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How To Best Support Your Favourite Musicians

Streaming is not a viable business for most indie artists. Here are four ways you can actually support your favourite musicians.

By now, it should hardly surprise anyone that streaming services are not a viable business model for most artists, especially if they're walking outside the big mainstream path.

While streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music have made it easier for consumers to access new music, the revenue model doesn't work for the majority of musicians.

Suppose you're paying a premium subscription for any of the services. In that case, the money goes into a pool—and you're financing the big labels and streaming giants like Ed Sheeran or Talyor Swift, whether you're actually listening to them or not.

While it is completely understandable not to want to ditch the convenience of streaming, every music fan should know that simply paying for a premium service does not support their favourite artists.

However, there are five easy ways alongside streaming you can use to actually (financially) support your beloved musicians and enable them to keep doing what they do best.

Buy Their Music

person taking photo of assorted vinyl album
Photo: Florencia Viadana / Unsplash

Okay, this should be obvious: Buying is better than streaming. When you buy an album or single physically or digitally, the artists get a fixed amount of money.

There are even two main advantages for you as the buyer: If you purchase a physical product like a vinyl record, you have a piece of art to decorate your home (provided the cover art is outstanding).

And if you buy a digital download, the music is protected, and you actually own a copy of the file. Streaming services often remove songs from their platforms, or the artists themselves delete them for various reasons.

Buy Tickets Early

shallow focus photography of man in white shirt
Photo: Nicholas Green / Unsplash

Concerts are great to support your favourite musicians. They not only earn money from ticket sales but shows provide an easy opportunity for them to sell merchandise (see next point).

However, since the pandemic, pre-sales have been struggling, sometimes even leading to cancelled shows because the financial risk was too high.

So if you really want to see your favourite artist live, buy a ticket early. And keep this also in mind: You're simultaneously supporting your local concert venue. What a great feeling!

Buy Their Merchandise

white dress shirt hanging on clothes hanger
Photo: Fallon Michael / Unsplash

As mentioned above, merchandise aside from physical music has become an essential revenue stream for artists. While certain genres like metal have engrained it into their culture with band shirts and patches, it isn't as common in other scenes.

So purchasing merchandise like shirts, stickers, or other bits and pieces is an effective way to help artists make ends meet—especially because compared to the music itself, there are fewer stakeholders like labels, publishers, or distributors involved.

Support Them On Creator Platforms

silver and gold round coins in box
Photo: Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

Some musicians take advantage of newer opportunities to gain the support of their fans. They might be present on creator platforms like Patreon or Fanklub, where you pay a small monthly subscription. These platforms provide them with a steady income, often trading the money for exclusive content for their paying supporters.

Other artists seek funding for their next album on a crowdfunding platform. Also, there, you can directly support the musicians in their creative endeavours.

Spread The Word

people using phone while standing
Photo: camilo jimenez / Unsplash

Well aware that all of these support approaches require a certain disposable income in a time when life, in general, gets more expensive, it's also worth considering that the same is true for musicians.

It is important to remember that music, despite all the contrary signs, is not just a commodity but art created with passion and inspiration. It brings us relief, channels emotions, and sparks joy.

However, there's one thing that helps and is completely free: Spread the word! Recommend artists to your friends and multiply their reach through social media.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Alain from Young+Aspiring and Frank from Lautstark for the inputs and reality check of this post.