15 Ways to Support Artists for Free


Mar 13 2018

Gold Tape

15 Ways to Support Artists for Free

A dream of mine is to be a Patron of the Arts.

I would love to be in that top donor category for a theatre company, or to hold an independent cinema membership at the top tier. I would love to fund scholarships and residencies, to be an Angel.

In the meantime, in addition to the dollars I can donate, I set out to find ways to support artists for free. By talking to artists in different fields, I was surprised to learn ways to help that are so simple, but not always obvious.

Why not try one of these today?

15 Ways to Support Artists for Free

Follow musicians on Spotify.

By clicking the follow button, you make it more likely that their music will be considered for major playlists. I didn’t even know this was a thing you could do, but it’s a solid statistic that only takes a click.

  • Idea from Rorie, Singer-songwriter

Click on an actor’s IMDb page.

This raises their ‘StarMeter’ which could give them a boost with future casting opportunities. After going to the theatre or watching a web series, this is a great excuse for an IMDb-based cyberstalk that benefits the actors as well as my curiosity.

Follow them on social media and engage with their posts. 

All those likes, follows, and comments matter, boosting the artist’s status as an influencer, and being a part of their community.

Share photos of a designer’s pieces on your social media and tag them.

“Photographing and posting images any of the items you have bought from them previously on your social media as these kinds of customer images are invaluable and it’s really inspiring to see how people are adding their personal touches/styling your work.”

Sign up to their newsletters and open the emails when they arrive.

See if your favourite artists have newsletters. You’ll be the first to hear about their new projects, and that’s often where they will point you to specific ways you can support them. 

  • Idea from Amy Lord, author of The Disappeared

Ask your local bookstore or library to stock an author’s work.

This is valuable information for the venue, as well as for the author! The more requests, the more likely an author’s work will be stocked.

Pre-order an author’s book.

If you’re going to buy the book anyway, pre-ordering gives an extra nudge, telling bookstores and the publisher that this book is in demand. 

Check out their book at the library. 

In the UK, Public Lending Right UK gives authors the right to receive payment for the loans of their book at public libraries. 

Comment on their Kickstarter.

After you pledge to support an artist’s Kickstarter, leave a comment. This helps boost their page in the Kickstarter algorithm!

  • Idea from Rorie, Singer-songwriter

Write a review.

Think of how many times you have scanned reviews before investing your time or money on something. A positive review for someone’s work you love can go a LONG way. Places to leave reviews:

• iTunes
• Yelp
• Trip Advisor
• Amazon
• Goodreads
• On your blog
• Offer to write a testimonial for a workshop or course

Recommend their work to a friend.

Most of us get recommendations through word of mouth. Even a retweet goes a long way.

Bring a friend to an artist’s event.

If you’re going to a show, an opening, or a reading you’re really excited about, invite people to come along with you. I love dragging my friends to my favourite Fringe shows, and forcing New Yorkers to meet me at Sleep No More.

Listen to their interviews on podcasts.

The more listeners a guest brings in, the most likely they will be asked back, or invited on other shows.

Request them as an interview guest. 

“If there’s a podcast you like or a publication you read that you think should be aware of the artist, shoot them a suggestion on their contact form/on social media. Lots of outlets are looking for guests that overlap with and extend their existing listener/reader base.”

  • Idea & quote from Lola Keeley, Author of The Music and the Mirror

Talk about their work in specific terms. 

I find that it’s easy to share or voice support but we rarely take the time to interact with the work ourselves and say what it is we like or appreciate about it. I think that makes a huge difference and it’s something I try to do because I become an actual audience member of the person’s work AND my comments essentially become a review and give other people a reason to engage.”

Create Fan Art. 

“I can name three book series off the top of my head that I bought/read because of the amazing fanart.”

  •  Idea & quote from Yasemin, Writer

Tell them how much you love their work. 

“One woman came up to me at the Boston International Film Festival and asked to take a picture with me. She told me that she followed me on social media and that she was so happy to meet me because I was her inspiration. Comments like THAT support artists and create emotional support that helps buffer out some of the unkindnesses of the industry.”

Encourage artists to charge for their work.

It can be daunting for an artist to put a price tag on what they do (says Xandra, from personal experience). Telling an artist that they should ask for payment, or that you would pay for their work can boost confidence and normalise the idea that art is worth paying for.

If you’re an artist, support your industry by charging for YOUR work.

“I believe it’s important to not do work for free for the industry as a whole. If one person does something for free, then everyone else loses out and in reality no one in the industry will have gained anything.”

Pay them.

“Making art costs money and paying rent also costs money, so if you are able, the best way to support your favourite artists is to give them cold hard cash. You could use Ko-Fi, to digitally buy someone a coffee, or participate in an artist’s Patreon scheme. For example, Glaswegian music site Gold Flake Paint will send you a special playlist every month, for just a few pounds. A bargain! ”

Ask them what you can do.

Most likely there is something simple and concrete you can do that will go a long way. Just ask!

Speaking of which… Do you have a tip on how to support artists for free that isn’t on this list? Leave a comment and link to your work! I’ll be updating this.


P.S. So… if you were counting, that’s actually more than 15. ;)

P.P.S. My ebook, Own Your Story, is being retired at the end of the month. This is your last chance to get your copy.

P.P.S. Leave a comment linking to an artist we should know about!

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