3 big mistakes made by emerging bands

Posted on 11th June 2019

Today I want to talk about the biggest mistakes emerging bands make time and time again. As always, I’m focused on helping you achieve your band’s full potential using a modern DIY ethic and self-management.

For me, it’s all about the artist being in control of their career. I want to empower your management process with up to date industry advice which in turn will help you manage and realise your musical career. As we know, record deals may come and go but essentially, at the core, it’s about you, your music and achieving your goals with a realistic and obtainable plan.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Tip 1 - understand the artist’s role

Understanding your role, as an artist, may initially seem quite obvious. However, your job as a musician is not to just simply sound good (that’s craft) but to reflect and espouse an artistic vision. An artist speaks for an audience, and your primary job is to do that.

So, how do you do it?

Your style, brand, the way you play live all counts for an awful lot, but the single most important aspect is lyrics and subject matter. What are you saying and who are you speaking for? There are thousands of artists who do this, here are a few examples;

Bob Dylan - He represented social, cultural and political change and was a voice for his generation.

Rage against the machine - The ethos was all about fighting the man and reflecting countercultural angst at the system.

Pink - A representation of female empowerment and taking full control of your life.

Tip 2 - work at pace

Work quickly, it's about constant day to day improvements on your songwriting, set, live show, social media, and recorded material. You are telling a story and you have to engage people in a constantly evolving tale. This is not necessarily about releasing a huge amount of material, remember quality is an incredibly important virtue. Observe and apply the work ethic displayed by artists like Prince, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and the hot bands around your local scene. These people are working extremely hard and they are your competition.

Let's conduct an experiment by taking your career and making a prediction of how things are going to go for you over the next five years. Do you know the saying “The most predictable indicator of future performance is past performance?”

Hypothetically, let's say your band has had a gradual upward trajectory comprised of doing three pub gigs and releasing an EP. Take those milestones and multiply them by five and you get fifteen pub gigs and potentially an album. Would you say this enough for a sustainable career?

It stands to reason that if you want to be at the pinnacle of the game, you have to make sure your current activity is in line for your intended future growth. This would mean adjusting your current activity to fit your future aims. Increasing your overall output in the short term would yield further benefits in the long term.

Tip 3 - plan

If you don't have a realistic and obtainable plan then all you have is a bunch of demos and a pipe dream. How do we take that strong desire to have a career in music and make your project happen? How do we make a plan that is realistic and achievable?

If you have been keeping up with our content you should have a good idea of what I mean by a plan. And more importantly what’s required to strategise like a major band. However, if you’ve missed anything check out these videos to catch up;




So, are there any examples of bands that have good plans? Well, YES, in fact, it’s harder to find examples of professional bands that don’t have good plans. I’m aware there are exceptions to the rule and that some artists are so incredible they make amazing albums that just blow up (think Nirvana or Guns and Roses). However, they tend to have a difficult job managing their success after the album release.

We are talking about a long term and sustainable career that requires management and planning. Making a plan for a band or helping them with their management strategy is what we do, day in day out at Waterbear. It’s our bread and butter, and we are here to help!!

If you have any questions about YOUR plan, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician please join us at WaterBear HQ for an Open Day or Order a Prospectus.


by Bruce Dickinson
Bruce has had 11 top forty hits and a number 1 album with Little Angels. He’s toured with Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and opened for Guns N’ Roses on their first UK shows. With his group Colour of Noise, he has run a successful Pledge album campaign and he continues to help new bands through curating the Rising Stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival and Underground Music Conference events. Bruce was a founder of the BIMM group of colleges, leaving in 2012 for the Little Angels reunion at Download Festival and UK tour. He has negotiated several university partnerships and written many validated degree courses, with thousands of undergraduates studying those courses still. He holds an MA in Education Management.
View all posts by Bruce Dickinson

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