How To Support Musicians In An Era Of Canceled Shows

Earlier today one of the biggest ticketing companies in the world, Live Nation, announced that they are suspending all shows and encouraging artists to return home. This is just one of many precautions happening globally as the threat of the Coronavirus on public health becomes more and more severe. While the safety and health of fans and artists themselves is of the utmost importance, it’s also essential to note that for touring musicians, their primary source of income has just been completely removed. Needing to cut a tour short is an inconvenience for fans who are looking forward to shows, but it’s quite literally the income stream that keeps artists fed, clothed, and housed.

Since self-imposed quarantines and canceled events are the number one recommended way to help prevent the virus from spreading too quickly, which since rapid spread could lead to a lack of resources and personnel in healthcare facilities, all of these postponed shows are inevitable for the time being. But that doesn’t mean that musicians need to go totally without support from fans and others concerned people who want to give back to the arts during this troubling time. With this year’s annual SXSW festival canceled and Coachella postponed, here are some other ways to keep artists and musicians in the forefront of your mind during a time when being out in crowds is not in the cards.

Stream Their Music

While no one is suggesting the streaming farm route that Justin Bieber recently urged fans to employ when his new single “Yummy” was flagging, the fact remains that when a fanbase bands together to purposefully boost an artist’s numbers, it can make a difference. While you’re self-quarantining at home, put on some music by your favorite band or songwriter, and let it play through as you hang out at home. While most artists only make pennies on most streams, those pennies can add up and make a difference.

Hold Onto Your Tickets And Wait For Rescheduled Dates

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As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate. Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. So we are being told that being part of large gatherings is high on the list of things to avoid as this global health crisis is now beginning to affect all of our lives. Unfortunately, communing in large groups is a huge part of what we do as a band and the tour we’ve been busy planning for months is now in jeopardy… We have and will always keep the safety and well-being of our supporters as top priority. So it is with deep frustration and regret that we are forced to make this most unfortunate of announcements… This scheduled first leg of our PJ/Gigaton tour will need to be postponed and shows rescheduled for a later date. We’ve worked hard with all our management and business associates to find other solutions or options but the levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level. Add to that we also have a unique group of passionate fans who travel far and wide. We’ve always been humbled by this and respect their energies and devotion. However in this case, travel is something to avoid. It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work. Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead. Again, here in Seattle what we are witnessing we would not wish for anyone. What we do wish for the rest of the country is that they can avoid the harsh negative effects of this and retain their sense of community and take care of one another. Just as we look forward to our next concerts and the ability to gather together and play loud songs as energized as ever. We are so sorry… And deeply upset.. If anyone out there feels the same based on this news, we share that emotion with you. – Ed & Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam was one of the first bands to take a serious look at their massive world tour and decide to postpone the dates. Not only are they known for fans who travel the world to come see them jam (heh), but the band also hails from the Pacific Northwest, where major outbreaks of Coronavirus in Seattle have brought the city to a halt. “As residents of the city of Seattle, we’ve been hit hard and have witnessed firsthand how quickly these disastrous situations can escalate,” they wrote. “Our kids’ schools have closed along with universities and businesses. It’s been brutal and it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.”

But, the important thing to note in this situation is that it will likely get better. We’ve seen dire disease outbreaks in the past reach peak exposure, and eventually rescind as public health officials and medical professionals work on the vaccine and getting a handle on how to best combat it. For fans to hang onto tickets and wait for rescheduling is a helpful vote of confidence and lets musicians know that once things are back to normal, their fans are willing to adjust and still come out to see them. Asking for refunds and getting your money back is necessary for some folks, but for those who have the flexibility to wait it out, giving musicians space to cancel and reschedule is important.

Buy Their Merch

It goes without saying that buying physical products from musicians is an important way to support them. In the streaming era, buying physical copies of a beloved bands’ CDs, purchasing their vinyl, and picking up merch that reflects their personality and aesthetic is a cool way to get your money directly into the artist’s pocket and let them know you’re in their corner. If there’s a band you’re particularly worried about given the cancelations of tours and shows, think about getting a t-shirt, a favorite album on vinyl, or stocking up on potential gifts for friends and family. 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.

Check Out Bandcamp And Patreon Platforms For Bundles And Special Sales

Many artists are sharing direct links to places where your support can help them the most, whether that’s on their Bandcamp platforms or via Patreon accounts that often come with cool perks and other chances to get connected with a larger fan community. Some artists are posting special sales to help make things more affordable for fans and give an incentive for purchasing now:

Contribute Directly To Artists In Need

For artists who are working on their own, or without a lot of financial support, needing to book emergency flights back home at the last minute can be financially devastating. In those more extreme cases, artists in need like Torres are posting their Venmo and Paypal handles along with Patreon information, so fans who have the means can directly contribute a couple dollars. When enough people band together, a few dollars here and there from a bunch of people can be the difference between buying a flight or not being able to do so. If you feel moved, see what artists you love are posting on their social channels, and keep an eye out on Twitter or sites like Uproxx who will be posting updates about their economic situations.