Small live music venues have the same future they have had for the last several decades—very limited and circumscribed. Since stricter drinking and driving laws, and with so many options for home entertainment (cable TV, internet), live entertainment, be it music or theatre, has suffered. The current plague adds yet another obstacle.
In the future live entertainment will continue to be an ever smaller part of the overall entertainment “industry,” but it will never completely die. It will go through periodic “revivals,” like some forms of music do.
In “Burning Chrome,” by William Gibson, the author describes such a scenario in a short story. A “throwback” live rock band plays in a small club as an obscure opening act. Unusual because they play their own instruments—rare in the future world the author describes.
I can imagine a not so distant future where most live music is performed in homes and private residences or compounds, with audience by invitation only. Clubs that do survive will have someone at the door checking the attendee’s temperatures, as they are already doing in China. Perhaps an I.D. card or chip implant that can be scanned before entry will be required for entry—another “workaround.”
Humans, after all, are quite clever, if not always wise…