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How You Can Support Musicians and the Music Industry during Covid-19

If you have ever found yourself leaning into a specific song or music in general to help you through a hardship, you are not alone. Music has the power to heal mind, body and soul. That healing experience is shared by humanity the world over. The artists and industry professionals are right now, more than ever, in need of our help to heal their world of hurt.  Musicians are scrambling to stream and find virtual solutions to a live experience. Clubs and concert halls are closed. Event producers and staff are locked out of work. The industry standstill has created an uncertain future for the local, national and international music industries.

There are actions by fans of bands and artists that can have a direct impact right now. We hope to help you navigate and find the most effective ways to help right now to help as directly as possible with funds and resources.

How You Can Support the Artists

In the recent age of streaming, even before Covid-19, the money-making model for artists flipped. Touring used to support the release of a new album which was the money maker. Now, the release of new music is to get you excited about seeing the artist perform live which is where the money is now made. This shift has made the current climate for financial stability extremely hard for artists who rely on live performance.

Music: The best and most direct way to support a band or artist you love is to pay them. Buy their music. Donate through their e-commerce (PayPal, Venmo, Shopify) accounts found on artist websites and social media platforms. At any time, buying music as directly as possible gives the most amount of money to the artist. When you pay $10.00 on an artist website or music account, that’s pure profit after the cost of production. (Note: supply chain disruptions are happening in the music supply as well.)  Direct support puts vastly more money into artists’ pockets than streaming. If you stream one song by the artist, they may make as much as $.00007 per play.

You would have to stream the song 142,857 times for an artist to earn that $10.00.  The Bandcamp hosting site takes a 15% share of music sales (and 10% for merchandise), but has and continues to wave their revenue share on the first Friday of each month through at least July 4. That’s another way to make sure 100% of your support goes directly to the artists you love.

Live Streaming: Many artists have been able to learn the tools and gather the resources and/or partnerships to live stream performances. Social-distancing requirements mean there are more intimate configurations. Sometimes, multiple artists from different locations are performing simultaneously. Not all live streaming events are monetized but many of these streams include donation opportunities with links to the artist’s e-commerce accounts. It is certainly no substitute for the energy of a live event for artist and audience, but it can help to sustain this community.

You can find a partial list of live streaming and other virtual arts and community events on the KNKX Community page.

Covid-19 Specific Relief

Local and national organizations have emergency funds for musicians that you can support directly by donating. Others have resource information for artists and others in the music business and/or have created Covid-19 specific funding.

In Seattle you can find information for artists, venues, and music business support staff including restaurant workers through the Seattle Office of Music and Film.

Jazz Foundation of America's mission has been to provide emergency assistance in times of crisis with compassionate council and direct financial support.  Donations are welcome.

National Association for Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS)—the people who produce the Grammys—have links for you to donate, for artists and business professionals to find resources and support through their MusiCares program.

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicains and music industry workers who are stuggling to make ends meet while facing hardship.

Crowd Funding Sites

Crowd funding sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have multiple links to support venue and artist- specific funds. Be careful when selecting funds to support. Do your research to discover the legitimacy of the fund you wish to support.

One such fundraiser is the Seattle Artists Relief Fund. Its GoFundMe page was started in March by three local artists, now in collaboration with the Seattle non-profit group Langston, to support artists in the Northwest--especially for artists of color. The effort to raise a million dollars for artists affected by the pandemic is gaining steam; the community has raised more than half of their goal.

Black in B.C. Community Support Fund for COVID-19 gives financial assistance to Black community members in British Columbia who are in need during the pandemic.

KNKX Director of Music Programming Carol Handley provided the information for this post.