Everyone is or will be affected by the evolving situation with Coronavirus, but if you're a musician who relies on playing to audiences to help make a living you're already being hit hard.
Tours and festivals are being cancelled, and plenty more will be for the foreseeable future. It's hard to overstate the devastating effect it could have on the music industry, and in particular the artists we need for it to thrive. So how can we help?
There's a lot that can be done as music fans and from people in the industry to try and offset the effects of revenue loss. Matt Hughes is co-director at the Good As Gold Group alongside Hayley Connelly. He previously founded the London-based Devil PR and now at Gold As Gold he and Hayley work to promote a diverse range of artists including Faith No More, Architects, The Driver Era, Knocked Loose, Rise Against, Angels & Airwaves, The Maine and AFI.
Matt is also the manager for Black peaks, Jamie Lenman, Rolo Tomassi and False Advertising. He's also a passionate advocate for support and cooperation in the music industry that's never been more important than now.
He was kind enough to offer some positive steps on how musicians, fans and the wider industry can move forwards to help each other in the face of this ongoing adversity.
Hold on to your tickets
"If you have concert tickets for shows that have been postponed, hold onto them," Matt advises. "Unless you really need that already spent 10/15/20 quid, let the money stay with the promoter as they have most likely either spent the money either marketing and promoter a show/tour that now doesn’t exist OR will need that money to survive over the coming weeks/months."
Buy some merch or music
"Look at bands merch sites, try and buy from bands direct as much as possible, ditto using their band camp sites and buying vinyl/CD/tapes etc from bands direct OR from your fave record shop.
"I’ve started buying a record a week from Banquet as they are so brilliant and important and wonderfully run and also a piece of merch each week direct from a bands online merch store - and share them!"
Support a music community
"Look at other aspects of this that you love and try if you can to support in any way, possibly look to buy vouchers for future use if you don’t want to decide on what to buy/order right away, or or preorder gig tickets or albums coming up in the later part of the year.
"If you can’t do it financially, perhaps use your voice, your community and your socials to support. Podcasts, artists, designers, authors, comic books - they will all need help love and support anyway they can get it."
"Stream away, make playlists, share them, share the love and positivity on social media. Sign up to your bands Spotify / amazon etc profiles, listen to their radio stations, discover new bands and artists and acts and shout about them, support them if you can and maybe even get inspired to use the time to be creative yourself."
Reconnect with print
"Possibly use this opportunity - if you aren’t already - to reconnect with print media. I love reading magazines of all kinds and being stuck at home with time on your hands, perhaps look at subscribing to music magazines or art magazines, gaming, comic book, travel, culture, politics - whatever.
"Music mags aside as I sub to all of them (shout out to Total Guitar, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Sound, Q, Kerrang, Upset, Clash and Loud and Quiet)."
Musicians supporting musicians
It would be great to see bands sharing other bands' releases and music and videos and live streaming links - especially ‘inactive’ bands - let’s make a real community of support even bigger now.
"This is especially important for larger bands - let your social media teams off the hook and take over for a bit to shout about other, smaller bands music, merch, releases and streaming links/videos."
Streaming performances and lessons
"If people can’t come to shows, let’s give people live shows to their houses, flats and devices with paid concerts streamed live.
"And even if you're not a professional and set up to make money, perhaps some good, live music is good to get out there in the world at this time.
"Online music lessons, tutorials, play alongs, jams are also a great option for musicians to stay active and connect with audiences – anything to keep things creative, interactive and out there."
Artists: release new music and collaborate
"Artists making and releasing new music to give people some joy and hope (and a distraction) as well as a means to support you. The traditional model of only ever doing this with touring is out at the moment so let’s just keep making new stuff and spreading it far and wide.
"Collaborate with each other on creative adventures and share online (art, music, visuals, remixes, merch, the sky is the limit). I know a large amount of this revolves around labels and managers and contracts etc but I’m pretty sure at this time a large amount of leeway is to be given to musicians."
Pay it forwards
"Look to creatives you are going to be working with or wanting to work with (photographers, artists, designers etc) and possibly talk and sort terms now to help them financially - if of course you can do this with your own budget."
For more information about Matt Hughes's work with the Good As Gold Group visit goodasgoldgroup.co