Supporting Musicians During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Supporting Musicians During The COVID-19 Pandemic
TLDR: Musicians are struggling right now. Here is a way to support them if you are so able. All profits from sales at will go straight to the artists.

(No matter what your ability to directly help, it would be amazing if you could share this post so that it hits as many eyes as possible.)

Update (10/1/2020): Bandcamp is continuing to wave fees the first Friday of every month, and we are going to continue to give our artists 100% of all profits on any sales until such time as we are all able to return to a pandemic-free existence.

I was just telling my wife the other day how sick I’ve gotten of receiving all of these “our response to COVID-19” messages from companies, but now here I am writing my own. Sorry for that. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t something I felt is deeply needed. I apologize for the length as well, but I promise there’s a payoff at the end.

Independent musicians are being hit hard by the current pandemic situation. Most of them rely much more on revenue earned from playing live shows than they do the typically paltry in comparison funds from consumption of their recorded music. Live gigs are completely drying up, as you can imagine. It’s not easy to make a living playing music, perhaps in recent years more-so than in the past, given how little income most musicians typically make from recordings. The advent of streaming services certainly has a lot to do with that.

Of course, maybe these musicians will see a bump in their streaming numbers, now that everyone is holed up at home and possibly has more time on their hands to listen to music.

Here’s the real kicker – say you buy a digital download, vinyl, or CD directly from an independent artist. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say all of those equate to a direct profit to the artist of $5 each. To earn that same amount of income directly from you via streaming on Spotify, assuming they are completely independent and don’t have someone else taking a cut (most labels – not us, but most – take 70%) you would have to listen to their songs 1,145 times. Good thing you’ve got all of that extra time on your hands. I’m sure you’ve seen the streaming math before, but rarely is it framed in terms of one fan’s support, is it? Direct fan support is still the lifeblood that fuels independent music, and streaming just really doesn’t qualify the same way.

Did you know that most independent musicians still get much of the income from their recorded music by selling physical copies, whether digital download cards, vinyl, or CDs (yup, those are amazingly still a thing) at their live shows? That and sales of other physical merch at their shows such as t-shirts are something they rely on heavily. Well, there goes all of that income as well. Sales via their online stores, and from online label stores like ours for Inhesion Records, are often paltry in comparison. It makes sense as people feel more like they’re directly supporting the artist when they physically buy something from them in person after seeing them play a great show without the overhead of shipping and online vendor fees. I totally get and support that.

On top of that, a lot of musicians support themselves through things like teaching music lessons, waiting tables, bartending, or other flexible service industry gigs that are completely drying up right now. It’s a bit of a double-whammy in that even their fallback is gone in so many cases.

In short, musicians work extremely hard to bring you their art, to fill up that soundtrack that I’m sure accompanies you through much of your day, often for very little reward even when we aren’t facing a pandemic. I can easily imagine how this current situation might cause many of them to abandon music altogether in frustration if it goes on for too long.

I am in a fortunate position to be able to continue to help out the musicians I work with via Inhesion Studios, and to support many others that I love by buying their music, or leaving them a virtual tip when they do a live stream from wherever they are quarantined. I know plenty of you who might read this are struggling through this in your own way, but there are plenty who might be in a similarly fortunate position. If you are so fortunate, and are looking for ways to help, I’d encourage you to direct that energy to helping musicians.

Bandcamp, the platform where many artists and labels sell their music directly to fans online, and where the Inhesion Records web store is hosted, has taken the generous step of waiving all of their fees for 24 hours starting tonight at midnight Pacific time (see

Inspired by this, and in trying to continue our tradition of doing whatever we can to help the musicians we work with, all of the albums from The Liquorsmiths in the Inhesion Records web store will be on sale, and we will be completely forgoing our normal profit share, instead passing on all profits directly to the band.

We’ve still got a good number of both of their high-quality vinyl album pressings on hand, and even some CDs. Of course, if you’re really feeling generous, and physical items aren’t really your thing, the best way to directly support is to buy the digital download, for which you can name your price. That is 100% profit direct to the band.

The Liquorsmiths’ records are two of my favorite pieces of art in which I’ve ever been involved (I engineered, co-produced, and mixed them), and I’d love for you to give these amazing musicians some support by buying and enjoying their music.

If they’re not your jam, that’s cool – but I do hope you’ll consider finding another artist that is more your style to support in the same way. There is a huge amount of great independent music to be found on Bandcamp, and waived fees or not it’s almost always a better means of support for the artist than the streaming services.

Thanks for reading my rambling, and may your quarantine be filled with awesome tunes.

Jeremy Grelle

Founder, Inhesion Studios and Inhesion Records

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