Coronavirus: help and support for independent creatives

The unprecedented effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has deeply shaken us at Fringe Frequency. Firstly, we hope you and your loved ones are well. Our thoughts are with you – our supporters – and all the artists, creators, venues, small enterprises and freelancers.

This pandemic has slowed life to a crawl and crippled millions of us. But we must continue to look out for each other, the way that our health care workers, carers, key workers, and entire communities have been doing these past months.

In this ongoing article, we’ve put together some general advice and collected useful links to support creatives. If there are organisations, funds or support networks you think we should include, please let us know via our social pages @fringefrequency.

We’ve also highlighted a few ways fans can support the independent artists and enterprises they love.

This year has been tougher than any of us could have imagined. But in the words of Delroy Wilson, “better must come”. Until that time, stay safe and keep supporting each other.

HELP AND SUPPORT FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS, CREATORS AND SMALL BUSINESSES

Money and finances

Money Saving Expert: job security is a major concern for many right now, especially those who are freelance, self-employed or on temporary contracts. Money Saving Expert is providing lots of useful advice on employment and finances.

UK government’s business support page: the UK government is offering some support for businesses, including furlough schemes. However, you must first check what schemes you may be eligible for.

Arts Council England: England’s arts body has put together a £160 million emergency funding to help organisations and individuals during this crisis.

The Prince’s Trust: this organisation helps young people aged 11-30 with vocational training and jobs. It’s offering support for young people affected by the Coronavirus.

Barbican Young Poets: for writers, poets, artists and other creatives, @BYPoets has been diligently sharing many useful links to emergency arts funds and opportunities that you may benefit from.

The TV Mindset: this organisation offers support for TV and film freelancers, giving them a space to share their concerns. It’s team has been hosting wellness webinars, discussing mental health, finances, and other issues.

Services and equipment

Apple extends free trial for Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X: since March, Apple has been offering a 90-day free trial for its video editing app Final Cut Pro X and its audio editing app Logic Pro X. Both of these apps offer a wide array of tools for creatives, and now is a good time to give them a try. You will require a compatible Mac and Apple ID in order to take advantage of this offer.

Isolated Productions – a service helping musicians to connect: guitarist Joe Singleton and friends have created this website, Isolated Productions, to help musicians connect remotely and offer their services for recording sessions.

Connecting with the media

Getting press and media coverage hasn’t gotten any easier during the pandemic. But even if you have no PR team and no experience dealing with the press, you can still learn valuable lessons and make positive gains if you take the plunge now:

  • Know your audience: journalists, radio presenters, bloggers, and other media people are inundated with messages everyday. And the bigger they are, the harder it will be for your message to reach them. So, do your research and short list a handful of specialist publications, blogs and/or media folks who are covering the art you make. Then you can prepare messages for them knowing you have a higher chance of success.
  • Contact your potentials: when reaching out to the media for the first time, try to grab their attention immediately with something interesting or striking about your art or yourself. While some media people are cool being approached on social media, and even conversing in direct messages (DMs), many prefer new contacts and their PR people to contact them via email or the contact forms on their websites. Once you have got an email address or been invited to connect, make sure your press release is punchy, succinct and contains the critical information you’re trying to communicate. It is also wise to have promotional photos, cover art, audio, or other materials related to your project to hand.
  • Be polite and don’t give up: depending on who you contact, you may get several replies in less than a week, or you may get none at all. If you’re finding it hard to get replies, don’t take it personally. It may be that your messages simply haven’t been read or you may need to try approaching other media folks. What you shouldn’t do is to start randomly bombarding media folks with unsolicited links to your work with no introduction or greeting; this will not win you any favours. The important thing is to take things slowly and just be polite. Once you’ve found and connected with one or two media folks/publications, you can look forward to more support as you promote your art.

HOW FANS CAN HELP SUPPORT THEIR FAVOURITE INDEPENDENT CREATORS

The Coronavirus outbreak has forced the closure of music, arts and entertainment venues across the UK, and around the world. Many musicians, small enterprises and freelancers make the majority of their living from live events.

As such, supporting the artists and creators you love – especially those who are independent – is important if we wish to continue enjoying their work.

Here are a few ideas for how you can help support your favourite creators.

Share, share, share, and share again!

If you’re reading this, we’re going to beat you’re the discerning sort and you like your music. You are exactly who independent musicians, and other creative artists, need right now.

The only way many independent artists will be able to connect with new fans – and have their creativity supported enough for it be sustainable – will be if discerning readers like you take the time to share their music, art, et al. If it truly touches you, send it to your friends and family directly, share it on your social feeds, and share it again when the mood takes you. Be both a fan and an ambassador.

This is something we are striving to do of more as a site, though our current team size has made it difficult to shout about all the incredible artists we love, loudly and repeatedly. If you feel like you could help us out with this, and don’t mind volunteering some of your time, please do connect with us.

Live streams by artists and creators

Many musicians, artists and creators have been live streaming via Instagram, YouTube and other services during lockdown. Tuning in, and telling a few friends, is perhaps the easiest way of showing them love at this time.

If you’re curious about who else has been live streaming, have a look at the social media pages for your favourite artists. You can also web search a phrase such as “music live streams”, or try signing up to select mailing lists, such as Songkick, which has been curating lists of live streams.

We will also be highlighting live streams by artists that you might have missed.

Bandcamp: supporting artists by waiving its revenue share on selected days

Many independent artists and record labels sell their music and merchandise through the distribution outlet Bandcamp. On the first Friday of each month, Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share for all sales through its website, from midnight to midnight PDT (08:00am BST). This means that when you purchase any music, digital or physical, or merchandise from an artist’s Bandcamp page, that artist will receive a larger percentage from your purchase. Read more on Bandcamp’s blog.

Pass on the positive efforts of the creative community

If you’ve read this far, we’re going to bet you’re already a champion at this. You pass on positive posts and requests for assistance from friends without missing a beat.

So, keep doing what you’re doing and just keep your eyes peeled for things from the creative community that you can pass on. For instance, Geek Syndicate put together a Covid-19 support article for the comic, TV and film community.

Related: tips to stay healthy and happy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Image: Fringe Frequency