The Pivot


Every small business owner goes through it at one point or another.

With federal guidelines for event bans and social distancing extended until June, you probably could guess that we too must cancel our April and May showcases. We miss all of you. We are alone together and we are keeping you on mind.

With everything moved to Digital, one thing is sure: We must embrace the pivot.

Here are a few things we’ve seen work for members of our community:

  1. Live Stream with Facebook or Zoom, and use Venmo or Paypal as a tip jar. Consider launching your show frequently, at a consistent time and day. Talk with your audience. Social interaction plays a very important role in some of the most engaging streams we’ve seen.
  2. Drive-Up Concerts. Cars park around the PA system setup in a parking lot. Best practice: All parking lots are privately owned. If you’re going to set up a show in parking lot, schedule it ahead of time with the owner. Promote the concert as you would on Facebook.
  3. Launch your podcast. There’s no better time. We love the quality of Dan Heidt’s “Flies In The Kitchen” podcast. Using digital calling, there are ways to record the episodes and conduct interviews and storytelling completely remote.
  4. Digital Songwriting Groups. Rob Maccabee has taken songwriting group, The Fertilizers, digital. With video chat capabilities on Zoom, the “digital open mics” and virtual co-writing session are more active in Columbus, Ohio. Brent Baxter leaders another virtual, online songwriting resource:
  5. Recording. There’s no better time to record. Whether you choose home recording and bringing outside musicians in, or a (ten or less) local recording studio environment, please keep social distancing in mind!
  6. Porch Concerts. Zach Friedman and Can’t Stop Columbus are testing an innovative approach to bringing music to specific neighborhoods who request it via live artist and pickup trucks. CSA Member, Will Freed, supported the first test of this live music delivery service.
  7. Campfires. We’ve seen many people going to parks, riding their bicycles outdoors, gardening, and we’ve recently received requests to put on socially distanced concerts in back yards. While a bit on the “risky” side for some, we all know the federal guideline is 10 people, and maybe there is a way for social stream of a very lightly attended and carefully managed bonfire series. That being said, maybe best to stay indoors!
  8. Virtual House Concerts. Given that there is a space big enough for 10 people to fit six feet apart, some hosts in Folk Alliance International have been live streaming house concerts with a small group of audiences.
  9. Concerts for One. This was gaining momentum even prior to COVID with artists like Damien Rice and Justin Vernon taking part.
  10. Digital Festivals. We’ve heard through the grapevine about global streams of artists emerging through companies like (based in Adelaide, Australia). What a great way to “bring together” artists from different cities around the world while audiences sample the music styles of each city/culture.
  11. Artist Grants from GCAC are now available for those without a financial safety net.
  12. Medical Emergencies for artists during COVID.
  13. Sweet Relief Fund for those artists who receive 50% of their income from music and have a documentable financial need at this time.
  14. Small Business Loans through SBA are available.
  15. Government Stimulus checks are coming.
  16. Here is the link to unemployment benefits, if self-employed as an artist and not able to collect/declare income during the event ban.

We implore you to explore the grants resources available, consider new ways of using technology to reach audiences, and use your creativity to try out new technologies and digital experiences. We’re in this together. We’ll get through this together.

What other resources have you come across? Write to us directly at

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