Increasing the exposure of my music can be such a trying task that I start to question its value. Or, I question aspects that society and the industry value, and endlessly compare my music to what is popular. Is it accessible? Well-produced and mixed cleanly? I should be asking these questions anyway, but I deter my creative process when I ask them as a comparison to what receives coverage. I have to remind myself that “the bar” that media outlets set does not refer to what people find truly exceptional. It is research-driven and meant to assure greater profits for the outlets themselves and their advertising partners. To them, “the bar” is really the bottom line. Over time, the people set the bar of quality by determining whose work is remembered and in what way. It is a slow process, but a more accurate perception of an artist’s or group’s music. Once I remind myself of this distinction, I can focus my energy on creating instead of watching trends. When I stop searching for where “the bar” is set, I have a greater chance to reach it and raise it.