There is a moment within every independent artist’s life that allows them to pull back the glitz and glamour, and start to recognise the logistics of creating a career in music entertainment, without fear.
Social media and various societies paint an image of the music industry as this beacon of hope. Once immersed in the exclusive, popular club that is mainstream music, layers can begin to tear back on the once clouded wallpaper of music industry perfection.
In reality, many fears hold back artists from truly delivering great material and pursuing their beloved craft. Why is this? Is all independent artist afraid of committing to the love of music based on fear?
The answer unfortunately is dynamic. Although this topic can be negative or vulnerable, there are multiple dark sides of being an independent artist that we cannot escape.
Fear of Being Broke
Independent artists hear it constantly “You won’t make good money by being a musician”, “You will starve if you continue to pursue a music career. It is really hard to become famous!”, or “Oh cool! You are a musician! What else do you do? You must need a second or main job!”
Although these statements are not meant to harm a musician, it sticks to us like snow on a winter day. The narrative of struggling artists has changed from 10-15 years ago.
Through the advancement of the internet, artists have managed to research, develop and understand the music industry.
This notion is crucial to entering the vast musical market. The legends and myths of past artists and portrayals in movies and TV shows of a struggling artist lend to the fear artists may have for doing what they love.
This negativity can send an artist down the wrong path for achieving their musical endeavors.
The fear of financial hardships can trigger an artist to not even try to earn money in the music industry by simply creating songs and collaborating for free.
The trigger can also ensure an artist work away from the music industry, completely discouraging the artist from ever pursuing musical projects.
However, once artists realise the belief that all musicians are prone to struggle is false, artists will be empowered to move forward and inspire artists to become knowledgeable of how they can make money through doing what they truly love.
Fear of Failure
The second most common fear of independent artists is the fear of failing in the music industry.
Many independent artists self-sabotage their careers with fears of being too old to pursue music, not talented enough to make it in the music industry, and having a lack of dedicated musicians to collaborate on various projects.
The list will continue overwhelmingly. However, the fear can boil down to a small simmer as the artists realise their musical self-worth. When an artist believes these negatives things, it becomes their reality.
If an artist does not try to build a promising career, the failure is already prominent. Success is subjective. Artists cannot compare themselves to other artists of higher stature.
An artist must realise that their attributes to the music industry are just as important.
Fear of Success
Expectation becomes more of a rigorous cycle for the musical individual to upkeep their persona, sound, and musical behaviors.
Musicians can sabotage themselves by worrying about how their lives will be altered after reaching musical gratification.
This can result in artists intentionally doing things to sabotage their career for better interests. (Ex. Canceling gigs, not making new music, etc.)
Whether the artist has fear of failure or success, the realization of self-worth and value is crucial to enter the music industry.
An artist has more potential for success rather than destructive failure. Due to self-promotion and social media endeavors, more artists are in charge of their music careers, which gives them the power of success and failure in the artist’s hands than other entities.
Fear of Music Industry Professionals
A fear embedded in the independent artist hemisphere is the fear of being taken advantage of or ‘screwed’ by promoters, music industry executives, and record companies.
Many fears surrounding the music industry are based on stories of failed musicians who claim that industry professionals forced them to sign unfair contracts, promised gains, and inconsistent projects.
By popular belief, not all companies are out there to ‘rip-off’ musicians. Many music outlets are hungry for new talent and yearn for new sounds and variety in musical creation!
Music companies put in a substantial amount of time, funds, and resources to work with new musicians. There is much to lose on their end rather than stealing money from hopeful artists.
Due to this notion, artists must become informed on every contractual agreement and expectation of them from music industry opportunities.
So, in any career fears sink into our minds like an infectious disease. However, fear should not discourage individuals, but fuel their passion to achieve excellence.
For independent artists wanting to pursue a promising music career: do it. Let these fears become the gasoline to start the engine of creativity and pure artistry. Fear is only temporary.
There are a variety of jobs in the music industry, you don’t have to sing to be successful:
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