Learning the harp - how to take the first steps
As part of our culture, the music industry is one of the most important areas when it comes to creative work. Both the elaboration of melodies and sounds as well as new lyrics and the associated song design play an essential role. However, especially when starting one's own career, the music business quickly becomes a financial burden, as many costs are quickly incurred even without income. But how can musicians get support, and how can you contribute? That's exactly what we'll show you in this article.
Musicians often make a living by performing in front of a paying audience to cover their expenses for planning, production, and organization. For most musicians, money is not the biggest motivator for a job in the music industry. It is rather the opportunity to develop creatively, to inspire people and to be able to entertain them with original music. However, this is often difficult, especially when starting your own career.
If even small gigs fall through due to weather or infection, this can have considerable consequences for the entirety of a musician’s financial planning. The same applies to cancelled appearances by major artists. In many cases, newcomers appear at such events as supporting acts and thus rely on these opportunities to increase their popularity. If this chance to stand out musically is also lost, it becomes much more difficult for musicians in an already competitive industry. It is therefore important to be able to support musicians and compensate for difficult phases in the fields of music and culture.
Corona in particular has become a multi-year burden for the entire music industry, as many musicians have had to cancel their performances at short notice. At the same time, music revenues from CD sales have been declining for years, making marketing much more difficult for the entire industry during this phase. While many well-known musicians were still able to attract attention with digital solutions and creative campaigns, this was almost impossible for newcomers and smaller musicians. The loss of live performances especially contributed to the fact that fewer new bands and musicians in the industry get a chance at all.
Since music connects many people, in most cases the willingness to support with a personal contribution is also high. There are many ways to help new talent and keep the work of many musicians going. These may not always help the industry as a whole, but they do give your favorite acts a lot more support for their work:
Many small musicians live on voluntary donations. Especially in the early stages, this can help finance the rent in the recording studio so that the initial ideas can be put into practice. In most cases, it is possible to support the musicians directly, for example via PayPal. It’s not uncommon to find a direct link to donate via social media. Platforms like Patreon offer advantages for both sides.
Even if it is only a small part financially, hitting that play button in streams or on platforms like Spotify becomes a real support. In particular, the amount of clicks is important at this point to be able to make a living from the music outside of concert and festival times. So listening to their music regularly helps your favorite artists enormously.
More and more musicians also offer digital events like livestreams, podcasts, or smaller video clips. The more people watch these events, the more content you can expect from your favorite musicians. Digital sharing of good and exciting events becomes an important part of your support.
Well-known musicians in particular also live off income from fan clubs and groups. However, newcomers usually also have the opportunity to become a part of the steep development from the beginning and to provide strong support as a member. Even small, regular amounts provide musicians with necessary security and comfort.
You can make a difference for your favorite musicians—not only live at a concert, but also digitally in social media, or on sites like YouTube. This applies, for example, to kind and motivating comments, which can be an emotional support for musicians in difficult times. Dedicated and satisfied fans are something all musicians appreciate.
When gigs and concerts are possible again, attending such events is always the best support. Both financially and mentally, support from a large number of fans is the best way to make a living from music in the long run. At the same time, various supporting bands and other artists have the opportunity to present their music in front of an audience and get closer to the big stage.
However, the motivation should not be disregarded. A performance in front of many people is for most musicians a great confirmation of their own creativity. This does not necessarily have to happen on a large scale. Even small events such as a performance at the folk festival or the accompaniment of other performances can support musicians mentally. So it is not always the financial gain, but often also the opportunity to be able to put themselves in the spotlight with their own music. More publicity often leads to new fans and, in the end, to more money.
However, not all musicians have the chance to be supported by their fans from the very beginning. If you as a musician are still waiting for a breakthrough with your songs, you can take advantage of various support programs and offers. Since working as a musician is a freelance activity, you are entitled to state support during this time. This makes it easier to work financially independently.
Above all, to cushion the consequences of the multi-year cultural lockdown, politicians have, for example, set up a support package called NEUSTART KULTUR. This includes up to 35 million euros to support young ensembles, independent artists, digital structures as well as conductors, composers and singers. Clubs are also already benefiting from state aid in order to compensate, at least in part, for the revenue shortfall of recent years. For individual musicians, such aid and funding can also be supportive.
In addition to the aid packages set up for the culture and music industry, there are also various forms of support independent of the pandemic. As a rule, these are also available to employees from other sectors in order to receive support in the event of an insufficient financial situation. Measures such as short-time allowance, hardship allowances or simplified access to basic benefits can be very helpful in times of need. In Germany, you should be aware of the following details:
Musicians and artists also have the chance to benefit from short-time allowance and to be supported if they are affected by Corona. In this way, not only freelancers benefit, but also employed musicians and many other industries. Since March 2020, the requirements for applying for the aid have already been simplified.
For many musicians, the loss of concerts and performances also means the loss of their livelihood. In order to avoid being left without any income at all during this phase, access to basic security benefits has been significantly simplified. It is also possible to switch out of the basic income support without any problems if one’s income increases.
Being self-employed, musicians always have the possibility of benefiting from hardship allowances in connection with their work. These are intended for phases in which revenues suddenly stagnate due to special circumstances, such as the Corona pandemic. There are offers of help not only from the federal government, but also from the individual federal states.
If you would like to contribute to the support of artists and musicians, you have many possibilities with private donations. Attending gigs or streaming the music of your favourite musicians can also provide noticeable relief. If you want to learn more about the music business and lockdown, you can read more here. You can also read an exciting article about mindfulness in music on the mukken blog. At this point, it's best to register yourself here at mukken and use our personal ads for musicians.
Originally published on February 8, 2023, updated on February 8, 2023
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