5 Ways To Continue Supporting Your Favourite Musicians Beyond Buying A Shirt

It’s no secret, artists have it rough right now. The cost of living has left people with less money to spend on their favorite artists, be it on a ticket for a concert, or on some merch to support them.

Despite all this, it is still possible for listeners to continue supporting their favourite musicians and other artists in the space. Thanks to social media platforms and new ways to financially support artists, there are plenty of opportunities to support artists.

If we want to keep hearing fresh talent come out, audiences are going to need to turn up. Here’s how you can help out your fave artists right now.

Talk about what you’re listening to

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. When it comes to supporting your favourite artists, being a yapper is one of the best things you can be. I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where a friend recommended us a band that quickly became a favourite at some point. It’s why we go to music reviewers or websites for recommendations that we trust, because we want to discover our next musical obsession.

The biggest hurdle for starting musicians is always discoverability, and while streaming sites like Spotify and YouTube have upped their game in showing users new music, it’s still hard for artists to appear on those curated playlists without those algorithms picking up on listener learning habits to begin with.

Be cringe. Share that song you’ve had on repeat all day on your Instagram story, take over the AUX and play it without shame. It might help someone else discover them.

Go to local gigs & festivals

Australia has been rattled lately with major music festival cancellations recently. However, local and genre-specific festivals have been thriving despite having more niche acts on their lineup. Having more dedicated communities wanting to come out and support the artists at these festivals, and audiences knowing they’re most likely going to get along with the crowd as they share the same interests go a long way.

If you’re looking to catch some big names perform with some great local talent, you’re in luck. Coke Studio® is holding a launch gig to celebrate its launch in Australia, and the event will be fronted by Tones And I, Young Franco and CHAII.

Coke Studio® is a program spanning across the globe, bringing big name talent together with local acts to discuss and collaborate on music. Tones And I, Young Franco and CHAII will be the first for Australia and New Zealand’s launch here, and the trio will be collaborating on a song together. If you’ve been wanting to discover more local acts, and want to know more on how an artist starts and finishes a song, check out Coke Studio® and grab tix to the launch gig here. (Link to be provided)

Keep discovering new artists

There’s no greater feeling than discovering a new artist you get to gatekeep before they blow up in popularity. That moment of pride when when you start to see their songs pop-up in playlists or across mutuals social media. You get to stand on the sidelines and think to yourself, “I was there first!”

If you love a specific band or a love a genre of music, you should definitely keep discovering new artists that emerge from it. I love scrolling deep into a Rate Your Music genre list and finding EPs from independent artists inspired by a band that I also really love. This totally deepens my appreciation for the artist I already like, and I get to discover more great music. Sharing this and making those comparisons known, engaging with your sub-culture of artists means that your favourite community of artists only gets stronger and more connected.

Supporting and discovering new artists like this means that fresh talent might be brought on as an opening act for that band later on, or appear on the same festival line-up.

Buy merch (not just a t-shirt)

We all know that the best way to support an artist you love is to buy their merch. Because of split cuts between album sales and tickets, merch is one of the best and most direct ways to financially support an artist. Plus you get to rock a pretty cool shirt also.

But if you’ve been at a show lately, you might have noticed that shirts aren’t as affordable like they used to be, with some reaching anywhere between $50-$80. Thankfully, there’s a heap of different merch available for you out there.

Some touring artists will have cheaper options for merch available, like buttons or stickers that you can pick up instead. If you can’t to make it to a concert, some artists might have different ways for you to financially support them, like Patreon, an Etsy store, or Bandcamp Fridays where purchases go directly to them.

Support them online

I sympathise with artists who only want to focus on creating music, but that’s not the landscape of the industry anymore. Writing great music is only half the solution to discoverability and fostering a fan base. Artists need to diversify their audience, and they need to communicate with them often.

We saw the blueprint of this during COVID. Artists would livestream music lessons on Twitch, perform covers of songs or go over the production of a song they worked on. We also saw some artists hosting virtual concerts, where everyone from across the world could join in and interact with the artist in real-time. There was an influx of podcasts from musicians, telling stories behind the making of an album or about touring. Some even started Patreon accounts for fans to subscribe to. If an artist isn’t taking advantage of these formats, they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

TikTok has been the most reliable launch pad for fans to discover newer artists while exposing them to great acts from previous decades. By leveraging songs as sounds and posting alongside trends, bands have a new opportunity to lean on their fanbase. But they have to participate in it, and fans have to also ask for it.

A lot of musicians won’t be able to gauge interest in these things unless fans are vocal about their enthusiasm for it, and turn up to support them. These are also great opportunities to connect more with the artists and learn more about them.

TL;DR: There are plenty of ways to still support artists. The great thing about this era of music, is that there are plenty of opportunities to be included in that success, and help collaborate with an artist on it. Make your voice heard and be unashamed in sharing the music you love. It might help new fans discover them.