Music Industry Rejection

It’s No Secret That You Will Be Rejected! How To Bounce Back In The Music Industry

There is something those music producers and artists who share only the successes on Instagram, gloat on Facebook as well as post triumphant Twitter posts don’t tell you. We have all done it even yours truly! Those chart successes and big bookings don’t reveal the long, and painful music industry rejection that goes on behind the scenes for music producers and artists.

If you’ve been rejected, just take a moment to consider you’re in rather fine company. JK Rowling couldn’t get her wizard series published for years. The bands, “U2” and “The Smiths” were rejected by their first record labels. Elvis Presley was sacked by his manager after just one gig. “The direction is a good one, in my opinion. The only thing missing from this project is material.” This is the feedback Madonna received from Jimmy Lenner on her demo tape submission. Not to mention Ed Sheeran was told that he was a “slightly chubby and ginger and not a good marketing tool”

I think you get the point.

In this blog, we will talk about, music industry rejection

  • Why Rejection Happens
  • How To Deal With Rejection
  • Growth Mindset
  • The Long Game
  • Hone Your Introduction
  • The Power of Reflection

So let’s dive in…

Why Rejection Happens

How you handle music industry rejection as a music artist or music producer is one of the keys to making it in the music industry.

This is because when you are starting out in the music business you will most likely experience a lot of it.

You need to be prepared for what seems to be, an endless succession of no’s. You need to move beyond the disappointment, keep striving and believing in your music production until you get that magic first “yes”.

We have all had these.

Rejection Email

Music industry rejection will come in many forms. You might email a hundred people and only receive one reply. Or send out your new music track to ten best friends and only one listens. Maybe you have uploaded your amazing new release to Soundcloud or Youtube but after two weeks you’re still in single figures for music streams and plays. Ultimately you even get your track signed by a record label but it doesn’t make it into any music charts or playlists and it joins the music landfill on the rest of the Internet.

Your friends are busy with their own lives, children, cats, work and uploading Instagram stories, so don’t be disheartened if your music doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you.

And don’t be down when you finally do release a single, EP or album and it sinks without a trace. Each month, millions of music tracks released around the world. On top of the billions of pieces of music already out there.

It’s a minefield out there

In 2019 Spotify’s founder Daniel Ek reported in Music Business Week that “close to 40,000” tracks are being uploaded to the Spotify platform daily. Yes, that’s daily. So if you do the maths, which leads to 1.2 million tracks uploaded a month and a whopping 14.6 million tracks to Spotify alone per year.

Getting people to pay attention to your music is virtually impossible when you consider those odds, meaning that music marketing and music promotion then becomes the key to your music success.

It is not all doom and gloom. Use that rejection to fine-tune your processes.

Here are a few things that can help you.

Have belief in your self.

Your mind-set is how you approach your music and your music promotion. How you approach and respond to the highs and lows of the music industry.

Having a positive mindset also means how you motivate yourself and how you change a negative into a positive. It lets you tackle the music industry head-on and enables you to systematically work through your goals one by one.

In other words, to borrow from Psychology Today, your mindset is ‘a belief that orients the way we handle situations. The way we sort out what is going on and what we should do.’

“There are no problems, just solutions to be found”

And in today’s musical climate, everybody has access to the same music computer hardware, music production software, so this levels the playing field.

Creating a success mindset can set you apart from the music competition and make you, to quote two French robots, “harder, better, faster, stronger.”

Create a sense of worth through self-talk. I’m sure you have heard about five-minute journals. Some swear by them, some think they are a load of rubbish.

For me, they work but ill let you make that call.

One possible answer

Without digressing too much off the subject in hand, my 5-minute journal list includes a gratitude list to keep me “present”, a quote, one thing I will learn in that day, three goals that will take me one step closer to my goals along with three affirmations.

Let us get back to the power of affirmations. Writing three affirmations down in your five-minute journal each morning. This will help promote a Growth Mindset.

By writing these down each morning, your mind will be ready and focussed to take on life’s challenges and the rejections that WILL happen.

If you want to know more about this check out our free Kick-start Your Music career eBook where there is a full chapter on Growth Mindset. CLICK HERE

The long game as a musician

Paradoxically, while your music might be a three-minute pop buzz to some, it’s taken you years to get to this point. It is something that can be consumed via a streaming service in minutes and has taken you years of blood, sweat, and tears.

“It takes 10 years to be an overnight success”  – Jeff Bezos

Likewise, it can be easy to chase the next music hype and short-sightedly, keep your eyes on the next success, to chase the next high. But having a good mindset that allows you to look beyond those will help you achieve more success.

Treat your music career as just that, a career. Look to the next goals, look to the horizon, create S.M.A.R.T Goals, but always be aware of where you started and never rest on your laurels.

You’re only ever as good as your last record, your last gig, your last album. Having that mindset, you will always be pushing yourself to deliver more, to push onwards and upwards.

Hone your introduction

In this modern digital age grabbing an A&R label boss, or playlist creators’ attention is the key. In essence, you have less than 10 seconds to make that impact.

To read more on how to get your email opened music heard check out my article “How to Say Hi in the Music Industry”

Big labels will receive hundreds of submissions each day so getting yours heard is an achievement in itself. You can also check out the Hypebot article for their advice on submitting demos.


This is a really simple powerful tool that you can use after anything you do. I will not go into the science about it. I’m not that intelligent, but ask your-self three questions and write the answers down.

  • What was good about what I did?
  • How could I improve what I did?
  • How will I do it differently next time?

If you keep honing and implement that reflection process you will keep improving. Making lots of 1% gains will eventually lead you closer to 100%.


Rejection is tough and it happens to everyone as that list above testifies. This doesn’t mean it’s a direct reflection on you, your music or how you present yourself. It’s more likely a reflection of the music industry and its sprawling, all-consuming nature.

If you wish to know more then please check out these other helpful blogs.

How To DIY Your Own Music Video For Free

A Step-By-Step Guide To Middle East Streaming Site

Promote Your Music With These 7 Tips And Get More Fans

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