Why Most Bands Fail

Most musicians start their music projects with great enthusiasm and passion with a group of individuals, only to soon realise all the stumbling stones along their way are more significant than expected. It is helpful to take note of the warning signs and what to look out for when you set your band together.

Bands fail mainly because of the lack of communication with each other, clashing personalities within the band, one member having the biggest influence, band members feeling impatient or the band’s ambition feeling like it heads in a goalless direction.

If your problem is getting regular bookings for your band, don’t miss the article I published about how to increase your bookings right here.

Let’s take a look at these elements in finer detail:

Too Many Chiefs and No Indians

Bands often break up because of conflicting leadership styles within the band.

Musicians are all passionate characters. It is also valuable to have cooperative and flexible individuals in your band to guarantee the procedure of give and take.

When you set your band together, search for the personalities that will suit your leadership style.

Having too many stronger personalities will clash with one another, while a group of cooperative and flexible individuals will find a way to reach the main objective by working together.

When you have stronger or clashing personalities in your band, always place the best interest of the band at the centre of your decisions. This helps to streamline the ideas for the band together to continue the growth of your musical project.

Travel Distances

Bands fail because of logistic challenges to attend gigs and practices.

The majority of bands stay together because they stay close to each other. For band members to reach each other should be easily accessible and within a maximum radius of 60km.

A suggestion would be to arrange band practice around a middle point so that each member has about 30km to travel. This would accommodate all the members to attend at a central location.

This would also give you a proper fan base radius of about 100-150 km, depending on the location of your regular performance venues.

Bands Being Too Dependent on One Member

When the key band member receives a job promotion that forces them to move or extend their working time, it could mean the end for a band.

Remember to have the responsibilities in your band divided well enough so that the success of your band doesn’t rely on only one member.

It is possible that one member is more experienced, has better contacts and is more skilled than the other members. Therefore one should use the time that you have with each other to learn these skills and to build the same network in the industry.

Job sharing is key in a band setup. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your band members to support them best and delegate certain objectives to members capable of executing them.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 09.04.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Good vibes during band practice (Photo Credit: Canva)

Cliques Within a Band

When small groups are formed within a band, bands tend to split up and focus on their own prospects.

This happens when you have certain individuals in your band being family, grew up together or are extremely close friends.

A band I’ve worked with in the past has broken up during the past year because of family cliques within the group. The main issue was probably also difficulty with stage sharing which ended up in cliques forming.

There will always be a few neutral members as well, which will just look forward to the next opportunity. These guys are worth gold and should be taken with you on your next journey as well.

Stage Sharing

Bands end up failing because they have difficulty cooperating and sharing the stage.

There’s a place for all of us on this planet. We must just know where we belong and what promotes the band that we all believe in.

We should agree beforehand on who sings which songs, which members will tell which jokes etc.

If one member randomly starts telling embarrassing stories and jokes, it will rather put the members in a bad light and which will lead to hard feelings.

Another scenario is feeling jealous of the songs written and sung by other members. I always think about Blink 182 who has 2 frontmen, both sharing the workload extremely well.

It is possible. Sit down, communicate, and work it out.

Conflicting Habits

Bands fail often because of different habits the members follow.

Various habits could be too regular smoke breaks, and overuse of drugs and alcohol during crucial periods for the band (sound checks, band practices, meetings with important parties).

This is a difficult situation to manage since habits can be kept a secret. Besides, you only discover that it’s a problem once one is already deep into the project.

We cannot manage all stumbling stones, but we can address them in a sensitive manner. Try to offer as much support as possible.

Being Directionless

Bands that get stuck into a habit of their simple way of doing things, end up failing in the end.

Try to have short-term and long-term goals. Having goals to work for will bring your band closer as a unit and help you to stay on track.

Sit together to determine which goals you would like to reach within the next 6 months and within 12 months. Revisit these regularly to make sure you stay on track.

Ambition is a key element when you are dealing with talented musicians.

Band Politics

Crossing the basic lines of relationships and not respecting the band members’ wishes about their family and close friends leads to bands failing to continue.

This includes breaking rules like:

  • Don’t screw the crew
  • Ex’s are off limits
  • Respecting family members
  • etc.

A great method to prevent this is to spend more time together outside of the band scene. I wrote a very helpful article about How to Build Chemistry Within the Band that will guide you to getting your members closer in order to respect each other’s boundaries more.

Lack of Patience

When a project doesn’t bring instant success, the members tend to get bored or frustrated which leads to the band’s failure.

As humans, we don’t have an overload of patience. We would like to see instant success and quick progress. Patience is something we need to practice and not just expect that you will be famous after a single recording.

My advice is:

  • Give a project a minimum of 24 months
  • Play 20-30 gigs
  • Record an album
  • Shoot a music video

The above is what will make your members commit and give their best for 2 years to see your growth.

Everything that’s good, takes time to grow.

If you are dealing with boredom, then look no further. I wrote an article about how to spice things up and keep your band interesting and fun for your members. Check it out here.

Lack of Communication

Bands fail because artists have difficulty sitting together and talking about how to achieve their dreams and goals together.

This is also a human thing. We would rather sit with hard feelings instead of getting together and talking about things.

The toughest thing to do is to swallow one’s pride and organise a get-together for the members experiencing conflict.

If your band is currently dealing with the same situation and you would like to have guidelines to solve the conflict, don’t miss the article I posted about 9 Steps to Deal With Conflict in Your Band here.

That’s it for now! If you have any other reasons for bands breaking up, please share them below in the comments.

If you want to know what is stressful about being in a band, this one is the next article for you.

Until next time…

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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