5 Ways to Stay Productive During COVID-19
By Mike O’Cull http://www.mikeocull.com
The current COVID-19 pandemic is dismantling and demolishing practically every aspect of daily life for people around the world. Your favorite musicians are expected to be among the hardest hit by the economic downturn brought on by our new mandate of social distancing and the closing of bars, restaurants, and venues. Musicians are, by and large, self-employed people who earn their keep playing in front of crowds, which is going to be mostly impossible for a while. The risk of spreading the virus is simply too great for business as usual to continue.
There are, however, many ways of supporting the bands and artists you love other than going to their concerts. There are also ways performers can still play for and reach out to their fans and keep fighting the good fight during these trying times. Rather than focus on the doom and gloom, we are instead presenting you today with some ways for both players and listeners to adapt to this new situation, keep rocking, and remain sane. We all need to support each other right now until things get back closer to normal. Here’s what you can do:
Playing live over the internet is one of the most immediate things musicians can do to stay connected to their fans, have some fun, and make some money. This is probably something giggers should be investigating anyway, as it’s a great way to make new fans and create a new source of income. Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, and other social platforms make this super easy. All you need is a PayPal.me link in your description or bio to act as a virtual tip jar and you’re good to go. For those who want to go to the next level, StageIt lets users do live stream concerts behind a paywall, sell tickets, and accept tips.
The key to a successful live stream show is making the event ultra personal for both you and your fans. You can let people get to know you and see a bit of your studio, creative process, and lifestyle. Be sure to engage with the people who are watching, field their questions, and even play their requests. There are people out there absolutely killing these things and making serious bank, so work it like you want to win it.
Buying physical merchandise will always be among the best ways to support musicians, virus or not. One CD, LP, shirt, or poster is exponentially more profitable for the artist than Spotify plays will ever be and gets money directly into their hands so that they might go on living. Besides, hard-copy music is just cooler. Artists can sell their wares directly from their websites and fans can get all the latest gear from their fave raves shipped right to their door.
Services like Skype and FaceTime have made teaching live, interactive music lessons online easier than ever. The experience is surprisingly similar to an in-person lesson and works well for all levels of students. Lesson content can be anything you want it to be. You can teach fans to play your own songs, explore styles and influences, give songwriting advice, or anything else you feel inspired to offer.
Fans cherish the opportunity to learn right from their favorite players and many of them will have plenty of practice time available right now. Feel free to write an ebook about your style and put up tabs of your most popular tracks. Teaching is a time-honored way for musicians to earn a living while offstage and could easily become a good ongoing side gig even after the quarantine is lifted.
Most musicians have a home studio setup of some sort these days and it can be put to use right now in any number of different ways. You can be a vocal or instrumental hired gun and provide tracks for other artists, make and sell beats, or offer mixing and mastering services. You can also write and record custom songs for fans to use in their weddings or other life events. If you’re extra slick, you can even teach lessons about ProTools, Logic, or whatever other platform you’re a star at.
Use this involuntary downtime to write and record new material, publish a book of your lyrics, make images to go with your songs, or any other artistic endeavor you can come up with to expand your body of work and remain sane. Aim to come out of this time with more than you went into it with. Take on projects you’ve been wanting to tackle but we’re too busy to accomplish. It’s vital to feed your soul in times of stress and express the thoughts and feelings you’re having. It’s been thought that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under plague quarantine, so give it your best shot.
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Mike O’Cull Biography: Professional music enthusiast, blogger, podcaster, and songwriter Mike O’Cull works with and covers the most compelling artists from around the world. He has reviewed music and musical equipment since the 1990s in print and online, hosts the Mike’s Rock and Metal Show podcast, does PR, and creates and produces his own original music. He also provides coaching, promotion, and writing services for musicians and other creatives. His writing work has appeared in countless venues over the last twenty years, including www.RockandBluesMuse.com, www.ChicagoMusicGuide.com, www.IndieBandGuru.com, www.Gear-Vault.com, www.IllinoisEntertainer.com, www.GuitarGeary.com, www.ChicagoBluesGuide.com, and www.Ultimate-Guitar.com. Visit him online at www.MikeOCull.com.