A sign during COVID-19 outside of a music venue that reads, "This is just intermission. See you soon"

Tip Sheet: Denver’s Creative Industry and COVID-19: Where is it Headed?

September 23, 2020
Background/Why it Matters: 

According to the Denver Arts & Venues Music Industry Report 2020*:  

  • An estimated 8,237 music industry jobs and $344.6 million in sales revenue were lost in Colorado 
  • The above represents 51% of total employment in the industry statewide and 24% of its annual sales revenue  
  • 4,525 of those jobs are specific to the Denver-metro region  
According to the Denver Arts & Venues Creative Economy Report 2020*:  
  • Denver-metro region’s creative industries support 96,358 jobs 
  • Employment in the region’s creative industries grew by 29% between 2010 and 2019 with an addition of 21,546 jobs 
  • An estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue will be lost due to the COVID-19 crisis 

*From April 1 to July 31 

CU Denver Experts Weigh In:  

Laurie Baefsky, associate dean of Research & Strategic Partnerships

Since the beginning of COVID-19, Laurie has been tracking the changes the creative industry has seen. These changes, mostly negative, are tied into a broader question of the role of arts in society linking back to relevance and culture keeping as well as rebuilding. What is the future/current role of brick & mortar cultural institutions? How will the creative sector emerge and even change once the dust settles? According to Laurie, some institutions will fare better than others, but it’s not all tied to size.  

“The arts will continue, always because we’re human and humans are creative.” 

Greg Garrison, Instructor, Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies College of Arts & Media, Member of Leftover Salmon 

As a member of a nationally touring band, Greg has seen the impacts of this firsthand. Before COVID, Greg and his band had an entire year of concerts and festivals booked to support the band members and organization, everything for the foreseeable future has obviously been cancelled. As a small business, the band supports 3 to 5 crew members throughout the year. However, the band and crew are now facing unemployment due to a loss of 95% of income brought in from touring.  

While small opportunities like streaming shows, drive-in concerts, and small socially distanced events are available, Greg believes these are all a gamble in some way, whether that be with money or health. Due to crowd size restrictions (175 people currently in Colorado), ticket prices to live events must be artificially inflated in order to make it worthwhile for acts of a certain stature to perform.  

Interested in speaking with an expert? Contact Meghan Azralon, CU Denver media relations specialist, at meghan.azralon@ucdenver.edu