On a normal night, Scott Atkinson would be loading up his van with equipment and driving to one of many low-paying gigs. But with the COVID-19 epidemic closing bars and restaurants across the country, he is forced to stay at home, saving hundreds of dollars in gas money.
“This is really going to affect my finances,” Mr. Atkinson explained, detailing the many money-losing trips he takes in an effort to “get [his] music out there.” He routinely drives to engagements up to four hours away from his home, playing for paltry sums in the hopes of “getting noticed.”
Alongside the money he would have spent on gas, Mr. Atkinson will also save money by not paying for parking, drinks at open mics, or for replacement gear after his inevitably gets stolen. “I don’t know what I’m going to do about all this gained income,” he said despondently. “I may have to resort to giving money to charity just to stay afloat.”
Recently, Mr. Atkinson has taken to playing in the street, handing out cash to anyone who stops to listen. With more people working from home, though, he’s having trouble finding any takers. “I only lost $17 yesterday, and I played for three hours,” he complained. “It’s like I’m not even a musician anymore.”