Artist Development Guide – Artistic Longevity

It took KT Tunstall ten years to become an overnight success. It took Elbow ten years to get signed, then only made it big with their fourth album! I hope you’re ready for a long slog. Let’s talk about artistic longevity.

Ready to Race

Let’s compare an artist’s record release to a running race in the Olympics.


Getting signed into a deal with a label or management that provides you with some kind of direct support basically puts you into training, or as we call it at JR – artist development.

As with any worthwhile engagement of this kind, there is a substantial degree of preparation. A runner will train for four years or more to prepare for a number of races that takes seconds in some cases! The preparation is 99% of the work and the fact is music is no different. If you want your music to be successful then you need to put the work in. Think about every aspect and every eventuality.

You will encounter hurdles and sometimes the race will be long, you will be pushed to your limit, but hopefully your dream will keep you going.

Starting Line

Your training and release preparation comes to an end. All aspects of your release are ready to go. You have your starting position perfected, your strategy firmly in mind, with your eyes on the finishing line.

Hope - Sanctuary Cover

Hope – Sanctuary Cover

You and your team are sure that everything is ready and it ready to be released into the world. Because when that happens, there is no going back. The songs will be set in stone and remain part of your career history.


The gun has gone off. You’ve announced your release.

Hope, Sanctuary

Sanctuary | 20.01.17

All your preparation has been for this moment. It’s make or break. Everything you have learned will make a difference to the results. The way you spend your time during this ‘release phase’ of your record is incredibly important.

Finish Line

Runners are rewarded with trophies. You are rewarded with sales. How much work you really put in will be evident in the results.

We have already been through your potential job titles and when you’re starting out alone these days, there is a pressure to do everything on your own, usually due to lack of funding. I cannot stress enough that your primary job is to create a fantastic product – great music. It’s so easy to begin focusing on other areas before that box is ticked. Don’t let yourself slip.

Then you have to do it all over again…and again…and again.

Your artistic longevity is solely dependant on how committed you are. Which is exactly what people who could potentially support you are looking for. Commitment. How far can you get by yourself, demonstrates how committed you are to ‘making it’, thereby making their commitment to you, worth it.

This brings us to the end of the first chapter of my guide. I’ll do a summary of all the ideas I’ve covered so far and then we’ll get into the really good stuff.

NEXT WEEK: Chapter One Summary. A summary of the ideas covered over the last 2 months and the end of the first chapter of my guide.

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