Reasons Music Artists Fail

Ever wonder about the reasons music artists fail?

Sometimes the best way to learn what to do is to learn what not to do. Your music may actually be on par with some of the top acts getting all the recognition, but there’s other reasons you may be failing that are just as important.

reasons music artists failSo, here are 5 ways to guarantee that you don’t make it as a full time music artist. If you want to keep working the day job and make sure that success doesn’t come your way just follow these steps and you’ll spend countless hours doing the wrong things for your music.

Reasons music artists fail:

1. The Sit and Wait Theory

I don’t know who keeps telling artists that they just need to wait their time. That is a complete pot of crap. I swear if I hear one more artist say they just know they’re waiting to blow up one more time I might go crazy.

What they mean to say is that they plan for some A&R person or record label to come their way and offer them a deal to fund all their recording costs and do their work for them.

Wouldn’t that be nice? If all we had to do was record an album and post it on social media, and all of a sudden a record label was knocking down our door? Here’s the catch… THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN!

The people who succeed are the ones who get up off their butts and make things happen EVERY day. The word ‘excuse’ is not in their vocabulary.

Keep buying your time and you’ll end up 65-years-old and looking back saying, “I wish I would’ve…” Fill in the blank with whatever you want, but don’t be this person.

If you want to make things happen, then stop giving yourself excuses that lead to failure. (Rarely ever do excuses lead to results.)

2. Unpreparedness

I literally cringe at this one.

If we are to truly say we love the music we create, why do we keep cheating our talents?

Don’t just go buy a domain name. Make sure the site is optimized for building a fan base and converting them to loyal listeners through your email list.

There’s no such thing as a half-way music artist. It sure seems that way these days though.

Everyone and their mama tries to make music nowadays, but a miniscule percentage actually put everything into it they need to.

I can’t tell you how many people send me to a Soundcloud or Reverbnation page when I ask to hear their music.

I should be getting sent to one page only– your personally hosted and registered domain name. Period.

It’s great if the site looks cool too, but personally I’d rather see a more plain site with better functionality than a site with all the bells and whistle but no opt-in box.

3. Trying to Get Around Doing Actual Work

Maybe it’s just me, but I was always taught that if something came easily it probably wasn’t worth doing. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.

That’s a cliché, and it may be true, but what people need to focus on is doing smart work. You can work as hard as you want, but if you’re not doing the right TYPE of work then it doesn’t matter.

I preach to artists about getting a good mailing list going– preferably a real auto responder instead of just using the Reverbnation tools.

Then I take a survey and ask people what they’re still struggling with AFTER I give them the information that will help them.

You know what they tell me? The same old excuses.

“I just need to be discovered.” AKA– I don’t feel like working hard enough to do it myself.

If all this sounds like hard work, it is. That’s the point. If it were easy to be a full time DIY musician then everyone would be doing it.

4. Visiting the Excuse Factory

This one tops them all. Just the other day an artist told me he didn’t feel like learning the smart way to market his music because he didn’t think he’d be good at it. I want artists to seriously think how crazy this is for a moment.

That’s the most lame excuse I’ve heard. One of the many reasons music artists fail! Here’s some more of them.

“Now’s not the right time to go after my music.” (You said that last year. When IS it going to be the right time?)

“I don’t have enough money.” (Wrong. I used to think this too. The truth is you don’t know how to wisely use the money you have at moment.

You don’t need a new iPhone or more booze at the bar.

You need to treat your music like an entrepreneur treats a business. When you don’t, it’s one of the reasons music artists fail.

5. A Lack of Business Knowledge

You are an entrepreneur– not just a musician. I understand some artists don’t like the marketing or website design aspects of the job, but you have to start wearing more hats if you really want this thing to work.

Here’s something I never understood either. Why don’t more artists take premium courses to enhance their entrepreneurial skills?

Do they cost money? Of course, but the benefit you get from them outweighs the cost.

Seriously, it does. I’ve taken a few courses.

Obviously, I made sure the people were legit before I bought, but why would I hold on to my money when it’s not making me any money?

I’m extremely grateful I took those courses.

The value of knowledge is extremely important for success. Why do you think multi-billion dollar companies still hire consultants before doing even a standard project? Because it makes sense. Who cares if you have to pay for a course if you get a return on investment. No one is getting any younger, and those who understand this concept and apply it always outshine the people who’d rather waste time looking for freebies everywhere.

Either you acquire the correct entrepreneurial skills or you spend your life wondering, “Why didn’t anyone discover my talent?”

There’s a difference between having a music hobby and a music career.

If you want it to be a career all you have to do is take the action. Don’t rely on anyone else to make your career happen for you! You are responsible for you. Take to heart the reasons music artists fail and don’t do them. Succeed instead. 

Written by Omari MC (
Guest blogger on The Mark Weber Music Blog

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