COVID-19 is infecting people’s health and their wealth.
That might not be too big of a scare for the 1%, especially with the $1.5 trillion the government has pumped into Wall Street. But for us normal working-class folk and artists, we might just end up living on the streets once the virus passes through.
Musicians who put all their work and money into touring have had to cancel gigs and don’t get that money back. Small venues, new and old, which give these working bands a home have also had to close their doors with no financial security. It’s starting to feel like the coronavirus is more likely to kill the music scene than the people in it.
So it’s our duty as fans to help out as much as we can to save our beloved music scenes. Whether that’s in NYC or middle-of-no-where Mississippi, there is still a way to keep the scene from going broke.
Streaming music on Spotify is an easy way to toss your favorite band a few extra bucks. They don’t make a lot from Spotify, as the company only pays whoever holds the rights to the song anywhere from $0.006 to $0.0084 per play. But if you hit your mute button and play their album on repeat every night, that’s still a little something that can help them out.
Another obvious way to help is to buy their merch. Selling merch is where a lot of bands make most of their money, so buy their shirts, vinyl, pins, whatever. And if you can, leave them a little tip as well. You can also just straight-up Venmo your favorite band a donation to keep them afloat. If they haven’t already provided a Venmo account for fans to reach out and help, I’m sure no one would be opposed if you reached out via Twitter, Instagram/Facebook DM, or email about it.
Many venues also have their own merch, as well as Venmo accounts you can donate to. Plus you can usually purchase tickets months in advance for shows. Buying advance tickets could be vital to small venues currently taking a huge hit in profits due to the outbreak. Who knows, maybe that ticket you buy for that show in September is the one that helps them make their rent this month?
Also, in light of self-quarantining, live shows had to adapt. It’s irresponsible right now, for obvious reasons, to attend a live event where sweaty bodies are bouncing off each other and beer is being spat into the crowd. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see a live show. Musicians are throwing “virtual” events on their social media outlets like Instagram or Facebook live and providing a Venmo account for you to donate in lieu of purchasing tickets.
As of now, it seems like the government has no plan to provide financial help to lower and middle-class citizens. But there are still people in politics fighting for us. In NYC, there’s the Nightlife Office. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org they are prepared to advocate for any musician or artist who was put out of a gig when the city starts working on a relief plan for uninsured/independent workers.
New ideas on how to keep our creative scenes alive during quarantine are still popping up. It’s refreshing to see a community wholeheartedly come together during a crisis. If you have any idea, don’t be afraid to initiate it. And posting about and giving exposure to your favorite bands and artists is always helpful.
If you are an artist or freelancer of any sort, here is a helpful link that provides you with an aggregated list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.
Also, you should already constantly be doing this, but don’t forget to wash your hands!