ADN#043: Your Career Will Be Painful

Artist Development
2 min readSep 17, 2023

Hey Friends -

Welcome to the Artist Development Newsletter.

Every Sunday, I send an email providing actionable tips for artists and industry on one area of the music business.

Last week, I laid out a step-by-step guide to launching your album pre-order.

You can re-read last week’s newsletter here if you want to refresh.

Today, I want to outline what it takes to be an artist.

Let’s go — ->

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If you want to be an artist, you have to build your own thing.

Your own art.

Your own show.

Your own business.

Your own story.

Your own audience.

And then you have to keep what you are building healthy and growing.

You have to care for each aspect.


Continue to make fearless art.

Continue to craft better shows.

Continue to grow your business.

Continue to care for your audience.

It’s easy to be an artist who writes some songs, plays some shows, and makes a little money.

It’s hard to be an artist constantly pushing their creative limits, taking that same bar created and meeting it in your business and what you give to your fans.

The difference between good and great is a small %, but it is infinitely easier to be good than great.

If your bar isn’t high for yourself, and if it isn’t clear in every aspect of your career how badly you want to succeed, then you cannot expect to find an audience or team that will invest in you in a way that will provide a long-lasting career.

You have to care to create.

You have to give to get.

You have to work to earn.

This week’s newsletter is a reminder:

“Pursuing the highest version of your career will be painful, but not seeking the highest version will be even more painful.”

Set your bar high.

Care for your art, audience, and business daily.

Build a team that meets you at your level.

You can still win big in the music business, but you have to go all in.

This week, go all in.

See you next Sunday!

Neil Mason

Artist Development

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