Handwritten Lyrics to House Concerts: Supporting Your Favorite Small Business Musician

photo via Will Hoge

It may not be as obvious of an example as the little shop down the street in a strip mall selling handmade scented candles and hippie soap, but your favorite independent music artists are all most certainly small businesses as well. So are many of your favorite locally-owned music venues, local festivals, independent record labels, community-owned radio stations, and the like. This makes them the perfect entities to support on Small Business Saturday, observed the day after Black Friday each year.

Along with all the obvious ways you can support your favorite small business artists like dropping coinage on T shirt and hoodies, caps and koozies, vinyl records and the like, another option to not overlook is handwritten lyrics to some of your favorite songs, or the favorite songs of your significant other, daughter, sister, husband, wife, brother, son, etcetera. It truly is the gift that you can give to that person that has everything, is perfect if you’re stumped on what to get someone, is a sentimental option, and most importantly, it supports you favorite small business.

Kaitlin Butts, Sunny Sweeney, and BJ Barham of American Aquarium are just some of the many artists that offer this option around the Holidays. A few others from the country/roots world who’ve been promoting the service are Morgan Wade, Gretchen Peters, Sean McConnell, Will Hoge, Rhett Miller of The Old 97’s, Evan Bartels, Kip Moore, and Joe Pug (in limited quantities). I’m sure there are more. Poke around and you will find them.

And even if you navigate to your favorite artist’s online merch store and don’t see the handwritten lyrics option, don’t be shy clicking the “contact” button, or slipping into their DMs on social media, and offering them too much money to make you a one-of-a-kind gift that will mean something to the music fan in your life. The worst they can do is tell you “no,” especially if you’re a twit and ask James McMurtry for the handwritten lyrics to “Choctaw Bingo” or something. I mean, are you trying to kill him?

Some artists are also joining the new app Cameo, which allows you to order customized messages or performances from musicians. “For the next few months I will be on Cameo offering a special gift for that AA fan in your life this holiday season,” BJ Barham of American Aquarium says. “It’s super simple. You pick a song of mine and tell me who it’s for, give me 24 hours and I’ll deliver you a one of a kind video message.”

Texas-based songwriter Courtney Patton is taking that idea to the next level. “Having a hard time deciding what to get a certain someone for Christmas? How about a Courtney Patton House Concert?? I’ll come to your house and play unplugged to a small group of your friends. Living rooms, kitchens, porches, backyards, decks or docks—it matters not! I’m only selling a VERY limited number of these, so act FAST! Direct message with serious inquiries only. Out-of-state options available.”

Maybe none of these things make sense as a gift for someone you know. Maybe it’s concert tickets to the next show, or none of the above. Maybe you do plenty throughout the year to support your favorite artists. But let’s just all recognize on this Small Business Saturday that your favorite music artists are small businesses too, and in independent music, it’s up to all of us to support them.

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