The spread of COVID-19 ushered in a multitude of unprecedented events. Millions of people around the world have been impacted by this pandemic, especially independent artists and small businesses. In the past two weeks, venues closed their doors, concerts were indefinitely cancelled, and do-it-yourself events postponed.
Since the mass cancellation of concerts and festivals, artists everywhere have lost a major stream of revenue. Few individuals, and companies like Bandcamp, are getting involved to help raise awareness about the impact of the coronavirus on artists.
On Friday, March 20, the online music store and news site waived their revenue share on sales and rallied up their community to “put much needed money directly into the artists’ pockets.” Once the announcement was made by Bandcamp, artists everywhere started uploading new tracks and old tracks. The best way to support artists at this time is to purchase their music and once artists made it clear this was how we could help, fans started purchasing digital music and merchandise galore.
But niche-genre artists are still struggling to see a significant profit. Even organizations such as AfroPunk and Resident Advisor started encouraging people to support artists in local communities. For most artists, especially DJ-producers, nightclubs and small music venues are their main sources of income. With that halted, all they have are music sales. Recently, artists are getting creative with organizing events. When the COVID-19 first appeared in New York City, and clubs were still open, Brooklyn-music venue Nowadays started live-streaming their party with Kush Jones, DJ Swisha, and Umfang. D.I.Y. party planners soon began to stream their events as well, but from their living room.
Though they’re not making any bread, artists are still keeping themselves busy. As we find ourselves confined to the corners of our apartments, we might as well do something productive with our time. For artists, that could mean editing a music video or mixing down a song. We should all join in and help support independent artists whether it be watching them livestream on Instagram, purchasing merchandise, or stocking up on beats.
We encourage you to find ways to reach out and support those affected in your local communities. If you’re interested in learning more about COVID-19, visit the World Health Organization’s website.