10 Reasons Why Your Band Will Never Make It

You've been going for a few years now, the band is on the up and there's that little glimmer of hope on the horizon. But trust me, you're not going to make it and here's why.

Ultimate Guitar

You've been going for a few years now, the band is on the up and there's that little glimmer of hope on the horizon. Give up, you're not going to make it.

But the new songs are so much better than the old ones, they're kinda raw and edgy but still have that commercial, pop-sensibility that A&R guys are just going to love. Trust me, you're not going to make it and here's why...

1. Your songs are sub-standard, 6/10 at best.

2. You can't take criticism.

3. You sound like your favourite bands.

4. You might be 100% focused and relentless in your quest for success but there's at least one band member who'd rather be sitting on the sofa, eating fried chicken and watching "Family Guy."

5. You think you're 100% focused but deep down you would also rather be sitting on the sofa, eating fried chicken and watching "Family Guy."

6. You don't practice your instrument enough and when you do, you're just jamming your favourite songs rather than trying to improve.

7. Your radio plugger doesn't really do anything.

8. You drink too much, wake up late and certainly have no time for exercise in that "busy" schedule of yours.

9. You think that sending an email to your favourite record label counts as a days work.

10. "Making it" is 99% luck and you're just not that lucky.

11. Your PR guy doesn't really do anything either.

12. You're too old. The music industry is a shallow place my friend.

13. You don't have any personality or charisma on stage.

14. You're a bit ugly. See point 12.

15. You're an unemployed musician on a low-income and you can't invest in yourself.

16. You don't invest in yourself so why should anyone else.

17. You're too content.

18. You spend more time reading articles about "Making It" than you do actually trying to "Make It."

Ok, that's 18 reasons, I got carried away.

I'm just playing devils advocate here but if you're really honest with yourself, there might be at least one or two things in this list that relate to you. I'm no music industry guru but I know a lot of bands and musicians that didn't make it and most of them tick every box. #LAZY.

About the Author: By Adam Mezzatesta. Check out more at his website.

71 comments sorted by best / new / date

    19. You're writing articles on ultimate-guitar.com when you should be practising.
    I know, this article has no elements to it that will actually help people get better, its not even interesting. Don't be a journalist.
    Agreed. This article isn't going to help anything. I'd imagine that most people who this applies to will read this and just get pissed off, considering the author comes off as a total ass, and not listen anyway. Not sure if the author was trying to go for a joke or legitimately trying to help people, but it fails either way.
    I think a few of these things apply to me and my band. But as a I realized that, I realized that regardless of our success I don't want those things to apply. So is like to try ad make some changes. So I guess it did help me.
    Tiago Sa
    Well, "making it" depends on your goals, doesn't it? If you just want to have fun, and you're having fun, then you're making it. If you want to make good music and you are, you are making it. I for one couldn't care less if I have a record deal or go on international gigs or anything, as long as I love the music I'm making and there's a challenge, that's alright with me.
    so "mezzaman" i guess your band made it right ? i mean why else would you be bitching on ultimate guitar
    Define "make it"? I'm guessing you mean swimming in cash and smashing a different lass every night - whilst that would be fun, people have different ideas of "making it", mine personally being to get to the point where I'm constantly touring with my friends and playing music we have all enjoyed writing together, whilst seeing the world at the same time. This is an awful article.
    Glad to see my band is pretty much the opposite of that list. I'd add something though, but I don't to talk negatively so here: Don't do something that's already been done a thousand times. Think outside the box, be original
    Yes and no. You have to be original, but you have to be original in a way people recognize and are comfortable with. It's a fine line. And to be honest, you really can't do anything that hasn't been done before. You just have to put your stamp on it. Yeah...Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan are "original", but only a miniscule segment of the population can stand to listen to them. That's more an indictment of the listening public than those bands, but reality is what it is, not what you want it to be.
    agreed, and pop music proves that you don't need to be very original to be successful in most cases, but that does not speak for Rock/Metal.
    People voting you down clearly aren't getting the joke here...or at least..I hope that's what it's 'sposed to be..
    'making it' is one thing, making a living from music is another. I get this is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek, but its a bit like hearing a grandparents lecture about what the 'real world'is like. Could do with less of those pessimistic outlooks. This article gives little to actually apply
    There's actually a lot there that applies if one has even the barest speck of reading comprehension. You see all those 'bad' things listed? Do the opposite.
    Yeah i get it.. 'do the opposite' but that doesn't change the fact that this article ignores the different contexts of musicians/bands that exist in the world (style performance, geographic location etc) but that criticism only applies if the article is taken 'seriously' which I acknowledged in my last post. No need to be rude
    The article was clearly written from a 'commercial success' standpoint, all the 'I just like to play' complaints are immaterial, as is style, location etc. when read in said context. The 'grandparents lecture' is often from people who have 'been there, done that', might not hurt to actually listen once in a while? Humorous pessimism is a perfectly reasonable tool to use to get a point across, which the article clearly did (as you've acknowledged) right? In any case, cheers!
    21. You believe a rich, fat guy from a big record company will one day see you play, come to you all by himself and offer you a record deal.
    I don't know if that was supposed to be funny or if you're serious, but that must be the freakin' worst column I've ever seen here on UG, and I read a lot of bad shit here. To me, "make it" is just being a regular guitarist guy, jamming with his buddies every weekend and some concerts during the week, having fun and making some profit, enough that I can rely and live on. To me, making it is simply living my music and believe in the power of a song, just loving what I do and what I hear everyday. And by the way, you're just discouraging people and... dude, I don't even have words.
    I agree, this article sounds like one big tasteless joke that doesn't even actually brush upon why people want to play music.
    Interesting to see the backlash from the community on this...I don't think the writer necessarily stands to discredit every performing band out there now. I think that he instead poses a challenge to all aspiring bands. Yeah, many of them are struggling because they fall into one or more of these categories, but recognition is the first step to countering the problem. Maybe, just maybe, a band member will read this and think "shit, he's right" and get his (and consequently his band's) focus realigned. I really think this was meant to be more of a harsh over-the-top criticism that qualifies it as satirical. Because I like fried chicken and family guy too.
    You're probably right, but I still think the article misses the point all together.
    "Making it" very often comes down to natural skill and luck. You can be just decent at your instruments, hardly ever rehearse, spend half your time out of your mind, and if you have talent, you will still make it. Look at the Replacements, they did everything wrong on this list, and they made it (kind of). Same goes for the Libertines. You can have all the ethic in the world, but without talent and luck it means nothing.
    I really dont know which was the most entertaining...Reading the comments .....or the article itself. There are just way too many people taking themselves way too seriously out there!!
    I think the real meaning of this article is not the specific points he made, but a more general message: if your band is flopping like a fish out of the water, open your eyes and take an honest look at yourselves in the mirror.
    I've seen hundreds of great small bands who will never make it, and the most basic mistake they make is not having their name very visible on stage. Take a look at this young band from 1979, and try to guess their name http://p.twimg.com/A8LBGFwCIAA-SKK.jpg:l... But so many times I have turned up in a bar and the band may mumble their name once during the gig, but nothing else unless you know them already. Let people know who you are
    I bet lemmy has a thing or two to say about the first part of 8. And meat loaf would probably dissagree with 8 too
    This reminds me of the "You" article on Encyclopedia Dramatica. I'd link to it, but... yeah.
    well, i probably won't make it, but that's because i'm far from skilled enough imo, but i spend everyday practicing to get better, and not just favorite songs, i break down scales, chords, arpeggios, and go for about 6-7 hrs a day because i have no social life, sometimes i end up staying awake for 40hours just awake/asleep practicing sub consciously keeping aware of any mistakes cause everytime i do make a mistake i cry, bit of a perfectionist, i have no favorite bands and hate the thought of listening to other musicians to learn how to make music better, you just end up sounding like them, when i really want to create my own sound, and i am also taking the time to learn to play every instrument i can afford to buy, and i'll probably be an individual musician considering i won't play or even "jam" with anyone who doesn't view music in the same way as i do, sure they go into it thinking they want to be individualistic but then they just try to sound like all their favorite bands and musicians "making it" for me is to just follow this passion, i don't intend to become a world renown musician, i just plan on doing something in this industry, i also planned to do something in the video game industry my entire life, if you're open about where you're doing it, you can do music in almost any industry, so i don't believe anyone has an excuse for "not making it" most people just wanna get rich and famous and have a following, and that's why they deserve to be in the pop "music" category, they're the reason most music is second rate crap, every reason listed in this article, this should be titled "how to ruin the meaning of music as an artist/band" anyone with a passion for music though, will honestly be out there doing good with it living and having fun being happy, if you aren't, you just wanna be a famous PoS like JB or 1D /rant i'm probably not going to be here again since i'm not on UG too much, so anyone who wants to debate or argue my opinion, you probably won't get a reply back from me, but feel free to leave it anyways, music means alot of different things, so if i do find myself back, i wanna see what others think
    If you stay up for 40 hours, you're on meth, and you're not gonna make it anyway, or if you do, you'll die quickly (because the success will allow you to buy more meth...and so on and so forth)
    Cool story bro! No matter if you like it or not, you are the sum of your experiences/influences and that is not only true for music but for life as well.
    well i did come back cause i was curious if anyone said anything, Zerath, i disagree with you, let me explain if you're the sum of both your experiences and influences, you can ditch influence, and go completely by experience, going alone with influence, you're just a carbon copy, i simply said i don't listen to other musicians to learn how to make music better, if i did that, then i would eventually just start recreating their own sound, i do pay attention to how others practice though, and i take criticism, being criticized is part of gaining experience, and throughout my life, i've gotten along better then any other person i know when i don't try to compare my life and achievements to a role model, i only ever compare myself to what i was yesterday, it's much humbler and easier to get by, and there will always be room for improvement, because you don't have a role model to become equal to, sure some people don't stop when they've matched theirs, but most people usually get to that point, and just become content with it and quit i'm not saying influences are bad, for some they can be good, but if you choose to rely on a driving factor that comes from admiring another, you're subconsciously handicapping yourself from cultivating your potential, and you become limited because you can reach a "perfect" stage i don't like perfect, perfect implies there is no room for improvement, so i have no influence, and no goal to reach, my driving force is simply proving to myself i can do more then i already am, i use my experience to become more experienced, always have, always will, and have always been doing better then anybody i know (in person) in any factor of life
    So basically you're a hipster? Even if you are inspired by an artist it doesn't mean that you're a carbon copy of them. Even scales came from someone in the beginning so you are influenced by others whether you like it or not. cheers!
    Hey man! I just want to play my soul out on my Strat, you dig? You know, really play what is pouring out of your heart. For me, that would be pain and grief. Guess what man, I'm making it. Cause I think I'm playing for the right reason...
    What's the need to post sth like this shit?I mean,you can't be more pessimistic than this!You must be some sort of failed artist angry with life because you gave up and think the world is bad
    19. You're posting a comment in an ultimate-guitar's article when you should be practising instead
    My instrument is a conduit for my emotions, not a tool to imitate other music that I love. I may have next to no income, live in a shit hole and have no opportunity on the horizon. But dammit I'd rather die poor pursuing my dream than work a shit job that I hate just to make ends meet. I don't make music for anyone but myself and if that gets me nowhere so be it, because what I write is honest to myself and my personal stories - I close my eyes, feel the sounds and paint a picture that has true meaning to yours truly - interpreted by others as they wish. But I guess this article will apply to some.. just not me - because I'm not writing music to 'make it'.
    I'm 32. I'm never going to have a career in the music industry. I don't care. I'd rather do nothing else with my spare time than sit playing my guitar, recording, trying out new things and just having.... F-U-N! Just enjoy it. We all end up same place. Me, you, Bob Dylan. It's all ephemera. One day the sun will expand, swallow us all and it will be like none of it ever happened. How seriously you take yourself in the face of that is up to you. I'll just say one word: Ozymandias. If you know what I mean, great. If not, it doesn't matter. But you should probably read more.
    i disagree with this article completely. there is only one reason some bands dont succeed, and that is their music in not good enough
    Haha no. Too many guitarists have that naive view of the music industry, but a business is a business, above all else. They do what makes money.
    This reminds me ever so slightly of Tom Hess's article on guitar teachers. But I think "mezzaman is in your band" should definitely be one of the reasons why a band would never make it.
    acctually, this is quite funny good thing my back up plan involves collige
    damn. Sounds like someones band didnt make it. All of the new singer/ songwriters are successful because they draw elements from other artists that were successful. Dont be that guy please
    it would be nice if the writer mentioned the qualities to be make it into the "old" and "ugly"????
    Same here, gave up dreams 1 year back and back up plan of engineering in full swing.