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How to help artists affected by the pandemic

Coronavirus has impacted the public in a multitude of different ways, keeping us all indoors, separated from our friends and extended family for an indefinite period of time. Although there has been a huge, and rightful focus on the NHS and other front-line workers during this time, a sector often overlooked is the music industry

Many artists have had to postpone tours, cancel festival appearances and delay album releases due to the crisis, and many more will be forced to follow suit as the situation worsens. The outbreak has caused UK musicians to lose £13.9 million in earnings so far, which is especially damaging for smaller, less established artists with already precarious incomes.

Thanks to the rise in streaming – often controlled by services which take a large chunk of royalties – touring revenue now makes up most of a musicians’ main source of income. Now, with the current lockdown and the likely extension on the ban of mass gatherings, they won’t even get that.

A simple thing to do is to get online and buy some merchandise. It’s a direct, quick way of putting a decent amount of money in musicians’ pockets

In such a bleak and uncertain climate, we need positivity more than ever – even if only in small doses. Music has always been a wonderful way of bringing joy to those who need it most, as many artists have shown by hosting live streams to entertain self-isolating fans. For all it gives us, it would be remiss not to thank the people making it, no matter how small. What better way to do that by helping out our favourite artists in these critical times?

A simple thing to do is to get online and buy some merchandise. It’s a quick and direct way of putting a decent amount of money in musicians’ pockets, especially if you buy it from their official merch store rather than a big corporation like Amazon, who often take a sizeable chunk of the profits. Likewise, the delivery of a fresh new band shirt will give you something to look forward to when the monotony of lockdown requires a fashion fix-up – and you’ll have a lot more going-out clothes for when the quarantine is finally over. 

Buy some new additions to your iTunes library or cheer yourself up about Record Store Day’s postponement and get yourself that coveted vinyl

In addition, try and take a break from your usual streaming service – like Spotify, who are currently matching donations made to select music charities – and buy some music. Stock up your iTunes library or cheer yourself up about Record Store Day’s postponement and get yourself that coveted vinyl.

Have a look at Bandcamp for an alternative way of downloading music. This is even more beneficial to artists right now: the music platform waived its commission fees a few weeks ago so artists make more money in their time of need. Although the wavering only lasted a day, it’s worth sticking by a company that proves its support for smaller artists. Other bands have also used the platform to upload music on a pay-as-you-want basis, allowing you to be as generous as your bank account allows. 

If you have been unfortunate enough to have a gig you were planning to go to postponed, hang on to your ticket and give yourself something else to look forward to – lots of musicians are carrying over the passes to rescheduled, autumn/winter dates, allowing you to still go to the concert if the event goes ahead. 

The forced shutdown of all live music venues, as well as prior cancellations, has placed many in major financial jeopardy

Speaking of live shows, if you have some spare cash, see what financial support you could give to your local venue. The forced shutdown of all live music venues, as well as prior cancellations, has placed many in major financial jeopardy – which will only worsen with the predicted recession.

The same can be said for the staff who work at these venues, too: many have been laid off or are now at risk of redundancy.  Look out for any GoFundMe pages and give what you can – the amount of the concert or festival ticket you were refunded could be a good place to start. 

As a final suggestion, help the situation by staying at home and listening to updated government instructions. Now is not the time to be stubborn or selfish. The more you cooperate, the sooner this will be over. To end this on a lighthearted note, take the advice of Sex Education’s Eric Effiong: “Wash your hands, you detty pig!” 

 

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