Don’t stop. Keep going. 2020 Edition

Don’t Stop Keep Going (2020 Edition)

Wow. So far, the year 2020 sucks big time! I don’t think I need to talk about why, but I’ll give you an idea anyway!

  • I was on my way to breaking the 40-students-per-week mark.
  • March was going to be one of my most lucrative months in a long time.
  • I had an awesome ‘Evening of Guitar’ gig in the works with another one of the fantastic guitar teachers at Long & McQuade, Carlos Cruz. Yes that’s his real name, cool I know!
  • I had just sold another production song.

Then, just like that, it all came to a sudden stop!

  • Zero students.
  • Income for March cut in half.
  • No evening-of-shred-guitar gig.
  • Lockdown! Now I can’t even leave my house.

And still, I actually have the nerve to say to all us artists and creatives again— DON’T STOP! KEEP GOING!

Why the World Needs Us to Keep Creating

Why? It seems that the world just doesn’t value music (or art in general) like it used to. But music is still an essential art form, probably more than ever due to the current state of the world.

Music is essential for us personally as creatives, of course. WE MUST CREATE! It’s essential for the world because they need it for:

  • movies,
  • commercials,
  • elevators,
  • mountain bike videos,
  • their sanity,
  • shopping,
  • enjoyment,
  • the love of it,
  • the beauty of it,
  • good times, and
  • bad times.

Making a Living as a Musician in 2020

For a musician (or any artist for that matter) to make a living these days is tough. Unfortunately, at an average of around $0.003 per stream on Spotify, it takes around 750,000 streams per month for a musician to earn minimum wage here in Canada. Not very encouraging, is it?

So, what do we do? We diversify! That means we need multiple streams of income: teaching, streaming, gigs, licensing, and a regular day job. (I know that last one stung a bit!)

How to Stress Less

I blame the people, of course – us and them. That’s obvious. No one seems to have the attention span anymore to actually sit still, put the smartphone down, (or turn it off!), and listen to music – be it one song or, heaven forbid, an entire album. What has happened to us humans?

I hear so much complaining (myself included) about how busy and stressed out we all are, yet the solution is simple. It may not be easy, especially for those conditioned to think that if we aren’t go-go-go we must be lazy. But it is simple.

If we would unplug, sit still and breathe, perhaps we’d have less stress.

If it seems like I am ranting a bit (or a lot), well, I am.

Why in the world would any artist or creative do what they do considering the amount of time and energy that goes into your art, only to have it devalued or unappreciated?

Again, I believe the answer is simple. It’s definitely not easy, but simple—Stop caring or worrying about the results:

  • How many views on social media?
  • How many streams on Spotify?
  • How many likes on Instagram?
  • Does anyone even care?

This is a sure recipe for STRESS.

The Reason You Create

Remember why you started in the first place? Yup! That’s right— for the LOVE OF IT!

Please, I beg us, let’s get back there!

As a kid, I dreamt 24/7 of touring the world as a shredding guitar player, wowing audiences and raking in the millions (not unlike many of you)!

However, the world has changed. 2020 is a wake-up call for many, and we creatives need to change and adapt with it regardless of the art form.

That doesn’t mean you’re a sell-out or giving up on your integrity or only catering to the current trend. What it means is that you keep making your killer art without expecting a Grammy to drop out of the sky onto your shelf. (If it does— bonus!)

So, what then? Now that I’m done complaining… (Let’s face it— that’s what I was just doing!) I want to encourage you with this:

Create music and art for the love of it. Don’t stress about the results. Instead, enjoy the process and learn to be okay without that Grammy we know you deserve. And, of course, get out there and encourage others to do the same! (Oh! And be sure to read Austin Kleon.)


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