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6 Signs Your Band is Doomed To Fail

  • Damian Keyes
    Damian Keyes
  • Mar 29th 2022

Ever feel like your band is going nowhere?

Maybe you feel like your music project is completely stagnant and it's only a matter of time before it fails?

Some bands just aren't going to make it. In fact, most don't.

The thing is, the red flags for this impending doom are usually apparent and obvious if you are paying attention.

Where bands that do manage to achieve a measure of success have a lot of things in common, the ones that fail also have a lot of things in common!

If you spot these signs with your band or music project, it's time to take action before it's too late.

1. You All Have Different Goals

It's not uncommon for your band members to also be your friends.

When starting a new band, it's likely that you may not have discussed goals, what you want to achieve with the band, strategy, or how you will navigate the music industry together.

Most bands begin through a mutual love of the same sound, style and just want to play together and rock out.

As these projects grow, however, they can quickly fall apart if all band members aren't striving towards a common goal.

Whilst you may want to take this band to a new stratosphere, regularly perform on stage and perform live shows to thousands of fans, your drummer might just be in this for fun and isn't really bothered.

Maybe your bassist is happy just being a cover band, whereas the rest of you want to focus on producing original material.

Maybe, none of you have any goals at all which is a recipe for stagnation.

If you're starting a band from scratch, call a band meeting with new members to discuss the direction of the band and get everyone on the same page.

If you're already in a band and are worried that you lack direction or goals are misaligned, call a band meeting to see what the other members think!

Band leader motivating friends

2. Members Can't Express Themselves Creatively

One of the quickest ways for other members to become disengaged and frustrated with the band is when they can't fulfil that creative expression that music brings.

A good band will play to everybody's strengths and allow all band members and musicians the creative license to have their input on songs, visuals, and more.

Creative differences are common with bands and are almost unavoidable, but aligning your goals properly as mentioned in step 1 can help curb this slightly.

Sometimes, creative differences are necessary to go through in order for the band to evolve.

When it comes to members expressing themselves creatively, it doesn't just have to be via their musicianship and performances.

Dividing responsibilities and delegating effectively can make other members feel more valued as they have a real interest in the growth of the band.

Maybe one of your members is amazing at graphic design, good with money, understands the music business, great at getting people to attend your gigs, or awesome on Instagram.

Use your musicians and allow them to excel in music, as well as other certain tasks.

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3. No Clear Band Leader

When all things are equal, nothing really gets done.

You may have a singular band leader, or multiple members of the band calling the shots. Either way, someone has to.

Whether you're spending time writing new songs and releasing new material, or simply trying to book some live shows so fans can come and watch you, the chances of these things actually happening is drastically increased if someone is steering the ship.

So many bands stagnate and ultimately fail because no one is taking the initiative to direct the other members.

Your band might have a shared vision, but it needs to be executed.

Running a successful band is more than just writing material and releasing new music.

Who is looking after:

  • PR
  • Social Media Scheduling
  • Content Creation
  • Tour Management
  • Admin
  • Advertising
  • Graphic Design
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Spotify & Streaming
  • Planning Band Rehearsals

Is it your lead singer? Is it a combination of all of you? Who is delegating these tasks?

Some bands who are lucky enough to have a good music manager can benefit from this direction. Either way, you need to know who's in charge!

Without a driving force in your band, you are destined to coast along until you inevitably split up or other members decide to quit.

Band leader with musicians

4. You Don't Release Music Often Enough

One of the biggest downfalls of bands or artists in the music business is how often they release music.

I would say that the majority of bands aren't showing up on enough online, or releasing new material at a high enough frequency to gain any momentum.

If you are spending all your energy and more money on your first, second, third or fourth album and you are still in the exact same place, it might be time to switch up your strategy.

The biggest problem with artists releasing albums over singles in 2022 is that the consumption levels for your music just aren't quite there yet.

Instead of focusing on your new album, look at ways where your band can keep creating and releasing songs on a more consistent basis.

Singles, micro-content, and more. Build a fanbase from scratch before expecting everyone to just fall in love with your latest album release even though they have no idea who you are.

This gives the band a chance to grow, reach more people, and get heard.

5. Band Members Show Commitment Issues

Commitment issues among your musicians are some of the biggest red flags for a failing band.

Are your band members always late? Maybe some of your musicians fail to show up for rehearsals?

A common one is that your band is actually someone else's side project.

Having musicians that try to juggle two bands, a solo project or any other projects is going to be difficult to maintain any type of real commitment to the cause.

Where does your band fit in the pecking order for the other members?

If you are unable to get your band members to commit properly or take the band seriously, you may have to consider the tricky situation of firing a member.

Music band singing at rehearsal 2021 09 24 04 15 00 utc

6. You Don't Take Music Marketing Seriously

You put all this effort into writing an album or a single and throw it out into the world expecting social media to 'work its magic' and get your music in front of new fans.

But it doesn't work.

Sound familiar?

Too many bands and musicians just expect the music to speak for itself and don't actually spend enough time or effort on the marketing aspects of being in a successful band.

The digital world is noisy. If you expect to stand out without putting the time and effort into it, then you have no hope of getting heard in the first place!

This is where it all comes together.

Most artists focus the majority of their time and energy into creating great music, which makes sense.

But without good music marketing, you have no vehicle to get that music out there and in front of the right people.

If you want to be in that elite group of bands that do make it, you have to be on the same page and be serious about adopting popular music marketing strategies.