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Erykah Badu discusses music industry struggles amidst Coronavirus during live-streamed concert

“We’re not rich people. We just play rich people on TV,” she said.

Erykah Badu Getty

Earlier this week, Erykah Badu kicked off her “Quarantine Concert Series” with her “Apocalypse One” show. The legendary singer admitted fans virtual entry to the show, which was streamed on her BaduWorld Market website, for just $1.

Singing renditions of “Other Side of the Game,” “Tyrone” and more from her bedroom, Badu was backed by a band wearing surgical facemasks.

“I got a house full of masked engineers, musicians, techs, who are all out of work…We have a few band members that’s stuck in other states,” she said, according to Page Six. “I called them earlier and told them today, y’all still on the payroll even though y’all not here,” she said.”

During her live-streamed performance, Badu also spoke about the financial burden the recent social distancing efforts have placed on the music industry and performers, who depend on income from live shows.

“How [the music industry] works is, the artists get about 8 to 20 percent [of record sales], but it’s not paid until the record label recoups the money they loaned to you in the form of an advance, so it’s really not designed for us to become wealthy,” she said, “That’s why we rely on our live shows.”

“We’re not rich people. We just play rich people on TV,” she continued. “This is how we make our living and some of us only have one form of income and that’s shows. I wanted to create another revenue of income and you’re helping me do that in a big way.”

Badu thanked her fans for their $1 purchases, adding that concert promoters typically set the prices for live show events.

“If it was up to me, I would always charge you one dollar, so that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

Major festivals, like Coachella and SXSW, have been canceled or postponed due to the Coronavirus — not to mention a handful of Live Nation tours.

On Wednesday evening (March 25), the Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus package which will help combat the financial crisis placed on music industry professionals, and others, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. If approved by the House on Friday (March 27), the package will offer grants and loans to songwriters, musicians, sound and lighting professionals, producers and more who generate incomes under than $100,000.

Catch a glimpse of Badu’s “Quarantine Concert Series” below.

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