The 8 Characteristics of a Successful Musician (Qualities & Traits)

What Successful Musicians Have in Common

There are people who make it in the music industry, and there are people who don’t.

What differentiates a successful musician from someone who can’t make it in the music business?

Some people make it and some people don’t, and there are reasons for each.

Whatever you think about luck in ‘success’ as a concept, hard work and other personality traits are necessary for achieving our goals.

There is no doubt that the music industry is one of the most competitive and saturated industries where you can earn a living.

There are a lot of musicians out there who want to turn their passion into a career.

Taking a look at the habits of successful musicians, personality traits that make them stand out, and what specific qualities you can adopt into your own mindset will give you a better chance at success.

Here are some of the qualities, behaviors, and habits of successful musicians.

Characteristics of a Successful Musician

1. Put Your Audience First, Not Vanity Metrics

It’s important to pay attention to your growing audience, and there’s a lot you can do to measure it.

As an artist, you need to look after your audience and create a lasting legacy instead of worrying about Spotify streams, Instagram likes, or TikTok followers.

Musicians who are successful are able to separate themselves from these vanity metrics.

Don’t get caught up in the numbers, and take a broader look at why they do what they do.

It’s fantastic to get more recognition, more views on YouTube, more followers, more streams, more income, and more money from playing music. The problem with chasing numbers is that you’re always comparing yourself to others.

Most of the time, it ends with feeling like you’re not good enough. The key to becoming a successful musician is managing your expectations and looking after your fans.

Audience First, Not Vanity Metrics

2. Making Time For Creativity Every Single Day

It’s easy to think “I’m the same as them”, “I’m better than them”, or “I work harder than them”…

Somehow, they’re getting the numbers and traction you want. Natural talent will always be there. You’re right, talent doesn’t beat hard work every single time.

Make sure you’re consistent.

Think to yourself honestly...
  • Are you up and at it again in the morning?
  • And again?
  • Are you giving up seeing friends at the weekend for your music?
  • Are you investing in yourself first before buying a new game?
  • How much time do you spend getting better every day?
  • Are you 100% into it?

Finding something that resonates with your audience is the key to growth.

Over and over again.

Bringing new people along for the ride.

Consistency, persistence, and a commitment to showing up every day are essential for a successful career in music.

3. Making a Career in Music Takes Patience

Patience is everything if you’re playing the long game. Patience doesn’t mean trying something and giving up after a month.

Having patience is just keeping going every day, adjusting your processes, and not getting stressed when you don’t see results right away.

You’ve got to be patient to succeed.

In order to be patient, you must manage your expectations regarding what is possible in the near future.

It is unlikely that you will reach one million streams in two weeks.

Set attainable goals in order to become a successful musician.

Once you have achieved these goals, it keeps you motivated. The most successful musicians and artists are characterized by these qualities.

4. It is important to be Willing to Take a Hard Road, Rather Than an Easy One

For an awesome life, do the hard things, and for a challenging life, do the easy things.

Would you like to contact 100 Spotify playlist curators today?

Most likely not.

Are you interested in constantly feeling like you are on a hamster wheel of content, never feeling like you are progressing?

… Probably not again.

Would you like to write 50 songs for one single?

That sounds like a lot of work.

If you choose the hard option every time, you’ll succeed in the long run. You’ll always find that everything is hard if you choose easily.

As you do more, it gets easier.

There are too many musicians who rely on their creativity alone.

Being talented and able to make a living as an artist is great, but being a successful musician takes more than creativity and passion.

You’ve got to work hard to grow your fan base. There are some hard things you have to do from time to time, but you’ve got to work hard.

5. Making It in Music Without Chasing Quick Wins

We live in an instant gratification world. It’s everyone’s goal to get their wins fast. They think a successful music career can happen overnight.

  • It’s that simple, quick wins are BS.
  • Nothing worth having comes easy.
  • You have to work hard to build your fan base.

Don’t give up when things get tough or you don’t get the results you want. Let’s say you want some numbers fast, then pay some bots for some streams and see what happens.

Building a real and genuine fan base for your music takes time.

Your attitude will come back to bite you if you are only here for quick wins.

Is there a reason for musicians to believe that quick wins will lead them to success?

Comparison.

There is always despair in comparison. Your worst days are being compared with someone else’s best days.

It is important to remember that you do not know someone else’s journey, and you are on your own path.

Making It in Music

6. The Practice and Improvement of Your Craft

Consistent practice is the key to becoming a professional musician.

Practicing will help you become confident, and amazing on your instrument, ready to perform at gigs, create art that resonates with people, and work your way towards a possible stable music career. It is as simple as that.

Don’t forget to dedicate time to learning and honing your craft every day.

Each day, try to learn something new (especially in fields you know you need to improve). Every day you can get 1% better, but you can’t be amazing overnight. It’s really all you need.

Practice, hard work, learning, and education get you results.

Learning and practicing for musicians isn’t just about getting better at your instrument. That’s everything.

It’s your attitude, your commitment, your content creation strategy, your time management, etc.

7. When it Comes to Criticism, Don’t be Defensive

Musicians have a tough time with this.

As musicians, we spend countless hours in the studio, shaping our art, working on our band, and using our years of experience and passion to make something we’re inspired by.

So yeah. As a musician, it’s really hard to deal with negative or bad comments about your music after all that hard work.

To deal with haters, you have to develop a whole new mindset.

Musicians don’t come by these qualities easily.

Getting your music out there requires you to deal with rejection and the simple fact that not everyone is going to like it.

It’s a tough world out there for musicians. Critics are never easy to deal with, but when it comes to musicians, it feels even more personal.

You don’t have to take it personally. Take control of what you can. Your own music, content, and mindset.

8. It’s Important To Be Humble As A Musician

Authenticity is important for independent artists and musicians.

You can leave a long-lasting legacy with your music if you’re real, humble, and true to yourself.

A fake can be spotted from a mile away.

Artists who are disingenuous don’t last long.

By sharing your journey, where you’re coming from, and where you’re going, you can authentically share your passion.

People choose to follow the most successful musicians on their journey because they appreciate every fan.

Don’t forget to be thankful and give more than you take.

Humility and a genuine interest in your fans will make them care about you and your music.

Skills Needed for music

Summary

It’s hard to stand out in the music industry. There’s no fear of competition for real artists, and they don’t back down from any challenge. Working long hours, no money, strong competition, bad reviews, and harsh comments are just some of the challenges they face. Nothing can stop them from achieving their goals because music makes them tick. When the odds are not in your favor, you must grow a thick skin and keep going if you want to succeed in this world.

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