5 Reasons artists quit and how to overcome them

Looking to tour the world and leave a musical legacy? Only if you don’t call it quits first.

Posted: 5 February 2019

Music is constantly changing. How to create, release and listen to music has evolved drastically over recent years, but the reasons why artists call it a day are pretty much identical to 50 years ago. In this final instalment of our Moving On Up series we tackle why bands decide to throw in the towel and how you can avoid the same fate.

2 – Clashing personalities

You’ve never really noticed how annoying the singer/ guitarist/ drummer/ insert other band member here really is until you’re cramped into a tour van with them for a month. Between their ego and their desire to control every decision the band makes, you sit and think… ‘I can’t deal with them for a few minutes let alone the rest of our career’.

Being in a band is hard! Simon and Garfunkel, Noel and Liam, Lennon and McCartney, Axl Rose and Slash (plus hundreds of others) have all had major fallouts, some of which are irreparable, even despite their previous success and the huge stakes at play. One thing that’s certain for all artists is that you need to be able to work well with others. It could be others in your band, managers, publishers, or even your fans but without their support you are going nowhere.

That doesn’t mean that you need to bend over backwards to please them. Communicating in an upfront and honest way will help others respect you. Ultimately everyone is pushing towards the same goal of success so put time into keeping your relationships positive, otherwise people will quickly move on to the next promising artist.

4 - Musical differences

Why is the bassist hell-bent on creating a 90-minute jazz hybrid album? You thought this was a rock band! This is not what you signed up for.

A band breaking up because of “creative differences” is such a common occurrence that it’s become a cliché. However if a band aren’t all on the same page artistically and 100% committed then it’s a recipe for disaster. One of the earliest lessons you will learn as a musician is the need to compromise to keep people on side.

It’s also well worth sitting down early on with everyone involved to agree on your goals and how to reach them. Are decisions made in your group as a dictatorship or a democracy? It’s no use spending years building a following and booking a big tour to suddenly find out someone in the band has no interest in being away from home for long periods at a time.