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Don't Let the Artists Starve!

Updated on May 16, 2018

Your favorite band isn’t found on 98PXY or the top 100 playist on Spotify

They’re sweating it out at your local Bug Jar or Funk n’ Waffles, desperately hoping for you to find them. Local musicians work incredibly hard but often-times, their only reward is the joy of playing. As citizens of the local community, you can help them be successful and in turn, discover art that you love.



Good artists are finding it harder and harder to find their audience, due to oversaturation. The rise of DIY music streaming platforms like soundcloud and bandcamp have provided both desired and unwelcomed results.

  1. Good- these websites make it much easier for a musician to share their music, as well as provide fans of that genre countless options through use of the genre specific search bar.
  2. Bad- since a label is no longer necessary to publish music online, many bands that are underwhelming have a voice, which makes it much harder to find the undiscovered bands out there that are actually creating good music.


Small Attention Spans

This generation has access to dozens of social media outlets, all of which are filled with companies, entertainers and businesses that are fighting for our attention. Of the 350 ads adults are exposed to a day, only 12 of those make a lasting impression on the viewer. (Johnson, 2014) Even when a good artists finds their audience, they aren’t getting paid, due in part to the decrease of

Album Sales

Streaming services account for nearly 50% of the playback an album gets. (IFPI, 2018) The cost of an average digital album download is $10 and according to a recent study, “In order for the rights holders of an album to earn $10 from Spotify, an individual user would need to stream the entire album 1,190 times.” (Plaugic, 2015) The meager amount of physical album sales makes it hard for them to turn profit into future work, resulting in the end of many artist’s careers.

Artists aren't getting the $$ for playing out live

If you ask any local musician that has played shows they’ll tell you: live gigs are not usually lucrative. Many venues concept of “payment” is to give a band a percentage of the bar tip which can be very low, especially if a band draws a lot of people under 21.

Even if a venue abides by the minimum wage scale proposed by the American Federation of Musicians, each member of the band will walk away $64 the richer, on average. And if the gig is out of town, that money disappears fast to cover gas, lodging, and food costs.



Benefit #1: It boosts local business

By attending a local show, you not only support the artist, you also support the venue and any businesses around it that attendees may visit before or after the show, such as restaurants. For example, the annual Bonnaroo Festival brings local café “The Health Nut” 30 percent of their annual profits during the month of the festival. (Murray, 2016)

Benefit #2: It keeps the dream alive

We're all dreamers, let's stick together! A recent study shows that musicians, “have three-times the level of sleep disorders than the general population and suffer from the effects of uncertain employment, low pay, shift work and the need to be willing and able to work at all times and under all conditions.” (Andersen, 2018) By supporting local music, you promote unity in your community by showing that you care about other’s aspirations, amid their struggle to build a sustainable career.

Benefit #3 Attending a local show is LOW risk, HIGH reward

The average price for a concert ticket in America last year was $76.55. (Coffey, 2017) Assuming that’s a 3 band event, the cost to see each band is about $25.

In contrast, the average price to see a 3 band show this month hosted by After Dark Entertainment is $15.50. (Only $5 a band, on AVERAGE!) If the bands are bad, no huge financial loss for you. If they’re good, you’ve experienced quality entertainment for a bargain.

Cooled Jets self-promotion, check!
Cooled Jets self-promotion, check!


Step 1: Attend shows

This is the best way to let an artist know that you support them and as we’ve seen, it’s very affordable!

Step 2: Buy Merch

Buying an artist’s product shows that you value their work and want to be connected with them.

Merchandise accounts for 10-35% of a touring artist’s revenue (John, 2017), The artist can then take the profit earned and put it towards making more music and increasing the overall quality of their work.

Step 3: Tell, don't post

Many people utilize the internet to share their favorite band with a friend. However, as we saw earlier, only 12 of the 350 advertisements people are exposed to in a day stick with them. The best way to let someone know about something is to tell them, FACE TO FACE.



Andersen, J. (2018, May 12). Mental health woes are rife in the arts – no wonder. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from arts-no-wonder-54386

Calendar. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2018, from

Coffey, K. (2017, March 19). Concert ticket prices have soared in the past 20 years, but that isn't stopping fans from forking out the cash. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from years-but/article_f43cc7c0-ffe5-5c7c-8e86-17398bb75c48.html

IFPI An explosion in global music consumption supported by multiple platforms. (2018). Retrieved May 13, 2018, from

John, B. (2017, May 23). Bands can earn a truly insane amount of money from merch these days. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from earn-from-merch-these-days/

Johnson, S. (2014, October 12). New Research Sheds Light on Daily Ad Exposures. Retrieved from exposures/

Plaugic, L. (2015, December 07). Spotify's Year in Music shows just how little we pay artists for their music. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from royalties

Murray, R. (2016, July 13). How the Exploding Music Festival Industry Fuels Small Business. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from exploding-music-festival-industry-fuels-small-business/

for those of you that are still reading, how about some more shameless self-promotion?!

© 2018 Sammy Proia


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