These are stressful and confusing times for everyone across the world due to everything involving the Corona virus. Every industry is going to be hit in some way, but one of the biggest hits has come to the music industry as bars, restaurants, and venues across the world close down in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. All artists are no doubt affected, but local to mid level bands will likely take the hardest hits. If you're reading this, chances are you or one of your friends makes music or art and could use your help! Money is tight for everyone and concerts are a no go, so what can we do? Here are four ways you can make a HUGE difference FOR FREE?!
1) Like, Comment, and Share
Whether we like it or not we live in a digital age of social media and algorithms. Algorithms have become a huge part of social media and are made to enhance user experience by showing users the "best" content and cater to our individual interests. These algorithms are largely generated off of engagement, so basically the more likes, comments, and shares a post gets the more people will see it because apps like Instagram will push it to the top of people's feeds. They also bury posts that fail to generate engagement at a fast enough rate, thus sending them to social media purgatory. Thankfully though, some of the power is in our hands. Most social medias don't automatically show your content to all of your followers. However, if we simply take 10 seconds out of our day to double tap a picture and leave a cute little cat emoji on our friend's posts that counts as engagement which, when done consistently will boost the reach of their art/band pages over time. Moon Cactus' IG account has 860+ followers yet only ~420 of my followers actually see my posts....SMH! A simple share on Facebook or on an IG story can double or triple the number of eyes that see the post in the same amount of time it takes you to wipe your ass. With all the extra time we have on our hands staying indoors (and fewer wipes due to the TP shortage) this should be easy. Plus maybe your friend's art or music will REALLY resonate with one of your other friends and YOU are the only one able to bridge that gap! It's important to remember, we are all part of a community and everyone has to start somewhere, so take a couple seconds out of your day to engage and support. Your friends and favorite artists will really appreciate the helping hand.
2) Tell Your Friends/Word of Mouth
Time to get prehistoric with this shit. I believe there is no better way to communicate than word of mouth. No matter what the message or issue is I always find a face to face to be way more effective when trying to get a point across. What would you pay more attention to, texts from friends or a friend in your face telling you "You HAVE to check out this band!"? Probably a mix of both if we're being honest with ourselves but that text message linking a song carries a lot more weight if you have a conversation about it first. Either way, tell your friends! If enough people scream from the rooftops about the next big local band they are bound to get even bigger. Now might not be the best time for a face to face conversation due to the virus scare, so I encourage you to call a friend or make any effort you can to give a music suggestion. One of my friend's emailed my music to his buddy and got a positive response that earned me a follow on Spotify. He then screenshot the response and sent me a text that has been the highlight of my last week. No Corona virus exposure necessary and combining methods #2 and #4 - a TRUE pro!
3) Follow/Save Their Music
If you use a streaming service like Spotify chances are there's an option to follow an artist or an option to save their music and/or add it to a playlist. Extra clout if you do all three! This may seem like a small gesture, but as I mentioned in option #1 we live in an age of algorithms. Streaming services track just about every piece of data they can as a way to improve user experience and to find the next hot artist or track. Since I use Spotify personally I'll talk about that since it is what I know. Artists now have the option to submit to Spotify playlists directly when they upload music to the platform. In addition to the song not sucking the number of saves and playlist adds of previously released songs has a pretty big impact on the playlist maker's decision. If a high percentage of past listeners have saved or added a song to a playlist it makes the curator feel more confident that your song will be successful in a playlist. If the released song gets added to a playlist and listeners on that playlist save the song and add to their own playlists at a high rate the song will get added to even bigger playlists. Spotify playlist adds = streams = deserved money in your friend's pockets. Plus in the new music age tons of bands get their first big breaks through playlisting. One song on a big playlist can lead to national tours, performance slots at festivals, and some real clout! You can earn bonus points by making a Spotify playlist full of local bands that you play on low volume as you fall asleep. RACK UP THOSE STREAMS Y'ALL!
4) The Friendly Text
I for one am my own worst critic, and I'm sure I'm not the only artist that feels that way. It can be easy to let negative comments or reactions get you down. As a musician I know how easy it is to beat yourself up over little things or to get upset when you put a ton of time and effort into something that doesn't work out how you planned. It sucks and putting yourself out there for judgement is hard. Sometimes it seems like and endless cycle. Right now there are THOUSANDS of musicians out there who just had all their gigs/tour dates cancelled for the foreseeable future. These people put a ton of work into these events only for them to be ruined by something out of everyone's control. Trust me, it hurts more than just financially. That being said, a few kind words can go a long way. Send your friends an encouraging text, or slide in their dms with some uplifting words. It can really make a difference, and nothing is more inspiring than hearing from someone who appreciates all your work.
In times of doubt like this it is important that we stick together as a community and have each other's backs. We will beat this virus together. Remember the little things make a big difference, and in times like these especially they will not go unnoticed.