Right now is about the worst-case scenario for independent musicians, artists and freelancers across industries, but especially the entertainment industry. Canceled tours not only mean the touring musician doesn’t get to receive a bulk of their income, it means box office employees, sound engineers, stage techs, agents, merchandise designers, bartenders and band managers are all out of jobs. It means transportation industries take a hit, as well as promoters, ticketing companies, record labels, distributors, record stores, food vendors and graphic designers.
The most helpful act right now is community support and solidarity. Whether that means helping neighbors with grocery runs, buying music from artists or donating to local mutual funds, the importance of empathy, compassion and sharing resources is at an all-time high. If you are in a financial position to give, these funds cannot exist without donations from people like you. If there’s a job you need done, consider posting in one of these groups. Anything to give right now will go a long way for some of Colorado’s most vulnerable professions.
What To Do if Your Gig is Canceled
First, read this. If you have had any tour dates canceled, you can fill this out with your band/artist information and links in order to be featured on Missed Tour, a website that aggregates merchandise, including music, from bands who are no longer able to tour.
Job Listings for Artists
Here is a group on Facebook called “Help Needed in Denver Metro COVID-19.” The users of this page share job listings, information pertinent to shutdowns, mental health resources, and just general community support during this stressful time. Here is a similar support group for Colorado Springs, and one for Boulder.
Another useful group on Facebook is “Employing Artists,” which — you guessed it — provides listings for creatives out of work. Techno4Hire is an Instagram and Tumblr account that features music industry people who are looking for work. Pick Up the Flow is another Instagram account posting opportunities for creatives such as calls for artists, grants, etc.
Artists can also add their names to this spreadsheet, which is a growing directory of artists who are looking for work now. However, be mindful that priority is given to those who are queer, lesbian, trans, Black, Indigenous, Asian and Latinx, and that this spreadsheet operates under an honor system. Entries to this directory will be posted on this Instagram account.
Here is a comprehensive list of resources, some of which are included in this article (focusing on resources accessible for Colorado artists) from jobs to funds to even information on combatting racism during this time, as well as mental health resources.
Mutual Aids Local to Denver
Here is a fundraiser for artists in the Denver metro area, and a link to apply for aid is in the description. Here is another fund that is also provided in Spanish, for any non-English speaking individuals. This spreadsheet is a comprehensive list of resources, including people who are in need of cash assistance as soon as possible. Please be responsible with other peoples’ information, and only take what you need. Conversely, if you want to help others, this form includes a column for people trying to help out. These three resources came from this Google Drive folder, which includes resources for every state.
This tool created by Aunt Bertha allows users to simply enter their zip code and find resources available to them nearby.
Again, if you are available to give, please help finance these funds for those in need.
For All Music Industry Employees
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides funding for musicians and those employed within the music industry alike, with the only requirement being that at least 50% of one’s income comes from the music industry.
The Recording Academy’s affiliate charitable foundation MusiCares offers emergency funding for those in the music industry, including addiction recovery assistance.
For country musicians and employees in the country music industry, the Opry Trust Fund offers assistance to anyone working full-time who is facing financial difficulty.
For Musicians Only
The Musicians Foundation provides emergency funding for musicians who have worked as a musician in the US for five years or more.
The American Guild of Musical Artists has recently announced that they have doubled the amount of funding available during the coronavirus epidemic. However, the only caveat is that funding is available to members only, and it may take up to one week to process an application.
The Blues Foundation offers emergency funds for Blues musicians on a case-by-case basis through the Handy Artists Relief Trust.
The Boulder County Musicians Relief Fund has suspended their application as of March 18, but keep checking back to see if it has been reopened. Be aware that this fund is only available for musicians who live in Boulder County.
Other Funds Available
Many musicians and those employed within the industry tend to rely on other sources of income — namely, service and hospitality industries. Those who also work in the service industry have access to this fund. Funding requests, for now, have been suspended, but check back as they will soon reopen.
Other Ways to Support Musicians
If you have purchased a ticket for a concert, refrain from asking for a refund if you are financially stable to do so. Throwing events can be costly, and many smaller promoters in particular rarely break even, let alone profit. The money kept from a ticket purchase can help go toward rescheduled events in the future.
Direct support is vital. Beginning this Friday, Bandcamp has announced that 100% of the proceeds of music purchased from the platform will go directly to the artists, and some larger record labels, like Hyperdub, are waiving their cut too. Bandcamp even recommends to the artists using the platform a handy guide in maximizing sales.
So use this time to buy some music, buy a few t-shirts and maybe a cassette or two. Consider buying gift cards to local record stores, and check the social media accounts of some of your favorite artists to see if they have shared a Venmo, Cashapp or PayPal handle to donate directly. With community support and solidarity, the impact of the coronavirus on the music industry may fall a little more gently at least.