Even in times of looming uncertainty, music has the power to relieve stress, improve our cognition and help us feel happy. It’s easy to take these benefits for granted, but now more than ever, it’s vital to recognize the people who make it possible: musicians.
Across the country, concerts, tours, and festivals are being postponed or cancelled, leaving many musicians facing a devastating financial reality. On average, live events account for about 70% of an artist’s income — up from about a third in the 1990s — making the current situation especially dire. Just as communities come together to enjoy music, we can also come together to support artists and show how much we value their music. Here are three things you can do from home right now to help!
1. Merch, merch, merch!
With artists receiving an ever-shrinking cut from record sales, merchandise has become a significant part of their income — just one t-shirt sale can provide as much cash as roughly 6,500 Spotify streams, and a single hoodie can be worth more than 50,000 YouTube views. With in-person concerts on hiatus for the foreseeable future, artists are selling apparel, posters and more on places like Bandcamp and Instagram, including lots of exclusives from cancelled tours. Not only will buying merch help your favorite artists survive this crisis — it will also add a dose of cool to your wardrobe!
2. Chip in at virtual concerts
We’ve been beyond inspired to see artists from across the musical spectrum streaming free virtual concerts from their homes or studios. These intimate shows not only entertain us with amazing live music, but also provide us with a sense of community and togetherness that has been especially hard to come by lately. Most of these shows operate on a “pay what you can” basis, so if you can spare any amount of money, we encourage you to chip in, just as you would drop a few dollars in the bucket when you’re enjoying music on a Levitt lawn. We’ll continue to keep you posted about upcoming virtual concerts from Levitt artists and beyond in the coming weeks.
3. Support relief efforts
In addition to providing direct support to individual artists, you can also contribute to relief efforts that support musicians on a broader scale. The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, are all working on a national level, and similar efforts may be underway at a local scale in your community. Although this assistance will not be immediate, these organizations are working to help musicians at large recover from the COVID-19 crisis. We’ll continue to post information about relief efforts and resources for musicians in need of assistance.
Even during these uncertain times, together we will persevere by recognizing our common humanity. We can’t wait to once again gather on Levitt lawns and see our favorite musicians doing what they love. In the meantime, let’s support them as best we can!