It’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of the news right now, and you don’t need me to tell you that it’s a stressful time for everyone. An unfortunate fact is that the music industry has taken a financial hit that no one could have predict amid gig cancellations and festival uncertainty. But it’s not all negative – the time has come to support the local and wider music industry in anyway we can. Here’s a lit of small gestures we can all make to show our solidarity with smaller artists and local venues as they cope with current insecurity – don’t worry if money is tight, there are still plenty of ways to show your support!
This is pretty much a given. In an industry dominated by streaming services, it’s becoming more and more difficult for smaller artists to make money from music alone (though not impossible: see #4). By actually buying physical CDs, vinyls or digital downloads directly from the artist, they can earn more music from their music instead of relying on streaming alone. This can generally be done from the artists’ website or from sites like Bandcamp.
And don’t forget about Merch
Buying merchandise is one of the best ways to support musicians who are feeling the financial loss right now. Not only is it a significant part of their income, you are also supporting the artists and designers behind the products. Again, this can be done straight from musicians’ websites, or specific online stores. Freelance artists are also having a tough time, so if you follow the work of any of your fave merch designers, now is the time to support them. And of course, a great bonus is that you get to rep your favourite band on a T-shirt/mug/Christmas tree ornament. What’s not to love?
Support Local Venues
Small, independent music venues struggle at the best of times, and with more and more shows and events being cancelled, they’re among the first to feel the stress right now. If you can, go to rescheduled concerts, buy tickets for future events, or consider donating your refund to the venue itself if you’re in the position to do so. Many venues sell their own merch or give you the chance to donate when you but tickets. Local treasure The Joiners is a great example of this.
*UPDATE* The Joiners have started a GoFundMe for support during this difficult time. Donate here
Stream and Share Music
Like I said, you don’t have to shell out a load of money at an already uncertain time to support the cause. Streaming music is still a help to smaller musicians in particular and sharing it to bring in a bigger audience is definitely effective. Some music lovers are even suggesting that you leave your device streaming an artist all night (on a low volume/headphone, some sources say it doesn’t work on silent) to boost streams. This is definitely the easiest way to help – at the end of the day, we all love listening to music.
Donate directly to artists
In some cases, artists have direct links you can donate to or Patreons that their fans can support. Direct donations are an efficient and often more flexible way to support musicians. Amanda Palmer, a big advocate for this kind of crowdfunding, has been retweeting artists who have lost income from cancellations, if you want to find some independent artists who need a little help.