How to Help Musicians--Updated

You probably heard the news: record claims for unemployment benefits, indeed, five times the previous record from 1982. Our economy has never been shut down quite so completely and suddenly. Those most affected are service workers: cooks, waiters, retail clerks—and the people who make the music we love.

Every performance venue in New York City is shut down—and also in the rest of the state. There are no live gigs here for musicians--and that's true many other places in the US and across the world.

Studios, too, are shut down: "I really don't know of any [recording sessions] that are going on," recording engineer Jim Anderson, who records Patricia Barber and many others, wrote to me in an email. (The shutdown also effects those behind the scenes and on the other side of the microphone: producers, engineers, roadies, etc. For accounts of their struggles, see this article at Sonic Scoop. Also see this livestream Q&A.)

So what can you do?

  • If you've got tickets to a canceled event, donate the money back. You'll be helping a venue that hosts live music, and some are using these funds to pay musicians to do livestream concerts, often from their homes. (See our list of coronavirus-related livestream events.)
  • If there's a particular musician you especially care about—especially those who are independent or just starting out—track them down on Facebook; they may have a PayPal or Venmo account you can deposit funds directly into.
  • Buy music. Amazon has stopped delivering CDs for the moment (and some musicians are suffering for it), but Discogs is open for business, and some brick-and-mortar stores are fulfilling Internet orders.
  • Downloads, help, too—but remember, it's not the best-selling artists who need your help. So check out sites like Bandcamp where excellent but less well-known musicians share their music. Listen before you buy and discover some new music. Often you can buy downloads or physical copies, CD or LP. Bandcamp lets you give more than the minimum, so give generously.
  • Many relief funds have been set up, some of them focused on specific genres. There's a list below, which we intend to expand as we discover new resources. Find one—if it's not on our list, use Google—that supports musicians in the genre you prefer and—again—give generously.

We'll update this list as we discover more resources.

jeffhenning's picture

Perhaps musicians that have made $100’s of millions of dollars could help out their fellow artists and not ask regular people to do it.

Also, since you can’t go to shows, put that money toward expanding your music collection with files, discs and concert videos from your favorite bands.

Apstarterkit's picture

May not be shipping music, but tens of thousands of third party sellers, such as myself, are still happy to fill your orders for music.

davip's picture

This piece is about as tasteless as Live-Aid was with millionaire 'money-for-nothing-chicks-for-free' types giving just their time whilst asking everyone else to give their cash. Now the staff of a magazine propose that the public help 'most affected' musicians. Let's not forget that artistry is a choice, not a necessity, and when the going is good for these people they decamp offshore to keep as much of their lucre for themselves as possible.

With genuine hardship in this world let's not hand-wring over those who get out of bed when They choose rather than when their Employer does. People who work hard and are prudent are those who have been screwed by the financial turmoil over the last 11 years whilst those who happily took on debts they had no vehicle to repay were the source of that turmoil. This is why our economies are pre-fcked and unprepared for Covid-19, so save the bellyaching over the poor musician while people die in their 1000s daily for want of emergency respiratory-care. My income has been reduced 95% over the last decade as a product of that financial largesse, as has that of every saver in the world whose money is used to pay other people's mortgages, but you don't hear me complaining.

I don't imagine that 'What Camera' has a piece on helping the poor artisans who grind Leica lenses, so 'recording artists' can suck it up too -- just like the rest of us...

Jim Austin's picture

... the vast majority of professional musicians are poor. The economist Alan Krueger wrote a book about the economics of rock music (just before taking his own life; the book was published posthumously). In that book he cites research showing that the average musician's income is $20,000/year. I think it's obvious to most folks, even if you missed the point entirely, that it's not Bruce or Bono we're concerned about. (If you only listen to wealthy musicians; that's your issue. I often attend concerts by professional classical and jazz musicians who earn little. I live down the road from the jazz club Smoke, which, when not shuttered because of a virus, typically hosts jazz musicians you've heard of--assuming you've heard of living jazz musicians. It has perhaps 50 seats and charges a $35 cover for a set. How much do you think the member of a typical quintet earns for a set?)

Another point you apparently miss is that this is a crisis in which there are few or no opportunities to contribute our time. We are, after all, self-isolating. Under governor's orders, I leave the house only to walk the dog and when I absolutely must to buy groceries.

Finally, you cannot possibly know what each of us individually are doing to help. But if you must know, I spent one recent day collecting a truckload of PPEs--especially gloves and masks--from academic science institutions and delivering them, at some risk, to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. This was the day before the governor's stay-at-home order went into effect. They were very grateful to have them. This does not make me a hero. It does mean you don't know what you're talking about.

I will never understand why some people apparently derive satisfaction from gratuitously, and often anonymously, criticizing others online.

Let's keep the conversation focused on music and audio.

Jim Austin, Editor

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I've just volunteered at our local Food Co-op to use my car for home deliveries to people over 70.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

You are a great American, and a great citizen of the world, and a role model for everybody, JVS :-) .........

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

But thank you nonetheless.

Dear World,

Whatever you do, do not copy my posture. It won't get you very far.


commsysman's picture

What do you call a musician that has just broken up with his girlfriend?


Bogolu Haranath's picture

What do you call an audiophile, who has just broken up with his girlfriend? ........ Answer: Homeless, hopeless and penniless :-) ........

jeffhenning's picture

Invoking the mortgage crisis that started the depression of 2008, you missed the biggest reason for it happening.

Banks realized they could create mortgages (no matter how risky they were) and then sell them to other entities (banks, brokerage firms, etc.) that converted them into securities that were sold like a stock (in some cases, the packaging was done in-house). They were a hot commodity for a while.

The lending banks actively recruited people that should never have qualified for mortgages so they could package and sell them. It was all about selling more loans regardless of their inherent risk. Once sold, they were someone else's problem. Those banks made almost countless billions in the process.

After everything burned down, the banks that made the loans were fine as were the firms that packaged the mortgage-based securities and sold them. The people that got royally screwed were the borrowers and the final entities down the line to buy the securities. The borrowers lost their homes and any person or company that held the paper, for the most part, were wiped out.

Blaming people for taking out home loans that were aggressively marketed to them regardless of their ability to pay it back is blaming the mark for being conned. The con was that they could have a small part of the American Dream and become home-owners regardless of their circumstances.

The banks were to blame. They perpetrated the entire con and caused the ensuing depression. And nothing happened to them.

John Atkinson's picture
jeffhenning wrote:
Invoking the mortgage crisis that started the depression of 2008, you missed the biggest reason for it happening.

Banks realized they could create mortgages (no matter how risky they were) and then sell them to other entities (banks, brokerage firms, etc.) that converted them into securities that were sold like a stock (in some cases, the packaging was done in-house).

This was examined at length in Michael Lewis's book "Liar's Poker": .

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

jeffhenning's picture

A question since I kinda have you on the hook:

I have LS50's surrounding me in my theater.

When you measured the LS50's in your lab and show a bunch of mid-bass to midrange noise coming out of the port, was that mostly a by product of close miking the port?

I'm pretty sure that the foam bungs that come with the speakers to attenuate the port output stifle that, but, being the curious type, I'm wondering. I use them on all the LS50's and cross them over to four Rythmik 12", servo subs below 170Hz so there's very little bass rattling around in those little cabinets.

Regardless, I'll paraphrase the great Larry Graham's album title: "My surround sound system sho' sounds good to me!"


Bogolu Haranath's picture

If JA1 is currently using the NAD M10, it has very low output impedance and very high damping factor .... In addition, M10 also has Dirac Live room correction ....... So, JA1 is having a good time listening to LS-50s, even driving them fullrange ...... JA1 describes about that in his review of NAD M10 :-) ........

jeffhenning's picture

...This is of no help or pertinence what so ever. In fact, to my question, it's nonsense.

If you, though, have some info to proffer on the low mid output of the LS50's port, please, let me know.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I mentioned that, because of your mention about the midrange ...... Sure, with your crossover set at 170 Hz, there should not be much of a problem with the bass frequencies below 170 Hz ...... The Dirac Live affects most of the midrange frequencies up to 500-600 Hz as well as the bass frequencies ....... See, the NAD M10 review :-) ......

jeffhenning's picture

... you are not understanding the question.

• I'm asking JA about the spike in midrange output from the LS50's port that he measured, not about the midrange output of the driver

• Dirac Live can effect any audible frequency depending on what you are using to process it and how you use it

• I have an Emotiva XMC-1 and, given my rooms awesome acoustics (best I ever had), I don't feel the need to use it. The rooms that good.

• I would like to use it for temporal correction for the mains & subs, but this processor doesn't support anything over a 48kHz sampling frequency so everything over that would have to be downsampled. Probably benign, but not ideal.

When I get an Emotiva RMC-1, all of my pre/pro problems are solved (of course, that's after they sort the unit out and get Dirac working in it)

Cheers, baby.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

With the Dirac Live affecting up to 500-600 Hz, chances are that port noise spike in the midrange could also be suppressed ..... Only way to know is, if JA1 re-measures the FR, including the port noise measurements of the LS-50 using the Dirac Live :-) ......

John Atkinson's picture
jeffhenning wrote:
When you measured the LS50's in your lab and show a bunch of mid-bass to midrange noise coming out of the port, was that mostly a by product of close miking the port?

No, it's real. (I use a mike with a 1/4" capsule for the nearfield measurements so that it doesn't present much of an obstacle to the radiated sound.) However, as I said in the review, the midrange noise in the port's output is low in level, 20dB below the reference level. It's also low-Q, which will work against audibility.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

jeffhenning's picture

So, I'll assume that using the foam bungs will attenuate that noise even further so I'm really good!

I hope.

That then brings up another question: is this noise just the back wave of the midrange escaping after both directly & rattling around before exiting the cabinet or some type of overtone?

Either way, I'm assuming you never used the supplied foam bungs. Also, all of my speakers toward the front are in a LEDE style of room so those little pukes of rear exhaust will, for the most part, be swallowed up

You'll have to excuse me. I'm a bit of an audio nut.

Just wondering. Personally, I'd like the port by products to be about -100dB!


Bogolu Haranath's picture

If we maintain 'social distancing' from those ports, we won't hear that port noise ....... Those ports will complain by making noise, if we get too close to them :-) ........

Jim Austin's picture

Hey, Jeff, maybe I should just wait for JA1 to reply, [Edit: I now see that he posted before I did!] but, not recalling anything about port noise in the LS50, I took a look. This is all I found:

The port is tuned to 52Hz, confirmed by the minimum-motion notch at that frequency in the woofer's nearfield output (fig.3, blue trace). The port's nearfield response (red trace) peaks sharply between 40 and 70Hz, and though some upper-frequency output is visible, this is well down in level.

Compare, for example, the Sonus Faber Olympica Nova 1 we recently reviewed (Fig. 3) or the Q Acoustics Concept 300 (Fig. 5)--both good speakers. Looking at JA's fig.3, this is not something I'd worry about.

Jim Austin, Editor

jeffhenning's picture

Thanks, Jim.

Personally, this year, I'm looking to get the main channels powered by a Benchmark AHB-2. Then use a Purifi based mono for the center.

The next thing, currently, is semi-dipole rears. I have four B&G Neo-8's that have been sitting dormant for years that require being used and would work great in rear channels with small woofers.

Eventually, I'll do the Atmos thing. Before that, I need to get my personal recording studio back up and running.

Hoping that this happens before the world burns down.

All the best.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

There is a slight approx. +3 db peak from approx. 90 Hz to 180 Hz and, another slight +3 db peak from approx. 600 Hz to 1 kHz, from JA1's listening position, after the Dirac Live room correction ...... See the green trace, Fig.2, NAD M10 'trying the Dirac Live' :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Both the Olympica Nova 1 and the Q Concept 300, could benefit from using the Dirac Live :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Both M10 and Dirac Live could get the best out of most of the 2 way passive or even some active bookshelf speakers :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

In the recently reported Music Matters show, they were demo-ing M10 with DALI speakers ...... They were probably using the Dirac Live built-in M10 ........ JVS liked the sound in that demo room :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JA2 could review the new, soon to be released NAD M33 with Dirac Live (one among many other built-in capabilities) 200 WPC integrated amp ($5,000) ........ M33 has the new Purifi Class-D modules ........ M33 could be reviewed with the Revel Salon2, and could be compared with the Devialet Expert 140 Pro (reviewed by JA2) :-) ........

barrows's picture

@davip, respectfully, you are completely out of touch with the reality here, and the tone of your post suggest that you may also be a selfish individual (I hope I am wrong about that)?
My GF is a professional musician, who earns about half of her income from live performance. She works very hard and her income is not fantastic. Right now she has lost all of her gigs, and all of her income for the foreseeable future. Also, most musicians like her are not eligible for unemployment benefits (although I am hoping the newly passed stimulus will apply to her some), and most of musicians like her do not have much in the way of a savings cushion either.
These are creative people, who have made the hard choice to make music , and contribute something awesome to the world, we owe them.

shawnwes's picture

Through sites like CD Baby and Bandcamp. Buy their music, that's what they'd like & could help them the most long term. I probably wouldn't donate to a website that had just sprung up in the last month or two.

In Canada, the Feds announced that anyone who has lost their job, including self employed persons like full time musicians, are guaranteed a minimum of $2k/mo for the next 4 months and. Some provinces have sweetened the deal a little. We've also just announced a program similar to Denmark where the gov't will help subsidize the wages of a small business, with payroll under $1mil up to 75% for the next few months. I'm pretty impressed with the way the entire process from health & safety to income support is being handled so far. My wife & I are fine but many aren't & will require this income bridging.

rschryer's picture

Which begs the question: who's going to pay for it all?

Nothing's free.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Print the money :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If you guys decide to join the Euro-Zone, they will print the money for you ....... OTOH, If you guys decide to join US, we will be more than happy to print the money for you :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

You may end up joining the Brits though ....... All those Royals are already invading your land and could colonize you :-) ......

shawnwes's picture

Thanks for asking but Canada will be just fine thanks. Half of the $120B assistance program funds are going directly to affected individuals in the form of some sort of payment. The balance will be used for some form of corporate support. This total amount spent works out to about $3500 per person in Canada, which amortized over a number of years works out to a very small price to pay to give everyone peace of mind throughout this unprecedented calamity.

BTW, if you hadn't seen the news, Harry & Meagan have moved to California so they're your imported royals now :)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Even though we got rid of them in 1776, those Brits keep coming back :-) .......

Brits think our American Buffalo have wings and they like to eat our Buffalo Wings :-) ........

stereosnarf's picture

The graphic for this article seems in poor taste. It's just kinda creepy. I know someone was trying to create a link between music and Covid19, but... yuk.

mns3dhm's picture

I have no idea is this is an exception to some sort of rules Amazon temporarily has in place, but I can tell you that I did take delivery of CDs on three separate occasions last week here in Dallas. I can certainly understand why they would prioritize delivery of food and medical supplies but they may be delivering lower priority items based on capacity.

dc_bruce's picture

this is. Please review the "ants and the grasshopper" fable, Dave. The grasshopper didn't prepare for the lean season, but the ants took him in anyway. . .
It's a reasonable assumption on the part of JA or JA2 (whoever is in charge of this website) that folks who are interested in --and spend money on -- audio reproduction equipment might have some interest in -- and concern about -- those who produce the recordings which that equipment plays. So a list of sites where folks like us can help support those folks does not seem at all inappropriate much less deserving of a scolding rant about the relative handful of financially successful performers who employ tax minimization strategies like decamping from the UK to the US to avoid confiscatory taxes.

Even the fabulously successful artists did not emerge fully-formed as mega stars. They began as small potato performers living from gig to gig. I recall seeing Joni Mitchell in the fall of 1968 at a club in Washington DC called "The Cellar Door," which was an apt description of the venue (I'm sure it didn't hold more than 100 patrons). So, it seems to me that we all have an interest in keeping new artists coming into the pipeline. Many -- perhaps most -- will fail, and perhaps deservedly so. But having unknown artists fail because of a circumstance entirely beyond their control does not, to me, appear to be a constructive way to proceed, either for them or for us.

To be sure. not everyone is interested into the serious music listening that the equipment we buy facilitates ("Alexa, play some jazz"). Perhaps their hobby is something else, like, say model railroading. Fine, no one's asking them to support fledgling opera singers, jazz pianists or hip hop artists. They can support the folks who make detailed miniature replications of 1940s era German steam locomotives. But this website is aimed at music listeners not model railroad builders.

If you want to rant about something, try this: less than 48 hours after the "stimulus" bill was signed, which included $25M for the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the president of that Center emailed the members of the house orchestra (The National Symphony) telling them that they wouldn't get paid after April. As a token of her concern and sacrifice, the President volunteered a 50% cut in her pay . . . which is $1.2M. Seriously?

tonykaz's picture

worrying about all the folks struggling financially is "your brain on Capitalism".

Should we include the PTSD Iraq Warriors living under Bridges in Los Angeles ? ( and all the other homeless, for that matter ) England has Council Flats and Health Service. Where would we get that kind of money ???


Our Stock Market is having a Boom Year.

People are buying $50,000 record players.

We Citizens just gave Boeing 60 Billion and the Stock Market more than a Trillion Dollars, while expecting to reach out to the Fossil Fuel guys who are getting hammered by Arabs & Russians selling at or below $20 Bbl.

Do musicians matter like our Money people and GIant Corporations ?

Do people matter ?

Do Stock prices Trump people?

Tony in Venice

misterc59's picture

Please don't forget people buying $50,000 CD-D/A players!


Bogolu Haranath's picture

..... and, people buying over $100k dCS Vivaldi digital playback system :-) ......

tonykaz's picture

I hope that we can find some accommodation for the promised up-coming tube rolling & wire reviews .

You may just now realize that a California 3D Printer Company is selling a $2,500 Record Press that makes Vinyl Records directly from Digital Sources. Steve G suggests it's the finest Vinyl record he ever heard.

See the Audiophiliac on Today's YouTube

Tony in Venice

ps. nothing like a little good news on April Fool's Day.

Relayer's picture

Thanks for the list. I can't afford to donate but I will turn my ad-blocker off on those audio sites I visit. All I can do...