The music industry is a beautiful place, but it can also be a total nightmare. I’ve helped bands become huge success stories, but I’ve also seen bands make some serious mistakes (that destroyed their careers). Below are some cautionary tales to help you navigate the chaotic waters of the music industry and prevent you from capsizing your career.
1. Burning your local promoter
Local promoters are the gateway for bigger and brighter opportunities for your unsigned band. Having a great relationship with local promoters can lead to bigger show offers — and maybe even the contacts you need to progress your band outside your local scene. Showing up late to your show, canceling the day of or not selling/promoting the show (at all) can burn that bridge pretty quickly.
2. Being a “punisher”
When working with a new/young band, more often than not they tend to be “punishers.” A punisher is someone who makes a big deal out of nothing or makes the most simple tasks impossible to complete, i.e., “when posting on our Facebook, don’t use exclamation points ever” or “we love the album art, but can you make us 10 different versions?” Being so picky and micromanaging, is counterproductive and makes it impossible to work together.
3. Talking shit on the internet
The quickest way to destroy your career is by running your mouth online. “I hate Attila,” the lead singer of a local band says. Little does he/she know, Attila’s label was scouting them —but not anymore. Even worse is when you pick a fight and it blows up in your face, making you look like a complete moron.
4. Thinking you are owed anything
No one owes your band success. Do we want you to be successful? Absolutely! Having the attitude that you are owed success just for showing up is a great way to ruin actual success. I get it; if you worked at a company for five years, you expect to be promoted. Unfortunately for you, the music industry doesn’t work like that. If you started working at Taco Bell and on your first day expected the customers to serve you, you are probably going to get fired.
5. Being unorganized
You would be surprised how many bands have failed strictly because of how unorganized they are: “We forgot to order merch for our upcoming show” or “we all forgot the password to our Instagram account.” Get organized and get a handle on your business (band). Without structure, you will destroy your career.