More often, we, as a society, love to hear the success stories of certain people and what they did to achieve that success. Surely, these success stories are awesome and inspire a lot of people. Despite their inspirational effect, we believe they only tell us a single-sided perspective.
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In this article, we swing on the opposite spectrum and discuss why 90% of electronic music artists fail in their quest to turn pro. We aim to bring awareness to this topic which is usually not discussed. This article is not to discourage any artist or to bring any negative thoughts or emotions to it. Rather, it is aimed to give you a perspective, a profound truth based on our experience of seeing our peers and artists’ peers who have gone through it. Instead of understanding what you need to succeed, it is more important to understand what to avoid in order to not make the same mistakes as many artists made — hindering your chance and opportunity to reach that success.
Here, we discuss the three main reasons why most electronic music artists will fail. These are:
Whether artists have the right mindset or not is determined by how they set their goals and how they define their success. All these things, believe it or not, are derived from their own needs, from their own mindsets, and how they view and perceive their own artist’s journey to be. More often, new and eager artists have big dreams such as playing for a major festival, fill-in-the-blank, EDC, CRSSD, Movement, etc. These are great goals to have and they should not be something that you hinder away. It is very important that you set goals and have milestones. But, what everyone should understand is that these goals and milestones should not be the determining factor of why you feel successful.
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It is something that we discuss deeply during phase one of ArtistMap. Moreover, most artists often set limitations on their journey. It means that they do not treat their artistry and their journey as a lifestyle, i.e. they are not fully committed for the long haul. The long haul means the 10-year mark which is really just a starting point for all artists. If you ask any of the big dogs that have been there for decades, they will all tell you the same that the 10-year mark is really just the beginning of your journey. On this journey, usually, most of the artists either quit or leave around the period between that eight to nine-year mark because they were unable to reach the milestones or the goals that they had set for themselves. Most of the time, the reason behind it is that they did not have the right mindset coming into this journey, thinking it is going to be easy and attainable within a few years of hard work, and oftentimes that is just not the case.
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The second reason why 90% of electronic music artists fail in their journey toward success is once they start to set limitations, they start to compare. They compare their own journey with other artists who may have reached certain milestones and goals before time. They set imaginary timelines. For instance, they aim to become an amazing artist before a certain age. When these artists are unable to reach their goals within a set timeline, they get depressed, sad, frustrated, or go to Facebook meme groups and just start bashing the industry.
The thing is, once they start comparing themselves with other artists and peers, the mindset that gets developed is one of an elitist and entitled attitude called ‘impatience’. Once an artist becomes impatient and starts rushing through the process, it throws off the artist’s entire approach and what it means is that they go about this in a single-minded opportunist approach, looking out for their own advantage, their own gigs, their own release, everything related to them only. It is important to keep in mind that there is nothing that will alienate your peers and the industry more than going with an opportunist approach.
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Artists who start moving fastly with the ‘all about me’ approach think it is all about me and nothing else because they have some goals and dreams they need to meet by a certain deadline or a timeline. Therefore, they don’t have time to bring value to others. They have no interest in helping out anyone else unless they can provide them with something in return. We call it a ‘this for that’ person. Do not be a ‘this for that’ person — a tick for a tack. This is not just an artist’s tip or suggestion. This is a tip on how to just be a good person, how to be a normal and functioning person in a society. Who would want to help people who only want to see the benefit of how they can take advantage of the situation if they were to help you? It seems like there is nothing genuine about that approach or it’s not a sustainable approach. Still, many people do so. Now, the crazy thing about this is that most people who take their business with an ‘all about me’ approach don’t even realize how they are conducting themselves because they get so blinded by this mindset that they only think that it is “all about me” and “I have to reach these goals, get the gigs, and get the releases”.
While everyone else thinks this artist is just hustling, they actually are sabotaging their potential opportunities because of their single-minded opportunist approach. In turn, the doors close.
This is the reason why our team in phase one of ArtistMap emphasizes not just the mindset, but also the approach of how to conduct yourself within the industry as a professional, how to be someone that people will enjoy working with, and more importantly, be the artist that people will help without you having to ask.
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Always look out for your opportunities but when you become too aggressive in that approach, it really turns people off and alienates them. We have noticed many upcoming artists in our scene just over-vibing, being overly eager, wanting to get a certain gig, wanting to meet a certain person and in return, they sabotaged their own opportunities. This happens because no one taught the right approach and how to conduct ourselves outside of our own bedroom setup. When you add the social environment, alcohol, and drugs into the mix, you can just imagine how bad the approach can be at 2am in the morning when you talk your ears off to someone that you just met.
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All the master classes on electronic music focus only on making music. While that is very important since music and producing music is the main focal point of your existence in the electronic music industry, at least from an artist’s perspective, what’s equally important though is how you navigate yourself through the rigorous journey after you have learned how to produce music and DJ the right way. To ignore the fundamentals of developing a strong mindset and a good professional approach is to ignore everything else that follows after you mastered Ableton, Logic as well as your turntables, and CDJs. What makes you good as an artist is not only to know the music-producing skills, but also people skills, networking skills, and more importantly the right mindset. In addition to the right mindset, a good artist needs to have a good approach in terms of how to conduct themselves to level up and open up more doors.
90% of the artists fail in their journey towards success not because they do not work hard enough or hustle hard enough, but because they never developed the mindset and approach required to help them navigate and level up. This is the path that all electronic music artists need to go through — how you position yourself, how you bring value to this community, and how you navigate through endless obstacles. This is the key for you in reaching your goals as an electronic music artist. Best wishes to all aspiring electronic music artists, thanks for reading!
Enroll in ArtistMap, a roadmap program for house and techno artists, to develop the mindset, discipline, and strategies for becoming a professional electronic music artist in today’s environment.