OAKLAND, Calif (KTVU) - There are about 187,000 musicians and singers, mostly so-called 'gig' workers or freelances, employed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated their ranks as most businesses are closed and they have no place to entertain. But a Bay Area nonprofit is hoping to change that.
Musicians who are down and out due to the loss of playing at venues amid the coronavirus pandemic may be able to recover and eventually thrive in the virtual world.
"People need to hear live music; magic that helps to touch peoples' souls. That's really what we do said famed bassist Jim Kerwin, a co-founder of Music In Place.
The founders are the teachers and producers, all accomplished musicians themselves who are part of a larger group of well-to-do visionaries.
"The more visibility that we can get from the music videos that we're producing with these musicians, the wide the audience will become," said Rodman Marymore co-founder of Music In Place.
The initial students are first paid beneficiaries; all talented Bay Area artists.
The nonprofit wants to create new ways for freelance musicians to collaborate and enhance their incomes and show their talents globally through social media.
"This is a way to get your art out there for other people to experience it and, hopefully, help you get a leg up on things," said pianist
The immediate goal: meaningfully assist the legions of professional musicians, who've lost their livelihoods to the COVID-19 shutdown of live music venues, night clubs, restaurants, and the streets.
"People need to hear live music. It's magic that helps to touch peoples' souls. That's really what we do." said bassist Jim Kerwin.
The method: initially provide financial assistance.
"It's a lifeline because it's gonna be a long recovery and all these musicians need to work," said another co-founder, Michael Hatfield.
Musicians will learn how to extend their collaborations, opportunities and reach through digital media; skills that will serve them long after the shutdown ends.
"To be involved in this is really a privilege and it's really helped me feel like I'm part of coming up with an answer to an issue and a problem," said percussionist Curt Moore.
The long term goal of Music In Place is to establish a sustainable Bay Area professional musicians network through direct financial support as well as networking and creating new sources of revenue. "
We would hope that people in other communities would look at what we're doing and achieving and copy it," said Marymore.
In essence, it's a way to latch onto the future, but keeping what you love most—the audience.