A guide to supporting musicians during the pandemic

Monty Daniel

While many people around the world are struggling make ends meet due to the current pandemic, musicians have had an especially tough time. With social distancing measures in place, musicians have been forced to cancel all upcoming shows, which puts many at a great financial loss. 

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, most musicians were already struggling to make ends meet by just creating music alone. Streaming doesn’t pay the bills, which is why many artists rely on funds from live shows and merchandise sales. 

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Many are outraged and scared, including musician Evan Greer, who started a petition urging Spotify to “immediately triple the (incredibly low) amount they pay artists per stream” in order to help artists make a livable wage.  

While sometimes it may seem like it’s all doom and gloom for these artists, there are still ways to help:

Buy their music and merchandise

This is one of the most simple, straightforward approaches. Many artists have their music and merchandise available for purchase through their website or via Bandcamp. One interesting feature of purchasing through Bandcamp is that you can name your own price. This means that, if you have the funds available, you can turn that $15 shirt purchase into a $30 purchase and support the artist even more. 

Donate

While many musicians are struggling to survive, a few organizations have stepped forward to help them. The Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund has dedicated a great portion of their efforts toward helping those affected by COVID-19.

On their page, it states that if “at least 50% of all income comes from working within the music community,” music industry workers may be eligible for temporary financial assistance.

MusiCares, held under the Recording Academy, which is best known for hosting the GRAMMYs, has also started a similar fund to benefit those affected by COVID-19. 

Watch their livestreams

Since the cancellation of live events, many artists have turned to livestreaming. Lars Gotrich of NPR Music is providing a list of live concert streams and how to tune into them. This article is updated every day with an extensive list of livestreams from a variety of genres.

If you don’t feel like searching through this list every day, simply turn on notifications from your favorite artists. Odds are, they will be doing a livestream soon. If you choose to tune into a livestream, let them know you are there by interacting with it. On Instagram Live, it’s as simple as leaving a comment or a heart reaction. 

Hold onto concert tickets

In order to support the venues the artists would normally perform at, you are urged to keep your concert tickets, even if the show has been canceled or postponed. Making sure that the venues still exist when this ends is vital for the musicians.

If the show ends up being rescheduled for a date you can no longer attend, instead of returning the tickets to the venue, give them to a friend or sell them online. Music venues are hurting just as much as the musicians are, and it’s up to concert-goers to keep them afloat. 

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Spread the word

The best way to get people to listen to smaller artists is to let them know about it. You can do this by simply posting about their music and sharing it with your friends. You can also follow your favorite artists on social media and repost their content, especially if it involves a new project they are working on, the release of new music or the announcement of a livestream concert.

Support local

Your favorite small local musicians need your help right now. Even if you don’t tend to listen to local music, this is the time to branch out of your comfort zone and support your community.

If you live in Northern Colorado and are lost about which musicians to listen to, KCSU FM has provided a Band and Musician Directory to help you find your new favorite Northern Colorado band. If you are a local musician, you can also submit your music for airplay to the station here

Reach out to them 

If all else fails, you can also talk to your favorite small artists and ask what you can do for them. They may suggest a mixture of the options listed above, but they will always appreciate your support. 

Monty Daniel can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @MontyDaniel_.