Quarantining and social distancing in response to the coronavirus have forced jobs revolving around live events to come to a standstill. In turn, artists and those working in the live music industry are struggling financially.
A piece published in Pitchfork, an online music magazine, offers suggestions on where people can donate money to help out musicians and independent record shops, as well as where musicians can apply for relief funding. If you have the ability, check out the Pitchfork piece and donate to any of the different funds for those working in the music industry.
With this in mind, local and less mainstream musicians often have even less access to capital than artists who are known far and wide; now is the time to show your dedication to them. Here’s how to support local artists during the pandemic.
- Support artists on Bandcamp
For all you stereotypically indie kids out there, Bandcamp is familiar territory. For those just joining the party, the website is dedicated to ensuring independent artists and record labels maximize how much money they make from publishing to online streaming platforms. Browsing Bandcamp can also introduce you to many niche, underground artists.
If you want to support those near you — either around USC or in your hometown — Bandcamp makes it incredibly easy to find artists with a geographically-based search through their Discover feature.
When you find an artist you like, buy music from them on Bandcamp! Artists on the website receive 80 to 85% of your money when you purchase any of their music or merchandise — far more than what they would earn if you simply streamed their music. Fun fact: At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Bandcamp completely waived the company’s revenue share of any sales made during a 24-hour period. Users purchased $4.3 million worth of music and merch that day!
- Buy (and stream) music
Related to my point above, one can simply buy music from artists! Musicians earn fractions of pennies when fans stream their music. Don’t stop streaming, but if you want to make sure that your favorite artists’ careers can last beyond the pandemic, purchase EPs, albums and singles you love. Beyond Bandcamp, you could be old-fashioned and buy music on iTunes, Amazon Music and Google Play.
If you listen to vinyl, CDs or cassettes, keep ordering those online too. Some independent record stores are still selling and shipping products, so buy from your local record shops to support the underdogs twofold. To buy from your fellow Angelenos, check out Jacknife Records & Tapes (@jackniferecordsandtapes) and Stellar Remnant (@stellarremnant) on Instagram.
- Watch artists’ streams
Missing concerts while stuck inside? Me too. To solve this issue, I have been watching festivals and individual artists live stream performances. To really set the mood, I turn on my string lights or colorful LEDs while watching NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts and electronic festivals like Digital Mirage and JAM.
Although I mostly watch these streams to keep myself entertained, artists garner support from them, too. Lunar Hand, glass beach and POLARTROPICA are a few of my favorite SoCal artists who have been hosting music streams. Check them out when you’re tired of scrolling through Twitter … again.
In addition, NPR curated “A List Of Live Virtual Concerts To Watch During The Coronavirus Shutdown” and the site Stay At Home Festival includes a calendar of online music events happening during the pandemic. Take a look and see if they include artists you love.
- Tell others about the local artists you love
Word of mouth is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to support smaller artists. Share their songs on your Instagram stories, text your family group chat with music recommendations or make your friends playlists featuring your favorite local artists. Who knows, they might start financially supporting them during this difficult time, too.
Here’s a playlist I made that includes local Los Angeles and USC artists that might chill you out amid the stresses of quarantining.
- “classic j dies and goes to hell part 1” — glass beach
- “love me” — Madeleine Mayi
- “Losing Sleep” — Lunar Hand
- “In Another Life” — POLARTROPICA
- “Drunken Stars” — Minimall
- “Blossom” — Mato Wayuhi
- “Gay Bar” — Rosie Tucker
- “Free” — SASAMI and Devendra Banhart
- “Sunny Side” — Tambourines
Fiona Pestana is a junior writing about Los Angeles’ local music scene. Her column,“The Scene Kid,” typically runs every other Thursday