It can be challenging for musicians and bands to make a living in a post-Napster world. So, what can you do as a fan to help your favorite musical acts make a buck? Here’s my current strategy for trying to make my music listening habits result in financial reward for bands:

  1. Own it: Yes, buy the Paid Download or CD. This is the most obvious one. If you like the band, download or pre-order their full albums directly from the artist’s website. This likely won’t be the cheapest option, but it’s usually the most lucrative for the band. If that’s not possible then grab them at Amazon MP3 Store / iTunes / Google Play or get the CD and rip it. This is probably the best way to make sure the artist gets the most money for you having the privilege of possessing a copy of their music.
  2. Stream it, AFTER you own it: This is the extra bump I’m hoping will help musicians. Even after I download their music or buy a CD, I still try to stream their music whenever possible. Regardless of whether or not I have a personal copy on a device at hand, I’ll still try to stream their music via free Spotify desktop (or paid pro/mobile) for example. My theory, and hope, is that this is a helpful double-dip for the band. I bought their music AND I’m also sending them a little extra money for every track I stream – sweetening the deal beyond my initial purchase.
  3. Super-size it, with CD / Download / Merchandise Bundles: If you really like an artist, then take advantage of any “merch” promos that include extra stuff and buy it directly from their site. This is often a great way to get a t-shirt, poster, or other collectible while driving up profit margins for the band.
  4. Attend it: Go to shows, buy any of the above items there too. While you are at it, buy the band a round of drinks!
  5. Share your love for it: Use the ‘water cooler’ and social media to promote your favorite bands and artists. Hopefully it will result in others doing these same things.

In closing, I’m a lover of music and play mandolin with my friends in the ‘band’ The Hired Men. Please contact me on Twitter if you have other suggestions. Good luck to any musician that can manage to make a living nowadays, because music makes the world go round.