Musicians around the world have been greatly impacted by the cancellations of tours and festivals during the ongoing global pandemic. In the modern era, entertainers rely heavily on ticket sales for their main source of income, and their livelihoods are now under threat. So what can be done to support artists and those who work in the live music industry?
Resources for Musicians
The organisation behind the Grammy Awards put up a page on their website called MusiCares, which not only offers financial grants for artists affected by the pandemic, such as rent or mortgage assistance, but also provides assistance with medical issues and mental wellness. You can apply directly on the website for assistance, as long as you include relevant proof of your identity and situation. For those looking to help musicians, you can donate to the cause on the webpage, as well. Many of the large streaming services have pledged to donate to this fund.
2.) Apple and Ableton
For those who have not been able to afford Digital Audio Workstations in the past for creating their own music, Apple is offering a ninety-day trial period of free access to Logic Pro and Final Cut to inspire creation during quarantine. The same goes for Ableton, who are offering a similar free trial of their Ableton Live 10 Suite software package, enduringly popular with producers of electronic music.
If you weren’t a member of Bandcamp before, now is the time to join. The company recently announced that they would waive their revenue share of any sales made on certain days throughout the duration of the pandemic to enable artists to boost their earnings and attempt to compensate for the income lost by postponement and cancellation of live performances.
4.) American Federation of Musicians
Whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic or not, the AFM is something every musician should know about. They represent the rights of American musicians on a national scale. On their homepage, they have added links to resources for musicians during the coronavirus, stating that they “understand the disastrous financial impact this will have on many musicians and other working people. AFM is calling for immediate action to provide economic relief including expanding unemployment benefits and an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs.”
5.) Research Temp Music Jobs
The music industry is full of diversity besides performance. With live venues being shut down, consider some temporary remote jobs during the crisis to make some side cash, like producing, mixing, marketing, web design, publicity, or even virtual lessons to stay safe in your home and keep your professional progress constant. If you’re working for hire for a music-related project, be open to negotiation, as all musicians are struggling financially during this time.
Options for Musicians to Stay Involved
Livestreaming is a wonderful way to reach your audience immediately during social distancing. Don’t try out a new paid streaming platform yet, since most of your fanbase won’t be on that platform at this time. Instead, opt for tagging your PayPal, Venmo or Patreon to give your audience the opportunity to donate while streaming on Facebook, Instagram, etc. This is a convenient way to “perform” while not having the pressure of high production costs; entertainers will do this from their phone, in their house, casually. Due to the informal nature of livestreaming, it can be a more engaging experience, where you can address the questions or requests appearing in your comments, tell stories, and acknowledge the presence of your viewers, making a direct connection.
2.) Prepare Your Next Project
Although creative energy during isolation is sometimes difficult to muster, the spare time gives you an opportunity to focus on your next single, album, promotion, video, etc. Even if you don’t have the means to fund your next big project yet, you can get ahead on planning and preparation. If you’re able to produce and release music from your home, this is an ideal chance to provide your fans with some new material while live performances aren’t an option.
3.) Hone Your Talents
Nobody necessarily wants to hear this, but you know that skill that could boost your career that you’ve been putting off because you “didn’t have the time?” Now you do. Whether that’s learning how to track your own vocals, getting more comfortable in a DAW, learning the basics of another instrument or even just brushing up on your music theory, now’s the time – and if you don’t have the motivation to teach yourself, you can enroll in an online course or watch YouTube tutorials, just to point you in the right direction.
4.) Create a TikTok Challenge
TikTok isn’t for everyone, but for those so inclined, one way to keep up engagement with your songs is to create a dance challenge. These viral crazes are a fun way for your fans to interact with your music while simultaneously promoting your song. Think of how successful all the fad dances have been throughout the years: your music could find the same level of popularity if you add some entertaining choreography to go along with it.
How to Support Artists
1.) Share Their Music
Every musician and producer relies on promotion to get the word out about their music, and this is especially important for smaller and less established artists. If you share your favourite artists’ music on social media and help them reach a new audience, it can make all the difference. An even easier way to spread the word is to add their music to public playlists on your streaming platforms.
2.) Buy Merch
Merchandise is a great way to advertise the music you love, and to put money directly in the hands of the artists who made it. A band’s t-shirt is often cheaper than gig tickets, but will last you more than an evening. Whether it’s a sweatshirt, a physical copy of their album, or even stickers, buying your favourite artist’s merchandise is a great way to support them financially during this time.
3.) Watch Livestreams
Although each stream doesn’t count for much individually, artists are paid every time you listen. Engaging with artists on their livestreams will make them feel heard. Remaining involved with their music can make all the difference to an artist’s motivation.
4.) Cameo and Patreon
Both of these websites pay artists for exclusive services. Using Cameo, you can pay a celebrity that’s a member of the site to send you a personal video message, while a Patreon membership gives you insider access to behind-the-scenes content, interactive Q&A’s and more benefits that not every fan will be able to experience.
5.) Keep Your 2020 Concert Tickets
Artists around the world are postponing and rescheduling tours for once the pandemic becomes less of a threat. Keeping any tickets for when a concert does eventually happen, rather than requesting a refund, will help make up for money lost from the initial cancellation. If the future event conflicts with your schedule, give or sell the ticket to a friend.