MUSIC FEATURE: Standing By The Scene – Doing Your Bit To Support Music Through COVID-19 (Part Two)
Everything’s a bit weird right now isn’t? We at Bring The Noise UK hope you’re all being safe and looking after each other. Speaking of looking after people, now’s the time we could really look after the bands we love. Touring is a lifeline for all our favourite bands and it’s been taken away from them in a way that no one could ever have prepared for.
So how can we all help the artists whose music has helped us through our hard times and been a soundtrack to the best night of our lives, now that they need us? You can support them. There’s a range of options available to musicians and you can help spread the word or help them by giving to these fund directly, or just making sure you spin the band’s records on Spotify a few extra times this month. Here’s some ways you can help…
PART TWO – DONATIONS & RELIEF FUNDS
First off, when it comes to Spotify it’s simple. Stream the music of the bands you love. We think we’d all agree that artist royalty payout rate is incredibly low and unfair, but nonetheless every penny counts just now. Play the artists you love as much as you can and introduce your friends to them as well, the more we can share great music with each other just now the better.
Additionally, Spotify have launched a couple of their own support methods.
The Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project, which recommends verified organisations that offer financial relief to those in the global music community who are most in need, is partnering with MusiCares, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians, Unison Benevolent Fund, and Centre National de la Musique, and are also looking to bring in more partners. Spotify is making a donation to these organisations and will match donations made via the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page dollar-for-dollar, up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million.
They’re also working diligently to launch a feature that will enable artists to fundraise directly from fans during this challenging time. As soon as we hear more on this, or see bands using them, we’ll be sure and share the news.
Patreon is a platform whereby fans directly support artists and creatives via monthly donations, in exchange for perks and additional content. Lots of band members are obviously now turning to platforms like this, and other donation for content services like Twitch which gives you a great way to support your favourite artists. There’s a huge range of creators on there, from artists to musicians, podcasters to photographers. It’s an incredible way to easily and continuously support the people you admire for as little, or as much, as you want.
Keep an eye on social channels to see who’s on there and what they’re offering.
Here’s a little data on just how many creators are now on Patreon: https://blog.patreon.com/covid-19-creative-economy-patreon-data-science
3. LIVE NATION CREW NATION
Live Nation, the biggest worldwide concert and events promoter, is running an initiative to help out the crews around the world who bring gigs to life. When launching the campaign Live Nation said:
“Crew members are the backbone of the live music industry, and we hope you’ll join us in supporting them through this temporary intermission until we can once again unite millions around the world through the power of live music.”
Live Nation has committed $10 million to Crew Nation – contributing an initial $5 million to the fund, then matching the next $5 million given by artists, fans and employees dollar-for-dollar.
Find out how you can donate and support Crew Nation HERE.
4. HELP MUSICIANS and MUSICIANS’ UNION
If you’re in the UK and you’re a musician who makes most of their income from the music industry, you can also directly apply for help from great organisations such as Help Musicians and the Musicians’ Union.
You can find out more info on these schemes and check if you’re eligible here:
We also asked some of those who have been affected how you can help the music industry right now…
Dom Frazer, The Boileroom
“We gauged that the crisis was escalating quite early on, when you are a DIY indie business owner I think you are constantly forecasting and assessing. So it became clear our income was about to dry up and we needed to act quickly to safeguard the future of the venue.
“We decided Crowdfunder was the best option to help us remain financially afloat during this time of uncertainty. They’ve been really helpful in assisting us; and when they dropped all their fees and commission, and we’ve had phone calls and emails pretty much daily about the fundraiser. It made sense to work with such a supportive company.
“We had to make the difficult decision to close our doors in early March to help stop the spread of infection; and reduce any undue strain on the NHS, an organisation we feel deeply for.
“We have been overwhelmed by the reaction and engagement of our creative community since we launched the campaign – words can’t really express how grateful and appreciative we are to know that so many have our backs and are supporting the venue.
“We want to support our team during this time, we are applying for all the government scheme, loans, grants etc, but people are struggling now; and form filling takes time.
“Also once we are open, we have had no income during this period; and will need to cover artists’ fees and associated show costs, which we’ll need cashflow for. Before the crisis; we had also already committed financially to urgent venue maintenance and repairs, which we will need to pay the final amounts for.
“We are unsure when it will be safe for us to re-open the venue and go back to business as usual. We initially thought perhaps the beginning of May, but over the last week it has become clear it could be June at the very earliest, or even later.
“A lot of venues have some cracking merch for sale – The Joiners, Tunbridge Wells Forum, Brudenell and lots of others – definitely head to their websites for those. Some venues are also doing gift vouchers and on our Crowdfunder we have a Pint Promise – buy your round in now and come cheers with us when we can all be together again.
“Buying tickets for future shows – we all still have events coming up in Autumn/Winter, and as far as next year – come join us!
“Lots of venues also have Crowdfunder campaigns underway – Independent Venue Week have set up a page on their website (link below) to see all of these.
“Supporting artists too – so many of our tours come from album releases – pre-ordering or ordering albums will really help out artists right now who need our help; especially if your local indie record shops is running a delivery service right now, it’s a win-win!
“You can find our Crowdfunder link below; join us on Instagram @BOILEROOM where we’re posting regular updates about the campaign, and some #fun content.”
Tristan Marmont, COUNTERFEIT.
“It’s an opportunity to recollect what life is really about. The human connection with your family and friends, your passions, your hobbies. Music can be a gateway for many of these things, and this crisis is just a reminder of how important they can be to us in our lives.”
Check out COUNTERFEIT.‘s merch store HERE.
Erik Bickerstaffe, Loathe
“The effect that COVID-19 has had on the music industry has been tremendous. Leaving many without a light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is forcing bands and artists to cancel or postpone tours, which not only hurts themselves by losing out on investments made in merchandise, travel costs, guarantees lost etc, but hurts their entire working crew too, who are the often unsung heroes who keep everything moving forward behind the scenes.
“In order to continue on as normal when we can, it is extremely important to continue supporting the artists you love by picking up a piece of merchandise online or streaming their latest release on Spotify, Apple Music etc. Every bit of support, financially or morally, goes a very long way in these confusing times.
“Good energy and love to all, we hope you all are well and that you stay safe.”
Check out Loathe‘s merch store HERE.
Kevin Douch, Big Scary Monsters
“We’ve been extremely lucky with the timing of the outbreak as this was always planned as a quiet period for BSM, with no new releases until summer. Sadly a number of tours have been postponed and nobody knows how long things will go on, but we’re absolutely focusing on the positives right now. We all took last week off to settle in and acclimatise to self isolation, and now we’re back working on a number of projects, some for releases later in the year and others are things we’ve often talked about but can now bring to the light of day. One of those is the “How Can We Help?” initiative (HERE) where we ask artists, small labels and anyone looking for a way into the industry to contact us with questions and we’ll have a chat. We’re hugely fortunate to have worked in music for a number of years and now feels a very important time to try and help others out. Aside from this we’re all taking a bit of time to learn new things (Dave’s learning German, Josie’s dabbling with TikTok, Connor’s working on some new video editing software and I’m playing about with some different project management programs), we’re helping bands to reschedule tours, and reaching out to check in on friends. Ultimately, things are tough for everyone at the moment but it’ll pass and when it does, we want to be ready to hit the ground running again.
“It’s important people feel safe before they look to spend money elsewhere, but supporting artists, independent shops and labels with online purchases is great, but even just getting in touch and engaging online is much appreciated by everyone. The music industry is always the first to spring into action and help raise money for and awareness of good causes around the world, and right now it needs the favour repaying.”
Check out the Big Scary Monsters store HERE.
Gabe Mangold, Enterprise Earth
“Though times have been tough since the onset of COVID-19, now is the time for the music community, and the world, to rally together and support one another. Our industry has been crushed with several artists, venues, and other music related businesses on the verge of collapse due to cancelled tours, album releases, and several other setbacks that have put us and virtually all of our musical peers in a big financial hole. However, this doesn’t mean anyone has to give in; there is always hope and within any catastrophe there are silver linings to be discovered.”
Check out Enterprise Earth‘s merch store HERE.
Dylan Villain, The Wild!
“We have just released a brand new album and have had multiple tours to support that album cancel as a result of COVID-19. It’s been really fuckin’ hard for us to not be working this record on the road because it’s what we do best. However, on a positive note we’ve given the world a great record to enjoy at a time when we are all forced to press pause on life. So press play on this record and forget about the world for awhile. Rock and roll will never die”
Check out The Wild!‘s merch store HERE.
“Of course, at this time, our main priority is health and safety – especially when we were meant to be touring. So, as heartbreaking as it was to cancel our debut album headline tour, we know it is fully for the best. Our album came out four days before lockdown, which means that people will have to wait the best part of a year to see it performed live. Our live show is something we pride ourselves on, so not being able to play it live is horrible for us. The best thing for fans to do right now, to keep the industry powering on, is keep streaming, keep listening, keep shouting about your favourite independent artists. They need your support and encouragement now more than ever!”
Check out Orchards‘ merch store HERE.
“Needless to say, the situation right now is a really tricky and challenging one for us as a band and our whole (live) crew. Additionally two band members are currently unemployed since their side-jobs are affected as well. The second leg of our album release tour in France and the UK was postponed, which obviously means we are losing a lot of income and the surfaces such as live shows and press to promote our album in this important period are literally all gone.
“It’s really got to me mentally as well. I feel very lost and stuck in the middle of nowhere right now since everything is standing still and there‘s no reliable forecast when these circumstances will change again.
“I’m not a huge fan of this whole live stream thing going on right now. Basically it’s a great idea but it’s literally everywhere, maybe even getting too much and it doesn’t even come close to replacing a real life music experience. I did a couple of livestream concerts too though and was really surprised how many people tuned in and said very nice things. This gave me really positive feelings and I really appreciate people supporting us so much during this very tough time.
“And of course it always helps to buy physical products like shirts, CD’s or vinyl directly from the band. This is definitely the most efficient way of support. I sometimes feel very uncomfortable though with dragging people into buying merch right now. On the one hand it helps us massively but on the other hand it’s important that people take care of themselves first and that they have enough time and space to find their own ways in dealing with the crisis.
“We have a little merch special planned in cooperation with our really good friend and incredibly talented photographer and videographer Paul Ambrusch // @xfinalchapterx. Since our tour ended very abruptly the other day in Switzerland we had a lot of unused material left. That’s why we printed a bunch of our favourite tour photos as posters in A3 and are now selling these via our own record label 22Lives Records.
“We wanted to use our platform and raise awareness about all the people working behind the scenes such as tour managers, photographers, videographers etc, that every situation is unique and they’re often struggling even worse.
“I feel like so much has been said already. I just really hope that everybody manages to keep their heads up and find strength and joy and even if not I’m hoping that everybody finds their own ways that work with dealing with this very uncertain period of time. Stay safe and healthy! <3”
Eric Lauder, Plague Years
“We had our tour in the spring/summer get postponed due to the virus. The release date of our record was based around that tour so we had to push our release back too. If you’re a fan of music use this time to support bands you already like, and also look out and discover new bands because we are all going through it.”
Check out Plague Years’ BandCamp HERE.
Ben Hutcherson, Khemmis
“The COVID-19 pandemic has radically affected so many parts of the world, perhaps nowhere as profoundly as in the music industry. While the discussion has primarily focused on the financial devastation the pandemic has wreaked upon musicians, it’s important to remember that every successful show – from the gig at your neighborhood dive to each date of a massive package tour at a theater or arena – is the product of many people working together. Sound engineers, lighting designers, guitar/bass/drum techs, stagehands, stage managers, bartenders, box office employees, security, van/bus drivers, tour managers, merchandise printers, and so many more all dedicate themselves to the world of live music. When most of the economy screeched to a halt, we, like countless other folks, found ourselves in a scary world filled with more questions than answers.
“As is the case with many bands, we lost a tour and a couple of festival appearances; this was a sizable financial blow. We also have a new mini album coming out on April 17, and album sales for all new music are likely going to feel the hurt of the stagnant economy and the lack of a clearly defined end to this crisis. For those that are able to do so, please support the bands you love as best you can during these times. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to weather the pandemic with the comfort of financial security, please remember that isn’t the case for many of the people who have dedicated their lives to creating the art you love. Buy records. Buy merchandise. Remember that a lot of bands may not be able to weather this storm, certainly not without the support of their fans and the broader metal community.
“The post-COVID-19 world is going to be different in myriad ways. Let’s all do our part to make sure that music remains a source of inspiration and strength as we navigate that world together.”
“We’re releasing our first recorded music right in the middle of this pandemic. We’re not sure yet how that will affect us. Will people care? Do people need a distraction right now? Who knows. It’s already affected our plans to play shows, and affected us a fair bit in our personal lives. Going ahead with the release anyway feels like a way of sticking two fingers up at the situation. Not that it really achieves anything; a virus doesn’t care what we think.
“Purchasing music and not refunding already booked tickets unless you have to is a great way to help at the moment – other bands have written more smartly on this than us, though. Our debut single Ansible is out now, so fans can listen to that already, and support our album cyc|er when it comes out in May.
“This is going to sound drippy, but things will be okay. All the things that define DIY and the music community are the things that make us resilient: solidarity, mutual support, empathy. Things will be different but they will be fine in the end. Personally, we’ve lost a couple of close friends/family over the years to unexpected things and ended up in hospital ourselves. While these shocks are horrible, you survive, and end up stronger.”
Check out Overrider‘s BandCamp HERE.
“COVID-19 has obviously had a huge impact on everyone, for us as a band the main impact has been on the live sector and having to postpone all upcoming dates to promote our debut album. Initially, we were set up to launch the album with a live stream of a full gig in an empty venue but as lockdown was announced we’ve (like everyone) had to adapt. We’ve now had a rather enjoyable challenge whilst in isolation of relearning our songs to fit into our new parameters, and will now be launching our album with an acoustic performance and will continue to do new performances whilst this is ongoing. It’s interesting having new expressive boundaries, you have to readdress your craft.
“It was our decision to postpone our album launch party but to be honest, it should have come from the government, social responsibility at the start of this crisis should not have been a choice. The government’s delay closing venues was immoral and irresponsible, I don’t know why I was shocked as I was though, the Conservative government has made it clear for years that they do not care about culture in this country. It has been truly heartwarming to see music fans step up and take initiative by supporting independent venues and artists directly during this time of need. There have been acts of kindness and generosity throughout the pandemic which has restored my faith in people. I think that in a lot of ways the distancing is bringing people closer together, especially in the independent music scene. Moving things online is a natural and obvious coping mechanism and it’s been great to see so many creative people sharing each other’s work. We’re all in the same boat and need to support each other. We were pretty heartbroken to have to pause everything around the album release and I really miss playing live, but there are much bigger priorities at the moment. Much love to the NHS and the front line workers.”
Check out Birthmarks‘ BandCamp HERE.
“This whole thing has hit everyone around the world pretty damn hard. An unprecedented catastrophe that will be written and talked about for decades to come. People are losing jobs, homes and even their lives. We personally have been put out of work in our various jobs for the next few months which is a big worry for us all. Will we have anything to return to when this is over? I think the hardest thing is not knowing when this will end. We’ve obviously had to pull our upcoming tour with Black Peaks and St Pierre and it’s managed to mess up our upcoming record release somewhat. However, these are tiny road bumps and we’re very grateful we’re in the somewhat privileged positions we are.
“Some people make all their money from being in a band and in this streaming age, most of that from live shows. This is obviously not possible now, so buy that record you’ve always wanted or that shirt with the logo on you was iffy about. If you want these people to carry on making music, they need to be supported. If you’re lucky enough to have lots of free time over the next few months, write stuff. If now’s not the time, that time will never come. Write that jazz odyssey, paint that portrait of your nan and pen that poem about your local fishmonger.
“I hope everyone stays safe and you’ll be extremely glad to hear that there is zero chance of us putting up an acoustic webcam stream.”
Check out Sugar Horse‘s BandCamp HERE.
“We’re a brand new band and have only played a couple of shows so far. We pulled our first hometown show which was close to selling out a week prior to the event, and then gradually over the next week all of our shows and tours for the summer also began to be cancelled or postponed. It sucks, but we’re a positive bunch and so we’re doing our best to use this quiet time productively by writing and planning things out for the future (as much as we can). There are people in way more difficult situations than us, those around the world who don’t have the privilege to ‘self-isolate’ like we do, for example.
“If you have money in your pocket to do so, then picking up merch, buying a ticket for a rescheduled event or purchasing a download is obviously great, but this isn’t the case for everyone. There are plenty of people who don’t have the money right now, or simply aren’t in the headspace where they would begin to think about it. You can support musicians in other ways by streaming their music, adding tracks to playlists, giving them a shout-out on social media or tuning into a live stream. It all helps right now.
“We have a couple of acoustic videos in the works and we’re going to be doing some drum and guitar playthrough videos for people to check out.
“Look after your head, get outside for a bit of exercise if you’re able to do so and hold tight. Once this has all passed, we’re gonna have one big party!”
Check out Hell’s Ditch‘s BandCamp HERE.
Listen to our Lockdown Spotify Playlist below!
Thank you to the bands, labels and venues that contributed towards this feature.
Written by: Calum McMillan