The 3 States Of Music Success

I originally posted this Victoriuos Magazine International

Had an interestingly thought provoking chat with Asaph this morning and I had promised to share the perspective below with him. My heart then said, let me share with whoever was fortunate to click.

There are of course many ways to discuss success, it is a broadly subjective term. The 3 pillars of artistic success I will mention here are fairly conventional.

Hope this is a good image for mastery!

The 3 pillars of success I will mention here are.

1. Artistic Brilliance

2. Popularity 

3. Financial gain & Milestones

Many readers may already agree that on concesus an artiste has at mininimum, one of these though in rare cases you find an artist who is at the peak of each paradigm.

Some artistes have popularity but they are broke and don’t earn as much money.

Some artistes are exceptional but known less than many artistes who they are more artistically gifted than. Again this is subjective.

Big Shaq probably gets more views than Hopsin for instance.

Financial gain and Milestones usually doesnt walk alone. Either one gets paid a lot because they are popular or maybe they are brilliant or both.

In rare cases some artistes that get grants under civic groups and NGOs, may not be the best of their craft nor popular but may be granted cheques for tackling issues a donor is funding.

Of course sometimes the civic organizations may have granted the funding based on brilliance… However sometimes the more brilliant artiste may be unfit for the subject matter based on bad PR or scandal or previous subjects.


Think of K’naan when he did a FIFA World Cup Soundtrack.- Milestone

Artistes that get contracted to spray graffiti on a cultural space.

Awa’s pictures getting space in a German museum.

A producer doing all the music you hear in a movie.

Sometimes these are not widely known but upon assessment awards nominations boards check exhibits given in submissions.

So while the un-informed public may see certain award nominations as unjustified, the panelists who received the info knows exactly why.

The Problem Is
When award shows happen whichever criterion they use, they may catch flack from one camp or another.

I have seen people look at a NAMA or ZIMA nominees list and say something like, “Who is AWA” or “Who is Yolanda Candice”.

The innocent public will not be knowing that the unpopular names may have been listed on the basis of brilliance or milestones which even their TV star may lack.

On another end of the spectrum if a comedian like Big Shaq were to get a nomination ahead of Lupe based on… well ” Check de stoh-tis-tics” to those who favour impact it would be deserved, but loyalists to craft may even boycott that ceremony in defiance.

I guess that’s why people like Jay Z have a midline balance.

He doesnt do rubix cube rap but his rap is above average.

Not the best rapper (debatably) but is more popular than better rappers.

Add to the fact he earns a lot.


Especially in Africa.

Why I Think Artistic Brilliance Is The Future, Past and Present…

Leonardo Da Vinci has been dead for a long time but his ideas very much alive for a reason.

Popularity driven success may pop for a while but over time it pops like a bubble.

Artistic Brilliance has longevity because as anything becomes common people look for the best.

What I mean is…

* Before cellphones were popular, you got respect for just having a cellphone. The model did not matter.

As they became common place even among the lowest socio-economic groups. The functions began to matter, the features, even the name.

Think about it…

A decade ago, recording was hard. Laptops and condensors were not as available. No Youtube Tutorials on beatmaking or rap.

Over the years I have realized that certain artistic things such as some dance moves or rap or certain type of beats are nowdoable by anyone who can take a month to learn them at entry level.

Artistic Brilliance thus makes you the iPhone of your craft because while the talent is now common.

Your way of execution becomes unique to you as a unique selling proposition.

You can then add other factors as well like OkMalumKoolCat. He has his own way.

The Migos have their own techniques and Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole have pushed brilliance to the edges.


Whilst being brilliant perhaps attack topics in popular conversation. Depth has nothing to do with conspiracy theories and philosophy.

At best, find balance.


I am unfortunately not a pro yet at monetization, but I am sure many resources online and seminars can equip you on this end.


Whatever craft you are in network eith other industries and figure out how your art can be of benefit to their goals.

You can do service exchange agreements or be paid to do it.

Research Festivals, events and gathetings, start small.


Give me your take in the comments.

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