Mental health in the digital music eco system

As days go by, into uncharted territory of lockdowns and social distancing, we can’t help but turn ourselves into a virtual recluse. In the midst of this chaos, anxiety and living in limbo we are forced to take a hard look at the probable future of the music industry. With the Live music space being completely at a standstill and countless musicians resorting to live shows online, one can’t help but ponder upon what the future holds for the artist community. Many of us have resorted to teaching music online, hosting some sort of masterclass or a simple yet engaging live streams on social handles for particular topics i.e. songwriting, music theory, music business (copyright, publishing, distribution, label services etc.), music production & sound engineering tips/hacks, mental health & healing programs.

If you’re a musician or any creative professional, you would have come across multiple stories of other artists currently going through difficult times, be it financial or due to their mental health. It is absolutely normal to stumble upon these hardships as we go through a plethora of emotions on a daily basis. These unnamed thoughts and feelings come somewhat organically in any creative process. And the journey towards good mental health can seem like an uphill climb to many of us. But it gets easier with time as we learn to be more mindful and take actions for the betterment of our overall health. However, with heavy usage of social media and other forms of content consumption platforms, these feelings of anxiousness and uncertainty are involuntarily exploited and a sense of constant comparison of ourself with others can further worsen our state of wellbeing.

Small things that can bring you joy

There are other factors contributing to poor mental health such as the irregular (zero as of now) frequency of gigs, late payment from previous projects and other implicit reasons which gradually takes a detrimental affect on our well being. Hence, it is imperative for us to look after our mental health. That being said, it is such a wide topic and almost everybody comes with their own baggages. Yet some of the basic things are cliches (for the lack of a better word) and yet scientifically proven ways to improve one’s health. Diet, regular exercises or playing a sport (yes, that includes Yoga), maintaining a healthy sleep cycle with an adequate amount of 7- 9 hrs, having someone to talk to (friends, spouse, any family member, counsellor or therapist) are some factors  that play a positive role in our well being. Another positive approach with regard to the COVID 19 situation is to reduce stress levels by taking time out for YOU, it could be something as simple as reading, gardening, fostering baby birds or anything that takes your mind off your work or negative train of thoughts.

How I discovered a new sense of purpose

On a personal level, I’ve been very fortunate and lucky enough to land myself a job at Horus Music just a month before this sudden pandemic hit our lives. The experience so far has been nothing short of enriching and empowering. And in some way, I’ve found solace in working with musicians, the daily A&R hunt for new releases, social media content management or simply writing a blog such as this! I’ve noticed one thing that is still standing tall in spite of this Corona mayhem is the digital world of music. Whether it’s the streaming services, downloads or sync opportunities for visual mediums, the digital entertainment space continues to work and engage with people staying at home. So much more than usual in fact, some films have been released earlier because of Coronavirus.

In the foreseeable future

With various OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Zee 5, Hotstar, YouTube, HULU and many more across the world pumping out new/early releases, you can’t help but notice the continued demand for visual content. Similarly, research shows increased number of sales in video games and growth of new users due to lockdowns. And all of these shows/video games are in search for the right soundtrack or a background score to their  narrative. In a way, this could be perceived as a moment of opportunity for artists looking for a new path in their careers or an add-on to their current revenue stream. A time to reflect and envision future opportunities.