We’ve all spent the best part of a year adapting to a new world.
We’re humans. We’re used to adaptation. It’s what’s kept us going for so long.
Thanks to those before us, hustling has become an instinct, which we Brits have embraced at a time we’ve never needed it more.
Platforms have been given the chance to cultivate change or respond to the new world hustlers have been carving out.
We’ve used them to keep our dreams from flickering away in the light of harsh realities, or sometimes to keep the electricity in our homes from doing the same.
Music streaming services are among platforms that have both listened to what consumers and creatives want for the new world and helped fashion it.
Bandcamp’s really got something going for both the hobbyist and the royalty strapped side-hustler of DIY music.
They know having a good time with your mates and cultivating an audience that really connects with you is what matters.
That’s all fine and dandy, but those roses quickly turn to stone when you flip your pockets to find lint.
The hustler needs money. And the main source of income for independent musicians are physical merchandise sales and live shows.
So, where does the rowdy, sincere and grippingly intimate grass-roots community go when live music is off limits?
Sure, Instagram Live and Spotify come to mind, but the real hustlers' hero, breaking the alienating conventions of streaming is Bandcamp.
Although the pandemic has caused streaming to go up 20%, it has also put live shows on halt.
Bandcamp has sought to help fans and artists on both fronts.
Unlike other streaming giants, only new artists use Bandcamp, meaning hustlers no longer compete with the last 50 years of the music industry, fighting for the crumbs of a rapidly shrinking pie.
Thus, Bandcamp uniquely levels the playing field for hustlers.
Notably, at the start of the pandemic, Bandcamp ushered in a tradition of waiving or lessening fees with Bandcamp Fridays.
This monthly event encourages fans to keep supporting artists, with an average of 93% of your money going to the artist/label directly, a stark contrast to streaming giants Apple Music and Spotify’s £0.004 pay-per-play.
They’ve also created Bandcamp Live, helping the bridge between fans and artists through an integrated gig streaming service, which replicates going to a pub gig, complete with merch table and all.
Including a chat function for those reminiscing on post-gig interactions and charitably continuing to waive fees.
Considering almost universal disillusion with the music streaming economy and increasing scrutiny from UK parliament, other streaming giants would do well to pay attention to Bandcamp.
Rather than idly hoping for big platforms to become supportive of both consumer and creative, forever inventive and adept at adaption, hustlers have been using bigger platforms to cultivate a fanbase to then communicate more intimately with loyal followers on smaller platforms.
YouTubers get paid through advertisements on their videos… If only it was that simple… As YouTube has made this difficult by demonetising videos for disputable reasons.
They’ve sought to rectify this issue with a Partner Programme.
Its requirements, specifically having over 1,000 subscribers, deter anybody with their eyes on YouTube as a hustle, squeezing out the little guy in favour of established, clean-faced content creators.
Perceived lack of care and dwindling pay incentives changed the way hustlers both see and use YouTube.
Many still use Youtube to post content but utilize Patreon to supplement income.
Patreon is a platform that allows direct support from followers, offering tiered subscriptions with both the price and benefit set by the creator.
A helping hand to creative freedom in spite of YouTube’s demonetisation.
Platforms do not have to be another tale of the rich getting richer.
Although we may miss the days of watching backyard wrestling on YouTube, taking a picture of the heart-shaped foam in your coffee on Instagram and being proud of three likes or carrying a sweaty guitarist through a dimly lit pub, the world has changed.
Whether we like it or not.
One thing we can all agree on is that life is hard as it is. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved if platforms helped the hustler?