Understanding Success In Music Through The Failure Of Others
While most artists look to those who have succeeded for advice and inspiration in navigating the music business, they might be better served learning from the mistakes and failures of their predecessors.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Want to get ahead in music? It’s better to learn from those who fall short of success than those who top the charts. Let us tell you why.
Human beings always want to be the best, so it makes sense that we would look to the most successful among us to learn how we can get ahead. Whether in life or art, people follow leaders because we believe they know something we do not (and in many cases, they do). However, only following the most successful artists and humans will give us an incomplete picture of success.
Consider Drake and Billie Eilish, for example. Both artists exist at the top of their game, both play to sold-out crowds everywhere they go, and both lead the kind of lives that artists on the rise often seek. There is a lot to learn from the things that work in their careers. Drake and Billie are both original voices who share their perspectives on the world with catchy songwriting back by superb production. You can emulate everything about them and find success to one extent or another, but you’ll never be as big as either is right now because you’d merely be a clone of someone else.
To really succeed in music we must look to the artists who never made it big. We have to look at the “would-a,” “could-a,” and “should-a” talent to learn what they missed so we don’t fall victim to the same mistakes. Why do some artists hit it big once and then disappear? Why do talented musicians grind their bones to dust living in vans only to burn out before their careers reach the heights their talent suggests they should? If you can answer questions like that, then you will be prepared to navigate the incredibly tricky terrain of the music business.
On today’s episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell explains survivorship bias and how it applies to musicians. Check it out below or on our official YouTube channel.
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James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.