Like many people working from home, I recently sat on my first Zoom video call. As the Casbah's publicist, some of our staff had come together to brainstorm some new projects and ideas for how to pivot in these uncertain times. In fact, many clubs and venues are exploring potential revenue streams to support staff, but ways to continue to keep the San Diego music scene alive while under state and local stay-at-home orders are supremely important to all our beloved local clubs during this crisis.
And so it was with the motivation and time to do it that on Friday, a Casbah Live channel was launched on YouTube. It will take some time to flesh out, but the launch on Friday included a Tim Mays-curated playlist which had nearly 900 plays and over 350 channel subscribers in its first day. Every Friday at 1 p.m., a new playlist curated by a staff member will be revealed. As Ted Washington, who has been acting as the organizer of the efforts, said, “More to come. Much more.”
The Casbah is also raising funds to support staff through the proceeds from merchandise sales. With more than 1,000 orders, the staff recently received disbursement of those funds. Merchandise sales are ongoing and donations are still being collected.
Other venues are finding ways to support their staff as well. The Soda Bar is urging folks to buy T-shirts and/or make direct PayPal donations. The Che Cafe boosted those efforts by launching their own T-shirt sale to support Soda Bar and other partners. The Whistle Stop has hosted some virtual DJ sets and solicited PayPal donations for its staff. The Belly Up is in a unique position to offer live recordings from performers over their 30 years of business and have authorization to sell Belly Up Live performances digitally to support staff.
While city, state and the federal government have offered up some grant and loan programs, promised stimulus checks to individuals, launched the Paycheck Protection Program, and are developing other small business loan and aid programs, the reality is that nobody can be certain when any of that money comes through, so any donation of any amount to venues is especially helpful at this time.
SoundDiego supports all local music venues -- we know that many people are struggling at this time, so anybody who has the means to donate is encouraged to do so in the hopes of keeping these music gems alive and active, and ready to get back to business when we can all get back to living publicly once again.