Last week, in order to safeguard the health and safety of our global community, we made the tough decision to cancel all upcoming Sofar shows until it’s safe to host public gatherings again. These times are uncertain for everyone, and our hearts go out to those most deeply impacted by this virus and its disruptions. Even in times of hardship, our commitment to helping artists remains, and in lieu of being able to host shows we're working on other ways to support and promote our artist community. We know that music fans everywhere are looking for ways to help artists, too.
In today’s music industry, the majority of independent artists’ earnings come from live performances and merch sales at those events. Without that consistent revenue stream, artists, especially independent ones, will need our support now more than ever.
Here are a few things you can do to help artists during this time and beyond:
— If you bought a ticket to a show that has been postponed or canceled, instead of asking for a refund, consider holding on to your ticket for the rescheduled date or donating the cost of your ticket to the artist or venue.
— Don't just stream an artist's music, purchase it directly from them! The amount paid to artists from digital downloads is much more than streaming revenue. Stock up on vinyl and CDs from your favorite artists or dig deep into the back catalog to show them your support.
— Buy merch online (bonus points if you purchase it on the artist’s website). Wearing a band's shirt, hat or tote bag is a great way to help them spread the word, especially if you post a photo of it on your socials.
— Keep up with what artists are doing by signing up for their email list. It’s the best way for them to stay in touch with you and share any music or news.
— Look out for artists and venues organizing fundraisers, live streams and other online events. Tune in, share with others and donate where you can!
— Follow and share artists you love and discover new ones. Sharing what you’re listening to in your group chat or on Instagram stories is a great way to stay connected from afar and is especially helpful for artists that have recently released new albums or singles.
— Sign up to Patreon, where you pay a small monthly amount to artists of your choosing for access to exclusive content, or consider donating to Kickstarter campaigns. If the artist doesn’t use those platforms, reach out directly and ask how you can best support them.
— Always wanted to learn to play guitar or the basics of home recording? Reach out to a musician you admire to see if you can pay them for a virtual lesson.
— Search for and donate to local area relief funds for musicians or organizations like MusiCares that will be supporting artists during this time.
— See if your favorite local venue has a membership plan or gift cards for purchase. Let’s make sure our independent venues and local businesses are still around to host shows for years to come.
We hope that you’ll find a deeper connection with artists you already love or discover a new favorite. All of us at Sofar are here because of our passion for connecting artists with new audiences, and we’re working hard to find ways to foster the same community and discovery in digital spaces. And while we’re unable to host live events, for now, let’s all stay strong in our belief that, even in isolation, music brings people together.
Header image is of India Carney by Asha Moné