What inspires lifelong musicians to keep creating and performing year after year for decades? The answer depends on the musician, but ambition is what drives us to sustain our careers throughout life. For some, ambition means striving for conventional success in the music industry. Other musicians are purely driven by the need to create meaningful work that challenges their listeners as well as themselves. Whatever your goals are in music, you’ll need ambition to succeed. However, this doesn’t mean music career ambitions can or should be the complete focus of your existence at every waking moment.
Whether performing live is a crucial source of income for you or not, artists shouldn’t wait to release new music. We don’t know what’s in store for us this fall, a year from now, or even the next few weeks. This uncertainty doesn’t sit well with musicians with new music to offer for good reason. Something like a new album can come after years of hard work. Additionally, a massive financial investment and months of planning often accompany new music. But, like so much else right now, this is where we’re at whether we like it or not.
From packed arena tours to modestly attended open mic nights, the ways we used to share musical performances with people were events most of us took for granted. But now that the vast majority of shows have been put on hold, musicians and audiences crave musical connection and meaning through live performances like never before. While digital concerts can’t replace the real thing, they’re your best shot at keeping in touch with fans and maintaining an income through live music right now. These five tips will help yours look and sound professional, and make an impact on your audience.
For the past few weeks, we have seen many weekly live video streams by different musicians, producers, and record labels. However, video streaming should not just be about live music. It offers many other opportunities artists can utilize! So, in this blog post, I would like to highlight four ways musicians can use video streaming services:
We’re making music in an endlessly complex and brutally competitive climate, and things are only getting tougher for unestablished artists. Having great music that’s thoughtfully promoted is far from a guarantee that you’ll ever find an audience. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Yet, we’re all better off accepting it and letting this information shape our careers for the better. One of the best ways we can let the harsh realities of how hard it is to connect with audiences in 2020 is to break down the moonshot ambitions we have for our music into small manageable goals. If you’re set on connecting with the widest audience you can, the best place to start is by engaging with the fans you already have.
When it comes to creating and performing, musicians often take a perfectionist approach to their work. From the second we pick up our instruments, we’re taught that there’s the right way of doing things and endless possibilities for getting things wrong. This all or nothing philosophy can bleed into the ways we measure value, success, and contentment in our careers. This can cause damage to our creativity and ourselves. It’s natural to hate errors like placing a capo on the wrong fret during a live set or forgetting the lyrics during recording. But I’d argue there are much bigger mistakes musicians should be worrying about.
I’ll be the first to admit that not every day of this quarantine has been productive. There have been days I’ve become one with my couch, pushed off tasks, or simply refused to get excited about the things that once lit me up. And for a while, I felt really bad about that. I questioned if my heart was still in it, if I had what it takes, and if I even deserved to still be doing what I was doing.
But the more I talked about this with others, the more I realized, I wasn’t alone. And it wasn’t that uncommon.
In times of intense turmoil and uncertainty, creativity can give artists meaning, comfort, and direction when they’d otherwise feel aimless. Musicians are just one of the countless groups of people seeing their professions get upended during the COVID-19 crisis. Embracing creativity during this painful time won’t bring your life back to normal or fix what’s wrong. But it can make some of our lives better in a meaningful way.