By now, we’re all well aware of the impacts of COVID-19 on our music scene. But what can us fans do to ease the pain?
We’ve compiled a list of simple things we can all do to support artists and venues until we get our old normal back.
Whenever that may be.
1. Buy their music
This sounds very obvious. But too many of us (me included) are guilty of streaming music from the big players like Spotify.
Gone are the days of the iconic Sony Walkman and mp3 players. But even so, there are still plenty of reasons why you should buy your music directly.
Major streaming services like Spotify pay artists very little per stream. So, unless you’re Liam Gallagher and getting millions of streams a month, it’s harder for smaller artists to generate an income from.
Agreed: Spotify is great for playlists and discovering new music. But consider buying your favourite songs outright on another service at the same time. You can do this on Bandcamp, Beatport, Amazon or iTunes. What’s more, the first Friday of every month is Bandcamp Friday where they waive their revenue share. This means more than 90% of your money goes straight to the artist.
FYI, the next one is February 5.
2. Visit their online stores for merch
Well because who doesn’t love a tote bag? Or perhaps a baggy tour T-shirt stolen from your other half?
Plus, what’s one step further than purchasing music from the above-mentioned music services? Answer: buying an album straight from an artist’s online store. Again, this means even more of the money you pay reaches the people who deserve it.
If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get your hands on a limited edition signed copy this way. No excuses, now.
3. Keep hold of rescheduled gig and festival tickets
Learning that your upcoming gigs were getting cancelled one by one last year was a devastating state of affairs. But at times you’d probably rather choose a refund, opting to keep your tickets for a rescheduled show could really help organisers and artists out.
Think of it as an investment into your future self’s social life.
4. Support livestreams
Throughout lockdown we’ve been inundated with livestreams and online gigs. They are the next best thing to live music, after all. More often than not they raise a tonne of money for charity, too.
Some have been ticketed, like the virtual reality Blossoms and Liam Gallagher gigs before Christmas. Whilst others have been free, like the Hacienda House Party. But either way, they brought music to our living rooms in the most 2020 way. With who knows how many more lockdowns we’re yet to endure, long live the livestream.
5. Follow their social media
This sounds like another obvious one. Yet I bet there are loads of artists in your top 10 that you don’t actually follow on social media.
Liking, sharing and commenting on their content and subscribing to their YouTube channels will work wonders for their growth whilst they’re unable to play. Besides, it means you can stay even more up to date with them and any new music out soon. Oh, and it also costs you nothing.
6. Support the venues too
Let’s not forget our beloved music venues and clubs that have been forced to close as well. Some of them have been able to diversify to put on socially distanced and seated events. Social Avenue and the Progress Centre provided us with some delightful lineups to keep us occupied in the summer.
Granted, our current lockdown situation won’t allow it now. Best believe when these events are up and running though, I’ll be first in the queue.
Other venues and clubs took a different approach and simply offered takeaway pints. And to be honest, I’ve grown fond of drinking beer from milk bottles, anyway.
Whatever your local venue has done to stay afloat, get behind it.
7. Donate money to charities and Crowdfunders
We’ve mentioned a number of ways that you can donate to save venues and artists and support the struggling music scene in the past. The WeMakeEvents campaign painted the world red to raise awareness earlier this year. But local to Manchester, community led projects, schemes and even a limited-edition crowdfunding coffee have raised money for charities to help keep the music playing.
Noughties throwback Lemar announces special 20th anniversary gigs in Manchester and London
The one and only Lemar is back now only with new album but two special shows to mark his 20th anniversary in music.
A chart-topping, BRIT and MOBO award-winning artists who rose to popularity in the early 2000s, Lemar has sold millions of albums worldwide and is now returning with his first new record in nearly eight years.
Having released his latest 80s funk inspired new single, ‘Future Love’, today (7 February) and officially announced his upcoming seventh album, Page In My Heart, the noughties pop and R&B artist is back on the scene and thought it only fit to pay tribute to 20 years in the biz.
Two decades on from his debut album, Dedicated, Lemar is hosting a pair of anniversary shows in London and right here in Manchester. Now this is going to be quite the throwback.
Best know for hit tracks like ‘It’s Not That Easy’, ’50/50′, ‘What About Love?’, ‘Another Day’ and many more, the 44-year-old returns to the stage with a new sound but one that also calls back to his roots and early work.
Speaking in a statement, Lemar says: “With this new album, I wanted to make something for anyone who ever bought Dedicated, as this year is 20 years since its release. I thought I’d like to make something for the people who got behind that album, something that they would appreciate and like.
Descirbing his new single, he went on to say, “it’s more uptempo, it’s got that soulful feel, it’s a bit looser, a bit Chaka Khan. A bit ‘Dance (With U)’… it’s got that kind of energy to it.”
The Tottenham-born singer hasn’t been ‘away’ per se, having continued to perform up and down the country in recent years, but both he and his fans have been waiting “patiently” to get the right collection of songs together to release new material.
His last album, The Letter, released back in 2015 and delighted die-hards but he says this latest project is about reconnecting with his fans, insisting that “it really is a page from my heart.”
Lemar will celebrate two decades of music and the 20th anniversary of Dedicated live with two special nights at O2 Ritz here in Manchester and London indigo at The O2 on the 27 and 28 of April, respectively. You best believe we’ll be getting one.
Tickets go on sale on 10 February at 10am. Tickets will be available HERE and at Ticketmaster.
Neighbourhood Weekender announces massive warm-up show with Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more
Neighbourhood Weekender has announced a warm-up show on the Friday before the festival proper kicks off, with the likes of Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more already confirmed.
With Neighbourhood 2023 set for the weekend of 27-28 May as festival season gets into full swing, the increasingly popular Victoria Park-based crowd-pleaser is effectively starting a day early with their ‘Live At The Big Top’ event.
Although the local favourite has previously put on a number of performances on the Friday before the Warrington Weekender as we know it, this is the first time this event has been held and will serve as a warm-up show for the impending gig-goers.
Effectively acting as a warm-up party for the main event, the North West crowd will be treated to the likes of 80s and 90s Manc music icons Ian Brown and Happy Mondays, as well Liverpool indie band Cast and up-and-coming Welsh psych-rock band, CVC, a.k.a. Church Village Collective.
The lineup also denotes a landmark occasion, with this being the first time that Brown and Happy Mondays — two of pioneering artists of the ‘Madchester‘ scene — are sharing the same bill in their long and illustrious careers. Well, aren’t you a lucky lot?
While we’d say this is an absolute must if you truly want to make a full go of Neighbourhood Weekender, this is technically a separate event and it’s well worth attending if you can’t make it on the Saturday or Sunday for whatever reason.
Tickets go on sale at 9.30am on Friday, 10 February. You can grab yours HERE.