Coronavirus:Tales of Resilience #5

Music PR consultant Indy Vidyalankara talks about how communicating can lead to connection during the covid-19 pandemic

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Music PR & Communications Consultant Indy Vidyalankara 

Never has the role and purpose of a PR and communications specialist in the music industry been more pointed than it is now as we move through the covid crisis.

Working with a wide range of organisations and artists, at this time I have seen my role evolve into something much more than just advising and raising media profile.

Musicians are facing the toughest time in terms of making an income, with venues and events suspended and travel impractical. Meanwhile organisations have their own considerable economic struggles. The challenges and adversity have made it necessary to evolve and redefine both creativity and business. 

Organisations need to be agile and adapt quickly to the challenge. The removal of face-to-face interaction with audiences has required the focus to move to online and the digital sphere. The same goes for artists. The same goes for PRs.

The need to create engaging, authentic, distinctive content and stories is huge, but the need to cut through the considerable noise is even bigger.

As audiences are being bombarded by content, livestreams, podcasts, blogs, the risk of fatigue is there, but audiences will still connect with things of value to them. They still want to engage and consume, so getting the execution and the tone right, considering that people need help to navigate and find the stuff they like, not just looking at commercial gain, but looking at how to give back, say thanks, share hope and a sense of fun – all this matters more now than ever for our collective wellbeing.

Flexible and remote working is something I’m well accustomed to having been a mum working at major corporations like the BBC TV and Radio and Sony Music, but now as my role as a self-employed PR and Comms consultant evolves, so has my work rhythm.

With two primary school aged children, the juggle is very real. The initial novelty and sense of adventure was heady and lasted into the Easter holidays, we came out of that lull with an intense chocolate hangover and a wake-up call. This reality is not a bad dream, it’s here for the foreseeable, so it’s time to get used to it. Building resilience. Finding calm. Adapt or fail!

As I adapt to working and home-schooling concurrently, my children are adapting to learning at home, while also seeing me in work mode, responding to emails, taking calls and being on numerous virtual meetings, and then as they sleep I work into the night.

This crazy schedule is nothing new to the numerous self-employed parents in the music sector, but what I didn’t expect was the guilt …it hits me for example when I return to my children after a two-hour Zoom call.

It’s important to forgive one’s self and accept that these are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances. Besides, we are having fun and enjoying each other’s company, while we are safe at home – that cannot be underestimated!

As we watch the crisis unfold and experience the impact of it all, it’s good to remember that society needs art and culture to nourish now more than ever, to see us through these dark and uncertain times.

Indy Vidyalankara

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