My friend Jacob recently tagged me in a comment on a Facebook post that highlights an article from Rock Feed titled “Why Are So Many Bands Breaking Up This Year?” I was unable to reply to the comment so I figured I would just discuss my thoughts here.
I’m not sure if the article was meant as a joke (or partially as a joke) or not, I’m definitely NOT upset by the article or at any bands for why they chose to breakup. However, I do disagree completely. I disagree mostly because, in my opinion, this author is justifying and making a bunch of excuses for why bands quit and the blame is not at all pointed at the bands themselves. Not only that, but a good portion of his statements aren’t necessarily true.
Right at the beginning, “Because being in a band isn’t going to pay your bills anymore” sure, just tell that to Pomplamoose, who makes $5,000/month on iTunes, that’s right, iTUNES and $6,326/month on Patreon. (sure they need to work on planning they’re tours to be more profitable, but who knows maybe it was investment or just poor planning, the point is: “can you pay your bills with $11,326/month? Holy hell, I know I could) Then tell One Direction, or Garth Brooks, or One-Eyed Doll, or Killswitch Engage, or Adele, or Taylor Swift or U2, or Macklemore (independent) or Zoe Keating. (also independent) Sorry the list goes on and on. Being in a band CAN pay your bills.
“Because being in a band has ceased being about the music for many people. Being being in a band has become materialistic for so many.” who are we talking about? All being in a band is about is the music, always. Period! Now if you’re stuck being a copycat of music that a million other people have already done and not coming up with something original and your excuse is that it’s no longer about the music, that’s a different problem. I don’t know how to answer the ‘materialistic’ point because it doesn’t make sense.
“Because being a teen with wacky hair on YouTube can make more money for you than being in most bands.” This one was my favorite, I equate this statement to taxi drivers saying Uber is illegal because they’re running them out of business. Or Blockbuster saying “no” to Netflix because they never thought it would work. Yeah, being a teen with wacky hair on YouTube can make more money than some bands because the teens with wacky hair on YouTube don’t quit on their passion for creating videos and connecting with people like these bands are. Furthermore, the bands complaining about it are bands that are not making money. I haven’t seen successful bands that are making money complain about it yet. That is likely because bands that worked hard to be where they are understand that those kids on YouTube worked really hard to be where they are and there’s a mutual respect for each other. Honestly, it seems more like jealousy to me than an actual point.
“Because being in a band means you will spend the overwhelming majority of your time away from your friends and family.” I’m sorry but what the hell did you think was going to happen? Did you think were just going to tour full time and all of your friends and family are just going to pile into the bus with you? Get over yourself.
“Because spending a seemingly endless amount of dark days and dark nights in a place you don’t recognize is only earning you enough to pay some of your bills.” This is getting a little too pessimistic for me here… dark days, dark nights? Places you don’t recognize? Unless you’ve been around the entire world every day of your life, uh, yeah, duh, you’re going to be places you don’t recognize. It sounds like to me, you just didn’t want to be in a band full-time in the first place, so just keep doing music as a hobby bro and quit complaining.
“Because being in a band can make it hard to communicate with your friends and cause you to grow apart.” Life changes and friends grow apart regardless of whether or not you’re in a band.
“Because being in a band means you will be constantly compared against your “old stuff”” There’s a couple things I would say to this. First, who cares. If you like your new stuff better than that’s great. Not everyone is going to agree, but for every person that says, “I miss the good ole’ days” you’ll have another who is proud of you for making something new and doing your best. Case in point: I’m not a huge fan of Paramore’s newer album, however they had a ton of fans that loved it and they gained a lot of new fans that liked their newer stuff in comparison to their older stuff. Second, we always strive to improve on things we did in the past… Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in every area of life all the time anyways?
“Because being in a band means you have to be young.” Tell that to Fun. Who is making up these rules?
“Because being in a band is hard” this is the only point I half-agree with. Being in a band can be really hard depending on what your goals are. If it’s to be a full-time band it’s going to be hard because you’ll be going into BUSINESS and starting a business is time-consuming, hard work. Not everybody is up to it. It’s still not the reason bands quit.
My two cents? Bands quit because the members of the band decide that some of or all of the reasons listed above are deal breakers. Bands quit because they decide that the daily life of being in a band isn’t what they wanted. Bands quit because they didn’t want it bad enough that these excuses didn’t matter. Bands quit because they see the above as problems and excuses instead of challenges to overcome. Bands quit because their success isn’t up to other people, it’s up to them and they can’t take the responsibility. Bands quit because they let unsupportive, negative, excuse making articles like the one Rock Feed posted get to their head, and then they get discouraged and decide they’ll never make it. They decide to quit postponing the “inevitable” and just give up.
It’s easier to play music as a hobby. It’s easier to go on a walk, play video games, read comics, or watch Netflix. It’s easier to not be a band. But if you REALLY want it — and I mean you REALLY, REALLY want it — I believe you can, without a doubt in my mind, make money in the music industry. But, be forewarned, articles like the one from Rock Feed are a dime a dozen and they’re not the only ones that will pump excuses and generalizations at you to discourage you from making your dreams come true. My advice would be to cut the unsupportive fat out of your life (as best you can), meet as many people as you can that have the same goals and passions that you do (and that aren’t negative Nancy’s), and work your asses off together to make it happen. Never settle, never think you know everything. Always learn music business and keep honing your music skills to get better because you’re never the best and for goodness sake DON’T GIVE UP! (and quit making excuses 😉 )