I love flowers. Always have, always will. But there is something special for me about the camellia. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the camellia is native to China, yet somehow, she made her way to Britain, where she would be treasured by others.
Before all the COVID lockdowns and restrictions on travel began last year, I was in Belfast last February for Output Belfast 2020, a music conference by day, a music festival showcase by night. During the conference, I met Josh Rabinowitz of Brooklyn Music Experience, an experienced global music leader in the American advertising industry. He said something to me during a networking dinner that surprised me. “You have a voice for advertising.”
One big part of my plans was directly connected to the music industry, and that part was no longer viable once live music was put on pause indefinitely. I wrote about my hopes for critical change in the industry in this previous blog post. I sincerely hope that what we’ve seen in the last 14 months leads to lasting changes in how artists and others working in the industry are perceived, respected, and fairly compensated.
And then it came to me. What if I did a podcast? I could do that from home. But what would the podcast be about? What would I need to get one started? Who would even want to listen to me talking? How would I drum up enough interest to attract an audience? My anxiety was running wild. I was trying to run before I could walk.
I had casually mentioned my idea to Carolina Isabel. She’s a radical reiki master I met through a female entrepreneur virtual convention I had attended last autumn. Carolina told me about a podcast fellowship that she’d seen advertised on Instagram and suggested I look into it. I applied to the fellowship, I was accepted, and here we are.
During one of our Fifty Feminist States fellowship workshops in March, we conducted short interviews with our classmates, which we then edited on our own. Beyond the basic editing techniques we used for interviews conducted at festivals for There Goes the Fear, editing and producing self-recorded audio was entirely new to me. Below, you can listen to me being interviewed by L’Oreal Thompson Payton to learn a bit about astrology and my background with it. It has been posted to my Soundcloud with permission from both L’Oreal and Fifty Feminist States’ host and producer and our fellowship program leader Amelia Hruby.
Folks, we’ve had almost a year since the first lockdowns related to COVID-19 began in the United States and the UK. On top of the pandemic, UK artists and workers are dealing with the economic fallout of Brexit, whose ripple effects will not be felt fully until some time. A year is more than plenty of time to contemplate what and how the pandemic has negatively impacted our industry. I’ve seen so many angry posts pointing the finger at how our governments have failed our industry, how Brexit was a bad idea and is going to have long-term effects, and how the major labels and the big players like Spotify and Apple Music should have already stepped in with their money. I understand the anger, but blame without positive action and forward movement isn’t the answer. It’s not constructive.
I am not a fortune teller. I do not have a one size fits all solution to the many situations that need tackling. The problems are broad and diverse. What I do know is that the music industry, while I’ve been part of it, has not been an agile business. It has been slow to make much needed changes for the benefit of the artists. One only has to look at the amount of time it took for streaming services to catch up and recoup some of the industry’s financial losses to music piracy and due to the precipitous decrease in physical music purchases that began around the millennium. Even now, we all know that many artists are still not making much money from these streaming services.
A project by a friend of mine has given me some hope. He has reached out to friends near him and is soliciting ideas on what they can do regionally to help each other, no matter what walk of life in the music business they work in. This, to me, is going to be the key for us moving forward: communicating, connecting, and working with each other at a grassroots community level are all going to be paramount. Supporting each other, not just in financial but mental terms, too, will also be important because the task up ahead is monumental.
While it would be nice to receive them, we cannot wait for solutions and injections of money from higher up. We know the business outside our own door and what our most important needs are now and better than anyone else. As daunting as this all sounds, we don’t need to solve the big issues tomorrow. But we must get started on what we can today.
American Federation of Musicians’ COVID-19 Resources
Brookings Institute: “Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s creative economy” (PDF, published August 2020)
SoundExchange’s Resources for Music Creators During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Creative Industries Federation: The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries (PDF, published June 2020)
Musicians’ Union Government Measures for the Music Industry