Due to the coronavirus crisis, millions around the world are suddenly out of work, and artists feel the pain of this unexpected loss of income as hard as anyone else.
In fact, if you’re a working musician or artist, you’re probably feeling a little stressed.
Shows, tours, and festivals have all been postponed or cancelled for the next 3-4 months, and more cancellations seem likely. Releases are being pushed back, people aren’t gathering to rehearse or make videos.
You may be wondering; how do I keep my music career alive through all of this?
There are options for you. We’re going to do a guide on connecting with fans and staying active and another one on the resources available to artists who are struggling with lost work.
A Note Before We Start
Before I get into all these suggestions for remaining active and productive, I want to note that it is okay to rest. You do not need to make content just because you are stuck inside.
This time is weird and stressful. You may find yourself with a bunch of extra time on your hands, but you also may find yourself with an increased workload and more to worry about at home.
This guide is not for busy parents, people who are still working full-time from home, or for anyone who just isn’t feeling up to it. Those feeling are fair. You will create again when you feel healthy, safe, and inspired.
Personally, I haven’t been posting much. I’ve done two guest spots on livestreams and posted some stories, but that’s it.
However, I’ve been slowly writing more and producing more content to sit on and it has me feeling inspired.
So, here are a few ways you can stay connected with fans during quarantine.
Livestream shows have become the new normal! It seems like everyone is streaming an acoustic set of themselves.
Before it gets overdone, I would suggest you give it a shot. It’s pretty fun, it drives engagement, and you can do it from the safety of your own home.
Of course, if you’re already getting tired of livestreams, here are a few ways you can change things up a little bit:
Have Guests During Your Livestream
I’ve started to see artists host other artists on their livestream concerts – in fact, I’ve been a guest on two of them already. I love this idea, because it helps everyone.
Each artist that joins brings a bit of their fan base, and it helps vary the show for the viewers. Organize it in advance, and make sure to let people know who you’re having on the show.
Technologically, it’s pretty easy to do. Here’s how it’s done on Instagram:
Have your guest tune into your livestream, and have them request to be in your livestream. When you get the request, just accept it, and start the show.
Alternatively, while you’re livestreaming, choose your guest from the list of viewers, and invite them to be in your show. They just have to accept!
Try To Make It More Of A Show, And Promote It In Advance
I’ve seen some DJs lately doing a good job of organizing a live show, putting some work into making it fun, and then promoting it.
Try organizing a show/party with a couple DJs, and hosting a show. You can stream high-quality audio through Twitch, Ustream, or your streaming platform of choice, and have fans from around the world tune in.
Encourage people to make themed drinks or dress up and video call their friends. Live music is a great way to connect and brighten a day, even digitally.
Curate A Livestream Festival
Festivals getting cancelled due to the virus is such a bummer. Totally necessary, but we all love festivals – and they can be such great income for artists and players alike!
I’ve seen a few major artists involved in one-day ‘livestream festivals’ and there’s no reason why you couldn’t be involved as well!
Pick some of your favourite artists both locally and around the world, and reach out to them. Ask if they would be up to play a livestreamed set at a certain time – you can host the livestream, and have your festival acts guest on a schedule.
This would give you a bunch of content to promote and get people from everyone’s fan bases interested.
Release Some Content
If you’ve been sitting on some content, now might be a good time to start putting it out!
People are home and they are definitely staring at their phones a lot. Try to get on there with some music to accompany their isolation.
The caveat is, if you had content that was tied into a lot of touring and live playing, you may want to hold off. Every artist has a different fan base and only you know what is right for you, but some artists may not want to release something and not be able to tour it.
However, if you weren’t planning on touring anyways, go for it. Space out the releases and do lots of regular promotion of it – make Instagram stories, release some photos, do the whole thing!
Stockpile New Content
If you’ve had an idea for some new content – be it videos, new original music, new art, new covers – now is a great time to spend a few days on it.
Making stuff is medicine. It feels so good to create, even if it is hard to do so. Pushing yourself to make something you’ve haven’t had time to make will feel good.
Don’t even worry about whether or not it’s good – you’re working, you’re practicing, and you’re creating. You don’t have to release it, just stockpile it!
Eventually, when you are ready to release new material, you’ll have some ready.
While you’re creating this stuff, you can still post little snippets of what you’re working on. Behind the scenes Stories and posts can be great content.
Do Something Special On Social Media
I’ve seen artists doing a few interesting things on social media lately, and I have to say, it’s a good time to try something new.
I’ve seen a couple artists do a special release of some unreleased material. People have to message or give them their email for a link, and they’ll hear new music.
Some artists have been releasing a bunch of old music and old demos – this can be a great way to earn a few extra dollars in a time when you really need them!
Other artists have taken this time to produce something and use the proceeds from their creation to donate to various charities and COVID-19 relief funds.
This could also be a good time to release merch and have some sales on your online store. People can still shop from home and you still need to pay rent!
Get more involved with your fans on social media – run a contest, start a challenge, do something to engage them. Everyone is looking for something fun to do while they are inside, give the people what they want!
Rest And Share As Much As You Feel
Everyone is having a lot of the same feelings right now, so feel free to rest up and share as little or as much as you wish to.
Some fans would love to know what their favourite artists and musicians are doing during quarantine. Are you binging a Netflix show? Baking cookies? Writing new songs? Let your fans know how you’re getting through it!
Or, if you wish to take your time and do whatever feels good, honour that.
There will come a time, hopefully soon, when we all return to playing, rehearsing, creating, releasing, touring, and festival-going. Look forward to that!