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How Music and Art Thrive During a Pandemic

Have you stopped to think about how starving artists are supporting themselves during the COVID19 pandemic? In a world full of social distancing, entrepreneurs of art are having to adapt. With gatherings of 10 or more individuals discouraged, events at every point of the musical spectrum are being affected. From large regional festivals like Coachella to small local venues like Nashville’s The Mercy Lounge, artists are having to scramble to either postpone or cancel events. So how are they surviving this difficult time?

Merchandise stand at a concert.
Booth selling merchandise at a concert; artists can no longer rely on concert ticket and merchandise sales at live shows.
The Beaks Staff / The Beaks / The Beaks

Many artists have begun virtually streaming their content to fans. The methods they use are many, but they always involve the internet. Usually the artist will stream on a social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube; Luke Combs will be using all four, so don’t worry about missing out if you don’t have an account on one of those platforms. Some streams generate a great deal of money for charity. Consider Post Malone’s live stream where he covered Nirvana songs, that stream alone raised $4,447,012 for the COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO as of 1:30am EST on April 30th, 2020 with Google offering to chip in an additional $5,000,000. That is some serious cash money going to the World Health Organization in a time of need.

The content doesn’t even need to be live. Take the Grateful Dead for instance, their YouTube channel is set to live stream a show from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s or 1990s every Friday night at 8pm EST. Proceeds from the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Streams” go to a different charity each week. Previous charities include Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Feeding America and MusicCares© COVID19 Relief Fund. Another website, Nugs.tv, is also helping artists and charities by enabling artists to stream live or previously filmed content.

Billboard has a great article on all of the live streams that go to support artists and charities related to the COVID19 pandemic.

Artists are also getting help from online distributors. Companies like Bandcamp are setting aside a days where 100% of the proceeds generated on their site will go to to the artist. This means they are willingly losing out on making revenue for their company so they can give back to the community that makes it great in the first place. What awesome about this is consumers are responding. Customers are opting to play along and purchase digital recordings, vinyl records, compact discs, tour posters, picture books and even cassette tapes in hopes of contributing to their favorite musicians and artists.

This is a huge help to artists who normally rely on merchandise and physical sales at shows. If you think this isn’t a real market with a huge cash flow, think again. According to Bandcamp, fans have spent $14.4 million in the last 30 days on using their marketplace; and this is a small sample size taking into consideration just one online retailer.

Another potential revenue stream is services like Spotify and Apple Music. During the COVID19 pandemic, music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have seen an increase in subscribers. According to a recent release from Spotify on first quarter earnings Q1 of 2020 saw an 31% increase in subscribers. Spotify also launched a project aimed at helping artists affected by COVID19 and it is worth reading about. More listeners listening to more music means more money for the artists.

Artists have also looked at expediting the release of new material. Phish, a band largely known for their live people-packed shows released Sigma Oasis which contains a delightful and optimistic tune entitled “Everything’s Right”.

“Everything’s Right” by Phish

Billboard also has a calendar tracking upcoming album releases so you never have to miss out.

If you have a favorite artist, band or musician then odds are they are looking to connect with you during this time of isolation. Check up on your favorites and see what they are up too.

Let us know in the comment section below how your favorite artists are getting by during this time!

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