The global coronavirus pandemic could have dire economic consequences for many of your favorite artists who rely on touring revenue to survive.
A number of shows across Europe and the United States have already been cancelled or postponed. Germany’s E-tropolis Festival has moved to June. Slovenian band Torul has dropped out of part of Covenant’s Fieldworks Tour II due to restrictions at their border. Suicide Commando had to cancel his U.S. tour. Where I live in Washington DC, most concerts are cancelled for the rest of the month at the recommendation of the mayor.
The coronavirus situation is changing everyday and could get worse before it gets better. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that up to 70% of the country’s population could contract the virus, which is frightening. More countries may consider drastic measures to contain the virus like the national lockdown in Italy or the European travel ban in the U.S.
I worry about how this could impact artists, promoters, and DJs in our scene. Money invested in planning and promoting shows could now be lost. In the age of streaming, many artists rely primarily on concert dollars to support their work. If that revenue dries up for the foreseeable future, music could very well become their lowest priority.
Now is the time to pull together for our favorite artists. If you want to help, consider these options:
Join their Patreon
Patreon is a membership platform that grants fans access to exclusive content, often for as low as $1 per month. It can be a very consistent source of revenue for bands that enables them to keep making music. Some artists I know on Patreon: Caustic, Aesthetic Perfection, Faderhead. (Feel free to contact me if you know of others.)
Buy their merch
Shirts, posters, buttons, and other merch bring in a ton of revenue for artists on tour. If you’re forced to miss a show due to cancellation, illness, or for your own health and safety, consider buying some merch from the artist’s website. Keep in mind that bands planning to tour or perform at a festival probably dropped a bunch of money to stock up on merch, so this is one of the best ways you can help out.
Support their crowdfunding campaigns
Many independent bands, from Gary Numan to Assemblage 23, rely on crowdfunding campaigns to support their album releases. Right now, Empathy Test is running an Indiegogo campaign to finalize their third album, Monsters.
Buy their music
This seems like a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said. Buy some fucking music, man. Artists make more money when you purchase than when you stream. It’s my understanding that Bandcamp provides the highest percentage of sales directly to artists.
Promote them on social
Last but not least, if you love an artist, tell people about them. Share their videos on Facebook. Tweet about them. When this coronavirus situation ends and life returns to normal, perhaps we will have doubled the fanbases for some of our favorite artists.