HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS DURING COVID-19
If you live in England, like me, then you’ll know that at the beginning of this month we went into another lockdown (in theory, the reality is the only places that are closed are pubs and small businesses).
Ever since March, it’s like the music world has had to come to a complete halt. With music and arts venues not being able to open and even pubs and bars having to close for long periods of time too, it’s a very difficult time to be an up-and-coming music artist.
Smaller artists rely on gigs in pubs or events at larger music venues or festivals to really kickstart their career, spread the word about their music, and most importantly (although we all wish it wasn’t) make money.
It’s more important than ever to be supporting local music, just like we should also be supporting local independent businesses. Whilst everyone’s favourite big music stars are using this time to really chill out and write, smaller artists will be spending it worrying about the future of their career.
So, I’ve laid out a few important things we can all do to support our local music artists.
Buy and listen to their music
I know this sounds a bit blatantly obvious, but it really is one of the most important things you can do.
If you are in a place where you’re able to buy music, whether it be a digital version of the album or a CD/vinyl straight from the artist - then that is the single best way to help musicians out right now. They get the proceeds from the purchase, and they see that people are interested. It's really great way to support your favourite local musician or band.
Streams on music listening platforms and views on YouTube admittedly don’t exactly provide musicians with a whole lot of cash, but it does show that people are still interested in what they’re doing and rooting for them to come out of the other side of this virus.
There’s a few small bands or artists that I’ve seen really struggling mentally, not just economically, with the fact they can’t perform right now and because the future is so uncertain.
Without seeing people live in the flesh, it’s difficult for musicians to see whos really out there being invested in what they’re doing.
So, make sure to keep on listening to your favourite small artists, if not for any other reason, then to give them a little bit of comfort that there’s still people out there enjoying what they put out.
Buy their merchandise
Unfortunately, money does make the world go round. We all hate to admit it, but it’s true. And being a musician isn’t exactly cheap.
Without the money coming in from live music ticket sales or payments for gigs and no merchandise to sell at these gigs, small musicians will struggle. So, if you have the means to, buying merchandise from local artists online is a great way to try and keep the funding coming in so they can create more of the music you love.
A t-shirt really does go a long way in times like these.
I want to put a little disclaimer here to say that if you’re not in a place where you can buy merchandise, then that’s fine! There are plenty of other ways to support local artists for free.
Watch their livestreams
A lot of artists now have taken to livestreaming performances, either for free or for a small fee, in replacement of doing real-life gigs.
Sure you can moan, and say it’s not the same and doesn’t have the atmosphere, but the reality is: this is what we’ve got to work with right now.
So, if you see your local music artists doing any kind of livestream then make sure to participate if you can, and also share with your friends.
Just like buying and listening to their music, it may help out the artists financially, but more than anything, it will help to show that people are still there and supporting them during these difficult times.
Support your local music venues
You want to help guarantee that once COVID-19 is open, your favourite local music artists will actually have somewhere to play.
Arts and music venues have probably been hit the hardest out of another other industry, and every other industry has been hit pretty hard too. There’s been very limited funding available from the Government, and a lot of venues haven’t been able to open at all since the beginning of this year, and many local to me are considering staying closed til next year and already cancelling events scheduled for the beginning of 2021.
A lot of venues will be reaching out to local people for support, so make sure you respond to this if you can.
Donate what you can to crowdfunding campaigns and/or share petitions and awareness of the fact that venues are struggling on social media.
We’ve seen this year that social media is a powerful tool for spreading awareness, and sometimes influencing Government decisions, so sharing your local venue's plea for support on social media can make one hell of a difference.
So, there it is: my top tips for support local and small music artists during some unprecedented times.
We really would be nowhere without our music, and all your favourite artists started small once, so we need to make sure we all do what we can to keep the local music scenes alive.