With the return of live concerts, and tour announcements being made daily, it’s easy to feel like we’re on the other side of this pandemic. After all, if we’re packing the halls of our concerts then it can start to feel like everything really is back to normal.
But of course, that isn’t true. We still have surging viral variants to contend with, and a year and a half’s worth of a tanked musical economy that so many musicians have been struggling with in order to stay financially afloat (let alone the anxiety and mental health toll this has taken on our music community). Suffice to say, we’re not quite out of the woods yet, and as a community we still very much need the support of one another.
And so, it’s time to come together once more. Just as we did at the beginning of this pandemic, and just as we always do when the going gets tough. We must come together to lift the music industry back on its feet, supporting the musicians that have for so long supported us with their words and melodies.
There are many ways to do this, including the obvious ones like buying or streaming the music of your favorite indie bands, buying their merch, and telling your friends all about them. But if you’ve already checked all of those boxes and are still craving more, try out some of these creative secondary ideas for support.
1. Use your skills to give back.
Most of us have skills that we take for granted — what skill might you have that could help someone else?
For instance, we’ve heard of companies giving back with free strategy sessions to artists (a manager might give a 20-minute consultation on next steps the artist can take to reach their goals). As a fellow musician, you might think of something that’s worked well for you (social media, touring, an engaged audience at a show, stringing your guitar) and you could offer free Zoom workshops or coffee chats to help others.
Think about the things that come easily to you — or some of the assets you have in your position — would someone else benefit from that knowledge?
+ Read more on Flypaper: “Pandemic Song Book: Artists Who Capture Covid Perfectly in Song.”
2. Respond to their Instagram stories and leave comments.
We all know the frustrations of battling the Instagram algorithm. One small way you can give back that actually makes a huge difference to artists is by simply responding to their stories, commenting on their posts, and letting them know you’re watching and that you appreciate them.
Not only does it help them strategically by giving Instagram a reason to boost their post (we know that IG loves engagement on a post and will always push it to more people, the more engagement a post receives), but it shows them that you notice what they’re doing and that it’s having a positive impact on you. Sometimes just showing that appreciation is enough to start a snowball effect.
3. Put together a benefit show (online or IRL)
Virtual or live, hosting a benefit show can be a really fun way to bring together your community while giving back to the artists. Not only would all proceeds go to the artists performing, but you could also hold a raffle (with local businesses sponsoring prizes) to bring in more money that can then be divided among the artists. In this way, you’re building community while simultaneously helping artists thrive (just do it safely, please).
4. Host a listening party.
Why not take matters into your own hands and host a listening party with some of your favorite bands?! You can even make it a monthly thing and invite any other musicians or industry professionals you know to get together and celebrate a couple indie artists per month while talking shop.
Think of it like a book club for listening to albums; fire up the hi-fi, toss on a full album and sit around with some nice drinks and even nicer friends. You can take donations for the artist or simply commit to posting a ton of social media content about it to draw some attention back to the band. Who knows, your friend and artist network could end up making valuable connections!
5. Tip Jar on Bandcamp, or subscribe on Patreon.
I know we’re all struggling so take this one with a grain of salt, but Bandcamp (via Twitter) and Patreon both have great ways to help support artists even if you own all their albums already or just want to lend some extra support.
A lot of people forget these options exist, but they are two great ways to show your appreciation to the artists you love. And if for some reason your favorite artist doesn’t have either option available, ask how you can help — maybe it’s a Paypal fund that buys the band a round of drinks or contributes to their tour fund.
6. Ask how you can help.
Sometimes it really is best to just ask. If none of the above options are possible, go ahead and reach out to your favorite local bands and artists and ask what would be the most helpful to them. Maybe it’s not buying a record at all, maybe it’s something you haven’t even thought of yet, or something they haven’t even announced yet, like a crowdfunding campaign.
By simply asking you can make their day, while making a difference.
And in the spirit of sharing, we’d love to invite you to share a little about yourself or your favorite indie band in the comments and let us know how we can best support you. We need to stick together, and it all starts with asking for help.
Don’t stop here!
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