Gully Boys lead singer Kathy Callahan by Bryan Jones

10 Ways to Support Local Music While Practicing Social Distancing

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, leaving only physical, social and financial strife in its wake, it is crucial for communities to rally together in support of local musicians and artists.

Concerts, festivals, and shows are being canceled left and right. The light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel seems hardly visible to most in the scene. For many local musicians and bands, playing shows is their only form of revenue. Some may not know when their next paycheck is coming, especially those who supplement their income in the foodservice industry.

So while we’re all experiencing difficult and completely unprecedented times, here are 10 tips to support local musicians and other artists that won’t break the bank:

First, Buy Their Music

I know we’re all tempted to open up our favorite streaming app and shuffle our usual playlist. But many artists don’t receive meaningful compensation from streams. Buy a hard copy CD or digital download from the artist, so that you know you are directly supporting them and their hard work.

Second, Stream Their Music

If buying an album outright is out of your budget, streaming is never a bad thing. Get those play counts up for your favorite local acts so that they might make it into Discover Weekly playlists or a recommendation list!

The Twins of Franklin – Photo by Smouse

Buy Merch

If you have any cash to spare or haven’t had your income effected by this pandemic, now is a great time to stock up on your favorite local band’s merch. Many artists use money out of their own pockets to bring their fans unique and versatile merchandise. Check out some band websites and see what you find!

Watch Their Live Streams

Many artists, from big names to locals alike, are choosing to promote live streams from Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming platforms to bring you an intimate, at-home concert experience. Peruse local music groups or check out your favorite band’s social media to see if they’re doing something similar, or check out this comprehensive list NPR put together.

The Broken Beaks at Icehouse Minnepolis 2.18 e1519209863107
The Broken Beaks at Icehouse Minneapolis

Watch Their Music Videos

It may seem like the music video has become an outdated medium, but I promise you, that is just not true. Hop on YouTube and search your favorite songs to see if they have videos to go along. High view counts can also propel an artist’s page to the forefront of YouTube’s recommended playlists.

Smash That Like Button

Many people have been affected by COVID-19 around the world, so if you’re balling on a budget for the time being, remember that likes, retweets, reposts, and comments are all FREE!

We all miss chronological order on our feeds, but social media platforms are smart now. They show you the most popular things first. So engagement matters – especially for smaller artists, musicians, and businesses.

So get on your socials to like and comment away! Four words or more and some emojis will have the Instagram algorithm jumping for joy.

Betty Who with Crowd
Betty Who

Donate to Artist Relief Funds

Many charitable organizations and everyday citizens have created localized artist relief funds to offset the loss of income many musicians are facing. Springboard for the Arts has organized a fundraiser to provide help to any artists who have been affected by show cancellations during this time.

Donate Directly to the Artist

Now that we’re all confined to our own homes and with restaurants and many businesses closed, there might be an extra $30 lying around at the end of the week that would’ve went to gas or other goodies. Consider reaching out to your musician friends to see if they need any necessities, supplies, or just a little cash influx to ease their stresses. $20 and a roll of toilet paper can go a long way for a struggling musician.

Make Fan Art

Let’s face it, you’re bored as hell stuck inside all day. Why not break out the old colored pencil box and create a piece of fan art inspired by your favorite local band? Post it to your social media and encourage your friends and followers to check out the artist!

Don’t Ask for Refunds

Of course, everyone is bummed out that shows and tours have been canceled. However, no one is quite as bummed as the artist who just had their income completely stripped from them because of something completely out of their control.

Losing out on $15 is never fun, but if you don’t need it, don’t ask for it back. Those ticket sales might be the last bit of income these artists see for a few weeks. Hold on to your ticket and keep your eyes out for postponement dates, otherwise, honestly – suck it up!

Nur-D GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Nur-D by Katie Ahrens

Remember that without music and art, we all would be having an incredibly difficult time enjoying our lives in general, but especially during this time of total lockdown. Support local musicians and artists any way you can, whether it’s with a monetary contribution or just by hyping them up on social media. We can all get through this if we work together.

Written by Julieanna Smith


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