For those who follow independent musicians and have been keeping an eye on what's been happening during lockdown, you'll know that the great people at Bandcamp have introduced 'Bandcamp Fridays'. The first Friday of every month where Bandcamp waive their artist fees (the commission they take from individual sales) allowing artists to receive 100% of the proceeds. For punters this may not really make much of a difference to your spending habits, after all you're still paying the same amount, but to the artists this is such a welcome move. Without going into the details of how musicians make up their income, needless to say it's not like a conventional job. There's no payslip at the end of the month and like any other self-employed person, they need to go out and find the work, build up a client list and work out new ways to market and promote their products. A majority of income for working musicians comes from live performances which, due to COVID has been completely dessimated. Part of playing live for musicians is to sell their wares at these gigs which generates some much needed revenue to pay for band members, venue hire (in some cases), rehearsal time and other outgoings that play a part in providing live entertainment. That's no longer an option for the foreseeable which is why initiatives like Bandcamp Friday are so important.
With music venues of all sizes in peril, the future of live performances looks more than a little bleak. I mean going to a drive in and listening to a band live through your radio seems a little weird to me but that may very well be the future. Along with internet streaming which is totally blown up over the last 6 months. Twitch has seen a massive increase in musicians trying to keep the connection alive through long sessions which are no longer just a curated set but a chance to actually talk to the people who have tuned in to hear your music. Keeping this communication going, albeit virtually, helps musicians to adapt to an online model and still promote their products.
For me, it's been a long time since I've performed live. I did an Instagram live once and that was really stressful. I did enjoy it but I was very nervous and it took the best part of a day to rehearse, test out angles that look good on camera, get over the whole 'being on camera' thing and of course, the whole session being live with people actually commenting in real time. At a normal gig, you don't hear these comments so to have instant feedback is both incredibly valuable and terrifying at the same time. Would I do it again? I honestly don't know, it's not the same as being face to face with people and feeding off their energy, but it does allow me to introduce my music to those who are eager to listen.
In the meantime I have some music up on Bandcamp and will be releasing my debut EP in the next couple of months. If you are interested in joining me for an online gig sometime, drop a note in the comments section and we'll see what happens!
Take it easy