When I started this blog, there were whispers of a far off epidemic—yet another in a series of novel viruses affecting places far away from here.

In the ensuing 2 months we’ve gone from regional concern to global lockdown.

The speed and breadth of this change has caught nearly everyone off guard and changed our way of life.

With most jurisdictions currently banning gatherings of more than 50 people—many now banning more than 10—the live music scene has been put on pause.

Artists who’d planned a year long tour following the rollout of a new album find themselves trying to live off the meager earnings from streaming services.

Since artists earn most of their living by touring these days, we’ve essentially removed the last financial incentive for making music.

You can make a difference.

Some of us are in the same boat as our favorite musician. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of service industry professionals are also out of work. Nobody’s traveling, eating in restaurants, going to stores, going to theaters, or visiting museums. If there’s a chance you might run into someone, you just don’t go unless you have to.

But some of us still have jobs. And many of us that do have reduced expenses since we’re not commuting or buying lunch every day. Consider putting a portion of that toward helping your friends in music.

How? Easy.

Actually Buy Some Music.

For a lot of reasons, I prefer to have my own music files rather than pay to stream someone else’s. That’s a topic for another post. But one of those reasons is because you’d have to listen to the new Caribou album roughly 130 times on Spotify to compensate the band the same amount as if you’d bought the digital files from Bandcamp.

I’m a huge fan of Bandcamp. Here you’ll find mostly indie and small artists. Just the ones who are hurting the most right now. You can buy digital files priced the same regardless of which format or quality you prefer. Many artists also offer merch, vinyl, cassettes, and more.

Under normal circumstances, I’d recommend going to your local independent record store… but alas. Check to see if they do online ordering—if they do, use it!

Your next best bet is to go to your favorite artist’s website and click the buy button right there.

Amazon has a good selection of vinyl, CDs, and a smattering of cassettes. Best Buy, Walmart, and Target all still cary physical media though not much of it.

If you’re purely digital at this point, you can get lossless files at CD quality or higher from 7Digital, HD Tracks, Qubuz, and many of the major record labels.

Discogs is great for used albums, but that doesn’t help the artist. It might help someone else in the scene who’s struggling though—DJs and small record stores in particular.

Help Fund Projects

Artists use a variety of platforms to fund the development of new projects. Patreon is one of the bigger ones and specializes in connecting artists directly with fans.

Kickstarter and GoFundMe are other platforms that some artists use to fund their work.

Donate to Help Support Staff

Music venues employ large teams of specialists in making live music the amazing experience it is. Go visit your favorite venue’s website or follow them on social media for updates.

GoFundMe is returning a lot of results right now to help keep people in the music industry fed and housed.

Here in DC I know of campaigns for IMP (who runs 9:30, Anthem, Lincoln, and Merriweather Post Pavilion) and the U Street Music Hall. If I hear of others, I’ll update.

Things are pretty ugly for a lot of people right now. If you can, lend a hand.