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Coronavirus and Pro Audio: Developing News

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE! As the coronavirus pandemic continues, this page will be updated regularly with related pro-audio news.

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this page will be updated regularly with related pro-audio news. Educational resources are at the bottom of the page.

Evolving quickly from a localized virus in China to a worldwide pandemic, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has upended every industry around the globe, including pro audio.

APRIL 13 – While many trade shows have shuttered in the face of the COVID-19, Germany’s Tonmeisteragung 2020 is still on. The four-day audio engineering trade show in Düsseldorf is still set for October, though registration has been pushed back to May. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, CA, post production services company Vortechs has been delivering gear to clients’ homes to help them stay on track with editing audio on film and TV projects. On the other side of the globe, actress Thandie Newton demonstrated on Instagram how she’s been doing remote ADR for HBO’s Westworld by using a makeshift VO booth: her car. Another notable not on the road? Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix, who shared how his European tour was scuttled by the virus, mused about his favorite live mic and recounted some of the upsides of sheltering in place.

APRIL 10 – The COVID-19 pandemic may be keeping audio pros locked down at home, but they can still explore new technologies and gain additional skills to improve their careers when life returns to normal. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a non-partisan, alphabetical rundown of educational pro-audio webinars currently available during this time, provided by manufacturers across the industry.

Meanwhile, Wrongful Convictions: False Confessions, a spin-off of the popular Wrongful Convictions podcast was just getting started when the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in, but its audio production team kept going without missing a beat.

APRIL 9 – Many sheltering in place have little to do other than consume content, but audio mixers, both pro and aspiring, who have to create new content are facing new challenges as they work from home. Boston Conservatory senior Shelbie Rassler created a clip of 75 musicians each remotely performing a Burt Bacharach standard, which has since gone viral. We spoke with Rassler about how the project was mixed despite the wildly differing recording spaces used. Meanwhile, accommodating post pros who now have to put together immersive mixes while working from home, Ambidio is making its Looking Glass immersive sound monitoring software available for free through the end of May, 2020.

APRIL 8Summer NAMM has been cancelled, in turn moving the date of this year’s TEC Award Nominations from the first day of the show to a new date. In the meantime, the convention’s site, Nashville’s Music City Center, is being prepped to become a temporary hospital if the city becomes a COVID-19 hotspot.

APRIL 3 – Live Nation has co-founded Crew Nation, committing $10 million to the fund which will provide financial aid to concert production pros impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere, Avid has announced it will postpone products and news originally set for the NAB Show, instead focusing its resources on aiding users moving to a ‘work at home’ production process.

One high-profile production already facing the WFH challenge is CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact or Fiction podcast. Go inside CNN Audio to see how it works with Dr. Sanjay Gupta to create the daily podcast.

APRIL 2 – Rather than cancel the late-May AES Vienna convention outright due to the pandemic, the Audio Engineering Society’s European trade show will offer a virtualization of the event’s technical program online. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., music library Megatrax has made a topical track from songwriter Gary Burr (Garth Brooks, Kelly Clarkson) license free for broadcasters.

MARCH 30 – Pro-AV trade organization AVIXA has cancelled InfoComm 2020, its annual convention, which was set to take place in Las Vegas in June. Nonetheless, the pro audio industry is rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, with live sound powerhouse Clair Global helping create temporary disaster relief structures and loudspeaker manufacturer Innovox Audio building face shields for senior living communities in and around the Twin Cities.

MARCH 27 – With audiences stuck at home devouring more content than every before, the pressure is on content creators to meet that demand while stuck at home themselves. We explore that conundrum with Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt, who hosts the brand’s Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, and look at how self-isolation has changed the show’s production process.

MARCH 26 – With students in self-isolation, pros who teach audio education courses are under the gun to migrate their classes to an online interactive format. AES Nashville members have shared an in-depth ‘how-to’ for audio educators on how to ensure lecture content and interaction with students can be accompanied by high-quality audio playback and real-time demonstration of tools and techniques.

MARCH 25 – The NAB announced the cancelled NAB Show will be replaced by NAB Show Express, a “digital experience,” and an enhanced annual NAB Show New York, which will again be co-located with the AES Convention at the Javits Center in October 2020.

MARCH 24 – NAMM hosted a webinar, COVID-19 Small Business Relief Resources, hosted by on March 24 provided details of the current federal and state relief for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Our summary—and the webinar video itself—can be viewed here.

MARCH 23 – Larry Edgeworth, a 25-year veteran of NBC News who worked out of the network’s Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in Manhattan, died on Thursday, March 19, from complications brought about by the coronavirus.

MARCH 20 – Joe McGrath, a freelance live sound pro in Washington, D.C., unknowingly contracted COVID-19 in late February. After testing positive on March 10, his life turned upside down, but now on the road to recovery after a near-death experience, he shares his story. Others, such as producer Rob Graves, suggest the coronavirus may be an opportunity to change the world for the better.

MARCH 19 – Alive Risk, Clair Global, the Event Safety Alliance, Griffin360, Merch Roadie, Show Makers Symposium and Take1 Insurance have joined together to create the Roadie Rescue Campaign, a GoFundMe campaign that aims to raise $250,000 in donations to provide relief to freelance production pros affected by event cancellations.

MARCH 18 – While widely signed petitions and relief effort announcements are circulating daily, at press time, no clear, sustained approach has emerged yet to concretely address the welfare of the touring industry’s workforce. Stepping up to fill some of that enormous gap is the Recording Academy which, with its MusiCares foundation is establishing the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help U.S. musicians and touring pros whose livelihood has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has affected live sound professionals around the globe, of course, and opera star Andrea Bocelli’s longtime FOH engineer, Andrea Taglia, discussed the situation with Pro Sound News from Firenze, Italy, where the entire country remains under lockdown.

MARCH 17 – As the U.S. live sound industry increasingly hunkers down for a long wait, some are already discussing how emerging guidelines may change the live production industry when the pandemic has subsided. In the meantime, there are different ways live sound pros can approach using their unexpected downtime.

Aiming to protect employees while also helping mitigate the coronavirus’ spread, French loudspeaker manufacturer L-Acoustics has closed nearly all its facilities worldwide.

MARCH 16 – With more European countries going under lockdown over the weekend, and additional U.S. localities enacting measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, many live sound pros are unsure as to the next steps to take. In response, some manufacturers like Powersoft are offering online product training classes in an effort to spread the word about their offerings while also providing useful career education opportunities.

Many pro-audio brands use China for a considerable amount of their manufacturing; with that country easing out of the pandemic while others are entering it, the capabilities of some companies to ensure timely delivery of orders is often up in the air. Martin Audio has issued comprehensive statements as to the current state of its existing and planned inventories worldwide.

MARCH 13 – With a national emergency declared in the United States on Friday, March 13, cities and municipalities around the country have enacted prohibitions against large gatherings that could potentially bolster the coronavirus’ spread—moves that have not only closed schools and libraries in many parts of the country, but also caused all major professional and college sports programs to cancel or delay their seasons, theaters and museums to close, and venues of all sizes to shutter or run only if they serve a greatly diminished capacity.

In response, music tours and events at all levels have gone on hiatus, which in turn has brought much of the live sound industry to a halt. What this means for the live sound industry remains to be seen, but with weeks, possibly months of downtime ahead, there are grave concerns about how live sound pros will get by.

With school districts closing worldwide, audio manufacturer Røde has offered to provide up to $2 million AU worth of podcasting equipment to high schools in New South Wales, Australia, affected by sequestering to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

MARCH 12 – Live Nation and AES, among other tour and venue operators, have suspended all tours under their auspices, essentially bringing the live sound industry to a halt. The move comes among a deluge of tour and festival cancellations and postponements in the face of both growing prohibitions on large-scale gatherings and industry concerns. Likewise, major conventions and events across many industries have announced similar fates, inadvertently slamming the event production industry.

Pro audio events aren’t excluded from that fate. Today, Prolight + Sound, one of the foremost AV and pro audio conventions in Europe, cancelled following an initial attempt to reschedule to late May that was met with lukewarm interest from some major exhibitors.

Simultaneously, the annual European edition of the AES Convention, to be held this year in Vienna, suspended registration. While the convention is currently still set to take place in late May, newly enacted restrictions on event sizes would scuttle the event unless they’re lifted by that date.

Back in the United States, Almo Pro has cancelled the Washington, D.C. edition of its E4 Experience conference, originally set for April 3. It cancelled the Santa Clara, CA, edition this past Monday.

MARCH 11The NAB Show has been cancelled with the announcement it will attempt to hold an event or events later in the year, or simply return in 2021.

MARCH 10 – Avid has joined the growing ranks of exhibitors pulling out of the NAB Show, set to take place in Las Vegas April 18–22. Additionally, the company cancelled its own Avid Connect 2020 conference, which was planned to run adjacent to the larger convocation.

MARCH 9 – Out of an abundance of caution, Almo Pro has pulled the plug on the Santa Clara, CA, edition of its E4 Experience conference.

MARCH 4 – Facing mounting impact by the coronavirus, Prolight + Sound, one of the foremost AV and pro audio conventions in Europe announced that PL+S 2020 has been rescheduled to late May.

FEBRUARY 19 – Despite growing concerns about coronavirus, the NAB has announced the NAB Show in Las Vegas is still set for April.

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Resources

We’ve assembled a non-partisan, alphabetical rundown of educational pro-audio webinars currently available during this time, provided by manufacturers across the industry.

For audio pros who are now faced with time on their hands, preparing equipment for when the industry goes back to work is a sensible action to take, such as cleaning microphones to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

With the virus spreading, it is imperative to stay healthy! With that in mind, we look back at a key METAlliance column from last fall, where legendary Grammy-winning engineers Al Schmitt, Chuck Ainlay and Elliot Scheiner share how to stay healthy in the studio and still get the job done.

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