What Does Lockdown Mean For Emerging Artists?
With every week bringing new developments, the whole music community is working to keep up to date with the changing world of life in isolation. We’re a few months into this thing, and many of the industry’s biggest organisations have launched strategies to support artists and venues under lockdown.
Initiatives like the Keep Music Alive campaign, a collaboration between The Ivor's Academy and the Musician’s Union, are using this time to petition streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to renegotiate their royalty rates in a way that gives more support to artists. The campaign can only be a positive thing for people working in the industry; but for those emerging artists who’ve been caught midway through the transition to full-time, there’s a danger of falling between the cracks.
The first of May saw Bandcamp agree to waive their revenue share on purchases made on the site, allowing seven million dollars in sales to go directly to artists. The decision was praised by labels, with a statement from Thrill Jockey calling it a ‘class move,’ and Sargent House records promising to follow suit and waive their own sales cut, allowing 100% of revenue to go their artists. In fact, the idea was so popular that Bandcamp Friday is set to return on the 5th of June and the 3rd of July, the first Friday of every month.
It’s no surprise that the indie distribution platforms are responding quickly, they’re one part of the industry that was evolving quickly even before the lockdown. Recent figures have seen releases from unsigned artists becoming the fastest-growing segment of the recorded music market, increasing by 32.1% in 2019, and with release major labels seeing production and release schedules disrupted, lockdown might be opening a window for DIY artists.
The lockdown period has seen a surge of activity on streaming platforms, showing that the desire for new music and entertainment hasn’t been reduced, so those of you who with aspirations of getting into the industry shouldn’t be discouraged. Organisations like the Association of Independent Music have been regularly updating their guidance for small and medium-sized artists; with practical advice on working from home and online, as well as protecting your mental health and wellbeing in lockdown.
If we take advantage of the resources that are available, and use this time to support each other and build connections, a new wave of homegrown artists could emerge from the other side of this crisis. Although the industry’s clearly being disrupted, what we’ve seen from the independent sector can give us hope for a future that’s led by the artists and innovators.
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