New threat to Covid-time recordings

New threat to Covid-time recordings


norman lebrecht

February 11, 2021

We hear from independent producers that they are being asked to complete a Covid lateral flow test within 24 hours of a new reocrding.

Ths condition could kill recording work stone-dead

A producer could be sued breach of contract if he or she had to cancel at less than 24 hours’ notice in order to self-isolate, and they would be left with heavy losses if a conductor or musicians pulled out at the last minute.

This condition is causing widespread alarm. Let us know if you have been affected.



  • M McAlpine says:

    So the alternative is to risk spreading the virus?

    • Guest says:

      No. The alternative is to postpone the projects until the risk is reduced.

      • Christopher Culver says:

        Recording labels often make most of their money in the months after a new recording is released. (The supposed “long tail”, by which their back catalogue continues to bring them a profit, isn’t actually much of a factor.) Therefore, if labels cannot record, they cannot make new releases, and it is harder for them to stay afloat in what was already a difficult economic environment before the epidemic.

  • Miko says:

    That’s strange; there was I, thinking that a covid outbreak could “kill stone dead”. Turns out it’s the testing that’s the problem.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    A remark about trading liberty for security comes to mind, but the author escapes me.

    In a decaying world, at least Nero was able to fiddle while Rome burned, and the quartet aboard the Titanic was able to play on as she succumbed to the icy sea, but it seems we’re not even allowed that concession. All concerts henceforth shall be programs of Cage’s 4’33”. Enjoy the perpetual sound of silence, everybody. The music was fun while it lasted.

    Now go put that second mask on so we don’t have to hear you complain about it.

    • Tony says:

      Unfortunate metaphors in respect of “liberty” and “security”.

      Nero not only had his mother murdered, but seized Christians and burned them alive, blaming them for the fire when he himself had been party to its setting. Nero traded no security for liberty to be free to play his violin.

      Likewise the Titanic metaphor has limited validity. The sinking cost more than 1500 souls including those of the string group which was not a quartet – it was a larger group.

      The liberty wilfully to infect others and to spread a deadly virus in the current pandemic is one I do not value.

      Postponing (hopefully indefinitely) the streaming of yet another unimpressive untogether unbalanced badly filmed socially distanced performance of a beloved musical favourite does not equate to trading liberty against security. It is a joyful relief, in hopeful assured faith that better times are on their way.

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      >” In a decaying world, at least Nero was able to fiddle while Rome burned”

      Pace “Quo vadis”, put that canard to rest. Once and for all.

      The only account of a contemporary source blaming Nero, mostly reporting unsourced rumours blaming him, is Pliny the Elder. And Pliny held considerable animus towards Nero.

      All other sources are considerably later. The one comprehensive account is that of Tacitus, half a century after the event. Even Tacitus, highly critical of Nero as a type, gives him credit for taking immediate countermeasures, including modern-sounding economic ones: immediate subsidies to stabilise cereal prices, and stimuli to jump-start the city’s economy.

      The purported ‘fiddling’, if any of it happened (which is doubtful; again, no contemporary sources, no creditable accounts) would have been a recitation of Homeric verses on Troy burning, an apt comparison. (Robert J. Oppenheimer reciting lines from Bhagavad Gita at Trinity Site being the modern analogy.)

      The dark legend of Nero the incendiary results from the bias of later authors: Suetonius, Dio Cassius, Statius — and tons of Christian propaganda.

      As for that world “decaying”, no, it wasn’t, not for another couple of centuries at least. The heyday of the Roman Empire, the second century CE, the era of the great emperors, was still one generation ahead., Another bright spot, the first half of the Flavian epoch, was to follow right after Nero. No decaying, far from it.

    • PFmus says:

      Exactly what is it you people (or bots) seek to gain by encouraging the unchecked spread of a global epidemic? “Liberty” from what – life? Do you imagine you are some kind of ubermensch? Need you boast of how unimportant other people are to you? How solipsistic does one have to be to imagine that 115,000 UK citizens who have already died were somehow not real?

    • SVM says:

      “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

    • M McAlpine says:

      As someone who has watched people close to him suffer from covid, and are still suffering months later, I take great exception to these flippant remarks about wanting your so-called ‘liberty’ to spread it around.

      • Ashu says:

        How about people close to you who are suffering from indigence, homelessness, solitude, and despair as a result of lockdown, and will still be suffering years later, if they don’t kill themselves?

  • Kelvin Grout says:

    My next recording has been postponed from beginning of January until (hopefully) sometime in April. The concert hall is shut and we are all taking great care to stay away, as much as possible from all risky situations. It’s frustrating, but absolutely understandable. Ours is a very low budget affair, but we still feel the same irritations, but it is what it is and hopefully all will return to a new normality. Many others parts of our society have it much worse!

  • Pat says:

    How can anyone be sued for cancelling work when they have a proven infectious illness? Sued for not cancelling and risking others surely?