In a moment in time where the existence of live venues and the live music industry itself rest on increasingly fragile ground, many artists are in a financially precarious position. In the age of streaming, platforms like Spotify perpetuate the idea that music is something that can be procured for €9.99 a month, while the artists using these platforms earn on average $0.00318 per stream. As listeners, we have a responsibility to support artists in a more direct way, so here’s a bite-size list of ways to help musicians beyond depending upon streaming services.
Bandcamp is where most artists will drop physical copies of their music and merchandise, as well as digital downloads. Normally Bandcamp will take 15% of what artists earn through them, but Bandcamp Fridays have become a monthly staple since March. On these days, Bandcamp waive their artist fees and 100% of the profits from sales go to the artists themselves. The platform also compiles a fantastic daily update of new and interesting music via lists and features.
A monthly tiered subscription service that more and more musicians have started using. Each tier entitles the subscriber to certain rewards and it’s a really cool way of accessing exclusive content. See what artists like The Ocelots, Cry Monster Cry and The Mary Wallopers have going on their respective pages.
For the price of a cup of coffee each month, you can subscribe to get access to regularly curated playlists. Discover music you’ve never heard of recommended by some hugely talented folks. Gadget and the Cloud, Number Theory, Fomorian Vein and Roo Honeychild all have pages on the platform.
Here in Cork, we’re lucky to have independent sellers who take the time when choosing the records that they sell. For example, Plugd are selling an amazing plethora of LPs from a diverse range of genres online via Discogs, while Bunker Records on Camden Place is back open and bigger than before.
And otherwise, keep an ear out for artists beyond what Spotify recommends. If you listen to an artist that you think your friends would like, share links to their Bandcamp and socials. We can get so much joy from listening to music and we all have a responsibility to take steps towards a place where artists can make a living from making it.