. Musicians, promoters, producers, roadies, record labels, music, and entertainment venue workers, and people working behind the scenes rely on live shows, touring, merchandise, and record sales as a primary source of income. Most of our cultural workers are freelancers who don’t have the protection/safety net that comes with regular employment: No benefits, no security of tenure, and no health insurance. This pandemic has greatly affected our livelihood, and forced many of us to come up with other practical solutions to alleviate our daily expenses. 

With lockdowns enforced and leisure/entertainment spaces temporarily shut down, most of us are left to exploring alternative platforms such as producing and mounting shows online, making use of streaming as a substitute channel for entertainment and promotional purposes, and collaborating with brands and artists to raise funds for the local music community—especially those who have lost work opportunities and gigs. My The Rest Is Noise PH colleague MC and I also started a free basic marketing initiative for musicians who may reap something useful out of this unprecedented crisis to hone and build their strategy in terms of marketing their music, establishing their presence in social media, and connecting with their target audience in the most effective way possible.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? Have you seen an increase (or decrease) in the demand for PR during this time? What has been a common sentiment or messaging that musicians/labels want to get across?

Full disclosure: Aside from producing music events for Gabi Na Naman Productions and The Rest Is Noise PH, I’ve also created my own entertainment and music PR startup early this year called Nyou, whose clients include record labels here and abroad, as well as a few music management agencies, artists, and mid-scale festivals. There’s greater responsibility that comes with being a full-time PR practitioner, especially during a pandemic of catastrophic levels: I have to be more cautious with my tone and messaging, and I need to ensure that my clients don’t appear insensitive to other people’s struggles. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 poses, it’s refreshing to work with artists and record labels who are doing everything they can to raise awareness on important issues that affect the society at all cost, create music that goes beyond the function of egoistic pursuits, and channel their creativity through various community-initiative efforts to support our frontliners and those who are in need.

It’s also important to restrategize my approach when pitching stories to publications and blogs. Sometimes, I asked these questions to myself when I draft press releases and negotiate with music and entertainment-focused media outlets: How will our content hold relevance and demonstrate mindfulness under these indescribable circumstances? How will I help my clients reach their target and goals without the risk for backlash or insensitivity? How will I engage the audience with our stories even for just a few minutes? How will the PR story contribute to the readership of our media colleagues and friends? All of these things are taken into consideration when coming up with PR strategies and campaigns.

What is music PR's role during this time of crisis?

More than finding creative solutions in keeping our client’s businesses afloat through promotional and marketing means, I’m taking this opportunity to help their roster of artists get connected to fans and help address the public’s need for responsible entertainment. By pivoting towards digital initiatives that champion the creator’s work/art informed by the musician’s respective experiences, I’m also committed to finding new ways to help consumers regain confidence and trust to the music scene, little by little, by giving them what they need to hear in their respective homes, while they wait for things to get back to normal: Maybe an inspiring anthem to help us cope with the uncertainty of the times? Or an online fundraising concert that aims “to inspire, uplift, and boost the collective morale of all the key stakeholders of the COVID-19 response”—to quote one of the press releases that I’ve written? Or some goods news to cause celebration even just for a while?

PR is more than just getting the message across; it also entails good intent. And while its functions vary from one person or entity to another, as PR practitioners, we need to remain sensitive with our pitching efforts and the content that we churn out in online spaces. Tough times call for responsible actions. But amidst the crisis, it’s also a great way for us to help more artists and creators to inspire people, call for a meaningful change, and express themselves freely, but cautiously.

Click here to contact Nyou.

Jess & Pat's

Jess&Pat's is a home to the local arts scene.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

The live events industry is suffering a major blow. With the pandemic putting a halt to all public gatherings, it's been extremely hard for us since we're a startup -- we had to cancel all events and revamp our plans and strategies for the entire year. What's even more heartbreaking is seeing the effect of this crisis to our colleagues as well: artists, productions, management agencies, labels, techs and roadies, and venue staff. We're grateful for everyone trying to help out, it also gives us the push to keep on moving forward, too. Our hope is not only for the pandemic to end but for people affected in the industry to recover also. We'll bounce back!

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How has this crisis affected upcoming events, your employees, etc.?

For the first few weeks, we spearheaded a small donation drive called "#WeAreIndiesTOGETHER" and our aim was to go beyond music and art to help frontliners in Metro Manila. With the help of families and friends, artists, productions, and patrons, we were able to raise PHP 147,281.14 and shared 2,454 food packs to 12 hospitals, a grocery store, UP Village barangay officials and volunteers, Brgy. San Roque community, policemen, and the homeless in Quezon City.

During the ECQ, we also opened the Jess & Pat's Online Shop to Metro Manila deliveries - this also helped the artists we're partnered with.

Lastly, we curated an online gig series called Team Bahay to promote various organizations that help our frontliners including the #WeAreIndiesTOGETHER project. We've had indie artists perform such as Clara Benin, Munimuni, Kiyo, and Because, and open mic artists as well. Adjustments had to be made but we're coping all thanks to the people who've been supporting our initiatives.

You've shifted to food deliveries for now, how can patrons continue to help out Jess & Pat's during this time?

We're accepting orders for deliveries and take-outs from Mondays to Saturdays, 10 am to 5 pm. Aside from our usual menu of serving honest comfort food like burgers and chicken wings, we also diversified into RTD beverages.

Our mission has always been to support Filipino artists so we decided to carry this out further and banner local products. Recently, we released a product line: Meticulous by Jess & Pat's. It is a digital store delivering premium ready-to-drink coffee and special milk drinks. Our coffee beans are from Batangas and Cavite while strawberries and mangoes are sourced from Benguet and Pangasinan, respectively.

For orders, they can message the Jess & Pat's Facebook page or find us on Grab Food.

The Jess & Pat's Online Shop is also now open for nationwide shipping. Fans can order official artist merchandise at

The live music experience is sure to change post-COVID-19, how do you envision giving your patrons a unique experience while sticking to the new health restrictions?

The safety of our staff and guests including artists and prods are our priority. For sure, we won't reopen unless there's a mandate from the government and at the same time and feel like it's safe to do so. With this, we'll make sure to comply with new health requirements and focus more intimate gigs and private events. 

Peter Delantar, Insignia Presents

Insignia Presents is the promoter behind the concerts of Mike Shinoda and Ella Mai, as well as Plus63 Music and Arts Festival.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

COVID-19 has forced us to cancel and postpone concerts and festivals scheduled for 2020 as well as minimize our day to day operations.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation?

We took the downtime with stride and got back to the drawing board. Although it was not easy, working from home has allowed us to continue developing our event concepts that were supposed to be launched in 2020. Since there’s more time in the development stages, we are focusing our efforts on the minor, but extremely important, details that will improve the overall event experience of the fans potentially attending our future events.

With most of the 2020 concerts canceled or postponed to 2021, what has your company been doing in lieu of events? 

We’ve been actively working on rescheduling the dates with the agents and the venues. It’s been extremely challenging as tour routing has been tricky due to travel restrictions and each country’s health and safety regulations. Our team has also been closely discussing with health officials and government officials to identify the pre-event health and safety checks necessary prior to entering the venue.

A lot of music events, including festivals, have shifted online, are there any plans by Insignia Presents to do the same?

While we appreciate the shift to online concerts and festivals, I personally feel that the experience is not as exciting. Considering that artists live in different time zones, it’s hard to enjoy a live concert at 9 AM Philippine Standard Time. Insignia Presents has several concepts in the pipeline and we’re hoping to come up with something compelling that fans will want to experience.

In a post-COVID-19 world, the live music experience will definitely be different from what we've been used to, how can Insignia Presents give fans a great live music experience with the "new normal" in mind?

We’re optimistic that the world will go back to the normal that we were used to and we will get to enjoy live music as it should be consumed, right next to our friends and loved ones in a crowded room of screaming fans. It’s going to take some time but in the interim, when the international concerts will make its way back to the Philippines, shows will be at reduced capacity with social distancing and safety procedures in place. Insignia Presents will start with small shows and gradually grow our footprint as we see fit.

Follow Insignia Presents for updates.

Edzon Rapisora, Sindikato

Sindikato is a multimedia agency, music artist management, and live music event producer.

How has COVID-19 affected your industry?

Sindikato is in the business of three things -- video production, music artist management, and live music events. Given the current situation with COVID-19, as expected, our business is taking a massive hit. We have ongoing advertising and TV productions suddenly halted without any news or indication on when we will resume, or whether we will even resume them at all. All of the artists that we manage have gigs, live events, and festivals canceled even before the country went into quarantine. Lastly, all of our plans for live music events are all up in the air, and with how it looks like, we will not see any mass gatherings until mid-2021. In short, the situation is bleak.

What has your company been doing to cope with the COVID-19 situation? How have your artists and upcoming releases been affected by the current crisis? With most of the 2020 concerts cancelled or postponed to 2021, what has your company been doing in lieu of events? A lot of music events, including festivals, have shifted online, tell us more about Bandwidth.

We took the position as a challenge to re-invent our services. So in just two days into the Metro Manila quarantine, we developed Bandwidth Ph.

Bandwidth aims to bring live music from on-ground to on-cloud directly to people from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Whether they enjoy listening to their favorite artists' live performances or like discovering new music from the indie scene, we have got them covered. Fans can get to know our featured artists better though our fun games and interviews. They can also ask them anything during their set through the comments section. Guji Lorenzana hosts the show, and we have featured artists like Clara Benin, Kitchie Nadal, Barbie Almalbis, Autotelic, and The Itchyworms. Bandwidth also aims to help fight Covid-19 through donations facilitated through GCash. We are also received support from our partners. We miss live music so much that we have already featured one hundred different artists on our platform.

As the quarantine progressed, we developed Bandwidth not just to be an avenue where people can watch live stream performances. Right now Bandwidth has developed other media content such as high engagements posts, tangential content featuring musicians doing house tours, playing video games, giving tutorials, and talking about their songs.

As we continue to grow the brand and make noise, we have been sought out to create original live stream content for Autotelic and Darren Espanto. Both projects were entrusted to us by MCA Music (Universal Music Philippines). The Autotelic live stream was entitled #BakitIkawParin, and was a talk show format live steam with a host where we took a deep dive into the song and music video of 'Ikaw' by Autotelic. We interviewed the band, asked the music video actors to join us, played "Never Have I Ever", and ended with a special performance by Autotelic of the song 'Ikaw'. The stream with Darren Espanto was an online birthday concert called "D'Birthday Concert from Home - A Benefit Concert." It was an 11-song concert event interspersed with greeting from friends, family, and fans of Darren Espanto, and featured special performances from Moira Dela Torre and Gary Valenciano. It was a massive online streaming event with over 13,000 people in the live stream watching throughout, over 300,000 accumulated views, over 75,000 combines comments, reactions, and shares.

Our live stream services are currently ongoing, and we have other project inquires and proposals cooking. We really miss live music and hope to be in a live gig sometime soon with a cold one in hand. However, until then we have Bandwidth Ph.

The music industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some organisations you can help out:

Roadies Club PH

No gigs, means no jobs. Help out the roadies in need. 

Account Name: Angelo S. Pagaragan
Account Number : 09272173432

Account Name: Angelo S. Pagaragan
Account Number : 002010315738

Account Name: Luisito Dela Cruz
Account Number : 0259072913


kayaKap is a fundraising initiative for working musicians, prioritising those who are in their senior years, with disabilities, and in need of financial support.

Catch272 and Green Papaya Art Projects

Catch272 and Green Papaya Art Projects recently caught fire and are in need of financial support.

To give donations and support Catch 272 you may reach out to Inna Paula L. Tejada.

BDO Savings
0011 5035 5210



For Green Papaya Art Projects Inc, here are the details:

Green Papaya Art Projects Inc.

Metrobank checking account no. 007 180 51818 1

Tomas Morato Branch 46 Tomas Morato corner Scout Gandia St, Quezon City

Swift Code MBTC PHMM