You might see your passion for music as something that’s pure. Yet, the truth is that at any given moment there are plenty of distractions threatening your music career. From petty jealousies to crippling debt, here are four distractions to watch out for in music.
Jealousy can absolutely be a music career-killing distraction. If you’re new to music or have been at it for a long time but haven’t seen the success you hope you would, jealousy can transform into a major distraction if you let it. Whether it’s an artist’s public streaming data, social media following, or reviews, there are constant reminders out there that some musicians are conventionally succeeding in the music industry and others aren’t. Obsessing over how well another artist is doing is a harmful distraction to your work as a musician because it pulls you away from your creativity and piles unneeded pressure on your process. When jealousy rears its ugly head, try diving deeper into your work.
Obsessing over not being successful enough
The fact about any artform is that you can throw everything you have into something and never be conventionally successful. Thus, if you love making music, the only thing you’re sure to get out of it is that love. By focusing too much on how you wish you were more conventionally successful in music, you may accidentally open yourself up to a world of disappointment and regret. Things like earning money and wanting to be recognized for your hard work in music are perfectly fine. However, they can transform into crippling disappointments when things don’t work out the way you want them to. By letting music be your focus and reigning in expectations for success, you’ll be able to weather disappointments when they come your way in music.
Focusing on money, or conversely, ignoring it altogether until it becomes a massive problem, can devastate your music career. As an artist, your creativity could suffer if you make music only with the goal of earning money. Yet, you might be setting yourself up for disaster if you quit your job and put $10k on a credit card to fund your album on a whim. Financial literacy isn’t nearly as fun to think about as writing a song is. Regardless, being smart about money is essential for a healthy music career.
Disputes with band members
Arguments, creative disagreements, and superficial jealousies can take a band’s collective focus off of music and put it where it shouldn’t be. Bands are unique partnerships that can quickly deteriorate if they aren’t maintained. By showing humility, a willingness to listen, and a compromising attitude when it comes to working with bandmates, you’ll be able to manage disputes and keep them from becoming harmful distractions.
These are just a few of the many distractions most musicians face. The truth is that we exist in our personal creative lives as musicians, but also in another space where we have to think about money, relationships, and goals in a smart, healthy way. Most of us wish we could purely exist in our own musical world, but addressing external issues before they become distractions is the best way to protect our creativity.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.