The global music industry is striking a chord with more people, as the number of musicians has been rapidly increasing over the last few years.
In a study done by Global Music Report, they recorded revenue in the music industry worldwide totaled $25.9 billion last year, which is 18.5 percent higher than the previous year’s total. These statistics make it the seventh straight year of consistent growth for the music industry worldwide. This is a direct result of the increasing number of musicians.
Since the number of musicians has been steadily growing, the demand for luthiers, guitar techs, and others working in general instrument repair has gone up.
The pandemic has also had an effect on the amount of people turning to music. This is due to the fact that during the pandemic most people had much more time than they would normally have. Whether they were on zoom calls, working from home, or had more days off, people definitely had more time to do hobbies and activities that they were passionate about. There were many new beginners that started playing music during the pandemic, from the young to the old.
The pandemic, however, had an impact on the luthier and instrument repair industry that you might not expect.
Steve Rozitis, a guitar tech and luthier based out of his business R Guitars in Calgary, said,
“Strictly numbers wise, the pandemic had an extremely positive impact on our work because a lot of people were at home, so they have more time, even on zoom calls. I have clients telling me they would just mute their zoom, turn their screen off and practice guitar, because there’s a meeting of, like, 100 people, and he’s not going to talk for two hours.”
Rozitis’ business has increased drastically over the course of the pandemic. There were not many positives to come out of the pandemic, but this is certainly one of them. However, that is something that most small businesses are not able to say about their own experience. Most businesses struggled greatly with not having nearly as many customers as before, with many of them even having to close down.
The pandemic also caused almost all live shows to be completely canceled worldwide. With everything closed and everyone being stuck at home, live performing musicians had an extremely difficult time getting by. There were no bars to play at, no cafes, no music venues whatsoever. The only revenue stream they could count on from their music was streaming platforms, which is not much whatsoever.
“My most favorite clients are the working musicians. They lost their income for, like, almost two years. It was all their gigs. I had guys who lost international tours with 175 dates, just disappeared off the calendar. These things take years to book logistically. And so all of my professional clients stopped coming because they had no income,” said Rozitis.
With the rapidly increasing number of musicians, and with how accessible music is now with streaming services and other music platforms, it is only inevitable for it to continue to grow. As it grows, the demand for luthier and instrument tech work will go up, but that could prove to be a problem.
Becoming a luthier or an instrument tech is not exactly easy. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft, as well as a commitment to training under other professionals as an apprentice to gain your stripes. This kind of work is old school, and only the passionate and hardworking can succeed in it.
Steve trained at Fretworks under Miles Jones for many years doing his apprenticeship. With how easy and cheap it is to purchase guitars and other instruments from sites like Amazon and Wish, there is certainly a concern that the luthier industry could struggle in the future.
As our society has started to move past the pandemic, many businesses including Rozitis’ have started to get even more customers than before. Now that everything is open again, the demand for musicians and live music has risen drastically and will continue to rise as the music industry grows in Canada, and around the world. The everyday working artist now has the ability to perform live shows again, which is greatly beneficial not only for them but for the people going to see the event.
Even during the pandemic, music continued to be a part of most people’s day to day lives. According to a study done by VeryWellMind, music had an increased role in managing mood and emotion during the pandemic. In fact, 79 per cent of readers said they used music as a coping method during lockdowns in their respective cities.
Marco Tam, a political science student and musician currently attending the University of Calgary, said, “Certainly during lockdown I’d play like six hours a day. I didn’t want to be on my computer.”
In a study done by the National Library of Medicine, learning how to play an instrument has several positive effects for a person, such as stimulating the brain, improving memory and reasoning skills, reducing stress, and cultivating creativity. It is also very common for people to want to share the music they play, as they feel a greater sense of community when they do.
“Yeah, I guess it gives you a sense of discipline, how to follow the song, like structure,” said Tam.
Music is a language that we all speak, and is something that we all need in our lives. As the demand for music and musical instruments grows, we must continue to support guitar techs, luthiers, and other instrument repair workers. We also have to continue to go see live shows in an effort to support our favorite artists, who have no doubt struggled over the last few years.
We can do this by supporting locally owned and operated businesses, and by spreading the word about great shops just like Rozitis’. The future of the music industry is certainly bright, as more and more great musicians will surface to popularity in years to come.