Music News: John Prine's wife, diagnosed with COVID-19, urges fans to stay home


Jade and Jay Gabler talk about Fiona Prine's positive COVID-19 diagnosis, livestreams, and Bandcamp's big day. (MPR Video)

Fiona Whelan Prine, the wife and manager of beloved singer-songwriter John Prine, says she has tested positive for COVID-19. Her husband, she says, was also tested and his status remains "indeterminate."

"There's a chance he may not have this virus," Fiona Prine said in a video posted to Instagram, "and we are working really, really hard and being really diligent about all of the protocols. We are quarantined and isolated from each other and members of the family. It's hard, I won't lie, but it's absolutely important."

In the video, Fiona Prine urges fans to protect themselves and their communities by keeping their distance from others for the time being. "Just stay home. Please, stay home. I think we'll get through this if we do it together." (The Boot)

Musicians who have shared positive diagnoses include Rita Wilson and Idris Elba. Didn't know Idris Elba was a musician? True. He's even opened for Madonna. Wilson, who along with her husband Tom Hanks was one of the first major celebrities to share a positive diagnosis, has shared a "quarantunes" playlist featuring Carole King, Destiny's Child, MC Hammer, and of course Rita Wilson. (Billboard)

Bandcamp waives cut of sales for a day, artists jump at opportunity to share music

With Bandcamp waiving its usual percentage of income from music and merch sales today, artists around the world have been sharing their music and even uploading new tunes to take advantage of the urgently-needed financial boost.

"It just pivoted everything," Har Mar Superstar of Heart Bones told The Current's Jill Riley. "We self-released our album, so all our money is tied up in this physical record that we made to take on tour and sell. It was looking like we were going to recoup on it, but now, we're back to square one — and depending on the fans to help us pick up the slack and order stuff online. We're really excited about the Bandcamp gesture."

Artists turn to livestreams to share music, build community

As Pitchfork notes, the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically accelerated a trend that's been developing over the past half-decade: artists connecting with their fans through online video, often livestreamed.

Artists with virtual gigs planned for Saturday, for example, include First Aid Kit, Christine and the Queens, Low Cut Connie, and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard — who recently told The Current's Jill Riley what it's been like for him to perform online.

I'm 43. Obviously a lot of people in our generation have embraced social media, but I think that very few of us have embraced it with [the] fervor and transparency that a lot of young artists and younger people have. So this is all kind of a new experience for me. I think maybe in the past I've been a little bit leery of kind of entering into something like this. It's so transparent and so exposed.

But I think what I'm learning in this particular case is that in this time, with what we are going through right now, people are really craving connection and kind of respite from their isolation. I think there are people out there who are fans of our band or my music. They're given an opportunity to kind of interact with me and, then conversely for me, getting a chance to interact with them feels really good. It feels like we're all kind of in this together because we are.

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