In business, they often say you need to see things from the other person's point of view. Depending on that person's nature, personality, character, and so on, you can apparently gauge whether you can trust that person in business and form a long-lasting relationship. One request parents often make of their children is to go say hi to so-and-so in person. When you're a child, it seems that if you are in a relationship that involves lending and borrowing, if you regularly show your face in person like this and on a regular basis, rather than avoiding doing so, it validates the relationship. In other words, if you don't show your face, you lose trust. In supermarkets recently, vegetables and fruits will often have on their packages the names and faces of the producers. Even though you've never met these people, if you regularly see their faces and names here, then they appear to be real, and then you think that it may be okay to trust in their quality. It seems that the presence of other people and the warmth we feel from them are essential components of communication. These kinds of connections may have been cut off by the coronavirus pandemic, but we should apply our knowledge somehow to overcome.

The pandemic has created constraints of various kinds. Countries have postponed or canceled big events, and eventually banned them altogether. Obviously, events where lots of people gather have a high likelihood of spreading the virus, so until we have a better way to combat it, refraining from coming into contact with others seems to be the right choice. However, we humans have unique cognitive abilities. Instead of accepting things as they are, we think, think, and then do better. To individual consumers, live events are amusement, but for musicians, they're also part of the entertainment business. Moreover, depending on the time, and depending on the people, it becomes more than mere recreation, but also a motivation to live. Under these restrictions, it's natural to ponder whether there is some way to make an event happen.

In Denmark, where an array of restrictions related to the coronavirus remain in place, major events have been prohibited by law. These measures have been enacted for the sake of thorough social distancing. With clusters forming sporadically, albeit unintentionally, at concert halls and theaters, this was inevitable. And yet, singer-songwriter Mads Langer gave the matter some thought and happened upon a way to stick to social distancing while maintaining the atmosphere of a live concert. That idea was the drive-in concert. Exactly as the name implies, it is the drive-in theater concept repurposed for a show. The concert was announced six days in advance, but all 500 tickets sold out within minutes. It seems that people were truly hankering for a live musical performance.

Image : via YouTube

Mads Langer

Born January 14, 1984, Mads Langer is a singer-songwriter from Skive, Denmark. He made his debut in 2006 with Copenhagen Records. In 2009, his second album, “Mads Langer,” was a hit that went gold and suddenly thrust him into the spotlight. Langer signed a deal with Sony Music and relocated to London in 2011. His 2012 single “Overgir mig langsomt” was his first number-one hit on the Danish charts. In 2013, Langer's fifth album, “In These Waters,” was his first to top the Danish charts and went double-platinum. Mads Langer has established a reputation for singing soft, heart-tugging songs composed with excellent original melodies and his guitarwork.

Mads Langer's appearance was announced at the concert over FM radio in audience members' cars. Using videoconferencing software Zoom, the audience could interact with each other. When the performance started, guests in their cars used windshield wipers and headlights to show their reactions. It was the creation of a new type of communication. Zoom also offered a smooth way to request songs. From the performer's point of view, it might have been an incredibly surreal scene to see an audience of cars displaying unfamiliar reactions to the performance and cheering, but Mads Langer was satisfied with the challenge because it turned crisis into an adventure. Whatever setting we may be in, people in the end find ways to communicate with each other. Under our given conditions, we try to reach a mutual understanding, and then that new technique becomes well-established. This concert was hailed by musicians from around the world and it gave them courage and ideas to try out. At present, Australians have been particularly eager to take up the concept. After Mads Langer's show, Casey Donovan held a free drive-in concert at a parking lot in the southwest part of Sydney. It was an exciting event with lots of flashing headlights. Keith Urban, an Australian who sings American-style country music, held a similar event in Tennessee to express gratitude to American healthcare workers. The drive-in concert seems to be spreading across musical genres. Jon Hart, vocalist and keyboard player for the Australian band Boy & Bear, called it “a great idea.”

Meanwhile in Germany, a global nightclub hotspot, a party held in a parking lot equipped with a full-on sound system and even fireworks made the news. The nature of nightlife is the polar opposite of the social distancing that has now become customary around the world. Getting sweaty and coming into contact with many people in a confined place was obviously not sanitary. But if circumstances remain as they currently are, that business model will not work. As this could be the end for a piece of German culture, club promoters and managers, as well as the passionate party fans, are not giving up in this situation, as they have been at the forefront of getting the parties started again. Discotheque Index in Schuettorf, a town in the German state of Lower Saxony, came up with the world's first drive-in rave. The venue was a parking lot, with a DJ booth on the stage and a full sound system pumping loud music. For three days, from April 30 to May 2, the Index Autodisco was held for 250 vehicles (each holding two passengers). In video footage of the party, drivers flashed their car lights and honked horns in sync with DJ sets by the likes of Devin Wild, Nitefield, and MarvU to create a lively atmosphere. Now drive-in raves are starting to pop up across Germany. The World Club Dome in Frankfurt has held two Friday drive-in club events, each accommodating 1,000 guests. The headlining DJ, Le Shuuk, put on a flashy performance with flame cannons in front of a giant video screen. To maintain social distancing, the crowd enjoyed the show inside their cars with the windows closed and listened to the music on FM radio. Both Discotheque Index and the World Club Dome say they plan on doing more of these kinds of drive-in raves in the future.

This is truly like the world of the “first penguin,” an expression that refers to a courageous penguin who was the first of the colony, which acted as a group, to jump into the ocean in search of fish, despite the risk from natural predators. You could also describe Mads Langer, the aforementioned Danish singer-songwriter, this way. A first penguin who fails will be killed by predators. Likewise, he was the subject of public criticism for inviting danger by holding a concert. Because he was ready for this and succeeded in taking on the challenge, he has earned respect as a brave penguin. Owners of the venture spirit to try something new without worrying about the risks also earn respect in the business world as first penguins. To digress a bit, there are also apparently second penguins. This is the penguin who checks the first penguin's condition, and if everything looks okay, quickly jumps in afterward. However, because there is a countless number of penguins taking a backseat to the first one, they seem to jump into the ocean all at once. The courage of the first penguin is an unspeakably powerful force among the others.

We can see a similar example in the way that people make the power of their presence known. We are talking about the performance by a Japanese violinist who lives in Cremona, Italy. Standing on the roof of a building, she performed to encourage medical workers. Cremona is a town in northern Italy where Antonio Stradivari lived and worked from the 17th to the 18th century. He was the creator of the renowned Stradivarius violin. Japanese violinist Lena Yokoyama put on a performance at a hospital on the frontlines of the fight to treat the novel coronavirus.

Image : Pro Cremona

Lena Yokoyama

Born April 9, 1987, Lena Yokoyama is a violinist from Mino'oshi, Osaka Prefecture. In 2006, she went to study at the Claudio Monteverdi Musical Institute in Cremona, northern Italy, where she graduated with honors in 2011. Starting with a first-place finish in the solo category at the 2010 Florence Crescendo International Competition, Yokoyama has earned awards and top accolades at numerous competitions. She has also won approbation for her performances at major theaters and music festivals in Europe, the US, China, and elsewhere. She has wrapped up two world tours with performances in Japan. Yokoyama released her first album, “Beethoven Piano Trios” (Op. 70 No. 2 “Ghost,” Op. 97 “Archduke”), in 2016, and her second, “Brahms & Dvorak Piano Trios,” in 2019.

Large medical tents had been laid out around the hospital, which was over capacity and turning patients away. Even so, it was found that the performance markedly encouraged the medical workers and patients fighting the virus. One thing that is important to point out here is the piece Yokoyama played. It comes from the soundtrack of a movie called “The Mission” that was produced in the US, the UK, and France. It has been covered by Sara Brightman and many classical crossover singers. Japanese people probably remember it as the song that Miki Ando used when she won her figure skating world championship. The concept of the song is about overcoming intercultural barriers. A Japanese person performing this piece for an Italian audience could be described as something like that. After graduating from high school, Yokoyama moved to Cremona, where she joined an ensemble playing for visitors with display instruments worth up to hundreds of millions of yen and kept in the local area. The performance by this woman who has found her place in the community and is now known as a local violinist, despite being a foreigner, may signify the strengthened bonds of this place.

This point was given emphasis due to the messenger's identity. Even if the words are the same, depending on who delivers them, they could have an entirely different value or effect. A bank in Puerto Rico ran a campaign called “The Most Popular Song.” In Puerto Rico, the employment rate was low and 60% of people were on welfare. Furthermore, as the recession from the global financial crisis dragged on, some people could not find work no matter how much they looked. Even so, the idea that it is hard to find people who want to work was part of Puerto Rico's national character. This was a deeply embedded easy-going attitude. With so many people adopting this way of thinking, there was no way that admonishments would change their minds. Especially if the head of a household lives this way, then even if his wife gets mad, his children cry, and his parents scold him and lament, then nothing would change. Because this was true nationwide, if this situation that everyone took for granted was not changed, then the country would literally cease to function. Banco Popular, Puerto Rico's largest bank, was saddened by the country's economy, so rather than relying on the government, the financial institution decided to change people's minds on its own.

How could' acceptance of an idle lifestyle be converted into a hard-working national identity? Well, let's examine a question posed earlier: To whom would they be most responsive? The speaker the bank chose was El Gran Combo, a world-famous Puerto Rican salsa band. They were in fact the creators of a song that may have helped form Puerto Rico's national identity. That song is “Y No Hago Más Ná,” which means “I Do Nothing.” Popular among Puerto Ricans, it was a song dedicated to the carefree.

I wake up in the morning, I take a bath and put some perfume on. I eat a big breakfast and I do nothing else, nothing else.
And then I read the newspaper, And I even read the obituaries, Or I even watch soap operas. And I do nothing else, nothing else.
By twelve noon I eat a good lunch Of rice and beans And stewed meat, and I do nothing else.
And then I go to the bench To take a little nap, And sometimes I sleep two hours, And sometimes a little more, and I do nothing else.
And then I wake up around three, And I drink a good coffee. I smoke a cigarette and I take my guitar And I start to sing.
And when dinner time comes, My wife cooks A steak with French fries, With a salad, and a thousand other things. And I eat it, and I do nothing else.
Afterward, I go to the balcony As if I were an important man, To rock in the chair, To have a chat with my wife.
Ay, when I get sleepy, I go to bed right away, And I sleep until morning, And I do nothing else.
How good it is to live like this, eating without working.
Listen, I have never bowed down to any man So don't waste your time, I won't change, oh no!
Who is going to work? Who, me? Look for someone else, I already did what I was going to do.

It sounds like a lifestyle to be envious of, doesn't it? Actually being able to live like this would be a welcome opportunity, but we know that only ruin lies ahead, so do people really take the song seriously? Banco Popular decided to turn this song of praise for laziness on its head. It was recorded with new lyrics encouraging industriousness. Then, people heard about a free concert. Everybody came to hear the song about slothfulness. Although they expected their elders to promote idleness yet again, they had changed, and this was a shock to the audience members. Nevertheless, the song made it back to the top of the music charts while exhorting all of Puerto Rico to work harder. The musicians were elder members of the community, so other people had to listen to them. Families started singing the lyrics to themselves. But would they go to work? The result of the campaign was an 80% improvement in Banco Popular's image. Although citizens had been sucker punched, it got a conversation started and eventually changed attitudes.

The Most Popular Song

People can have a powerful presence. There are various means of communication at our disposal, but when they are employed in combination with a person's manner, facial expressions, tone of voice, and so on, it sets a person apart from other messengers. Even in PR, it's important to engage in communication where the person and their face are visible. Being able to see a person offers proof that the communication is real. When you sense that presence, you believe in that person and act. This approach also deepens mutual understanding. In our world today, social distancing provides the new absolute rules about how to lead our lives, but it also is the biggest barrier to getting back to normal. There are also examples of live concerts and other events actually taking place in real venues while requiring people to maintain a distance of six feet (about 1.8 meters), measuring body temperature upon entry, asking people to wear masks, etc. However large the distance may be, efforts are getting underway to take ideas about the nature of places where people connect to each other and to put those ideas into practice in different ways. The good news we have covered here describe approaches that at present are in the process of gaining acceptance. Even if we do not hit upon the solution soon, as we continue taking on the challenge in ways such as these, we will surely find new solutions.