May 27, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Hope you're having a good Wednesday! Today's PM — edited by Shane Savitsky — is 565 words, a 2-minute read.

🚀 We're approaching (scheduled for 4:33 p.m. ET) the first crewed space launch from U.S. soil since 2011, and the first by a private company, Elon Musk's SpaceX.

💻 I'll host a live virtual event on the impact of the coronavirus on seniors in long-term care facilities tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET with Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

1 big thing: Local music gets rocked by virus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Live music was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, and independent venues across the country are especially at risk as the crisis drags on, writes Axios' Shane Savitsky.

  • Why it matters: These venues are accessible cultural spaces and key economic drivers, and no one in the industry, from bands to bookers to bartenders, knows when things will return to normal.

The state of play: More than 1,200 venues have joined the National Independent Venue Association, and its outreach to Congress highlights just how difficult things will be for the industry in the months ahead.

  • 11 independent venues that spoke to the New York Times all said they could only survive between six months and a year without government aid.
  • To stay afloat now, they need to be able to pay their employees and rent, which can be huge given their central locations in many cities.
  • To operate moving forward, they want extensive contract-tracing efforts and assistance if they're forced to reopen at a fraction of normal capacity.

Even as the country begins to reopen, venues in D.C. can't open until stage 3 ("sporadic transmission") of its plan — it enters stage 1 Friday — and, even then, they can only have five people per 1,000 square feet.

  • Normal operations can't resume until a vaccine or cure.
  • Similar restrictions are in place in other major cities, like New York and L.A.

The bottom line: Even as venues try everything from merchandise sales to food delivery to live-streaming in order to stay afloat, existential uncertainty hangs over their very business model.

  • "A lot of these questions can’t be answered. We just know that, as of today, this is dire, because the odds of us opening to full capacity are slim to none for a very long time," Chicago venue owner Katie Tuten told The New Yorker.
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Swen Pförtner/picture alliance via Getty Images

A days-old fawn stands in a field in Germany, saved by a drone with a thermal imaging camera.

  • Tens of thousands of baby deer that can't be spotted in tall grass are estimated to die every year as a result of mowing and harvesting.
2. Catch up quick

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, 53, left, and Robert Behnken, 49, walk outside at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., before their scheduled SpaceX launch on Wednesday. Photo: John Raoux/AP

  1. Coronavirus: The U.S. will likely pass the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths this afternoon, per Johns Hopkins data.
  2. Reopening: Florida's Walt Disney World has proposed a tiered July 11 reopening that would include masks and temperature checks.
  3. China: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China.
  4. Business: Boeing will lay off 6,770 more U.S. employees.
  5. Public health: Dr. Anthony Fauci said the data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.
  6. Tech: President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms after Twitter issued a fact check against one of his claims.
3. The Zoom of sports?

An empty stadium for a Bundesliga match in Germany yesterday. The league has used artificial crowd noise during television broadcasts. Photo: Fabian Bimmer/Pool/Reuters

Japan may have the answer to the uncanny valley of empty sports stadiums: a "Remote Cheerer" app that delivers fan reactions in real-time, reports the Washington Post's Simon Denyer.

  • The app lets soccer fans "choose a range of reactions — from cheer, chant, clap or shout to groan and boo — with a simple tap of their smartphones."

"At one point during the system field test, I closed my eyes and it felt like the cheering fans were right there in the stadium with me," a stadium official said.

Mike Allen