Leaving many without work and even more with uncertainty, the COVID-19 out-break has shifted the way the Gainesville music industry functions.
Facing a live-performance drought, local artists are relying on fan support from a distance.
Through tuning in to livestreams, interacting with artists online and streaming music, fans can help support the industry on both a local and global scale.
Alyssa Stark, a 21-year-old UF graduate student and the co-president of Swamp Records, said one of the most important things listeners can do is just that — continue to listen.
“Definitely, the biggest thing is streaming music,” Stark said. “Because without tickets and touring, which no small bands can do right now, streaming music is their only source of income.”
The student-run record label at UF has had to endure a “trial and error adaptation process” to support its artists and their virtual endeavors, she said.
Stark said adding artists’ songs to playlists on music streaming services is another little-known way to help smaller artists get the exposure they would typically garner through playing live shows.
“I hope to not see the bands lose the momentum that they have,” Stark said. “I
hope that they can grow that momentum because it’s hard to do that without live shows. Hopefully these livestreams and virtual events will allow the bands to keep gaining that traction.”
Driveaway, a band signed to Swamp Records, is refusing to let its music go un-heard and its sense of humor go unnoticed. The band hosted a concert over Zoom on March 28.
“We could just see everyone sitting down in their living rooms on the monitors
watching us, which is really relaxing,” said vocalist Trenton Ropp.
While not every artist is doing live remote shows, bassist Tanner Ropp said that continuing to provide support through social media and streaming music can help facilitate an artist’s growth.
“Whatever the artist is putting in work to do, just always try to be involved in that,” the bassist said. “I think the only thing we really can do is be engaged on social media. That’s always important, because the more people that are engaging, the more others are going to see that and the more the audience will spread that way.”
Now joining the fight is MusicGNV, a program of the non-profit organization Self Narrate, stepping up to support Gainesville’s independent music scene. Co-founder Brandon Telg said he and his team were planning on introducing MusicGNV as a live show and production organization for local artists, but COVID-19 changed their plans.
“What we’re setting ourselves up as immediately is essentially a charity,” Telg said. “If you donate to us through our website and note the artist that you’d like your donation to go to, your donation will be tax-deductible, and the full amount that you are donating will be given to that artist.”
MusicGNV is continuing to post pre-recorded artist performances to drum up support from the community as well as provide a connection among artists and their fans.
“For us, it’s not just about putting on great shows,” Telg said. “It’s been about really helping to build up the music community in ways that we are able, and we have skills and abilities to do.”
Those interested in donating or getting in touch with MusicGNV can visit its website.
Contact Chloe Greenberg at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @_chloegreenberg.
Katy Deitz performs in an empty Palomino Pool Hall. MusicGNV, a program of the non-profit organization Self Narrate, launched last month with a video series of local artists performing in their favorite locations, which have similarly been affected by COVID-19.