How to support artists and live music professionals during the coronavirus pandemic
Death Cab For Cutie

The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected many industries and members of the workforce, including the "original gig economy," music and live entertainment.

Many performances have been forced to cancel or postpone dates for weeks in an effort to enforce social distancing to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the touring industry derive the majority of their income from live shows and performances, a profession that is very hard to translate to a "work from home" environment. This means many musicians, as well as their crew members, will be out of reliable work for a while. But there's a ray of hope in all this—the fans and community. 

Here are several ways fans can support their favorite music professionals during these trying times.  

1. Donate to music industry charities
Existing charities that offer support to the music community are firing on all cylinders to provide increased assistance to artists and other music professionals who may need to come up with some extra cash. Both the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and MusiCares have set up emergency COVID-19 relief funds for which artists and other live professionals can apply. 

2. Check out (and pay for) virtual performances 
Whether in a living room or a garage, many artists are putting their talents to good use and insisting the show must go on, even during social isolation. Big names like John Legend and Keith Urban may have gotten the most coverage for their impromptu performances, but plenty of indie artists are giving it a go too.

Be sure to follow along with live performances here, and give all your favorite indie artists a follow so you're alerted when they decide to go live. Viewers can compensate performers in need with donations, merch, and album sales, and even ticket purchases to future IRL shows. 

3. Follow along for individual artist fundraisers 
Many artists are running their own fundraising campaigns, accepting money via PayPal and Venmo, sometimes in return for performances and other content (like an original song!). Make sure you follow your favorite indie artists to stay in-the-know of their upcoming initiatives. If they're staying silent, maybe consider a quick note for a request, like a streamed music lesson. 

4. Stock up during Bandcamp’s fundraiser 
This Friday (March 20), music retailer Bandcamp will waive their revenue share so artists can realize the full profits of their sales. As Bandcamp succinctly puts it, "For many artists, a single day of boosted sales can mean the difference between being able to pay rent or not." It seems like the perfect time to stock up on new finds or old faves; whatever format you prefer, they've got you covered, with digital, vinyl, cassettes and even CDs. 

5. Keep the music playing (preferably while rocking the merch) 
Music is what gets us through hard times. Now, more than ever, we should be listening for focus while we work and for release when we're off. Beyond mood-boosting, it's profit-boosting, as artists and composers get paid for each listen. For more points, add your favorite indie artists' songs to a playlist and share with your friends and your followers. Also, there's no better time to finally get your hands on that band tee you've been eyeing.