Imagine life with no new or live music. It’s unthinkable. Arts and culture aren’t just nice things to have that make us feel better either. The combined industries employ many hundreds of thousands of people, see some of our biggest exports and bring in an enormous amount of revenue, playing a key part in the UK economy.
We have one of the best music scenes in the world. This is why music and musicians must be supported, just like any other business or commercial sector.
How to support musicians
Additionally, almost all musicians are self-employed freelancers with no sick pay, holiday entitlement or job security. This is part of the lifestyle and is accepted by that who enter into it. But it does mean that we should do all we can to make sure we aren’t doing anything that makes working conditions unfair or unethical.
It can be as simple as thinking about how and where you access your music, to donating to charities who help those in need.
The emerging artists’ fund and musicians’ charities
The PRS Foundation provides grants and funds for emerging arts. Joining PRS is advisable as a musician, as it ensures you get any royalties owed to you. Furthermore, by being part of PRS and supporting them, you support fellow musicians. You pay your admin fees and this adds to the PRS pot, much of which is invested back into emerging talent.
The same applies to the Musicians’ Union. It’s always good to be part of a larger community, as these communities support those within it.
There are other organisations you can join or donate too, as well. These include:
- The Fusion Fund
- The Arts Council and Creative Scotland
The best way to buy music to support artists
You may not be able to invest extra cash into these kinds of things, and that’s absolutely fine. In fact, there’s something even more valuable you can do, that won’t cost you anything. Shop ethically.
There are many ways to support musicians in a way you also gain. Here are some of the things you can buy:
- Official merch (not eBay second-hand versions or knockoffs)
- Gig and event tickets
- Physical albums and EPs
- Downloads of tracks, albums and EPs
- Streaming songs
You can also employ musicians. Even if you don’t work in the industry, you’ll need their services from time to time, especially at things like weddings and parties. Be sure to pay anyone you hire fairly and to be clear about what you expect and any contracts.
Or if you’re a writer, reviewer or blogger, you can support artists and musicians by writing articles about them, which provides them with free publicity.
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The most ethical way to buy music
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t download music illegally. It may seem like a harmless and convenient way to access freebies, but it’s hugely harmful to artists, distributors, Find out more about how music piracy affects the industry and why it’s a problem by watching this video.
The best streaming service for musicians: ethical music streaming
So if you want to stream music in a way that supports artists, which site should you go to?
Well, this can be tricky, as it’s an ever-changing landscape. Spotify got a bad rap for a while, but now many of the sites are much of a muchness. The key is to give your favourite artist your air time on an official site or platform.
Is streaming good for musicians?
Yes and no. Most artists will make little to nothing from their listens. But they also get the chance to access audiences from all around the world at the touch of a button. You can help them by following their artist profile.
Lots of followers and streams may not make them big bucks (until they hit the millions), but it can be hugely beneficial for them as artists, especially when it comes to attracting scouts and labels. Following them on social media and YouTube will have the same effect.
And of course, you can support the musicians you know on a personal level too. If a fellow artist is going through a hard time, take them for a coffee, cook them a meal, give them a call or drop them a message. Be a good friend, especially at the moment while times are hard for artists. If you think someone’s done a good job at a gig, let them know. Give them a review or recommendation on social media and tag them in a positive post.