Australia born, raised, and based Jordanne Chant and Cody Munro from Dinosaur City Records work constantly with musicians from around the world. They knew they had to act fast when it came to helping out their musician friends and colleagues losing jobs due to COVID-19’s quarantine.
After gathering their combined resources and reaching out to all the labels they knew, Chant and Munro created Stay Inside: Songs from the Great Indoors—a subscription-based pay-what-you-can (suggested $5) compilation featuring various artists recording in quarantine. Beginning April 3, it sends a new track completely created in quarantine every day until the end of the month.
One of the first people they approached was Nick Kearton of Osborne Again Records. Kearton says he was ecstatic to be included in the project. “It feels like a really engaging way to present [each track] and gives each artist a bit of a spotlight, rather than just the compilation as a whole,” he tells BTRtoday. “I think it’s working pretty well—the charm is in the rough edges.”
Presenting tracks on a daily basis has been somewhat challenging. The project is based on Bandcamp and the site is geared towards entire compilations, so posting new singles every day has had its kinks. Kearton says, however, that the daily process came out of necessity with the number of tracks they were being sent every day. “We had to pull it together quite quickly and tracks were flowing in a bit erratically,” he says. Though there are still some bits and pieces to work on, they’ve got the production down pretty well at this point.
Chant tells BTRtoday that the name of the subscription-based compilation was inspired by a project from Osborne Again Records done two years ago called Stay Inside: A Compilation of Quality Music, which featured various artists from the label. Chant says that kept popping into his head when he and Cody were brainstorming about the project, and he had to reach out to Kearton. When Stay Inside: Songs from the Great Indoors was born, Chant felt the name served as both a “gentle reminder to stay inside,” while also acting as a “celebration of music-making and connecting musicians and fans alike worldwide.”
With live shows at a halt, most of these musicians have completely lost any sort of musical income. So this pay-what-you-can subscription-based compilation gives 100 percent of the earnings to its artists.
The industry is stacked against independent artists. If you’re anything other than a huge pop star, you’re usually only making money through the live portion of your art. Streaming has made it nearly impossible for struggling artists to garner any sort of wage from their online music. Artists who work in the underground rock, indie, punk, or garage scenes usually also have a side gig to pay the bills. Kearton is hoping that the industry can learn from this situation and fans will realize the amount of work that goes into the songs they’re streaming. “I think a lot of things are going to be changed forever as a result of this situation,” he says. “If anything positive is to come of this, I hope it’s a re-think about the way the industry is geared and we can work out a way to be more supportive of artists financially—a living wage perhaps?”
One of Chant’s favorite artists currently included in the compilation is Impatiens from Newcastle, NSW, Australia. But it’s not just local acts coming from this Aussie project. In fact, NYC’s very own Navy Gangs will be releasing a track this weekend via Stay Inside: Songs from the Great Indoors that was fully created inside frontman Matt Tillwick’s Manhattan apartment. “It’s just about me not having any money and being alone in my apartment,” Tilliwick says about the song. “[It’s] a bit bleak but that’s what’s going on right now.”
Chant says the project started with only participating labels asking their own artists to send songs for the project, but it has since grown. They even reached over 80 subscribers by the end of the project’s third day live. “If there’s strong enough demand, we’re thinking of putting out another edition in May,” he says. “Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in contributing.”
Though Stay Inside: Songs from the Great Indoors is here to help these musicians, they want to make it clear that they do not believe this is a time to pressure anyone into thinking they must be productive during these times. “If you feel in the headspace to write or to record, that’s really great,” Kearton says. “However, I think it’s okay to just accept that this is a bad time in our lives and we’re stuck in purgatory for a bit—I hope that people feel comfortable to just slip into trashbag mode and watch crap TV and eat chips.” Ultimately, the project wants to encourage artists to be creative on their own terms.
Subscribe for future tracks and listen to the past released tracks here.