«I'll record it... let me just try to understand how I hold the microphone on the contrabass»: From live performance to DIY during the COVID-19 pandemic

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The coronavirus pandemic has shaken everyday life. In the music scene, the criminalization of nightlife has led to a drastic reduction in live music (Nofre et al. 2020), and artistic professionals, like other gig-workers, found themselves in a position of vulnerability (Jean 2020). But it was not only the performances that were affected by social distance: conditioned access to studios also made rehearsals and recordings difficult. In this context, access to technology has become indispensable. Software such as ZOOM has allowed the collective musical practice to be transposed into a format compatible with social distancing, providing a temporary alternative to rehearsals and the face-to-face education system (Levens 2020). When musicians are wondering "how can I monetize online?" (Nobre 2020), DIY is an alternative to consider. Composing and recording at home for later dissemination is a means of passing the time, preserving the perception of productivity and contribution to society, maintaining a close relationship with audiences and still get some income on streaming platforms. This study uses an ethnographic approach that combines participant observation and interviews, to address the relationship between technology and creativity. This paper will focus on financial and class issues that constrain access to technology, learning processes, barriers related to instrumentation (for example, making and recording music with a MIDI keyboard is simpler than recording acoustic instruments) and how these conditions influence the final sound of DYI productions. I will discuss how the dissemination through platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music or Bandcamp can raise ethical dilemmas in musicians (Cayari 2020).
Period8 Jul 2021
Event titleKeep It Simple, Make It Fast! DIY Cultures and Global Challenges
Event typeConference
LocationPorto, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • music
  • COVID-19
  • DIY
  • streaming
  • confinement