The relationship between music creators and their fans is a special one, no doubt, and true fans like you want to do what they can to show their support. If you’ve been watching the news, you may be aware that music creators – including up-and-coming acts and behind-the-scenes players like songwriters and producers -- have been faced with a number of challenges in a rapidly changing music industry, including a downward shift in how they are compensated for the work they do.
Here’s a short list of the things you can do to help right now. And while many of them are things you are already doing, we’ve added a couple of suggestions that you might not have thought of.
Check Out A Music Festival
Whether you like pop, jazz, rock, alternative, or country, there are dozens of annual music festivals across the country. In addition to live performances, these events often give fans a chance to get closer to the artists through after-show autograph sessions; festivals also offer food, crafts, games, and other activities. While you are sure to see some of your favorites, you will likely be introduced to artists you haven’t heard of before. As you know, the most direct way that music makers earn income is through live performances, and buying a ticket helps support their art. In addition, festivals are great places to pick up T-shirts, CDs, and other merchandise – sales that also benefit the performers directly. (Note: Songwriters and producers don’t benefit from live performances like these.)
Subscribe To A Streaming Service
Streaming services are great for connecting fans with the music they want to hear. They’re portable, often programmable, and instantaneous. Services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Rhapsody, Tidal and others have revolutionized listening habits. You can make a big difference for your own listening pleasure – and for those whose music you listen to – by subscribing to the paid tier of the service. You will get a better listening experience by subscribing, with more access to the service’s musical database and no pesky ads to interrupt your musical flow. For a nominal monthly fee, you will get all the music you want and give a little something back in compensation to creators in the process.
Purchase Your Favorite Album In Physical Form
The Internet and dozens of music services can deliver your favorite full length project straight to your device. But consider buying a CD, vinyl album or even a cassette tape. Thanks to a burgeoning nostalgia movement, there is heightened interest in older forms of music listening. The benefits? Consumers get the chance to actually hold that piece of music in their hands and feel a tangible connection to the artist who made it. There are practical benefits to having a physical product, too: you can enjoy the cover art, read the album credits (listing the musicians, songwriters, producers, and where the songs were recorded) and liner notes (which can include an essay about the artist and/or how the album was made). These bonuses give you a more complete multimedia experience along with the music. (Did you know that the GRAMMY Awards honor Best Recording Package and Best Liner Notes among other categories?) That tangible connection to the artist – along with a healthy dose of nostalgia – may be why vinyl is also rebounding, with sales of LPs and turntables both climbing. And music is still available on cassette tape, thanks to emerging bands and mixtape masters. But most importantly, sales of physical product generate a higher royalty rate for music creators than downloading or streaming – an important distinction considering how many professionals contribute their skills to each recording.
Check The Source
There is an overwhelming amount of information and data out there, and of course there are multiple web portals for getting to your favorite tunes. You may believe you are getting a good deal by clicking on those “free download” buttons, or that the site itself is giving you legitimate access to content, but make sure you double-check the source before you download that tune or app. Not all the sites offering music are trustworthy – or legal.
Connect with Your Congressional Representative
Did you know that The Recording Academy is also an advocacy organization and the primary force behind a slew of bills in Washington? These bills ask Congress to update copyright and music licensing laws that have been in place since the 1940s. These updates will help your favorite artists, songwriters and producers get fair compensation for their work from today’s technology in today’s terms. You can take action by using The Recording Academy’s handy tool for contacting your member of Congress and asking them to support music creators. Spread the word among your friends so they can get involved, and use social media to share your views and use the hashtag #SupportMusic.
So go ahead and enjoy your favorite tunes and experience your favorite artists by using one or more of these suggestions; you’ll get the added benefit of making a positive impact on music creators.