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7 Times You'll Want to Give Up Your Career (And How to Get Past Them)

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Ask any self-professed lifer, and they'll admit it freely: making a career as a DIY, independent musician is not easy. At some point, you may want to abandon music-making in search of a more financially stable and less emotionally and physically trying path.

For some, that may be the right move; nobody has any business faulting you for making a choice with your own well-being in mind. But a big-picture mentality – recognizing the ruts as temporary and making steps to skirt, or at least smooth over, the next potential set of bumps – can help you regain the strength and focus you need for the long haul.

It's totally understandable that the slew of inherent struggles, like relentless touring, penny pinching, and constantly pouring your soul out in the studio and onstage only to feel stagnant afterward, would wear you down.

Before you call it quits, though, consider our best advice to get through these seven disheartening moments most artists endure at one point or another.

What Does Mentorship in the Music Industry Look Like?

Photo by Mike Giles via

One of the most common pieces of advice that musicians receive about advancing their career is the advice to find a good mentor – someone you look up to who can guide you along the path of building a successful music career.

While this sounds great in theory, finding someone who's actually willing to invest in you over a long period of time can be a real challenge, especially if you’re not that well-connected in the music industry to begin with.

Perhaps, then, it’s time we took a look at what mentorship actually looks like, especially in a creative and dynamic field like the music industry.

3 Reasons That Probably Explain Why You're Not Signed Yet

Photo by Henry Laurisch via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

In this industry, when we get turned down, we don't always get a reason. Simply a “pass” or “no thanks” is often the only comment, and we're left to wonder why. Sometimes, if you're polite and ask in the right way, you can find out the thought process behind your rejection.

I recommend doing so whenever possible. It'll only make you better in the future. For now, though, I've compiled three common reasons you might not get signed.

4 Ways to Create (and Perfect) Your Band Persona

Photo by CeeCee Hood Photography; used with permission

One of the most powerful things you can do for your career is to create a strong brand identity, something your band stands for and believes in that seeps through in every photo taken, every post on social media, every press interview, and of course, in the music you make.

But if you’re stuck on how to actually create that persona and make it stick — you’re not alone. Check out these four tips for discovering and perfecting your band’s persona.

The Right Way to Greet Your Fans (Hint: It's Not 'Nice to Meet You')

Ari Herstand. (Photo by Gadi Rouache)

This is a guest post by Ari Herstand, author of How to Make It in the New Music Business and originally appeared on Ari’s Take.


I just finished playing mediator between two of my good friends. To protect the innocent, let's call them Jeremy and Jamie. Jeremy had shot a video for me and Jamie a couple years back. On shoot day, there were about 10 people on set.

We all had a long, albeit fun, day and the video turned out great. I organized the shoot and was good buds with everyone there. Everyone got acquainted, but no one became besties.

Fast forward two years. Jeremy brought a crew to Jamie's show at Room 5 in LA. Now, Room 5 was (RIP) one of those small, ahem, intimate venues with no green room. We've all played these kinds of spots.

Before her set, Jamie was sitting at the bar watching the act before her. Jeremy went up to Jamie to say, "Hi." And now here's where, because I wasn't there, I have to go off of what Jeremy remembers.

He claims that Jamie showed no signs of recognition and was extremely cold to him. He said he attempted to jog her memory, discussing our video shoot, but Jamie was dismissive and said, "I'm sorry, I don't remember you." And then walked away.