A little over a month ago, we were still making plans to attend shows and album release parties, adding tour dates into our calendar, and making plans with friends and family after work and weekends to support our favorite artists. But all that seems a little far away as the last few weeks, and specifically last few days, have been heavily inundated with the saddening news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the impact the virus is having on society — cities and towns across the globe both large and small, industries, the economy, and communities — severely impacting several pillars of everyday life for many, including music and entertainment.
While all of this is chilling and hard to wrap our heads around, we have the power of music to connect through lyrics, chords, and powerful melodies — even while we have to listen and watch, likely alone, and definitely indoors. And thankfully, we also have technology to support our creative efforts. At The Orchard, we’ve used technology over the years to empower artists, giving them the tools, resources, and support to bring their music to fans worldwide. Now is most certainly the time to embrace the power of technology to strengthen, unite, and bring music communities together.
Our team compiled helpful, proactive resources and methods of supporting the past, present, and future of the music industry, in an effort to stay calm and resilient during times of chaos and uncertainty. Knowledge is power and we will continue to add to this as more resources become available. Whether you’re in need or you know of someone in need, we hope you find peace knowing there are people and outlets for support.
Where can I find the most up to date, accurate information about COVID-19?
Simply put: the World Health Organization. Consistently updated, this is the most up to date, accurate place with information to keep you, your loved ones, and neighbors safe and healthy. It’s overwhelming reading all the news out there and different opinions. Stick with the World Health Organization to get what you need straight from the source.
I’m an artist, what live streaming resources are available to me to perform for fans?
Music Business and industry writer and expert Cherie Hu put together a free, 21-page comprehensive document of live streaming and other virtual resources for artists. Prior to the last few months, live streaming was added value for those who couldn’t attend concerts or other live events. It was used to further promote shows, leverage the world wide web to bring in fans across the globe. But, as Cherie says, it went from being a “niche” or “nice to have” format to “being imperative for ensuring global accessibility and reach amidst extreme conditions such as the COVID-19 outbreak.” As a means to connect the world through this difficult time as well as attempt to alleviate the devastation of cut tours and finances, live streaming of home concerts and more intimate shows or living room jams are already kicking off in full speed and will be something we’ll see artists utilizing a lot more of in the coming weeks.
I’m a fan, how can I help independent artists?
Rev. Moose, founder of the Marauder agency and producer of Independent Venue Week in the United States, says that in an effort to help artists, many people are focusing on sourcing alternative revenue streams. Some of these include labels donating proceeds to artists, livestreams offering a way for fans to connect with artists and buy tickets for virtual shows, or donating to a fundraiser.
He also says it’s important that people take note of their own personal ability to create change. “We can be responsible not only for where our own money is being spent as a consumer, but also the decisions that we guide others to make…It’s up to us as a community to create an economic support system for all levels of the creative industry that feed into our business.
With that in mind, here are some ideas to help your favorite artists right now:
Be a music tastemaker. Share the artists you’re listening to with your colleagues by creating a playlist. Share this playlist with your company in Slack channels and in Google Hangouts. Share this playlist with your family and friends. Add it to your email signature. Share songs on Instagram or DM on Twitter. This is a very scary time and sharing this music may make things feel a little better and the world a little bit closer. Here’s a graphic you can use and share directly to your Instagram. Fill it out and share with friends!
Follow these artists on social media if you don’t already, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You’ll feel more connected this way, especially now. Tune in to a livestream. Artists now are finding alternative means of sharing their live music and performances with fans from their home. Follow the artists you care about on socials and tune in to their performances. The more viewers, the more streams.
Stream and buy music. Whether you’re working from home or taking an at-home yoga break, stream your favorite artists’ music. Artists rely heavily on touring and while this won’t equate to how much artists can make while on the road, it can and will help. Keep listening to music to feel connected. Want to support record stores? Here are some ways you can.
Buy merch. You’ve been eyeing it, so now’s the time. Buy that favorite hoodie or beanie you’ve seen artists promote on their socials, wear it, share on socials and tag the artist.
Drop a Venmo and add your favorite emoji. Music will always bring people together. To help artists directly, follow them on Instagram and Twitter and see the messages they’re sharing on their own accounts. Did they share their Venmo, Paypal, Buy Me A Coffee account? Donate to support their creative work.
What organizations and initiatives are out there supporting creators and those who work at impacted creative institutes?
Charities like the Recording Academy’s MusiCares already have established programs to support various financial, medical, and personal emergency needs of artists daily and they’re hitting the gas pedals to accelerate during the COVID-19 crisis, committing $2 Million to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you’re in a position to help financially, consider donating to MusiCares to continue to allow these institutes to support artists’ needs across various pillars of their life, while now also dealing with the major economic repercussions of COVID-19. If you have been severely impacted by COVID-19, apply for assistance here and use their FAQ section for further support.
In addition to providing financial and educational support, MusiCares is an ally for all artists who are on their sobriety journey and they recognize that addiction can thrive in isolation. They encourage musicians to use the power of social media and technology to connect with their family, friends, and colleagues. It’s important to stay connected, even while social distancing. Take these action items into consideration: practice meditation, exercise, and call people who also need support to tell their story and share yours. Humans need to feel connected to other humans.
Interested in supporting MusiCares socially? Share your support with custom overlays and templates you can use for social media and add a donation sticker to your stories to encourage others to donate.
For those based in the UK, Help Musicians, similar to MusiCares, is a yearly ongoing platform for supporting artists across various aspects of life, including during times of need and opportunity. Check in here on various updates regarding COVID-19 and specifically how Help Musicians can help you if you’re based in the UK.
Spotify has created a Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project that directs peoples towards “verified organizations that offer financial relief to those in the music community most in need around the world.” Organizations that Spotify’s COVID-19 Music Relief project works with include: Help Musicians, MusiCares, and PRS Foundation, and more. Spotify will match every dollar up to ten million dollars if made via this link.
From the New York Foundation for the Arts to the Blues Foundation HART Fund, Creative Capital has organized an ongoing list of funds, grants, and educational webinars for those affected. Spread the love and knowledge, and if you know of any other resources, be sure to add to this Google Form so Creative Capital adds to their directory.
The Creator Fund, made up of creators, is a remote and profitable organization able to provide financial support. They are providing financial assistance, up to $500, to creatives who are experiencing hard and uneasy times. This assistance includes medical, childcare, housing, and grocery needs. They have close to 4,000 applications already, so if you need assistance, take advantage of this opportunity now.
The Freelancer’s Union is one of the largest and fastest-growing unions in the United States supporting freelancers. A lot of artists also juggle freelance life with their musical careers to generate other means of income, so being aware of your rights and what is available to you as a freelancer is important.
COVID-19 & Freelance Artists is a hub for freelance artists including musicians, producers, stage managers, technicians and those who are looking to financially support the independent artist community. This is a resource featuring ongoing opportunities for freelancers as well as financial options.
Small business owner in New York? NYC.gov has provided assistance and guidance if your business has been affected, including how to apply for financial assistance, and other city program offerings.
Equal Sound: Equal Sound’s new program will fund musicians who’ve lost income due to a cancelled gig as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Apply here to receive some financial support from Equal Sound. You must show evidence that you had this gig confirmed and canceled in a single PDF. Please be mindful of further updates from Equal Sound on payout and security measures.
The Academy of Country Music has set up the ACM Lifting Lives Fund. Pledging $250,000 and matching an additional $250,000 in donations, the fund is intended for those in country music who are experiencing financial hardship. Find more information on donations or applying for assistance here.
American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) have been working hard to support and advocate independent labels, artists, and small music businesses. A2IM have been in conversation with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in New York regarding the disruption the Coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses. If you’re in need, please fill out this form.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to 30,000 eligible businesses globally. Their Business Resource Group hub will guide you through these hard unexpected times.
Live Nation committed $10 million to Crew Nation. They are funding $5 million and matching an additional $5 million. “Live music inspires millions across the world, but the concerts we all enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the countless crew members working behind the scenes. As COVID-19 puts concerts on pause, we want to extend a helping hand to the touring and venue crews who depend on shows to make a living. Follow this page for further details if you are in need.
The Jazz Foundation of America, an organization whose mission is to support musicians who have made a living playing blue, jazz, and roots music, keep artists healthy through emergency assistance, disaster relief, ongoing work opportunities, and work with other likeminded organizations. They have set up a COVID-19 fund for jazz and blues musicians who have been impacted.
Need more resources? I Care If You Listen is putting a halt on their usual programming to outline funding resources that artists, freelancers, and others impacted can apply for. Billboard recently published a state-by-state ongoing list of organizations supporting music professionals.
How can the music community support independent venues?
During a time of social distancing, there’s been thankfully a lot of emotional support already in the music industry and emphasis on what needs to happen now in order to preserve the past, present, and future of the artists, venues, businesses, and individuals that make the music industry what it is. As Independent Venue Week states, “Whether it’s pushing attention towards crowdfunding, putting catalog on sale, or just trying to steer the conversation, it feels like the industry as a whole sees how potentially dire this situation will be.”
So how can the music community support independent venues during a time when all venues are supposed to close their doors until further notice?
“We [at Independent Venue Week] are doing our best to provide a platform for peer support, so those on the front lines don’t feel like they’re completely alone. Past emotional support, we’re working on implementing direct information sharing between venues in a manner that was previously only available to the largest competitors in the marketplace. Due to today’s climate we’re moving faster than we might have otherwise envisioned, but the ideas are being put into motion.”
Obviously, the most immediate way that music organizations can help is to “[create] financial solvency not just for music venues but for those whose livelihood depends upon those businesses,” Moose, from Independent Venue Week, adds.
To learn more about how to help out various venues who are finding this to be an incredibly daunting time, please consider donating to this ongoing list of affected venues, compiled by Independent Venue Week.
How can I take care of my mental health when I feel like everything is out of my control?
Things definitely feel out of control right now. Please know that even though social distancing seems to be the new [temporary] norm, there are people and resources out there, online, at your fingertips, to help. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention talks about how to care for your mental health in times of uncertainty, including separating what’s in your control vs. what isn’t, challenging yourself to stay present, and the importance of staying connected.
Mindfulness and meditation app Headspace just announced new efforts to manage rising stress and anxiety levels. Co-founder Rich Pierson stated, “To help people around the world deal with these unprecedented levels of stress, we are working hard to expand access to our meditation content to help folks manage anxious thoughts, build mental resilience and navigate through this uncertainty.”
A new “Weathering the storm” collection in-app feature on Headspace includes a variety of free meditation, sleep, and other alternatives to support during this time. Go to the Explore Tab in Headspace and start today.
Similarly, the Calm App says, “Take a deep breath. Let’s meet this moment together.” They’re sharing some tools they’re using to take care of their minds and stay grounded. From free soothing and sleep meditation to also forms of practices to find ease, take a look through their library to prioritize self-care.
Talkspace is offering subscribers a COVID-19 Anxiety Management Program. Now for a limited time, they’re offering a special for $100 off subscriptions.
Backline connects music industry professionals to mental health wellness resources. As an ongoing support system for those seeking additional support during COVID-19, Backline has been hosting an online support group and community meditation. Follow them on Instagram for updates on the next session.
Tour Support looks to support professionals across the live music industry providing mental health tools and training to those specifically in touring. They formed a partnership with BetterHelp to purchase counseling services for artists and teams. During this time, Tour Support are doing what they can to support the independent touring contractors who have lost their jobs. Additionally, they’re working with legislative officials to make sure touring is included in upcoming financial relief legislation through Congress. If you were an individual artist touring without a crew or band, you can apply here for therapy services. Please see their full COVID-19 response page for more information on other means of supporting mental health.
Lastly, The Orchard’s Mind, Body, & Soul YouTube Channel offers inspirational messages, mindfulness practices, meditations, breathing exercises, Reiki, Yoga, Tai Chi, relaxing music and more.
If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.