UPDATE (March 26): Scroll down for he latest covid-19 unemployment relief and financial rebates for gig workers; as well as updated links / sources to financial aid relief and grants for those in the music industry. You can also visit this dedicated post about financial relief for gig workers and how to receive your $1200-$2400 rebate.
While every musician and band is hurting financially from the novel coronavirus pandemic, nobody’s wallet is hurting more than independent bands. I’m talking about the bands that aren’t signed to a major label; the lesser-known acts that don’t grace popular radio — the artists who’s livelihood depends on small-club venues, coveted tour support slots and even those early afternoon set times at music festivals. It’s all gone.
LIVE MUSIC IS CANCELED.
Live music as we know it has been canceled until further notice; thanks to that nasty covid-19. Our music community, especially here in Los Angeles where Grimy Goods and many of our favorite bands call home, is feeling the burn, and I’m not talking about the good ‘Bern.’
While all of us are feeling the pain in this social-distancing quarantine, there are ways you can still support independent music and the artists that create it. If you’re in a place to show your favorite band some monetary support, there’s a variety of ways you can do that. If you’re holding onto your pennies, I don’t blame you, it’s a tough time and our future is unknown; but you can still support your favorite bands in a non-monetary way.
Below are 10 ways you can support independent bands and artists during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Buy Their Music
One of the easiest ways to support an independent band and / or artist, is through purchasing their music. Whenever possible, purchase the artist’s music directly through them either via their own website or just a good ole DIY Instagram DM and Venmo. Streaming platforms that offer purchases, and Amazon, tend to take a bigger cut of their sales.
Pro Tip: Bandcamp is a great way to support artists. As we mentioned yesterday on our socials, Bandcamp gave 100% of sales to the artists.
2. Get Some Band Merch
Already got their CDs, digital downloads, vinyl and / or cassette tapes? Why don’t you go purchase a T-shirt from your favorite band! A lot of acts these days have some really cool band merch. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down is a prime example of creative band merch. Other artists with some cool merch: Georgi Kay, SOKO, Hazel English, Yumi Zouma, and more.
With so many cash apps, you can donate directly to a band. If there’s an independent artist you really love, just shoot them a DM or email and let them know you want to donate to their music creations. You can also donate via Bandcamp and /or their Patreon (if they have those). There’s also no shortage of GoFundMe ‘s going around.
4. Watch Their Live Streams
In the coming weeks, we’re going to see more and more artist live streams. With that said, a lot more of these live streams are going to be monetized. Bands are starting to share ways you can donate to them directly. Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard started livestreaming daily concerts from his home studio every afternoon. Each day he has asked for donations to support a different charity. Texas-based Luck Reunion probably had the most sophisticated live stream. It was truly lovely, digital tip-jar and all. Check it out.
So bands, if you’re reading this, set up your own digital-tip jar (aka Venmo) during all your live streams.
5. Support Their Social Media Posts (Especially Partnerships)
If you’re one of those people that trolls social media posts but never engages, just stop that shit now and show some goddamn support for the bands (and people) you’re so interested in. I speak first-hand on this because I see how many people Grimy Goods’ instagram reaches, yet the likes and comments are average. The music industry is full of too-cools. It’s a lot better today with awareness for community and inclusivity, but 10 year ago it was a different story. Bands can really use your support right now, so put your sunglasses-at-night down. Give them a like, share their post, save their post, leave a damn emoji and / or comment. Just show that you dig them! This is especially important when an artist has collaborated with a major brand such as Dr. Marten’s, Gucci, Ray-Ban, etc. Your engagement helps them get paid!
6. License Their Music
This here blog has helped so many bands get their music licensed in shows, films, etc. People that read blogs are also the same people that place music in the soundtrack of your favorite shows and feature films. If you’re one of those people, I urge you to license music from an independent band that really took a hit during the coronavirus. If you’re a content creator / creative agency, or have access to those people — score you next video with independent music.
7. Book Them For a Future Gig
Everyone’s wallet is bleeding right now. Independent venues are hurting (scroll down for a list of GoFundMes); even the corporate venues are feeling the bleed, but they will recover. Major venues and record labels should make a conscious effort to book local opening acts in addition to their tour support. Sure, there’s already tour support laid out for major acts, but why not add 1 more opening act to that bill and make it a band local to that city.
And if you got funds, book your favorite independent act for a private party and or your own show at one of your favorite venues. Trust, this happens more than you think.
8. Support Their Side Projects
A lot of musicians are also creatives in other fields. Some make paintings, some shoot photography, some make soap, some model (hire them for a shoot). If you’re scanning Instagram (which we all are lately during this cabin fever), you’ll notice more and more artists revealing their hobbies and side projects. Go buy their damn soap!
9. Post About Independent Bands On Your Socials
Word of mouth is king. I urge you to tell 5 friends / family members about an independent artist / band you love. Share their Spotify link! Send their Instagram post! Post a blog post about them on Facebook! Shoot a text message to your mom right before she goes into her virtual game of bunko with Patty and Selma … Just spread the word! You might just get them a new fan, and that new fan might buy their music, merch or even book them for a bigger project. Word of mouth is so powerful (trust, I know this first-hand because of this here site I created almost 12 years ago, and now this). Your positive word of mouth can pass into the ears of somebody who can place your favorite band’s music in front of a larger audience with full compensation.
10. Send a Note of Encouragement
Being kind doesn’t cost you a dime. If there’s any better time to get your favorite artists’ attention, it’s now. They’re online and listening. I think we all are. DM them a sweet note of how you first got turned on to them and why you love them. This may not be monetary compensation, but it can definitely lift their spirits. And that is something we all need right now.
Got some insight on how to help the independent music community during the coronavirus pandemic? Leave a comment or join the conversation via our Instagram posts and Stories.
Be healthy, be mindful and be compassionate.
Words: Sandra B. Olinger
Additional Ways You Can Help Support Independent Bands and the Music Community
- NIVA -National Independent Venue Association
Crew Nation by Live Nation
- Donate to Sweet Relief
- Donate to Patreon Artist Grant (Bands, you can apply for the grant here)
- Search “music” on GoFundMe and spin the proverbial wheel
Los Angeles-specific GoFundMe Donations:
- The Satellite
- The Hi Hat
- Bootleg Theater
- Teragram Ballroom & Moroccan Lounge
- 1720 – Selling dope “friends & family” shirts. All proceeds go to employees.
- The Airliner
Covid-19 Relief for Gig Workers and Small Business
UPDATE: The senate just passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, and this include financial aid for gig-workers! This means you; musicians, free-lance writers, lighting crew, camera crew, sound crew, tour crew, etc.! Find out how to get your money here!
State of CA Covid-19 Relief / Aid
Several more covid-19 relief options can be found here.