Although, according to the New York Times, the artist is the second profession, only behind loggers, with the least probability of contracting the coronavirus (based on proximity to other people and the disease), the state of alarm caused by the pandemic has disastrous consequences for the artistic profession. Without going any further, all events have been cancelled at least until sometime in the summer (or later). Moreover, psychologists are already talking about “emotional contagion” and what it will cost us to get together again with 20, 50 or a thousand other people in an enclosed area to see, for example, a concert. But, uh, wait a minute. Perkele already sang it: “We must stand in the front lines for hope and victory”. From home, it is time to support those who have put words and melodies to our longings, to our victories and to our defeats. Here are 10 things you can do to support musicians during this quarantine.
Plug in to live streaming
A few days after the confinement was decreed, musicians began to propose plans. Since all events have been suspended, indefinitely (!), most new initiatives have been related to streaming, either through social networks or platforms such as Spotify or Soundcloud. A multitude of record labels, platforms and musicians have agreed to continue offering concerts. Also, there are DJs uploading sessions to Soundcloud (as is the case of the Italian Freddy K, and the Berlin platform HÖR). Another great initiative is United We Stream, which is dedicated to keeping the Berlin clubbing scene alive during this crisis. How can you help? By responding to these proposals, donating money, participating in the streams, listening to the sessions, commenting live! Although losses due to cancelled concerts are difficult to compensate, a massive audience support can mitigate the effect, even if a little.
It’s time. Create Spofity playlists. Share the posts (and Bandcamp profiles) of that band you’re crazy about that no one else (just you and your roommates) knows about. As silly as it may seem, an extra effort in the diffusion of the content created by the artists can help them at this moment (and, specially, in the postpandemic, when calendars have to be restructured) to relieve the blow a little bit. It’s a fact: every artist can use it to reach more people.
Try not to return tickets
We’re entering a sensitive topic. Although the return of tickets for cancelled events has been available for days, it would be advisable, as far as possible, not to return the tickets we buy. Note: we are talking about helping the musicians, this economic “guarantee” would be great, but of course, everything depends on your economic situation, health, etc. We mean: you are not Judas if you cancel a ticket or if the date for which a concert is rescheduled coincides with your brother’s wedding. We repeat: you are not Judas!
Listen to more music on Spofity
A few days after the confinement was established, Spotify issued a statement announcing that it’s launching a music assistance program to “raise funds for the artists. The platform, which has nearly 124 million subscribers worldwide, also announced its partnership with non-profit organisations, such as MusiCares and Help Musicians, to which it will donate funds. In addition, the company implemented a system for users to make direct donations, of up to $10 million, to artists. So, right now, listening to your favourite bands on Spotify…is doing them a favor. Click below for more info:
And, well, listen to music on all the other streaming platforms
It’s not just Spotify that’s the music lover’s life: don’t forget Tidal (one of the platforms that offers the highest percentage of profits per playback), YouTube, Pandora, Deezer, Google Play, or the classic Napster. Any help is welcome.
Buy records, for goodness’ sake!
Records! Those circular pieces of vinyl with a sticker in the middle that, wrapped in another piece of cardboard, this time square, contains about 10 or 12 songs by an artist. Remember? Well, it’s time to buy them. Buy them where? The online stores are still open! The postal and courier services operate with (almost) complete normality in many parts of the world. And, if not, wait: they will reach you when all this is over, but the help will already have been given. If you see that you can’t stand it, go for the digital version, available in most Bandcamp profiles (which also allow for cassette, CD and vinyl sales).
T-shirts, hoodies, badges, posters, tote-bags…any help is good
Yes, it is. Right now it’s all about acting, so to speak, as a patron. Any donation we make to an artist will make a world of difference to them. And we’re not talking about crowdfunding (which separates supporters and opponents in equal parts): the merchandising of the bands is another good way to contribute to the cause. And so, in the meantime, you renew that wardrobe of yours and you become the most colourful when you can go out again. It’s not silly at all.
Support campaigns to help musicians
Another way to support is to offer our encouragement by signing up to support initiatives for musicians. For example, the NTIA, a British entertainment industry association, is asking, through the campaign #TheBigFreeze, for a multitude of social aids from which musicians would undoubtedly benefit. Another example? German artists and freelancers are asking their government for help through a petition. In America, the ESP is asking the White House to increase its aid to the arts sector and to people working in the entertainment industry. It seems, once again, like nonsense, but your signature adds up!
Venue owners, promoters: it’s up to you to be flexible
It’s clear: this will pass. The pandemic curve will go down and normality will return. It will then be time to assess the damage that the coronavirus has created and, little by little, to reactivate our society. Concert promoters, venue owners and artists will have to square the circle: it will be difficult to reorganise a schedule that is often set more than half a year in advance. After solving this crisis, various groups in the south of Spain, such as promoter’s federations, will implement action plans to solve the crisis. Two ingredients that cannot be missing? Flexibility and patience. It will be for the good of all.
Councillors, mayors, presidents: Take action!
Continuing from what we said in point 8, and being fully aware of our role as responsible and critical citizens in Western democracies, we must demand that our politicians take measures to help artists. In Barcelona, for example, an aid of €1 million has already been approved for the cultural sector to alleviate the effects of the crisis and there is a commitment to advance the caches to artists. Other measures, from which both artists and any worker who has been exposed during this crisis will undoubtedly benefit, could be the abolition of the monthly fees for freelance workers (which has already been approved in some countries), aid for rental payments (loans with 0% interest) or the possibility of receiving unemployment insurance payments if the worker in question has been laid off.
Now that the quarantine has reached over a month in some parts of the world, it is time to be united from a distance and to pull together in the same direction. That alone will get us out of this. Pete Seeger sang it more than half a century ago: “We shall overcome“:
✍️ This article was originally written by Santini Rose in Spanish.