There are a ton of ways to support your fave bands. Buying their album, attending their shows, buying merch… but it can add up quick when you’re a fan with a LOT of bands to love. Having that much disposable income as someone under 30? Uhhhh, not in this economy.
But luckily, there are infinite ways you can support your fave bands for free.99 as well. And even better, most of them don’t require a huge time commitment… so honestly, it would be crazy for you not to take advantage of them.
Note: most of these tips can work for your friends in any creative industry, so don’t stop at bands! Help get the word out about your fave artists/bloggers/MUAs/creators/etc too!
Content is king in 2019, and your social following is given far more weight than it should be. A band could be making incredible music and still be turned down for opportunities because they don’t have enough Instagram followers. It’s ridiculous, but unfortunately it’s what’s happening right now whether we like it or not. Here’s how to help:
- RETWEET. It’s FREE. If there’s a chance that even one person who follows you might see it and like them, it’s worth it.
- If you go to a show, post videos on your Instagram Story, post photos, tag the band. Make sure you’re helping them tell the story that they have fans who care and are excited about them.
- Engage with them! So many people have bought followers over the years, numbers alone can’t paint the whole picture. If they pose a question for fans, answer it. Show that you’re a real person to anyone watching.
- Tag your friends! If a band posts tour dates, tag your friends in other cities and tell them to hit up their local dates. I love doing this because the band appreciates more people at their shows, and your friends appreciate finding a new band!
I could honestly write an entire post about Spotify (maybe I will eventually) because there’s SO much going on here. First off, some info: bands get triggered in their algorithm once they hit a certain number of followers, which gives them a better chance of being included on official Spotify playlists. So following them helps you to know when they release something new, but also helps them to potentially reach millions of new listeners. Here are some other things you can do:
- Add their songs to playlists. Even if you’re not sharing yours with others, it alerts Spotify that people are paying attention. Fun fact: it shows the artists when more than two people listen to their song on your playlist. Make sure you add the songs/albums to your library too!
- When your fave artist gets added to an official Spotify playlist, the main thing that determines where they go on the playlist is “skip rate”. If more people skip that track, it’ll move farther down on the playlist until they knock it off. So if you’re on WiFi and want to offer some help, stream their song from a Spotify playlist instead of your own to help boost its ranking!
- Share songs from Spotify across socials to help them track on the Viral 50. In my research, I’ve found that I think this helps their ranking. So if you hit that “…” and share a song to your IG Story, you’re actually performing a public service. Thank you.
- Create collaborative playlists with friends to encourage music discovery. Share what you’re listening to, have them do the same, and find more bands to support through that!
For this one, you can be a creator or an observer… or both.
- If you enjoy writing and think it’s something you could keep up with, starting a music blog is a great way to share what you love with people in a long-form capacity (and it’s a cool thing to have on a resume). If you want to try this, my post on how to start a music blog in 2019 may help!
- If you don’t want to commit to an entire blog of your own, you could write reviews for your fave artists on Rate Your Music. That way you don’t have the pressure of an entire website, and already have an audience built in!
- If video’s more your thing, YouTube has a whole niche of music creators who review albums, talk about what they’re listening to, vlog concerts, etc. I find it’s far easier to get video content shared than written content these days, and the number of people who actually listen to your recommendations are WAY higher.
- If you’re the one reading/watching the content, make sure your voice is still heard! Leave a comment letting the creator know which artists you ended up liking that they mentioned, recommend new bands… or go a step further, share the content on social media! The more engagement creators receive on these types of posts, the more they’ll want to keep making them.
Video may have killed the radio star, but radio can still play a huge role in an artist’s career. It’s all about planning your approach carefully. I feel like often, fans online go absolutely mental in their radio attack which… doesn’t help anyone, and could potentially hurt the cause. We all know I’m 100% a supporter of fan culture and I love how dedicated we can be, but we’ve got to be more subtle in our approach. Here are my tips:
- Huge waves of messages all at once don’t help. I’m sure radio stations have figured out by now that if they suddenly get 500 messages about the same song, it’s likely a well-planned fan initiative. This means it’s not their whole audience looking for this song… in fact, it might not be their audience at all. I’d suggest sending a tweet or email on your own, encourage a friend or two to send some a few days later. Even in smaller numbers, just seeing the name keep popping up will be more likely to get it on their radar.
- Research the radio station before you start messaging them. If you’re listening to a hardcore band and pitch them to a Top 40 station, you’re shouting into the void. Do your best to make sure it would be a viable fit before you put your valuable time in!
The universe is vast and constantly changing. Every day, there’s something new we could be doing to help support the art we love. These are a few more ideas that don’t fit in to specific categories but are helpful nonetheless!
- Shazam is a great app for many reasons. When you’re out and hear a song you like but don’t know what it is, Shazam will figure it out for you. BUT did you know they have Shazam charts? They keep track of which songs get searched the most, which lets labels/venues/others know which artists people are most curious about. I’m not saying “game the system by Shazam-ing songs you already know and love so they rank higher and get attention” but…… I’m not… not saying it.
- One of my personal fave methods is sharing music on Reddit. I know that sounds like the most dangerous thing you could do, but I’ve had surprisingly great results. I specifically post on r/listentothis and share tracks that fit their requirements. For instance, they have to be under a certain popularity threshold (or else it’ll be inundated with artists we already know and love). Give it a shot, see what happens!
With so many ways to show support without emptying your college fund, there’s no reason we can’t completely dominate the music industry and make things happen for the artists we love. Do what works for you, and feel accomplished knowing you played a part in their success.