There are no guidebooks musicians can look to for learning how to cope with COVID-19. If you’re reading this, it’s possible or maybe even likely that the pandemic has completely upended your plans, whether you were set to tour this summer, release a new album, or hole up somewhere with your bandmates to work on new material. If live performances are a part of the way you earn money, you’re being especially impacted by this crisis.
No one can predict the future. Yet, the world––and music along with it––is changing as a result of COVID-19. Instead of longing to create and perform in a pre-2020 world, we have to accept that our circumstances may not be the same going forward. Luckily, doing so doesn’t mean giving up on creating and sharing music.
What happens when you’ve spent so much time preparing for the release of a new album that you have every idea of what to do pre-launch while having absolutely NO idea what to do post-launch?
Believe it or not, this is something I see a lot. And yes, it’s a blessing that you should have the good fortune of getting press you weren’t expecting or gaining traction that you couldn’t predict—and you should celebrate!
But it can also be easy to become kind of complacent in it. To appreciate the press sure but, not really know how to properly share or promote it without sounding like you’re bragging, or how to really keep the momentum going after you’ve had a couple releases.
Not knowing how to make the most of the press coverage you do receive can mean not only losing opportunities in the moment, but burning bridges for future ones too—and I don’t want that for you!
So whether this is your first press run or your 20th, we’ve put together five ways to make the most of press, and be sure you’re setting yourself up for future opportunities to come.
What does success in music really mean? It’s a question every serious musician is faced with throughout their career. Whether it’s an artist’s public streaming stats or the constant barrage of content associated with famous musicians on social media, we’re constantly reminded of what conventional success looks like in the music industry: wealth, acclaim, and notoriety. For unestablished artists, it can be tempting to focus more on the success of other musicians than the creative merit and limitless possibilities of their own work. Giving in to this temptation is something that’s thwarted the careers of countless musicians.
Lots of musicians get jaded over time and shrink their musical ambitions in response for a good reason. Music is a brutal industry, even for those who’ve experienced some measure of success. The story of a promising musician setting out to make a career for themselves only to get struck down again and again is something most musicians can relate to. But even though scaling back plans, hopes, and ideas in music often sounds like it’s the best course of action, it’s something that can damage your career.
Feeling lost and uninspired as a songwriter is a pretty awful feeling. When the flow of ideas narrows down to a trickle without warning or explanation, songwriters usually have to change up their process to get things moving again. If you’re feeling creatively stuck making music, we’ve got four exercises to promote inspiration and put you in a new musical mindset:
Creating a professional record has never been easier. All you need is a pair of headphones and a laptop and you have all the tools necessary to succeed. While the tools necessary to accomplish your music related goals may be readily available, the skill set required to reach a competent level of production is not. In addition to having the right tools, you need the skills to use these tools effectively.
Below, I have compiled a list of the five fundamental skills of successful music producers and how you can obtain these skills.
Filling a blank computer screen or piece of white paper with original song lyrics is no easy task. Some songwriters struggle with the thought that what they write might be too revealing while others fear that what they come up with is too boring, cliche, or dull. The lyrical part of songwriting proves to be the most challenging for many otherwise talented songwriters, which means it’s something we should talk about.
No matter what your unique challenges are for writing great song lyrics, one thing is sure to help: paying attention.
Creative risk-taking flies in the face of so much we think, feel, and do as serious musicians. The process of learning an instrument, making music, and sharing it with the world requires a great deal rigid predictability––regular practice, lots of discipline, showing up to shows on time, playing the same music over and over again until you get it right. Predictability and sticking to the rules is great as far as learning an instrument and maintaining a musical project goes, but if you’re interested in writing creative music, it can be much more of a hindrance than an asset.