Why 99% Of Artists Fail… And How To Become The 1%

Earlier in the year, I wrote a blog on financial literacy and why artist should invest in their career instead of spending money on luxuries and liabilities.

I wrote about treating yourself like a business and how to make money as an artist.

I wanted to expand on that and create a guide for artists and creators to succeed.


Why The 99% Fail

This quote from my mentor sums it all up: 

"Artists fail because they are dreamers and they don't think of this like a business. They REALLY just don't have what it takes to make it, they're too emotional and stubborn." - Jeffrey the Artist

Artists feel like their talent or their devotion to music is ENOUGH and that fans/supporters will naturally gravitate towards them because of their vibe or skill.

They spend so much time on social media trying to accumulate followers, but don't spend a dime on promoting their music. 

Followers don’t mean people are listening to your music. 

The truth is, people aren't clicking off of Instagram to go check out your song. They will like your post on Facebook (maybe leave a comment) and then keep scrolling. 

I can't stress this enough, stop spamming your links on social media and stop buying followers/likes thinking that you will trick people by giving them a false perception of who you really are. 

Buying fake followers/likes only hurts your account in the future. At first Instagram (might) put your post in front of more people, but eventually they will notice that your account is stagnant (because you limited your growth by exceeding your growth).


The biggest mistake the 99% of artists make is budgeting.

In the Greensboro/Triad area, it roughly costs about $600 to record and distribute a professional single (with a video). 

Why spend $600 on making a product but refuse to spend money on promoting it?

$20 on fake views/likes and Fiverr campaigns isn't cutting it.

Posting the cover on Instagram isn't cutting it.


"Artists spam music links in messages and on random posts online and get upset when nobody is biting. That's like a fisherman going to a lake and then casting his line on the cement in the parking lot and telling people there's no fish out there." - Jeffrey The Artist


I posted the cover to my last album once on Facebook and once on Instagram.

Besides random story posts for the first few weeks, that's all the social media promotion I did.

14 months later, we hit 6 million streams worldwide and I sign a record deal with Universal Music Group. 


How To Become Apart Of The 1%

The idea that social status/followers will gain your listeners is backwards. 

I've been an influencer on Instagram for half a decade now and I promise you the audience you want (as an artist) are the ones who are streaming your music (on paid streaming services).

Also, song creation should be 10% of your budget. The other 90% should be for promotion. Read that again.

If your budget is $600, find ways to lower your recording costs so that you can put more into promoting the record.

Barter with engineers and producers for discounted beats and recording time. 


Being apart of the 1% means treating your song like a business product, building quality content and networking it to the masses like any other industries would.

It also means investing in your career by researching music business practices and composing creative approaches to stand out of the mix.

It means being open-minded to opportunities, willing to take calculated risks, and out working the competition.

Go and research the top dogs in the game and who their influences are. 

Like any startup venture, you need capital to get your business going. 


This sounds obvious, but to succeed you need to take this shit seriously.

No one is going to give you a handout. No one is waiting around for "you to blow".

Start applying that pressure and make your next move your better move.


Guide To Success (For Beginner Artists)

In the future, I will write up an Ebook and explain these in more steps and examples. This guide is for beginners and will help get you on the right path.

Here are the basics:

1. Save up $1000 (get a job and stop making excuses) and use it to invest in yourself.
2. Before writing a song, find an instrumental and get in contact with the beatmaker to see if it's available.
3. Purchase a lease (non-exclusive) license for no more than $50. This will allow you to record and distribute the song.
4. Get in your creative mindset and start crafting the song. Once finished, start memorizing the lyrics and flow.

5. Go on Google and search local studios in your area. You don't need the highest quality studio, but make sure the studio has experience and still puts out quality work.
6. Before booking one hour of studio time, make sure to get in contact with the engineers so you can feel the vibe. It shouldn't take you more than one hour to record a single (as an R&B artist or Hip Hop artist). Spend no more than $50 for an hour. Don't worry about getting it mixed on the spot.  
7. Show up to the studio 10 minutes early then go and knock out the session. Make sure to bring a flash drive so you can get your session files (stems). 
8. Now we are done with song recording and composition phase. Now we start putting the record together to be ready for distribution (putting the song out on Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) We have spent $100 and 20+ hours of time so far.

9. Hit up a mixing engineer and a cover artist (use Instagram or ask around locally). I wouldn't spend more than $75 on getting your song mixed and no more than $75 for your cover art. 
10. Once you receive the song and cover art back, then visit DistroKid.com and signup for a "Musician" account. It cost $19.99 a year. 
11. Sign up for Songtrust as a writer (cost a one-time fee of $100) and a join as a creator on BMI.com (it's free).
12. Register the song on Songtrust and BMI.com
13. Release the single on DistroKid and make sure to give yourself two weeks in advanced before you plan to release the single. We have spent $400 so far.

14. While you're waiting for release day, start thinking of a plan to promote your single once it comes out. I recommend Spotify playlisting and TikTok campaigns. Spend $100 a month (for two months) on Spotify campaigns and $400 on TikTok influencers.
15. Continue to put out great music and build yourself slowly on social media. Don't spam people with links and start to genuinely interact with other artist locally. 

Go out there and attack! Don't get caught up in the facade from the artist who are further down in their journey. 

Show love and always give love back when people show love to your music.