The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated musicians’ and songwriters’ ability to earn a living. Live concerts, once the primary way for artists to make money, have been canceled with no indication of when musicians can perform again. It’s not only the musicians themselves who are affected by the pandemic – the concert industry stands to lose billions and individual artists may be forced to leave the industry.
As the Recording Academy explained in a letter to Congressional leaders, “[t]hese cancellations don’t just affect famous featured artists and headlining bands. They impact thousands of songwriters, session musicians, live musicians, backing vocalists, audio engineers, studio mixers, and other individuals who make a living by making music.” Touring managers, instrument technicians, lighting technicians, soundboard operators, venue operators, and others have also lost their income.
While recording studios and collaborative spaces have been innovative in finding ways to partially re-open, musicians’ and songwriters’ ability to write and record new music has been substantially curtailed, further squeezing their ability to make ends meet.
Independent venues, a backbone of music’s infrastructure and anchor point of the local music scene in towns and communities all around the country, have been hit especially hard, with many closing for good, and others on the brink of closing or selling off.
Fortunately, fans and audiences can help musicians, songwriters, and venues during these difficult times. While we can’t support our favorite artists at live performances, we can still support them through many other channels. Here are some ways you can help musicians weather the COVID-19 pandemic.