The global music industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus. It has obviously put a halt to many small and large scale gatherings, meaning concert and gigs are completely off the table for many bands who predominantly use the live medium as a means of income to support and fund their artistic endeavors.
Although we have the commercialized sector of the music industry struggling through these difficult times, in reality it is the local musicians and venues who grind week to week who are truly being hit the hardest in this situation.
Many bands have had to cancel tours which they’ve spent months pouring time, money, and effort into logistically working out. Some are facing devastating losses.
On the bright side, there are many ways in which you can support your favorite local artists and venues to ensure they can not only get the ball rolling again once all these lockdowns have been lifted, but also that there is a community behind these musicians that wants to see them succeed through all of this.
The pinnacle of proudly displaying your love of an artist is still just as relevant as it was back in your parents day when they were buying T-shirts at the merch table perched awkwardly near the end of the local dive-bar. The only difference being that you won’t be coaxed into buying another beverage with your leftover change. Merch is thankfully pretty readily available online (crazy right?) so you can avoid the temptations of blowing all your cash in one night. Purchase a few tidbits from your favorite local indie group via their online store and you’ll not only get some sick threads, but also the satisfaction of knowing that more likely than not the band is receiving close to 100% of the profit from your purchases, cutting out that middle man who takes a cut for doing absolutely nothing.
It was a massive bummer to see the ever climbing list of postponements and cancellations of all those gigs we were so desperately looking forward to attending. It was a kick in the teeth more so when many of those same artists poured their hearts out about how they were caught off guard and felt it was only right to refund all ticket sales due to these unforeseen circumstances.
Consequently, many fans of bands from around the world are opting to do one of two things: they’re not refunding their tickets in solidarity for the artists and awaiting a new date for the event to take place, or people (who are financially in a position to do so) are holding onto to their purchases regardless of whether there is a replacement concert/gig.
Buying old vinyls or CDs of your band’s favorite record is a great way to support them at any time. Even in 2019, when these formats were recognized as ancient relics of a simpler time when N-sync was dominating the charts and Tamagotchi’s were being left in drawers by the millions, many bands were/are still producing these physical gems. It would be a disservice to say there is nothing more satisfying than owning a physical copy of an album. Without getting too sentimental, sometimes the greatest thing about possessing musical outpourings of your favorite artists isn’t always just the music, but the love and care that goes into everything including the album art and presentation. So get out there (via your computer) and buy some albums.
Without audiences, many of our much loved live music venues will likely be unable to pay their bills and will have to shut down. Look out for initiatives and fundraisers from your local music venues and see if there is anything you can do to help these struggling businesses, but always make sure that you are within your own means to do so. Also be aware this is not an advertisement to go straight back into the thick of it and put yourself at risk. When the dust settles and it’s safe again a lot of these business owners will be looking forward to hosting musicians and punters once again, so show your support where possible, because these individuals are imperative to ensuring our artists have a platform.
Share, Stream & Celebrate
Sometimes the best things in life are free and this can also be the case (in the event that you’re low on funds) in showing support to local musicians. Each of us have a platform and a massive one at that. In this quarantine so many people are turning to social media to break the monotony of going down Youtube rabbit holes or playing mobile games. This creates a perfect and willing listening audience, so why not use it? Start sharing your friend’s acoustic folk EPs or post about your cousin who does minimalist Dubstep! Right now, besides buying their music via Bandcamp or physical copies, exposure may be your best avenue to show your support. Ensure that you’re streaming music through a variety of services to increase those listener stats and don’t forget to playlist them so they have a wider reach. Finally just take the time to write a simple message about how someone’s music is helping you through this period.