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The best ways to see and support up-and-coming artists

Check out our simple ways to support upcoming artists in the music world

  • 3 December 2023

There is a treasure trove of unsigned and independent musicians out there in the world, leading new innovations in music. In the paragraphs below, we explore the merits of supporting these artists and provide you with insights on how best to discover hidden gems.

American Express is partnering with The Dome/Downstairs at the Dome, a grassroots music venue in North London, to showcase emerging artists looking for their big break with Amex Gold Unsigned. On 30 November, selected artists were invited to perform in front of a crowd of fans and music industry professionals, along with a DJ set from Mike Skinner.

The top 6 artists have been whittled down to Kianja (@kianjamusic), Harleighblu (@harleighblu), Riya Gadher (@riya.gadher), Simon A (@simonandthem), Abz Winter (@abzwintermusic) and BABY (@babybabybabyuk).


One of the most important ways to support an artist, no matter the size, is through purchasing their music and attending their events. By doing so you can fund their career. This relatively small expense for a fan can add up towards many things from new music equipment to their rent. This year, a survey revealed that nearly half the UK’s working musicians are earning less than £14k a year. Streaming these artists isn’t funding them for the most part, as the royalties rarely make an impact. A 2021 study revealed that an estimated 0.4% of musicians were able to make a living solely from streaming. It may seem obvious but it's important to remember how crucial the support of buying their music and merch is to a musical artist. And who knows, that vinyl could be worth thousands in the future.


You may have bought the ticket to the club night or festival due to that one massive headliner that you’ve been dying to see for ages, but we’ll tell you now, some of the best music you’ll hear at these events will come from doors open — as a roster of acts who are getting their first taste of the big stage show off their skills. Heading down early is an excellent way to support up-and-comers, and even gives you the opportunity to connect with music that you may have never heard before — think about it, the majority of the acts that you love got their start in these slots, and those programming and curating the events have done so to provide a full experience. Likewise, see a show at a smaller venue you like but you don’t know many - if any - of the artists on the line-up? Head down anyway! You never know, you might just discover your newest musical obsession for the price of a pint.


Artists can be supported beyond buying their music or going to their events. We live in an ever increasingly online world where your support can go beyond the physical. Liking, commenting on and sharing artists’ music via social media can be a powerful tool in helping talent grow. With social media being such an influential part of everyday life, artists and DJs alike can be judged on their followings, so it will only help if you contribute towards making their social media presence grow. Streaming their music and adding their songs to your playlists are also helpful tools in boosting an artist’s visibility.


Grassroots spaces are the perfect place to find and support new talent, and you’ll find plenty of emerging artists at local shows such as community festivals, local venues, and even your nearest live music-offering pub. Often, going to grassroots venues is cheaper than a typical club night, and sometimes even offer free local shows. Club Djembe’s Jake Knight previously told Mixmag that "if someone is going to buy a ticket to go and see a DJ, they will go and see someone they desperately want to see instead of unknown artists,” adding that “small venues are the ones that suffer”. So if you’ve got a free Friday night and have an itch to see some music, help up-and-coming talent and spaces and support their journey by visiting a grassroots venue.


In the digital age, music discovery has never been easier thanks to curated playlists and music blogs. Streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music feature playlists that highlight emerging artists. Music blogs and independent music magazines also offer in-depth reviews, interviews, and recommendations for unsigned musicians. Websites like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Reverbnation are goldmines for independent artists. They provide a space for artists to showcase their work and for listeners to explore new music. Additionally, independent record labels and local music scenes often nurture new talent, making it easier to discover artists in your region. By following these curated resources and digging through these sites, you can stay up to date with the latest unsigned music releases.


We’re living in a time where hundreds of years of recorded music from all across the globe is instantly accessible. Load up a screen while bleary eyed and hungover on the sofa and you can instantly hear performances of millenia-old ancient folk songs from South America or an experimental club track made in Outer Mangolia which has been uploaded to SoundCloud. With that in mind, are you really going to let the autoplay function of your DSP of choice dictate what you listen to? The amount of music you can explore is more diverse and more readily available than ever before. And much of the most interesting and unusual stuff is being made by unsigned artists. While major labels play it safe and serve up new albums from the same best-selling artists and refuse to take risks, get out there and see (and hear) the world.

Supporting unsigned music is not just about exploring new sounds; it's about championing creativity, authenticity, and emerging talent. By engaging with unsigned musicians and discovering their work through platforms, communities, and curated playlists, you can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the music industry. So, take the plunge, dive into the world of unsigned music, and uncover the hidden gems waiting to be heard. Your support may just be the catalyst for the next musical revolution.

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