How to Support Independent Artists During COVID-19
By Stephanie Lam
Musical artists were forced to cancel tours and live shows when shelter-in-place orders were enacted. As a result, they lost revenue and opportunities to perform in front of their fans. No other musical community suffered more from the pandemic independent artists.
Who is an “Independent Artist”?
An independent artist, or unsigned artist, is a musician who is not under a contract with a record label. These musicians publish their own merchandise and produce their own music. Unlike signed artists, independent artists have complete control over the direction of their music. They also get master rights to the music they produce and can decide how to license it. Some of the most well-known independent artists include Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean.
What challenges do they face?
Without a company to support them, independent artists have to be their own producer, manager, marketer, and so on. They often run into financial difficulties with their budget and resources. Many independent artists support themselves by playing at venues or weekly live shows. Now that most music venues, bars, and festivals are closed, independent artists don’t have anywhere to play.
Here are 3 major ways you can help independent artists
1. Donate or buy
Independent artists can set up GoFundMes or Patreon accounts asking people to contribute. They usually thank donors by sharing with them unreleased songs or personalized video messages. Independent artists may not be able to play live, but they can sell merchandise on their website. Buying their CD’s shirts, or artwork can help them generate revenue
2. Participate in live-streams and stream their music
Social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook have made it easier for artists to share their music. By tuning in to their live streams concerts, you can remind them that their music matters.
3. Help give them exposure
You can give your favorite independent artists more exposure by retweeting and sharing their content. You can also call your local radio and have them play their song.
Although independent artists aren’t as popular as signed ones, they still produce meaningful music that deserves to be heard. People should consider doing what they can to support them, and appreciate their contributions to the music community.
Stephanie Lam is an editorial intern who likes finding unique ways to write about culture, fashion and lifestyle.