What is apathy? The common definition on the Internet is an absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement; a lack of interest. Sounds like how we felt working some of those charming jobs we have all had in the past. Ironically, apathy is a term I am hearing more and more in regards to music artists.
When the words apathy and music artists are used in the same sentence we should be talking about two words that are complete polar opposites. Artists are full of passion, emotion and excitement and a lack of interest in their music doesn't fit them at all. Recently my friend, Cathy Segal Garcia had mentioned that she had been noticing it as well. But when you stop to think about it, it is not only obvious but in the mind of many artists there is good reason for it.
Downloading has severely affected music sales, people commonly bring up that music doesn't have the value it once did, people are not coming to shows and they are not excited about music and today's artists. I can see that however (this is where a number of you will hate me for saying this), it is the individual artists fault that the people around them feel this way. I believe whether your music and your career is successful is solely up to you.
Over the last 30 years of working with independent and major label artists has shown me that the artists who want to make a difference, can make a difference. I have had to work with major artists whose talent level or music was not good and I have had the privilege to work with independent and major artists who have tremendous talent. The truth is that the amount of resources you available doesn't determine how successful you will be, it is your will to impact others lives with value that makes the difference.
I believe every situation, good or bad is an opportunity. When someone criticizes you or your music are they giving you something constructive to work with or are they reminding you that as you become more popular some people will say hurtful things just out of jealousy?
Your level of success and impact is based on the belief you have in yourself. It's time to throw away the self pity and self doubt and try the opposite. What good is a lack of interest in promoting your music anyway? What good is it to throw away your passion?
As I come to the probable conclusion of my life, I challenge myself to push forward versus living in the depression the illness likes to try to give me. Sure there are days when the illness wins in limiting me in what I can physically do but so what. I am in control of my mind and thoughts. For example, I recently sat down with the woman who has leukemia. She told me the doctors said she was supposed to pass away in September. I responded that I was so jealous. Everyone gets to go before me! She looked puzzled and I said, "It has to be great over there because no one ever comes back and says it sucks!"
Take the opposite approach to self doubt and self pity. Your future is not solely dependent on the amount of social media fans or friends you have. Walk away from the computer. Go out on the town and meet people. Help them find the good things in life including your music! Nothing will happen or change by sitting in your living room!
People come to shows because they want to go to a social event where they can have fun and support you. They buy CDs and merch as a memento of that experience. The media reacts to what people are talking about. Try building relationships with the people who work in the media. Treat them as real people. When they realize the value you have and how different you are watch what happens then.
Apathy is a choice. It's not an illness you are stuck with. Choose not to live with it and choose to build a bond with your fans, the people in the media and everyone new you meet. Music is not a competition, it never has been. Most of the artists you are worried about are sitting home right now feeling sorry for themselves.
Wake up and lets see the passion that went into writing those songs, the recording process and the shows. Everyone around you needs you and your insight more than ever and that includes me!
Author Tim Sweeney is head of Tim Sweeney & Associates, who are entering their 18th year of being, "the only true artist development company in the world."
Tim is one of the music industry's most sought after experts and consultants, and has written several influential books including "Tim Sweeney's Guide To Releasing Independent Records".
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