This is the second installment of a three part blog series on supporting local musicians that you like or have come to love. In this post I will focus on what you can do physically to support them.
Method 2: Purchasing merchandise
1 Buy merchandise directly from the artist if possible. Many stores will take cuts for distribution and sales, so purchasing directly from the artist is the best way to ensure your money is going to them. Visit the musician’s merch table if you’re seeing them in person or visit their website. Some groups will offer limited merchandise that isn’t sold in stores, so stay on the lookout.
- If you see a tip jar or a donation link, consider giving the musicians a few rands to directly support the band.
2 Request their album at a local record store. If the group doesn’t have their own website, you may want to find it in stores. If your local record store doesn’t carry the artist you’re looking for, send an email or talk to an employee to see if they take requests. They may be able to get a hold of the album when it releases or within a few weeks.
- Asking a record store to stock an album is a great way to encourage other people to look into a band they may not be familiar with and will get the group more exposure.
3 Purchase physical copies of their CDs when they release if you can. First-week sales are important for a music artist and account for ¼ of total album sales. Either purchasing online or in-store will both add towards this number and help the band determine how well sales will be in the future.
- Some bands will sell bundles with their album along with shirts, sweaters, stickers, or posters on their online stores.
- Vinyl is a popular, but more expensive, option. If you have a record player, consider purchasing the record.
4 Buy their music before streaming it online. Services like Spotify only pay fractions of a cent per stream, so groups that do not get millions of listens do not see a lot of money. If you wish to stream music online, it is recommended you buy the album first before streaming their content so the band still can get sales figures from the CD.
- Bandcamp is a platform that allows artists to offer ‘pay-what-you-want’ options, so some artists offer their music for free while still accepting donations. Bandcamp also only takes a 10% from the artists. Using the Bandcamp app allows you to stream and download purchases you’ve made through the site.
5 Wear T-shirts and other merchandise to show support. One of the best ways to spread the word of a band is to wear their merch in public. Eye-catching designs will draw interest from other people and ask where the clothes are from. Direct them to the band’s site and let them know about their music too.