What is the best way to help artists that I want to support? by Dan Mangan

My friend and colleague, Dan Mangan, always writes insightfully for his monthly newsletter. He recently addressed a question that I have been asked many times and that, quite honestly, I am rarely sure how to answer effectively. I think this sums it up well…

I often get asked online or at shows, "What is the best way to help artists that I want to support?". Music is so disposable in 2018, and people are bombarded with options - what streaming service pays artists the most? Is buying at a record store better than online? Does the artist even get paid regardless of what I choose?

I've come up with a handful of general rules when it comes to supporting artists you like.

1) The absolute best thing you can possibly do is just talk about the band - to your friends, your co-workers, via social media, etc. Play it for people when they are over for dinner. My heart swells EVERY TIME I see somebody post a screenshot of one of my songs from Spotify or Apple Music or what have you. Labels spend lots of money trying to sell you things, but nothing is as potent as genuine enthusiasm. This makes all the difference in the world.

2) Buying a physical copy of an album is GREAT. Record stores are great. Asking your local record shop to order in an LP (or CD) puts it on their radar. Maybe they'll go ahead and order a couple copies? Maybe they'll play it in the store? Buying through record shops also supports small businesses and generates activity at a local level.

3) Buying directly online from an indie label or artist is also great. It cuts out hands in the pie and puts a bit more money in artists' pockets. Buying digital tracks is also helpful - which you can do from most indie labels or from Apple / iTunes. Whichever way you choose to buy music - thank you thank you, thank you. It all helps, and really it comes down to what is easiest and most fun for you. Choosing a method of purchase is less important than you knowing that you are a really, really good person who deserves a bowl of sugary cereal at whatever time of day you like, regardless of social conventions.

4) ALGORITHMS. It pains me slightly to even mention the word, but the truth is that every streaming platform relies on user data to figure out what is generating activity. FOLLOW or FAVE artists you like, and when they release new music, PRE-ORDER, FAVE or SAVE that material, and then add it to playlists that you've made. All of these things help to let editorial staff know that they ought to add that material to official playlists, and it also helps for this music to algorithmically get in front of other people who have similar tastes as you.

5) Of course, going to live concerts and buying LPs, posters or a tee shirt is the most direct way to support artists. They will literally use that money to buy gas the next morning.

Here is a link to Dan’s latest: https://artsandcrafts.lnk.to/DanMangan

Jeanette Wilkinson