Stay In, Sing Out: How To Support The Music Community During The Coronavirus
As COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — continues to persist, the music community is finding ways to stay afloat.
With the cancellation of major festivals and local music events, the mandated closure of dine-in services at North Carolina restaurants and bars and the halting of public gatherings of more than 50 people in Mecklenburg County, the coronavirus (in addition to its health risks) has significantly impacted the arts and music in Charlotte.
WFAE’s Amplifier is committed to supporting music fans and music-makers as they face unprecedented new challenges. Now more than ever, it’s important to support musicians and sustain the arts in our community.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the resources available to artists impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as ways for music fans to ensure a future for the music we love.
Consider this a living document: if you have more ideas or ways to keep the music going, feel free to send an email to Amplifier host Joni Deutsch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll add it to the list.
If you’re a music fan:
- Purchase some music and merch. As Uproxx puts it, “In the streaming era, buying physical copies of a beloved bands’ CDs, purchasing their vinyl, and picking up merch … is a cool way to get your money directly into the artist’s pocket and let them know you’re in their corner. Making sure they’re getting paid right now, while it’s impossible for them to make money off performing, could be a game-changer for an independent artist you love.” Need another cool option? Purchase a gift certificate to your favorite local record store and shop later when things go back to normal.
- Stream it loud and proud. Switch your playlist over to local music and stream it as much as possible (on Apple Music, Tidal, or wherever you find music). While those streams typically amount to pennies for artists, those pennies can add up and make a world of difference. For those who want a taste of Charlotte music, check out our 14-plus hour mixtape on Spotify.
- Keep that ticket. Perhaps you purchased a ticket for a show that will no longer take place. Your first thought may be to get that refund. But as local venues close down and begin instituting forgiving return and exchange ticket policies, consider this: If you really want to help and have the flexibility in doing so, keep the ticket (don’t ask for a refund) and wait for the musician/venue to reschedule. Consider it a financial gift to support them during this hardship, not to mention an investment to help them put on the show as soon as the outbreak is over.
- Watch from your couch. Like NPR Music shares, “As more festivals, performances and concerts are canceled due to the coronavirus shutdown, musicians of all stripes and sizes are taking to social and streaming platforms to play live for their fans.” Need some ideas of where to find live music? Beyond going to your favorite music-maker’s website or social media platform, check out NPR Music’s growing list of streaming performances from around the world, sit in on a virtual music festival with “Shut In & Sing,” or watch Live From Here host Chris Thile perform #LivefromHome. (And if you enjoyed the performance, make sure to contribute to their digital tip jar, Patreon or cash app.)
- Share the love on social media. Comment or share (on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) about your favorite musicians. Let your friends and family know your go-to songs and artists.
If you’re a music-maker (particularly in North Carolina):
- Bookmark these resources. Our friends at Music Everywhere have compiled a list of resources for musicians who need a helping hand in keeping the music scene alive (and thriving) in Charlotte. These resources range from financial assistance and health care to tips for live-streaming shows and virtual tipping. This also includes ways to parlay your on-stage music work into remote music lessons for social distancers.
- Track your losses. As our public radio music friends at KEXP advise, “While there is still much uncertainty on how artists may recoup money lost from canceled events and tours, artists should be diligent in tracking the impact of COVID-19 on their work and income. Be sure to document records of cancellations, losses from ticket sales and refunds, and any other relevant from COVID-19. Though it is unclear what financial assistance for artists might look like in the future, equipping yourself with this information can help you make a case for yourself should a solution arrive.”
- Grab a desk. While we’re stuck inside, go ahead and grab a desk (or table!) and submit your original recording to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. Looking for inspiration for your Tiny Desk Contest entry? Check out some of NPR Music’s favorite deskoveries from 2019.
We’ll make it through this, one story (and song) at a time.
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What questions do you have about the coronavirus? What has this experience been like for you? Share your questions below.