Something that’s easy to forget when you’re binge reading your favorite author or listening to your new favorite band on repeat is that artist-audience communication is a two-way street. While you’re soaking up everything that your new favorite artist produces, they might just be waiting for a reply. Here are five easy ways to support your favorite local artists and let them know that what they’re doing matters.
1. Social Media
While it may seem that social media is an inundation of information that just kind of becomes background noise, it does work on two levels. It not only increases the likelihood of someone else discovering the artist through your good suggestion, but it also increases the Google search ranking of the website if you link to it. This is due to the way Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works: the more links to a website or mentions, the higher up the website will be shown on Google. This will work whether you’re posting on your blog, Facebook (although less so), or linking via a YouTube review or Tumblr post. As long as you’re linking, you’re contributing to the Internet’s recognition of your favorite artist.
2. Purchase Straight From The Source
Media sellers like Amazon and iTunes are great, but these websites take a cut of the profit and come between artist and consumer. By purchasing straight from an artists’ website, you ensure that they receive all of their money that can be used to create more products. You may even get a better deal. Some artists like Alex Day, a YouTube famous singer-songwriter, pride themselves on not selling out to record companies and middle-man corporations to give their audience the most authentic purchasing experience at the best prices. In turn, Day has been able to produce more songs, released mostly via YouTube and iTunes (but produced by himself), and currently holds the record for the highest charting single by an unsigned artist.
3. Go to Their Events
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to go see any events that the artist is featured at. Venues take a risk when they decide which artists to feature. It’s simple: the more people that show up, the more likely that artist is to be invited back. If you can, it’s even possible to volunteer with the venue or organization that’s hosting to help staff the event. Not every venue offers these opportunities, but it’s a great way to see the show for free and be a dedicated fan.
4. Create a Wikipedia Page
If your favorite artist doesn’t have a web presence already, create one for them! While it might feel strange to create a personal website for them, you can always create a Wikipedia page where other fans (and possibly the author) can add their own information. A Wikipedia page will always be one of the first things that come up when searching for someone, so even a very basic page will serve its purpose. It will also give you a chance to interact with other fans.
5. Tell Them!
I once read this amazing book called What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (see how I linked there!), and it inspired me to start writing again after months of discouragement. I went straight to her website, in what I thought then was a pretty bold move, and wrote a comment on her website telling her what I thought. She wrote me back that same day saying how it meant so much to hear from a fan. I am proud to say that she’s working on another book. While I’m sure my single comment didn’t persuade her/the publishers, lots of good feedback can convince artists and those who publish or curate them that their work means something to a larger audience.
To support our own local artist Owen Kalt with his solo show about growing in the 70s with a gay best friend, like the event Facebook page, view his profile, or just attend Solo Chicago, where Kalt will be performing August 14th and 16th.