In an era where music creation tools and DIY distribution platforms have revolutionized the industry, the traditional path to stardom for music artists seems more like a relic of the past than a present-day reality. With platforms like Spotify receiving 170,000 new tracks every day, the music landscape is both incredibly rich and staggeringly competitive. In this ocean of creativity, the chances of achieving financial success are slim. But if not all artists are chasing financial success, what drives them in today’s music industry?

The Five Archetypes of Music Artists 🎤

Understanding the motivations and goals of modern music artists reveals a diverse spectrum. While some still dream of stardom, others seek fulfillment in various forms. Let's explore the five archetypes of music artists in today's digital age, recognizing that many artists may find themselves identifying with more than one archetype.

1) The CEO

These are the music entrepreneurs, equally passionate about the business aspects as they are about their art. They dive deep into marketing, audience building, and brand development. For The CEO, music is as much about creation as it is about innovation in how that music reaches listeners. They're adaptive, savvy, and driven by success. Think of artists like Russ - (who has done it all as an independent artist!) 

2) The Ultra-Talent

Talent can sometimes be enough to break through the noise. The Ultra-Talent are those artists whose skills are so undeniable that they attract the attention of the industry's machinery—labels, managers, and agencies. However, their focus on art over industry can leave them vulnerable if their support network fails to properly manage their brand. An example of an artist with Ultra-musical talent is Jacob Collier - he has managed to make his other-wordly musical & vocal knowledge a building block of his career. 

3) The Job

Professional musicians who aim to earn a living through their craft fall into this category. Whether as session musicians, touring members of bands, or solo artists, their goal is financial sustainability. These artists are pragmatic and opportunistic, and don’t depend on a viral hit to make a living, rather, the steady grind of being on the road. The best example of these are Jam bands like Phish.  

4) The Poets

For some, music is a form of expression first and foremost. The Poets are artists who desire to share their voice, their story, and their art with anyone willing to listen. Not necessarily focused on building a large following, they find satisfaction in connecting with a dedicated niche audience. A great example of a poet would be Phoebe Bridgers.

The Path to Virality and Beyond 📢

While viral success can seem like a stroke of luck, it often favors those who are either strategically positioned (The CEO) or exceptionally talented (The Ultra-Talent). These artists either have the know-how to market themselves effectively or possess the kind of talent that naturally draws attention. That said, viral hits have emerged from all corners of the music world, proving that there's no single formula for success.


In the end, the journey of a music artist is deeply personal and varied. With the democratization of music production and distribution, artists have more freedom than ever to pursue their passions on their terms. Whether aiming for stardom or seeking to share their art with a small but appreciative audience, today's music artists are redefining success in myriad ways.

Before you go, why not find out which archetype you most closely align with? Take our short quiz and discover whether you're The CEO, The Ultra-Talent, The Job, The Poet, or perhaps a unique blend of several. No matter the outcome, remember that every artist's path is valid, and the journey is as important as the destination.

-- Take the Quiz! 👇

Which Music Artist Archetype Are You? ❓

Discover which of the five music artist archetypes best describes you in the current landscape of the music industry. Answer these questions honestly to find out where you fit in among The CEO, The Ultra-Talent, The Job, or The Poet.

1. What motivates you to create music?

A) The potential for commercial success and building a brand.

B) The sheer love and natural talent for music creation.

C) The desire to make a stable income from my music abilities.

D) The need to express myself and share my stories.

2. How do you approach the business side of music?

A) With enthusiasm—I enjoy marketing and promoting my music as much as making it.

B) Reluctantly—I prefer to focus on my art and let others handle the business.

C) Practically—I'm aware of it, but my main focus is on earning a living through music.

D) Indifferently—I create music for the sake of art, not business.

3. When you think about your music career, what's your ultimate goal?

A) Building a music empire and influencing the industry.

B) Being recognized globally for my exceptional talent.

C) Earning a steady income as a professional musician.

D) Connecting deeply with a small group of listeners.

4. How do you prefer to release your music?

A) I strategically plan my releases, marketing, and branding to maximize reach and revenue.

B) I focus on creating high-quality music, hoping it gets discovered and appreciated.

C) I release music consistently, aiming for regular gigs and sessions.

D) I share my music with those who appreciate it, regardless of the scale.

5. What describes your relationship with your audience?

A) I'm constantly engaging with my fans, understanding their preferences, and marketing to them.

B) My talent speaks for itself—I let my music create the connection.

C) I value my audience as a source of steady work and income.

D) I cherish a close-knit community that truly gets my music.

Results 🥁

Mostly As: The CEO  

You're a music entrepreneur at heart, passionate about both your art and the business behind it. Your drive and adaptability make you a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Mostly Bs: The Ultra-Talent  

Your natural talent and passion for music set you apart. While you may shy away from the business side, your artistry is likely to attract those who will support and promote your work.

Mostly Cs: The Job  

You're a pragmatist who loves music and seeks to make a living from it. Whether through gigs, sessions, or your own releases, stability and practicality guide your path.

Mostly Ds: The Poet  

Your music is a form of self-expression, and you value the connection with your listeners over fame or fortune. You find joy in sharing your art with those who appreciate it deeply.

No matter your archetype, remember that the music industry is vast and there's a place for everyone. Your unique approach and dedication to your craft are what truly define your success.

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