Even before the pandemic, the music industry had become more digitally driven than ever before, from the meteoric rise of playlists to the increasingly tech-centered ways fans discovered and consumed new music. Local shows and touring were the few areas in music that weren’t completely upended and transformed by the internet. Then, the pandemic hit.
Making music can be a completely isolating experience. So isolating, in fact, that it’s easy to forget that what we’re doing is for the benefit of other human beings if we choose to share our work. If you’re a musician who’s been at it for years, you might be tempted to have an “it’s me against the world” or “it’s me and my bandmates against the world” mentality when you write music. Feeling this way is understandable if you’ve sacrificed many things in your life for the sake of your music. Unfortunately, it’s a destructive mindset that can leave you jaded and less able to make meaningful music.
If you’re itching to get back to touring and playing regular local concerts, you’re not alone. The scope and complexity of the pandemic has upended the live event industry like never before, and countless musicians are finding themselves adrift and not sure what to do. Livestreaming your performances can’t fill the massive hole left by the absence of conventional in-person concerts. However, there are some huge benefits to making digital performances a regular part of your life as a musician; benefits that will outlast the pandemic. Here are three important ones to consider:
If you’re an unestablished artist reading this with the goal of being able to do nothing but perform and create music for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. It’s a completely understandable goal, and something countless musicians strive for. For many of us, a perfect situation would be to spend our days focusing on music and doing nothing else.
Few non-musical people listen to music and realize just how much money, time, and work goes into creating a single song. From music lessons to recording equipment to the creative and emotional labor it takes to write, record, and produce a song, music takes an immense amount of work to make. For developing music-makers who have yet to find their audiences, asking what, if anything, listeners owe you is a fair question considering the sacrifice involved in creating music. However, the answer might disappoint you.
It’s possible for musicians to find success with their music without the help of their friends and family, but it’s much, much harder without them. From showing up to your first concerts when no one else will to donating money to fund your releases, the community closest to you is a priceless asset for a developing artist. But if your plans don’t extend further than the people closest to you as a musician, you’re creating an unsustainable situation for you as well as your friends and family.
There are countless songs about loss and heartbreak, but something music fans probably don’t think much about is just how frustrating, disappointing, and painful the process of making music can be. The truth is that virtually no musician is immune from the inevitable hardships that are involved with seriously pursuing music. Alongside other character traits like bravery, curiosity, empathy, and awareness, tenacity is a priceless asset for serious musicians.
It’s a little more than obvious by now that livestream concerts are here to stay. Many artists and music fans spent the past few months trying them out for the first time and quickly realized their value. While nothing can replace the experience of watching musicians perform in person, live streaming delivers important benefits for both artists and audiences that conventional shows can’t, including the opportunity to play/watch concerts anywhere in the world that has a stable internet connection.