OPINION: Supporting smaller artists is important

It’s okay to stray away from Billboard’s Top 100.


Zulfiqar Ahmed

A set of old concert tickets rests on a bulletin board alongside a photograph. The ticket stubs are for Walk the Moon in 2018 and The Driver Era (formerly R5) in 2015. The photograph is from The Driver Era in 2019.

By Summer Fitzgerald

I have always found that my music taste consists of bands and artists that are very unheard of. It’s not that they are problematic, or terrible sounding. It just happens that they are not in the top 100 charts or popular on the radio. And, that is okay. I am a strong believer that supporting small artists is extremely important.

I first started straying away from the radio-played artists nearly ten years ago, when I discovered The Driver Era under their previous name, R5. They had just been freshly signed to a label, so I was a big part of their initial street team. Being able to interact with, promote and support them has become a major highlight of my life. It’s much more satisfying than supporting mainstream musical artists that already have millions of fans.

By supporting smaller artists, you truly get to be ingrained into someone’s career. You get to watch them grow up and evolve right before your eyes. Who knows, they may even become A-list celebrities one day. Everyone loves to have bragging rights.

It is also extremely sustainable and easy to support smaller artists. Their concert tickets are usually very affordable as they’re not big enough to sell out arenas. You also get much more of a chance to interact with them, virtually and in person.

Through supporting The Driver Era since the birth of their career, I have met countless lifelong friends that have turned into family. Every time they are in town, I not only get to be reunited with my favorite band, but my best friends in the audiences as well. It is times like these where I realize that supporting small artists are such a joyous highlight of my life.

Oftentimes, smaller artists can even introduce you to even more bands and genres. In fact, my other top favorite bands/artists (Between Friends, The 1975 and Walk the Moon) are people I discovered through The Driver Era. They have truly influenced my whole music taste while I grew up with them.

Seeing people pursue the things they love and are passionate about is an ecstatic feeling. Although there is nothing wrong with taking a liking to already popular artists, it doesn’t hurt at all to stray away and check out a smaller one. You might just find your new favorite band right at your fingertips.