The Danger Starting a Music Career at Ages 25, 30, 35 or 50


So, you think you are too old for the music industry? Do you fear that you missed the boat and that it’s too late to really “make it”? If you do, stop everything you’re doing and continue reading because I wrote this article just for you!

Starting a music career at the ages of 25,30,35 is absolutely possible. But after the age of 50 the odds of becoming worldwide famous diminish rapidly. Music labels ask themselves 5 questions to determine if they will work with you. Including: “How much value will this artist/band add to our label?”

Lets now continue with the specifics.

The Biggest Dangers to Watch out for When Starting a Music Career Late

1) Being too old for you fans

If you desire commercial success, this is the number one (possible) problem you should consider. Don’t get me wrong; this is by no means no law, being too old that is; but generally speaking, younger individuals tend to associate better with younger artists. However, later in this article, you will see by yourself that it’s possible to become a superstar even if you’re older than 30 years old.

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2) Being too old for most labels

It’s no surprise that most commercially oriented labels seek for artists that are in their teens or early 20s. This again has to do with the fact that young sells, and young is 90% of each labels target audience

3) Not having enough time

As you grow older, you’re likely to have responsibilities. You may want to start your own family, buy a house, invest in your financial future, or even do more fun stuff such as travel the world, etc. 

Of course, all the above are great, but they do come with a cost. And the most important currency you’ll have to pay your dues is the time currency.

Not only that, but as you grow older, you may have noticed that not only your own free time is diminishing, but the free time of your friends and peers is also lessening.

This will make it much harder for you to form and keep a band, or invest in your music career.

The Advantages of Being a More Mature Artist/Musician

1) Added life experience.

This is a significant benefit older artists and musicians have compared to their younger counterparts. The advantage of experience gets magnified even more if you plan on writing your own lyrics. This is because stories sell. And not just all kind of stories, but interesting and uncommon stories are the ones that sell the most. 

A rule of thumb is that: interesting stories come from experience not from other people’s experience. If you create lyrics, think for a moment how you can uniquely communicate your experiences. Even when you approach, a widely used subject (such as love) from a fresh perspective can lead you to success.

2) You appear more determined

If you took the mature decision to pursue a music career at an older age. You likely did the appropriate research, and chances are that you are more serious than the next-door dreamy 16-year-old who doesn’t know what he’s/she’s getting him/herself into. 

Obviously, this is not always the case, since a young person can have the same amount of commitment as an older person. Nevertheless, you’re likely to have an edge here because of your extra years.

3) Its harder for people to take advantage of you

A scenario that is quite common amongst young artists is that certain music “professionals” are willing to take advantage of them. Because of their youth, they may be easily fooled if they don’t have the right guidance. It’s not uncomon when music labels discover young artists for the artist to sign any contract -no matter the terms only for the promise of fame.

You, as an older artist, are likely to be fooled less easily and won’t allow yourself to jump through hoops or sign something you might regret in the future.

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The Advantages of Being a Younger Artist/Musician

Because I want to provide you a complete picture, I feel we should explore for a minute what the advantages of younger musicians are.

1) Maximizing your skills takes time

A lot of people mistake skills for talent. 

A simple example is Michael Jordan. The legendary basketball player has stated himself that he wasn’t particularly talented in the early on and that he was rejected from joining his high school basketball team. But Michael Jordan became the best basketball player by practicing and developing the right skills.

Same as in the world of sports, in the world of music, the magnitude of your skills is a huge success determinator. Starting a music career at a younger age does give you more time to develop and expand your skills.

2) Younger audiences will relate more easily with younger performers

This rule is true for all age groups and especially true for teenagers.

If you want to pursue a career in pop music, you should know that the majority of your target audience is under the age of 20. 

That means that the 17-year-old boy or girl is more likely to connect faster with the performer of their own age. Of course, this isn’t a law! There are a lot of artists who became famous at a more mature age.

3) Making it in the music industry on a very young age makes a good cover story

Look at artists such as Justin BieberAvicciMichael Jackson, even Mozart, what do they have in common? They all became successful at a young age. This, of course, is a great promotional and selling point, and an outstanding way of how playing with your strengths can enormously benefit you.

The 5 Most Important Questions Labels Ask Themselves

The five most important questions record labels ask themselves before working with an artist are:

  1. Will this artist/band add value to our label? If yes, how much?
  2. What is the risk percentage for our label that is involved if we work with this artist/band?
  3. What are the minimum and maximum returns of investment that we expect to receive from working with his person/band?
  4. What is the maximum amount of time and money we are willing to invest? Do we believe the artist/band will become a success within that timeframe?
  5. Is the artist/band known on social media? Have they already created a following?

A music label sees artists and bands as an investment. Ideally, they want to inject the minimum amount of time and money and get the maximum benefit. If the label decides that the risk is far greater than the potential returns, they will pull the plug. 

Do I Need a Music Degree to Have a Successful Music Career?

There is a great misconception that in order to make it in the music industry, you must have a music decree of some sort. Being an artist or musician is not the same as being a doctor, you don’t have to have followed formal education and training to be able to “practice music”. You simply need to prove and demonstrate your skills and capabilities.

That’s why becoming a professional musician or artist has almost nothing to do with age and certainly nothing to do with the number of years you have in the field or the number of degrees you’ve collected.

What Can I Do as an Artist to Help My Self Get a Record Deal?

Let’s focus now on what you can do as an artist or a band to tip the scale and convince the music label working with you. 

1) My first advice is that you should focus heavily and educate yourself on learning how the music industry operates. This includes understanding how record companies, managers, talent researchers, record labels, artist promotion work.

If this seems like a lot of work, relax because it’s not. You don’t have to become an expert in all of these fields, instead what you have to do is learn and acquire enough information that will help you avoid the traps that lie ahead of you, minimize your weaknesses and help you maximize your strengths. This is especially true if you are a DIY artist.

2) My second advice is that you should understand and find ways to increase the potential value you can offer to the music industry, especially to music labels. You should also focus on the receiving end, which is the people, the fans. If you find a way to excite your listeners and make them follow you, you have a great advantage and leverage when you start the negotiation process with the music label.

3) Lastly, my third advice to you is that no matter if you’re an artist or musician (or aspire to be one), you should most definitely educate yourself on the language of music. Meaning that you should at least understand basic music theory terms, train your ear, know how to recognize key changes, chords, (and more) so that you can become the best singer or musician you can be.

List of Artists Who Became Successful After the Age of 25

I created the following list for you to prove to you that it is possible to start a music career, become successful and famous after the age of 25.

Some of the artists I listed below begun at an early age and “made it” more than a decade later while others started late and “made it” a few years later.

  1. Diplo (Major Lazer) (became famous at the age of 37)
  2. Leonard Cohen – (became famous at the age of 50)
  3. Andrea Bocelli – (became famous at the age of 41)
  4. Rachel Platten (became famous at the age of 34)
  5. Pharell Williams – (became famous at the age of 40)
  6. Peaches – (became famous at the age of 35)
  7. 2 Chainz (became famous at the age of 35)
  8. James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) – (became famous at the age of 40)
  9. Debbie Harry (Blondie)  (became famous at the age of 33)
  10. Bill Withers (Aint no sunshine) (became famous at the age of 32)
  11. Mick Mars (Motley Crue)  (became famous at the age of
  12.  33)
  13. Wayne Static (Static-X)  (became famous at the age of
  14.  32)
  15. Sharon Jones (became famous at the age of 41)
  16. Cheryl Crow (became famous at the age of 32)

Countless other artists started late that you don’t know about. They might not be famous worldwide, but they are full-time working musicians, have record deals, open for famous bands, and conduct their own gigs.  

To give you a personal example, one of my best friends, Nikos, started learning guitar at the age of 24, and by his 28th birthday, he became a self-taught guitar teacher! Today he fully supports himself by giving guitar coaching lessons.

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Conclusion

I will not write my own conclusions; instead, I will let someone else do that for me. Here is a blog comment I found online that perfectly summarises this article. Please allow it to inspire you. 🙂

“I have had my biggest successes post 30. I got my “big break” with Steven Curtis Chapman when I was 30.

I got my next big break with Sandi Patti when I was 36.

I wrote my first number one song when I was 45. (He Will Carry Me- Mark Schultz)

I was honored with being one of 12 chosen songwriters to go to Jeffrey Steele’s Boot Camp when I was 46.

I am 50 now and it just appears to be getting better and better. I can’t wait to release some of my latest songs, because I think they are my best work to date.

Wisdom comes with age. Insight comes with age. Experience comes with age. I intend to continue to prove that the best years are yet to come until someone can prove me wrong.

Who’s with me?”

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