- 21 Apr 21
As part of our special feature on the impact of Covid-19 on the Irish music industry, Emma Harney, MD of Orchestrate, shares her experiences, and looks to the future...
How has the impact of Covid-19 affected you and your business?
Business has been much quieter than in previous years. A lot of musicians don’t want to release projects if they can’t tour them as they can’t recoup promotional costs, which is totally understandable.
Did you have to let staff go?
No, I work on my own.
People with high rent or with large borrowings have been worst hit. How have you been?
I’ve been lucky that my husband has a great job in IT and has been as busy as ever.
Music is a people business – how has the loss of contact with staff, colleagues or with others in the business affected you?
I miss going to gigs the most. I also miss visiting radio stations with musicians for sessions and seeing people in person, having the chats.
Were you in a position to try anything new or different?
Yes, I took on a position as the Marketing & Media Partnerships Manager for the St Patrick’s Festival and very much enjoyed working with that fabulous team.
Mental health has been a huge issue for a lot of people involved in music. How has your experience been in that regard?
I’ve been very conscious about my mental health and started running and exercising a little more. I also have a little boy so don’t have much time to dwell on things.
How important is it to you, to get back to work?
I have been working throughout the year, albeit on less projects.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
Optimistic to see gigs returning in Barcelona with rapid testing: this is something we need to trial here, and the Summer outdoor gigs are the perfect opportunity to try them. I’m hoping 2022 is going to look a lot different than the past two years.
Anything else of pressing importance to say?
I feel that small businesses and individuals that work within the music and arts industry have largely been forgotten. Some musicians and live music venues have been supported through grants, but companies such as PR, marketing, production (lighting, sound engineers, riggers, roadies) and arts support staff have been neglected. The MISP grants were not discussed with any of the business sectors that they were meant to support. If more grants are planned from the Government to support individuals or companies within the music/arts industry, a representative from each sector should be invited to join the task-force already created to discuss how best the monies could support them, and not rely on industry bodies that don’t understand how every aspect of the industry works.
• Emma Harney is the MD of Orchestrate, a music marketing and PR company whose clients include Noel Gallagher, The Coronas, Lisa Lambe and Golden Discs.
'Music Industry in Ireland: Where To Next?' is a special feature in the current issue of Hot Press, running to over 20 pages, featuring music industry professionals as well as artists including Moya Brennan, Jess Kav, Luka Bloom, Fia Moon, Kneecap, Gavin Glass, Mick Flannery, King Kong Company, Mary Coughlan, Rosie Carney and many more.