Creative Ways You Can Support Live Music Amid COVID-19
It has been exciting to watch the accolades and rankings that Greater Des Moines (DSM) has received over the past 10 years. Live music and the arts have played an important role in our economic growth and increased community pride. Recent studies even suggest that live music helps people live longer and happier lives! Local leaders often have referred to our vibrant arts and culture scene as the ‘secret sauce’ to our region’s prosperity. As our community experiences social distancing and temporary business closures, it is more important than ever to support our live music economy to keep musicians and venues in business and to connect with one another through live music.
Over the past several years, live music performances — as opposed to album sales — have become the primary source of revenue for musicians due to the digitization of music. As a result, independent musicians have been hit particularly hard during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Live music and performing arts venues have all been temporarily closed, and corporate event gigs, private parties and festivals have been postponed. In addition, musicians that rely on a secondary source of revenue to earn a living such as bartending, waiting tables, working retail or driving for car sharing services, have also lost that supplemental source of revenue.
Virtual House Concerts
As live music fans, my husband and I wanted to find a way to support our local musicians during this difficult time. We have missed hosting our house concerts and frequenting local music venues with friends. We decided to get creative and recently hosted our first ever virtual house concert with local musicians, the Brazilian 2wins!
We invited our friends to ‘attend’ the live-streamed performance and gathered funds for the musicians through a crowdfund via HomeDitty in advance of the show. Each guest was asked to contribute a minimum of $10 to participate. We also encouraged guests to take the DSM Local Challenge and grab takeout from their favorite local restaurant for dinner and a concert!
One added benefit of hosting a virtual house concert was that our ‘concert space’ or virtual living room was unlimited in size. We are typically restricted by the number of chairs that we can safely squeeze into our living room, and many of our friends can attest that our living room concerts can get quite cozy! The online concert also enabled us and our guests to invite friends and family from across the country to participate who couldn’t normally attend one of our house concerts. One of our guests registered for her dad to attend who is sheltering in place alone in Ohio. My husband and I also had a relative from Charlotte, N.C. who participated in the virtual concert.
We had 62 friends register for the concert who generously contributed $890 to the crowdfund for the musicians prior to the concert. During the show, the musicians received an additional $125 in tips and merchandise sales. In sum, the musicians received over $1,000 for their one-hour performance. In return, we all got a one-of-a-kind intimate performance, an opportunity to connect virtually with one another and a big morale boost during this difficult time. We can’t wait to host another virtual house concert!
As we continue to support our local businesses, don’t forget that independent musicians are small businesses, too! You can do your part by tuning in to live-streamed shows and donating to musicians via their PayPal or Venmo account, purchasing gift certificates from local venues, buying merchandise online from musicians, donating to a musician through their Patreon page or hosting a HomeDitty virtual house concert. These little things can really add up and help keep our musicians and creative economy going.
There will be an end to social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community will need our local musicians to recover and grow our economy. Without them, our ‘secret sauce’ would be missing a key ingredient. Learn more about virtual house concerts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.
Find these tips useful? Find more business tools and information by visiting the Business Resources page.