ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Katie Talbert is used to booking 80 gigs per month for all of her musician clients, but coronavirus has halted all of that. Local concert hot spots have all closed. Instead of surrendering, Talbert decided to try something unconventional out of her home.

“Music is always an emotive, communicative thing,” she said over the phone. “People are turning to comfort.”

She started hosting a concert series online. She began by streaming a one-hour playing session on Thursday and will continue to host more with as many musicians as she can find, who are willing to entertain digitally. Talbert filled 10 spots within an hour of pitching her idea to friends and spent $1,300 on equipment just to make it happen on short notice.

Talbert’s idea is more than just about exposure and combating boredom. It’s about putting lost wages in the pockets of local musicians. Ken Apperson was the first musician to live stream with his guitar on Thursday. While performing, donations began coming through to his “ Digital tip jar“.

“Look at you guys, man. You guys are awesome,” he said on the stream during a short break. “We’ve got $50! Thank you so much. I’m kind of misty. That gets me. It feels good.”

A Facebook post from the DTSP: SAVED BY STREAMING page put it this way:

“There are some artists who literally don’t have the time to waste. They have bills they can’t pay like right now. Like today. They have children they can’t support or feed who are also out of school. The list goes on. And the scariest part, especially for us musicians, is that there really is no clear end in sight and even 30 days of no income could literally destroy so many incredibly talented and beautiful people’s lives and we already know that’s happening by guarantee as it is.”

For artists losing out on playing opportunities in a time of social distancing and quarantine, every bit helps. Talbert plans to get as many high-profile local artists on her stream as possible. Her first show included Chris Francisco, Keith James, and Apperson.

Future performances include Scott Perez, Betty Fox, Frankie Raye, Brittany Baldwin, Seth Campbell and Noel Rochford. You can watch all of the streams on the DTSP: Saved By Streaming Facebook page.

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