Career Bytes wrong way

Published on February 5th, 2010 | by Hugh Hession


The top five unforeseen music career busters

As a musician, it can take years to build a solid fan base that will support your music and take you to the next level. There is no one that knows better than you, how much perseverance and motivation it takes to maximize CD and digital download sales, landing bigger gigs and positioning yourself for that big break.

It’s an unyielding process to shine above all the talent and get noticed. Sadly, the reality is that many bands get blind sighted, falling victim to situations that they just didn’t see coming…you know, the ones you just don’t think about until your drowning in ‘em.

Without further ado, my top 5 unforeseen career busters in your music career:

1) Relying on others to feed your ego

Let’s face it: You like attention. All musicians do. There is nothing like playing to a full house and everyone getting off on your music. But those moments are like a drug. The buzz doesn’t last. When it comes down to it – You need to stand firm upon your convictions about your music and where your career is going. If you rely on what others think as a barometer for who you are as a person, you are enslaved. This will result in unhappiness, depression, lack of focus and in many instances, destructive addictions. It would make for an interesting list of all the rock stars who have fallen victim to this one.

2) The ultimatum

You’re on stage and the girl in the corner doesn’t take her eyes of you. You approach her after the gig and your hooked. She is beautiful, super cool, loves your music and feeds your ego (double whammy). Fast forward a year later. Now that the relationship is serious, she wants stability. She gives you the choice: Your music, or her. Music, right? Sure…

3) Signing a contract with a major record label

The majority of bands do not cater to the mass market business model that major record companies engage in. Simply put, if your music doesn’t have the capacity to seduce the masses, you won’t survive on a major label, period. Even if you get to release your debut CD, you will have to be relentless in your attempt to become a priority artist (The good news is that there are plenty of bands making more money on their own then they would with a major label).

4) Changing who you are to emulate a trend

If your aren’t getting the major attention you feel you deserve, don’t be so quick to dismiss your style. Everyone has an opinion on what works and what doesn’t. You will not succeed (at least in the long run) if you aren’t being true to what you do. Music fans can see through it and you will ultimately lose because your music will lack substance.

5) Refusing to sacrifice

You’re career success is proportionate to how much you are willing to sacrifice to get there. Call of Duty 4 or songwriting? Going to a party or practicing? Seeing a movie or planning your promotional strategy? I know musicians who have a ridiculous amount of talent, but fail to realize the concept of sacrifice. With a non-committal attitude, the only thing moving forward is time. Before you know it, you are in the same spot you were 3 years ago.

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About the Author

owns and operates Emerging Artists Entertainment Marketing & Consulting, LLC - a company devoted to cultivating aspiring music artists, He is also the head of Hession Entertainment Group, LLC (artist management) and the Music Industry Liaison for the artist discovery site, TalentWatch ( He has over 25 years experience in the music business as a performer, composer, producer and artist manager. Hugh holds a BA in Marketing and is a professional member of NARIP and a voting member of The Recording Academy. He often speaks at seminars and workshops on artist development.

4 Responses to The top five unforeseen music career busters

  1. Morad Muslimany says:

    This is really great and I have learned alot from this article as an independent musician, especially #5, it really hit home.

    Thank you for the information. 3 years and I’m still getting no sales, whilist I tried to research what is the exact reason, I have found no success.

    Will keep trying for sure, thank you for the motivation.


    • Hugh Hession says:

      Hello again, Morad. I appreciate you taking interest in our posts! I know about those ups and downs, and know so many of our readers can relate. I do music consulting as well and perhaps could help. Contact me if you’d like to pick my brain about how we can improve your situation.

      Also, if you haven’t yet, sign up to our mailing list for ongoing tips and advice.

      Let me recommend this post I wrote called Inspiration to Carry On. I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Hang in there!

  2. vizualye says:

    Great post I always try to take away infomation I read in which I feel is relevant to the things Im working towards. What seems to stand out in my mind sis persistentance and belief in one self. I have some really good songs I’d love to share –> feel free to listen and share your thoughts. Thanks again.

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