6 Ways to Support Your Local Music Artist

2020 was a difficult year for artists and live performers all around the globe, with the onslaught of COVID-19 and its regulations putting a halt on a scene that thrived in hoards. However, where an industry stood to rumble, it evolved instead; we witnessed artists take to distancing norms, hosting metaverse concerts and balcony DJ sessions instead, and even drive-in performances to ensure safe socialization.

With festivals now functioning at full capacity and venues hosting live music once again, live performers have the opportunity to once again engage with attendees and passionately display their talent.

Musicians have had the opportunity to sit back and re-strategize their musical ventures during the pandemic. However, they still need the continued support of their fans, showing up to shows that can finally host a full-house. Having attended several gigs in 2022 and interacting with many musicians and artists, we’ve put together a few ways to support local music artists during their shows.

Show Up and How? 

Image Via by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Pre-register / Purchase A Ticket

Demand! When you search up a specific event and purchase tickets firsthand, you’re letting the organizer and venue know that the artist is in-demand! Most, if not all, venues are more likely to feature your favorite local artist again if they have a substantial following. And that doesn’t mean online, we’re talking physical heads, and even more so, frequenting ones.

Don’t get your tickets at the gate if you can purchase them online. Better yet, sign up for pre-registration whenever you have the option. It is the easiest way to say, “Hey, I’m showing up for this artist, and I’m really looking forward to it!”

Talent supports talent. Artists that are booked frequently are more likely to invite other local acts to be part of their shows as they tour other cities. This gives newer musical acts and performers that haven’t yet hit your radar a chance to showcase their talent. Catching your favorite artists live is a foundational step towards a larger active ecosystem of local talent!

Booking tickets beforehand helps the artists in many more ways than just the monetary ones! You’re giving them an idea of the crowd to expect, which could make for some winning last-minute changes to any set.

Actively interacting with your favorite artists across platforms is a guaranteed way to support their success across ventures, namely all media from the artist (artwork, photoshoots, music video recordings) and other promotional efforts.

The Guest List Question

Typically, a gig lineup on any particular day consists of two or three supporting acts leading up to the headlining artist for the event. This means three individual acts squabbling over one limited guest list.

The guest list is meant to be reserved for mentors, parents, music teachers, and people who have inspired the artist to pursue their talent or their passion. This could also include individuals who have to lend a hand in making the performer the brand they are, i.e. managers, publicists, agents, etc. Unless invited as a guest, purchase a ticket if possible. Show your friend, who is a performer (in addition to possibly working a full-time job), that you value their efforts.

Just as you would buy a movie ticket in advance (and aid the next box office hit), purchase a concert ticket in advance too (and aid the next big thing in the music scene). Also, crucially do this to avoid missing out, since tickets can sell out quickly depending on the popularity of the venue or the artists. Additionally, when tickets sell in advance, the hosting venue will make efforts to organize its staffing, food and beverage inventory, so as to not compromise its service. And a venue at full capacity because of the artists’ ticket-buying supporters is sure to book them again!

Get the Word Out! 

Image By Brett Jordan Via Pexels

Media has evolved from carvings in stone, extensive newspaper articles, and the radio, to now minute-long ‘reels’ that provide valuable information. If you’re not attending a live show, aren’t much of a blogger, or are not crafty at creating reels, you could instead share a story, tweet, or post an image/video about an upcoming show or one you’ve attended. This gives you a chance to showcase an artist, spread word about them, and even one day look back and tell the artist, “Hey, I was there!”

Pankaj Tak of Groovedarshan encourages fans to go one step further than sharing or resharing posts on Social Media. Tak says, “A step beyond would be to tag local venues and music journalists on their stories so they (both venues and journalists/bloggers) can take notice of these artists performing.”

Importantly, encourage artists, musicians, live performers, and singer-songwriters to be as digitally active as possible, and not just during a music release. Yes, it gets tricky, but during the lockdown, we saw virtual gigs, some of which were live on Facebook, Zoom, and Instagram. The scope for engagement online is vast, and encouraging your favorite artist to use this to their advantage will boost their credibility, fanbase and more importantly, their belief in their support system, i.e. you.

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DnB duo Marble Elephant remarks that the best way to maintain a connection with your audience as an artist would be by releasing a lot of content and music. They add, “When you’re not performing, sharing content on Instagram is a very good way to keep a connection with your fanbase. People sharing your content around the internet is very welcome in this specific case scenario as you’re not performing and need traction.”

Meanwhile, DnB musician Sub:liminal also shared a similar comment as Marble Elephant. “As far as I’ve seen, if you are a newcomer, the more active you are on your socials, the more people will be in touch with your work and what you do. I think it really matters if you have your fanbase’s attention,” he said.

“When they start to share your music, and you don’t expect that, that’s the moment when your music is staying connected to the audience when you’re not performing. Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and other buying/streaming platforms will definitely keep you connected to your audience.”

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Did you know? A little more than a week into its launch, the official Lollapalooza India Instagram account currently has over 20k followers.

The Take-Away? Let’s ensure that every artist performing at this debuting event also receives the same level of digital recognition. What would the event be without them? 

Invite A friend

Today’s gigs feature a diverse range of music genres combined into a stellar lineup. Adding to a variety of stage setups, there will be a song and a story that connects with everyone. Originals, covers, mixes, and tributes keep a good balance in the setlist, keeping attendees hooked to the events of the evening. Artists who frequent live venues are also skilled at stage banter, engaging the audience with stories and quips between numbers.

Live performances allow artists to make real connections with their listeners and audience, beyond a music streaming platform or social media handle. Take your friends with you, and make some new ones with similar music tastes while you’re there! Besides friends, family, and work colleagues, ideal invitees are emerging talents, budding musicians, and those interested in careers in light and sound.

Be A Supporter, Buy The Merch

Artists, creators, and brands spend weeks and weeks together hashing out the finer details of their products and merchandise. Some are more meticulously detailed and crafted with deep storytelling. Artists design accessories, clothing apparel, face masks, utility pouches, artwork, and even NFTs as their merchandise. Items are often on sale at the venue itself at the time of a show. Purchasing these items not only adds value to the artist by highlighting everyone involved in their merchandise creation but also help to forge a stronger association between the buyer and the brand. Also, wearing a band’s merchandise in a social setting will inevitably lead to interactions with more like-minded people.

Aditya Malve of Diversion Ahead cites merch as one of the major sources of income for a musician. “Since music royalties are not a viable option, online streaming platforms pay peanuts, other sources of income include merchandising,” says Malve.

Feedback

We’ve spent time rating movies we watch, reviewing restaurants and dinners, and commenting on any other service we procure, so why not a musical performance? Musicians are always hanging around after their set, mostly packing their gear or arranging their transportation. If you have the opportunity to speak with them, let them know how you felt about their set. Tell them which track you connected with the most or what brought you to attend the show. If you don’t get to meet them, you could even send them a direct message on social media, or an email!

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Food and Beverage 

Auro Kitchen & Bar, a popular venue that hosts DJ sessions in New Delhi, India

If you are attending a gig, maximize the opportunity to go through the food and beverage menu and treat yourself to some of their specialties. Food outlets offer a diverse selection of meals and frequently display special offers at the time of an event. Patronizing their offerings not only demonstrates the artist is selling tickets at the venue, but also that the attendees contribute to their primary source of income, which is food and beverage sales. Many larger venues also host free gigs for those who enjoy listening to live music and discovering new artists and sounds.

Attend the events, do that dinner you wanted to grab outdoors, and show your support for the local music ecosystem. Make that post and that tweet and make plans for the next week if your budget allows for it! These could be artists you enjoy, admire, or know firsthand, and showing up goes a long way in making their careers a success. Wear that t-shirt you bought at the stall outside the venue, and when someone asks about it, take pride in the talents you support.

A show at your local bar today could be at a sold-out stadium tomorrow, but never without the support of those that attended those very first local shows in the first place. It all starts somewhere!

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