Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Music Artists

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Artist Development and Music Production -Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Music Artists By Alex Houton


Over the years that I’ve worked in artist development and music production, I’ve been able to see many artist’s habits. The habits of the successful people and effective artists get lots of attention. But let’s take a look at some of the habits of some ineffective artists.

1) Waiting


One of the ineffective habits I’ve seen from artists is waiting. These are the people that keep thinking someone or something is going to swoop in and make everything happen for them. They’re waiting to meet someone that will invest in them, waiting until they have more time in their busy schedule, waiting until they finish school…the list goes on. What they’re actually waiting for is someone to give them to courage to follow their dream. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.

2) Not Practicing Everyday


I often tell artists that I’m working with, that if you’re looking to go to the top of the charts or make millions of dollars as an artist, then you’re essentially looking to win the gold medal of the music business. And if you’re looking to win a gold medal, then you better start training like an Olympian. People that don’t work on their craft everyday are living in a fantasy world where they’re so special, that they don’t have to even work at it. They usually think buying more guitars, clothes, tattoos – and whatever else they think will substitute for the fact that they’re just not as good as they think they are- is more important than just working on their music every single day. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.

3) Over Inflated Ego


A very effective ineffective habit is to be delusional about your own talent. Humility goes a long way- but not for these folks. Artists with an over inflated ego have a disproportionate view of their own talent which is misaligned with the actuality of their aptitude. A truly great artist will let their talent speak for them, and not have to be their own cheerleader. But the artist with an over inflated ego loves to tell people how great they are, and then when you hear them they’re far from it. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.

4) Sense Of Entitlement


This highly ineffective habit is from people who just think their talent is so special, that they shouldn’t have to lift a finger. These self involved divas will make the simplest of tasks seem like they are monumental efforts because everything is not just right for their liking.  The entitled artist also needs to learn from the book of humility as they often use and then alienate many of their best contacts throughout their career. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.

5) Big Fish In A Small Pond


This is one of my favorite habits of highly ineffective artists. I can’t tell you how many times I see artists that live in a fish bowl world where they’re the star. These narcissists are masters at creating a small (and totally inconsequential) group of fans, groupies, followers, and other hangers on, that they will use and manipulate in any way they can to prop up their own fantasy that they’re going somewhere. I’ve seen it in New York City, and I’ve seen it in Tumbleweed, USA. These people are more concerned with being the center of their little own little world, instead the growth and change that would promote real success. Highly ineffective. Don’t be own of these people.

6) Being Ungrateful


No ineffective habit is more effective at creating negative circumstances in an artist’s career than being ungrateful.  Without the attitude of gratitude, artists will attract the worst types of inauthentic people into their lives and career. When an artist is thankful for the people and circumstances of their career, the people they attract will go the extra mile for them because they know they’re appreciated. When an artist in ungrateful, those people that are ultimately trying to help will eventually feel used and disappear. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.

7) Lack of Identity


This is probably one of the most overlooked habits of ineffective artists. I come across dozens of artists who pride themselves on their ability to do it all. They tell me, “Well I can sing, and I can dance, and I can juggle, and I do magic, and I act, and I can sing country, and pop, and r&b, and I can rap…I can do whatever you need!”

Unfortunately, the music industry isn’t looking for artists that are chameleons. They’re looking for the opposite. The music industry wants to know that you know who and what you are, so they can know who and where to sell your persona to. The challenge in being an artist is creating your persona from the most prevalent elements of your personality- to militarily focus on the traits that make you interesting but in a highly attractive way. The lack of identity habit (like most of the others) is usually a product of insecurity. These artists simple can’t handle rejection on any level so they decide that they have to try and please everyone. Highly ineffective. Don’t be one of these people.