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Carlton Smith Music 
Michael C Smith, March 18 2020

How artists can profit in the COVID-19 Chaos (ethically)

Photo by Spencer Imbrock

During this global pandemic, there are a lot of stories about price gauging and shady actions. There is an old saying that "there is profit in chaos". People and business drop everything when there is panic. When fear and uncertainty hit those who stay grounded can find opportunity. The truth of the matter however is that you don't have to be shady to profit from chaos. There is an abundance of good legitimate opportunities people can take part of right now, and musicians are not exempt.

COVID-19 Disaster Loans

The Small Business Administration is offering Economic Injury Disaster loans up to $2million dollars for small businesses. Are you an artist? Then you're a small business. The loans are very low interest and may even go down to 0% interest. You can find out if your state is eligible at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance


Everyone is losing shows right? Well those shows are being postponed and someone will need to fill the slot when the original artist is no longer available. Start contacting local venues and let them know that you can step in when the crisis is over. Offer to promote discounts for gift cards of the vendor to your fans. Make those connections you're going to need when this is over now!

Rehearsing and Recording

President Trump issued a declaration that people in groups of 10 or more shouldn't congregate. How many people are in your band? 3, 4, 5? Find a rehearsal space and start getting your show together. Take lysol with you if you want. If you're healthy and your band mates are healthy practice, even if you still want to stay 6 feet away from each other. Doing something is better than nothing

In addition, start recording that Christmas album now! Wipe down the microphones after each use, or record virtually like most artists have been doing. There's nothing to record an album at home and send it out for mixing and mastering.

Buy Stock

There are popular stocks to include music stocks that are dropping. Buy low and sell high when the market comes back. Tencent is at $10 Warner Music Group filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in February 2020 and there are tons of other music and non-music related stocks. The thing with stocks is that they fluctuate so if you can buy low and you think the company is going places in the next year go with it. According to Liberated Stock Trader you should hold on to stock for 50-300 days. In today's climate you may need to hold on to it for a little longer but the market will eventually come back. Check with your Business Manager to find out what works best for you.


It kills me how many artists including major artists have not signed up for Soundexchange. SX is the organization that collects digital performance royalties and to date have paid out more than $6 Billion dollars to artists and rights holders. 50% goes to the rights holder, 45% to the featured artist and 5% to the non-featured artist go to  the Soundexchange website and see if they have money for you. Even if they don't sign up now!


There are opportunities out there right now. Your first priority is to stay healthy and ready so you can take advantage of those opportunities, but don't waste the time you have. If you're not getting residual income from other means (streams, sync, licensing) look for opportunities so you can make some money.  There are people out there that need your services but can't find you. Now is the time to let them know you exist!

Written by

Michael C Smith


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