Friday, 21 September 2018

SHARE THE LOVE: MUSICIAN EDITION

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I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely bloody love music. Even that feels like an understatement, music can change, enhance or dictate your mood, it can attach itself to memories, define a moment.. It’s something that’s so personal and unique to every single person, but can also bring people together in the most beautiful ways. As music is so important to me, I like to support it in every way I can. This is exactly why I like to buy my favourite records on Vinyl or CD where possible, go to gigs large and small and share songs I’m loving in the form of Spotify playlists.

Supporting bigger, more established bands is still important, the music industry as a whole needs as much support as possible in the digital age, especially in terms of buying physical music, merch, tickets etc and this post is in no way to say that already established artists should be boycotted in favour of lesser known ones. But what about those just starting out or with a rather small following? There’s a certain smug trendiness to keeping those smaller artists to yourself and I’m among the many who’ve uttered the phrase ‘oh, you wouldn’t have heard of them’ – in the distant past, might I add! But we should shout about them, share them, stream them, see them, shop them.

In the same way it’s important to shop small and buy local, it’s so important to do the same with musicians. How often do you see a cute cafĂ© that you once loved permanently closed, a pretty little boutique with an ‘everything must go!’ sale? It doesn’t mean what they sold was bad, it doesn’t even mean they weren’t business savvy and doing all they could to turn their passion into a success, sometimes it just simply means that not enough people showed up. It’s a pretty bleak image I know (and I urge you to also shop local/ small as much as you can!!), but it’s reality. Now think of this in terms of musicians, so many wonderful bands and artists are out there working so hard to keep their dream alive in the hopes that the world will hear them one day.

Sometimes, you can come across a musician with a tiny following with songs that hit you harder and speak to you louder than any huge artist selling out Stadiums and Arenas. Other times, you'll just hear the odd song that you think is pretty and that's cool too. Either way, don't keep it to yourself. Share the love! If you love it, chances are someone else out there will too. Supporting up and coming artists is so easy to do and there are so many ways you can do so, some very obvious, others that are easily overlooked. I thought I'd share a few of my suggestions for ways you can do so, but if you have any of your own, please do let me know as I'd love to hear them!

Buy Physical Music
A blindingly obvious one, but buying physical music helps to keep the music industry as a whole very much alive and kicking, the huge Vinyl comeback has helped this massively, but we can do more! In the day and age we're in, it's unrealistic to expect people to completely trade in the likes of Spotify and Apple Music for CDs and Vinyl, but the average 'per stream' payout is really tiny - think a fraction of a penny per play! With this in mind, spending a few pounds on CDs, particularly from your favourite newer and up and coming musicians really does make all the difference. Especially when these bands and artists aren't 'out there' yet, funds are often low and creating a physical CD costs money, there's the production cost, the cost of the artwork and that's on top of paying to get the thing recorded in the first place! Also, there's a certain nostalgia in collecting CDs and Vinyl again that's just wonderful, especially if music is a passion of yours.

Attend Small Gigs
Sign up for news letters for tiny venues, keep an eye on live music nights at local pubs, in general, the more people show up, the more that artist will get booked to play again. I'm lucky enough to live within easy reach of London and Cambridge, both of which have great music scenes. Even in my local town though, there are live music nights in several pubs at least a few times a week. They're always worth a go and usually a really great night out. Top tip and relevant to the last point, when it comes to buying physical music, the best place to do so is at a gig, as all the proceeds go to the artist and not a third party. Relevant to the last point, the best place to actually buy physical music is at a gig, as all the proceeds from the sale go to the artist and not a third party. We have Jack Burrell (more on him later) to thank for this fact - something I'd never even considered before.

Spread the Word
Again, very obvious, but it takes seconds to hit share on a Facebook post, or leave a comment on an Instagram video. I do stress that comments are important too - seeing a video with 100 likes won't necessarily make me stop to listen, but seeing someone comment how the song made them feel, or just expressing how much they loved it just might. Physically share it too, play it in your car for your friends, invite someone along to a gig. Even if you just find one person who loves the artist you do as much as you, they may then find two more. As with many other things, it's important never to think your word and your input can't or won't make a difference.

Stop to Listen
How often do you stop to listen to a busker, or pop into a bar or coffee shop when you hear the sound of an acoustic guitar coming from inside? It's easy to ignore and easy to walk by, but these people are trying to get themselves out there and it takes a whole lot of work (and guts!) to do that. Particularly in bigger cities, buskers aren't just dodgy guys trying to make a few quid for questionable late night exchanges, they're actual musicians who want not only to make some cash for their hard work, also want their voice to be heard. Actually stopping to listen not only shows you actually appreciate what these people are doing, but a crowd breeds a crowd. Not many people want to be the first one to gather round, but making that move may mean that ten other people do the same.

I think for now I've rambled on quite enough, but I really do hope this post inspires you to share and discover new and up and coming musicians and artists. If you have any that you love - please do head over to my instagram and let me know who they are as I'd love to check them out!

With the help of the wonderful Jack Burrell (also an incredible musician and coincidentally one of my favourite people on the planet!) - I've put together a Spotify playlist of some bands and artists that you should definitely check out. It'd mean the world if you did as many of them are friends of mine or Jack's, so please do show them some love! Check it out below or here if you can't load the player.



Happy listening!

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