One of the things I’ve seen referenced a lot in the talk of a post-COVID-19 world is this “new normal.” It’s all over the re-opening plans and in the news, and if you ask me, it has an eerie sort of post-apocalyptic vibe to it. It feels a little unsettling and yet, I know that term—”new normal” is entirely appropriate. Because as much as we all want things to return to what they were before, and we crave everything from the small interactions we took for granted, to things like live shows and a simple night out for dinner, we can’t really ever go back.
And so, this new normal, it becomes an appropriate measure for how to move forward, do things differently, and slowly but surely recover into a more stable, thriving society.
And when I think of our careers in the music industry, I have the same feeling. That for as much as this virus has devastated our industry and knocked us down, we’re going to recover.
We didn’t get into this business because it was easy or because things came simply to us and because of our collective passion, fight, and yeah, our stubbornness, I have full faith we’ll recover—and maybe even come back stronger than ever.
But in the more immediate future, I know it can feel difficult to know what to do next. To envision what the future looks like.
And so, that’s why I wanted to embrace this idea of the “new normal” and how it applied to our music careers. How we can begin to transition to a life post COVID-19 and the lessons we can take with us as we rebuild.
Take the lessons with you
Life will get easier. Things will get better. But as we adjust to our new normal, I want you to keep one very important thing in mind, and that is to take the lessons you’ve learned throughout this experience with you, and use them to create a more dynamic music career.
If we simply throw away what we’ve learned as soon as doors open back up and we’re no longer in panic mode, we’re going to be doing ourselves a huge disservice. So remember what you’ve learned during this time, and see what you can take with you and implement as you go.
Don’t be afraid to pivot
If this pandemic is teaching us anything it’s how to be more flexible and pivot when things aren’t working. This is one of those skills that if you embrace, is going to lead you to success. Because the most successful people are the ones who know how to swiftly try new things, quickly make decisions, and who aren’t afraid to constantly try new things and pivot when they aren’t working (or double down when they are)
Remembering all the ways you’ve had to get scrappy and be resourceful or be quick on your feet in this time, will help you as you continue to grow your career.
Hold onto that resourcefulness, and don’t be afraid to employ some of those scrappy tactics as you grow.
Keep on live streaming
It’s not like people weren’t live streaming before but they certainly weren’t live streaming like this. Every time I open Instagram there are at least 5 different lives happening and I know bands that are doing daily or weekly lives on a consistent basis and the fans are loving it.
That has been incredible for the community and probably for your engagement as well. Think about it—since showing up more consistently and being more vulnerable, have you seen an increase in fan engagement? Do you feel closer to your fans?
Your fans are still #1
Your fans have always been #1, but during this pandemic we truly turned to them as a source of inspiration and refuge and in turn, we tried to give that to them as well. We showed up for them in new ways, we planned for what the future would look like when we could perform in person for them again, and we showed up for them over and over.
When things go back to a new normal and we return to our jobs and our lives, don’t forget that your fans are still #1—and you have to keep showing up for them, even when you don’t have as much free time. They deserve it.
Plan ahead, but always remain flexible
We all had our lives planned out pretty nicely before this happened didn’t we? We knew exactly what we wanted to happen and when and then this virus just knocked those plans right out of the water. Suddenly we were going nowhere and doing nothing and not only that, we still couldn’t quite plan when things would resume. That’s scary—but it’s also taught us resilience.
That even life’s best-laid plans truly do go up in flames sometimes and having a bit of flexibility, and room for error is crucial in finding success.
So my takeaway is this: make plans, have an idea of where you’re going and how you’re getting there, but don’t forget to leave a little room for error and be bold enough to pivot if something isn’t working.
If we’ve learned anything here it’s that sometimes the best thing you can do is abandon your plans in favor or something better.
I know that things aren’t totally “normal” yet and that they never quite will be in the way we might hope. I know this has caused so many of us an incredible amount of anxiety, and that the last few months have been really difficult. It’s not easy, and we’re doing our best. But I hope you’ll be able to take these lessons with you as we begin to explore what that new normal looks like and find some refuge in them. After all, we are strong, and resilient, and we don’t give up. Not on our dreams, or our fans, or ourselves.
We keep pushing forward and we keep making it happen. It’s the one thing we have control over and you better believe I’m not going to watch you let that go.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and THRIVE, an online community that provides indie artists with affordable year-round mentoring from music industry experts, and much more. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer. Grab her free masterclass ‘How to Grow Your Audience Without Spending a Dime.’