As a uni student, I understand how frugal we can be when it comes to all things; from cheap sushi between classes to hoarding any freebie handouts. However, amongst all this thriftiness, there has been an emerging trend of internet piracy, in which our generation expects they can torrent any music, movies and TV shows for free. Not only is this illegal, but it is robbing from hard working artists and producers that rely on the income from their works. For upcoming artists, like your average local pub gigger or the DJ living next door, music piracy can have an even more detrimental effect than it does on multi-millionaire superstars like Adele and David Guetta.
Bringing an end to music piracy is virtually impossible. Having said that, there are still ways to support your local music scene that has been disadvantaged by such illegal downloads. And even better, you don’t necessarily have to pay a cent!
1) Rock up to gigs!
Most musicians now get the majority of their income from live performances, whether they be sold out concerts at Wembley Stadium or playing at your local pub. Hit two birds with one stone by organising to catch up with friends and have a night out, while enjoying the live music on stage! With plenty of venues offering free entry and cheap booze, you have no reason not to pop in and support your local music scene with your mates! Besides, the performers will either receive a flat out payment for their gig or will receive a percentage of the bar tab, so BOTTOMS UP!
2) Like, Share, Comment on Facebook!
With social media now being the norm (minus the premature peak of MySpace), most bands will now be found on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Tinder… So, if you enjoyed a band you’ve seen live or on digital media, make sure to check out their page and give it a like! This not only is a sign of encouragement for the musicians that people appreciate their music, but also will promote their page amongst your friends on Facebook. And once you’ve started following their page, make sure to like posts that you are impressed with, and comment with your support or tag your friends. This will help broaden the band’s digital presence!
3) Listen on Soundcloud
Soundcloud is a free and really exciting platform for musicians, as it makes it so easy to share audio files with the world. So, rather than downloading local music illegally, listen to their music with Soundcloud. It is audio-ad free, unlike free music streaming sites, so you won’t be rudely interrupted by undesirable promotions. The bands will be encouraged as they watch their plays increase over time, and will motivate them to keep on recording their latest tracks for your ears. While you are there, also follow artists you love and repost your favourite tracks!
4) If you want to download for free, go through Soundcloud or Bandcamp
Most establishing artists will have their audio files available for download, and might choose to make some of these available for free. Make the most of this opportunity by downloading it directly from the band, and not from another source. Bandcamp, for instance, is a fantastic initiative for upcoming musicians to share their music, and allows free download of music under the “Name Your Price” option. So, if you don’t have those spare gold coins lying around, you can enter $0 and still get high-quality music without paying a cent. Once again, each download is an encouraging sign for the band that people are enjoying their music, and those that choose to chip in a couple of dollars may be the ones that help finance the next studio-recorded album!
5) Send the artist a personal message
Nothing will hearten a band more than receiving a message of support from a fan. Even if you are best friends with the lead singer or dating the drummer, sending a Facebook message or email to the band’s account about a recent gig or an album you enjoyed can be so rewarding for the artists. If you feel comfortable doing it, some constructive criticism or any ideas of how the band could change to be even better will not hurt. The band might not choose to take the feedback on board immediately or at all, but I can guarantee they will appreciate and will be humbled that you have taken the time to send a personal message to the group, just as you would send a thank you message to a really good tutor or tip a nice restaurant.
While you might be like myself, and precariously choose where to spend your dwindling loose change, you might think that supporting your local music scene is impossible in your financial position. However, there are plenty of ways to support artists without even taking your wallet out! So, hunt down that funky four-piece group you saw last weekend and show them your support!
Jared loves to share his passion for music and artists through music reviews and commentaries. These include a selection of reviews written for community radio stations 3MBS and Radio Monash.