When it comes to disasters like COVID-19, creators are one of society’s most valuable assets — they help us document history, process the present, and they create space for us to cope and work through our emotions about what is happening to the most vulnerable among us.
As the threat of Coronavirus expands into a global concern, mandates like social-distancing, business closure, and quarantine are all necessary for slowing the spread of the disease and not overwhelming our health care systems. However, these measures also have a disastrous impact on artists, whose livelihoods are directly connected to the gathering of people, be that at concert venues, bars, theatres, etc. During times like these, supporting artists and making sure they have the financial and/or economic resources to weather a public health crisis is not only the right thing to do, it’s our responsibility.
For those who might be worried about their friends and family, fellow creatives, or artists they already support, here is a breakdown of some of the best ways to continue helping creators during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, for artists looking for resources, we’ll also share a few ideas on ways you can garner support from your fans.
Purchase merch, gift cards, and engage with digital-first programming.
Over the next few months, you’re going to see a lot of musicians looking for ways to interact with fans outside of the normal touring format. Things like merchandise, physical and digital products, and livestreams that can be consumed in the safety of your own home are more important than ever for the livelihood of musicians. By joining a livestream, purchasing merch, or even buying a band’s gift card from places like Bandcamp, you can help keep your favorite artists afloat.
Engage with them on their platform of choice.
Whether it’s becoming a monthly patron on Patreon, donating to a Kickstarter campaign, engaging with a livestream on StageIt or buying music directly from the artist on Bandcamp, there are so many ways to connect with artists who are using technology to their advantage. If you’re not sure what platform your favorite band uses, ask them. Even things as simple as sharing a playlist where they’re featured or shouting them out on Twitter may lead to more ears on their music and reminds them that you’re interested in supporting them.
Honor the policy of tour cancelations and postponements by holding onto tickets.
As simple as it is, not demanding an immediate refund for a rescheduled show can be very helpful for artists. Not complaining about the inconvenience their cancellation has caused you is an easy way to be kind to artists who are dealing with the fallout the pandemic has had on their careers. This is also a good time to give them some love on social media, and let them know you understand and support their cancellations due to safety concerns. You’d be surprised how much a few kind words can mean to the artist on the other side of that Twitter avatar.
If you have the means, donate directly to artists in need.
Check up on the social media posts of your favorite creators and educate yourself about how the Coronavirus is affecting their bottom line. If you can, maybe send them money directly on Venmo and Paypal. When a large group of people band together to help each other with small acts of kindness it can have a huge impact. If you don’t have the means to support them, that’s okay. Sharing their posts on social media is the next best thing.
Donate to or apply to our creator grant, What the Fund
Another great way to support creators is by donating to our grant program to support creators impacted by Covid-19: What the Fund.
We’re starting this grant program to benefit select artists who are being impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant recipients will be chosen by a board of fellow creators. Patreon is kicking off the grant by donating $10K, and are accepting contributions from anyone who can help. You can donate here and if you are a creator in need, apply for the grant, here.
Incorporate new digital-first programming into your creative routine.
Livestreams, gift cards, merch offerings — these are all ways to drum up the support you need.
Your fans want to help you, so let them by giving them options. If you don’t have these things available to your fans, don’t worry, just continue creating. Making art about the experience of living through this pandemic is something many people need right now, so staying active in whatever craft makes you feel most energized is important. Keep creating if you have the energy — the support will follow.
Give your fans the chance to access your work remotely.
If you’re interested in starting a Patreon, the ability to offer different rewards for different levels of support is an extremely effective way to connect with fans during a trying time like this. Unreleased songs, alternate lyric sheets, b-side versions, behind-the-scenes videos, newsletters, and peeks at your artistic process are exactly what fans want to be engaging with while they’re unable to attend your shows. If you’re not sure which funding platform would be best for you, look around at what other creators you like are using, and see which one would be the most natural fit for you to share your content and get support.
Practice self-care and know your own limits.
Above all, the most important thing is your mental health and personal well-being. Schedule breaks and try to work on things when you have the energy, and rest when you don’t. Burning out is real, and it doesn’t help anyone to have creative people overworked. Taking time off and focusing on staying healthy is always the most important thing – anyone worth having in your corner who supports and loves your work will understand and respect that.