7 Reasons Why Your Limitations Make You a Better Band

Posted by Sam Friedman on May 27, 2016 06:00 AM
Find me on:

shutterstock_417612094Image via Shutterstock

In our current musical climate, it's becoming more and more normal for artists to start their career from the very bottom and build it up on their own. For example, Chance The Rapper just made history by being the first artist to chart on Billboard's Top 10 for a streaming-only album, which is free of cost and without the support of any label.

That being said, a lot of bands are struggling to survive. No one wants to be the starving artist, but the longer you stay hungry, the more you can grow. Having a successful, lucrative music career handed to you sounds like the dream of all dreams, but never underestimate the power of your limitations and how they can actually help you rather than hold you back.

1. Your effort is genuine

No one starts off right away with great, radio-ready songs – all musicians and songwriters have to put in the 10,000 hours to master their craft. The effort will take dedication and devotion, but it'll be genuine.

Fans and critics can recognize authenticity. When you have to work extremely hard for success, people can hear and observe your growth and effort. Critics called Radiohead a "one-hit wonder" when their song "Creep" took off (which initially was a commercial failure), but they kept evolving and growing until they became recognized as one of rock's greatest bands.

2. You learn how to grow from failure

Even Michael Jackson had failures in his music career. No one is above failure, but some artists let it crush them. Bands with limitations will fail just like bands that seem to be successful overnight. The difference is that they will have learned how to handle it and grow from it.

Failures will become opportunities to be more successful, rather than circumstances that make you less successful. As much as it hurts every time you get negative feedback or get turned down, you learn to take the good and forget (or learn from) the bad.

[3 Important Lessons You Learn When Your Band Fails]

3. You know to make the most out of your limited funds

If there's one thing musicians always wish they had more of to further their careers, it's money. If you have the funds, you can pay to open for famous acts, you can pay for the best PR team, you can record an album in state-of-the-art studios – the list goes on. But for bands that are scraping by, you’re actually at an advantage because you learn how to prioritize and get creative with your money.

If you’ve always had enough money to pay someone else to do the hard work for you, that ultimately will limit your interdisciplinary skill set. And yes, it would be amazing to just focus on playing music and have the rest paid for, but unless you’re Drake and moving millions of units, you’ll probably have to learn a thing or two about budgeting. 

Grow your music career with Sonicbids

4. You appreciate every small victory

Just like you grow from every failure, you appreciate every victory. When your band has to struggle to be victorious, you'll truly appreciate recognition when recognition finally comes. This makes you a more human and humble band that will be able to sustain the big lights of fame and success. Artists who are either born into a famous family or win the lottery ticket of “overnight success” spend so much time being praised and accepted that they miss out on the uphill battle that beats character and humility into an artist. But we're not fools; that uphill battle is unforgiving and makes you want to quit, but it builds a strong sense of appreciation for when your music finally takes off. That appreciation will sustain your career.

5. You can empathize with others who are struggling

Some people seem to think that everyone charting on Billboard was born with exceptional, raw talent and just had to sing a few notes to achieve overnight fame. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Bands struggle for years before even being able to quit their day jobs. A band with limitations will know that struggle, and will be able to empathize and help other bands that might be a few steps behind them. Just like Jay-Z helped Kanye West get his career off the ground, Kanye has helped countless younger musicians get theirs off the ground. It's a cycle, and struggling bands will always be able to relate to the starving artist.

[10 Struggles Every Singer Knows to Be True]

6. You avoid the plateau of success

Artists who blow up overnight with a hit song often hit a plateau of success. They can’t top their last hit or last remix, because it all happened so fast. It's understandable why; as much as we fantasize about making it big, most musicians wouldn't know how to handle being plummeted into fame. But bands who struggle and write and perform show after show will have worked up the skill set and thick skin to keep growing and building. Because your first song wasn't a hit, your next one will be better, and that cycle will continue to repeat and you'll continue to grow.

7. Your journey has passion

This is the most important part. The fact that you haven't given up and that you've kept working despite the obstacles really proves that your journey is one of passion and love for the music, and nothing else. You're not in it for the fame, you're not in it for the money, you're not in it to be "cool" – you're here because you care. You try over and over and over again, no matter how far away success seems. It's because music is your life, and it will always be that way.


Sam Friedman is an electronic music producer and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. His music blends experimental ambience with indie-driven dance music. In addition to pursuing his own music, he is a New Music Editor for Unrecorded and is passionate about music journalism. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter @nerveleak.

Topics: Musician Success Guide, Motivation & Inspiration


Get weekly updates on articles, gigs, and much more!

Posts by Topic

see all