2020, the year that was shaping up to be everyone’s year. Not only was it a leap year, giving people 366 days instead of 365, but most of the major holidays fell on “perfect” days. 4th of July and Halloween fell on a Saturday. There was also Valentine’s Day and Christmas taking place on a Friday. 2020, however, had other plans and gave the world a harsh wake-up call. Despite being one of the worst-hit industries from the pandemic, 2020 taught the music industry a lot of important lessons.
Sexual misconduct is getting more nuanced as seen through several cases this year. Erick Morillo, Billy Kenny, Bassnectar and Derrick May have all been at the centre of sexual accusations. Online music outlets are no longer shying away from such topics while social media acts as a magnifying glass putting high-profile acts under the microscope. Even industry members have taken an active stance in calling to do better. DJ Rebekah is at the forefront of #ForTheMusic, a pledge against sexual harassment in the dance music community. These are among the first steps in changing the landscape for the “boys club” narrative back to the original roots of PLUR: Peace, Love, Respect & Unity.
2020 taught the music industry that not everyone understands the foundations of electronic music and the roots from which our music world was born. Music, including house and techno, would not exist without black communities and artists. When artists, brands, and other platforms took an active stance supporting Black Lives Matter, some were quick to show their true colors. It also came as a surprise when some major and credible industry players remained silent until well into the movement. This brought up an important question: why do some only speak out only when it’s trending? Silence isn’t safe, in fact it jeopardizes safety.
It took nine months for the American government to take greater action in providing relief to live music venues. Venues, artists and countless other music industry professionals have been left out in the cold when it comes to pandemic assistance. Some governments have even suggested artists consider new career paths. Some of these artists have poured half, if not more, of their lives creating art enjoyed by many yet their careers are seen as unimportant. Countless studies have shown music’s positive effect on emotional well-being, including improving mood, decreasing anxiety, and managing stress.
Adversity can bring out someone’s true nature and character. Are you letting circumstances define you? A crisis, big or small, can help with personal growth. Difficult situations can help make you stronger. Experiences can either define, destroy, or strengthen you.
This is the time for artists to continue growing in their careers, and ArtistMap not only sets foundations for aspiring electronic music artists but gives tools to continue growing. Touring is only one aspect of the music industry with many other moving parts.
Remember, you don’t just “go” through struggle, you grow through it.
With calendars all of a sudden cleared, touring artists wondered “what now?” 2020 taught the music industry to be ready, always. Remember when they’d tell you, “Never put all your eggs in one basket?” Well, they were right. Creatives will always find a way. Plenty of artists picked up side hustles to make money during COVID-19. Whether it was creating more art through other mediums such as Los Angeles-based DJ and producer Manolo or exploring other passion projects, they showed the art of resilience.
This year took a toll on people’s mental health, and mental health has been a prevalent issue within the music industry. Many are already susceptible to living with a mental illness. A report found that more than 73 percent of independent music makers suffer from symptoms of mental illness. Anxiety and depression were the most commonly experienced negative emotions in relation to music creation. Late this year, Garrett Falls Lockhart or better known as i_o tragically passed. While no cause of death has been confirmed, some social media posts point toward a sombre mindset leading up to his passing.
The music industry is an ecosystem. It relies on more than just artists. There are many players behind the scenes that help bring a music experience to life. From music media outlets that share music and news to artists’ teams that help create opportunities for them. Fans are also important to its livelihood. It’s important to focus on what matters: creating community and connections. In order to create a safer space, everyone has to call for greater accountability to ensure voices, not just music, are heard.
The music will go on. Sure, live events didn’t happen but people found other ways to continue creating connections between artists and fans. 2020 will be the year live streams reigned supreme.
Where would 2020 be without memes? They definitely helped everyone survive with a chuckle or two. 6AM rounded up a few of the best meme accounts to follow because why not?