As I write this, I can remember exactly where I was two months ago to the day. I took my son to Disneyland to ride the new Star Wars ride on opening day. The only care in the world we had was whether or not we would have the chance to go on the ride! We got our “boarding number” in the digital que and for the rest of the day, we had the time of our lives riding every other ride we hoped to conquer.
Two months later, here we are with an entirely different set of circumstances. The tours I have helped launch and manage are now postponed for the unforeseeable future. If they are in the top 1%, some bands have the resources to ride this out. The remaining 99% of the industry does not have that luxury. The artists who wrote and recorded some of our most beloved songs are in a place of uncertainty with every fiber in their body to resist anxiety.
Most musicians started out as “young starving artists” who didn’t have responsibilities like payroll, marriages or children. We learned how to stretch a penny better than most. Living on 25 cent ramen noodles and taking sponge baths in dirty truck stop bathrooms. Sleeping on the floors of generous fans in unknown suburbs just to get to the next city. And for the short time we were home, we are able to figure out odd jobs to supplement income between studio sessions and endless tour stops. We believe so deeply in what we are creating, nothing could stop us.
When an artist “makes it”, that typically means you get the last bits of the dollar after everyone else takes their portion. Labels, streaming platforms, managers, agents, publicists, co-writers, promoters, merch vendors, web hosting and every other bit of overhead it takes to make a traveling musician go.
All of this, in a blink of an eye, is extinct… or is it?
Many of us in this great country and world may be going through these same realities. We as a community of humans have two choices, either hoard and hunker down, or observe where there is need and discover how we can help. This is not our new normal for here on out, it is certainly temporary, we just don’t know for how long.
I have been talking regularly with artists and bands who are facing a minimum of 6-9 months of no income. They still have bills to pay and food to put on the table. Their families and loved ones are counting on them. They have had to let their touring staff go and are sitting on top of tour expenses like tour merch (which is minimally 50% of their income) and contractual obligations staring them down the face.
We at FEEDtheMUSIC don’t simply enjoy the music our favorite artists create, we depend on it, and they depend on us. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, the most connecting art form that every nation and culture is unified by. We have the opportunity to truly help carry our most treasured songwriters, musicians, and production staff in these desperate times.
Bobby Hundreds said it perfectly, “We are thankful that we are embarking on this journey together. To have our friends and family, our community, and billions of people around the world sharing this fear with us. It feels a billion times lighter. And the anxiety, a billion times more tolerable… So, there’s one resource we can use to our advantage: our relationships. This is the time to lean on your brothers and sisters and neighbors. In return, as a good neighbor, now is the time to practice compassion and patience. Let’s listen.
If you have already discovered ways to help support someone in need, that is awesome! That’s the point. If you have not yet discovered a way, here is an option: FEEDtheMUSIC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which means you can financially support your favorite artist and 100% of your donation is tax-deductible. This is the first crowd-sourcing platform of its kind. Unfortunately, Patreon, Venmo, cashapp ect. does not give you a tax-deductible receipt, WE DO. Music is relational, not transactional. Our favorite musicians should be freed up to make and perform music.
www.FEEDtheMUSIC.net - Band Management Boardmember
IT’S INCREDIBLY SIMPLE
• Music Makers can now invite their biggest fans to be collaborators.
• People can now give tax-deductible donations to support their favorite artists.
• In doing this we will fuel the future of music and change the cultural influences.
After 10 years in the professional music business, as the drummer for Kutless and many other bands, Jeff Gilbert went full time in Global Social Advocacy work. In 2013, Jeff founded Ambassadéurs, LLC, a marketing and development company serving non-profit organizations. The passion behind the work of Ambassadéurs is aligning touring artists with the causes they are convicted to advance through collaborating with their fan base. To date, hundreds of millions of dollars has been raised towards these much-needed programs.