Unfortunately most people who are close to you are unwilling to tell you their honest opinions. This does you no good, which is why I'm going to tell you three painful music-industry truths that will allow you to improve yourself in ways that will open up the doors to musical and commercial success.
1. Your Success Is Determined By The Value You Can Offer
Artistic success is one thing, but when talking about success in the music BUSINESS, it is all down to how much value you can offer to people. How many tickets can you sell at shows? How much exposure can you give to another artist, or a sponsoring brand? How much money do you make from royalties, CD sales, merch sales, etc.?
Let's face it, while most people in the industry love music, they also want to make a good living, and if you're not making any money, they won't make any money from you. So that means you either need a track record of success, or you need to be outstanding and show huge potential for success in the future, which brings me to my next point.
2. You Need To Prioritize Self-Improvement Above Anything Else
If being valuable is the key to success, self-improvement is the method of achieving it. Ed Sheeran wrote hundreds of songs before any of them became famous. You have to ask yourself, "Why should I be successful? What is so appealing about my music that will mean I succeed while so many others fail? What is more appealing about successful artists' music?".
If you are honest with yourself when answering these questions, you'll find that there are so many things you can improve on. Maybe it's your vocal technique, being more comfortable accompanying yourself on guitar, your songs aren't catchy enough, your songs aren't interesting enough, your songs need better production, etc. Once you have identified areas of improvement, write down the three highest priorities, and work on those every day for the next month.
3. There Are Predators Who Are Trying To Take Advantage Of You
There are people in the music industry who are happy to take advantage of young artists who have big dreams and little experience. They'll tell you that you're the next big thing, they'll get you on huge tours, and they'll make you rich and famous. Then, before you know it you're on their booking roster but they've landed you one show in two years, they've got you 2 million views on a video but only 10 comments and 5 new subscribers, they've got you 500k streams but no real fans and no ticket sales at shows. And at this point they've probably charged you thousands of dollars, and never had any intention of building a successful career with you. They just saw that you had a dream and that you were willing to pay someone to make it happen.
I have witnessed this first hand. It's especially common in big cities that have huge music industries and a lot of dreamers, like LA or New York. My advice would be to research anyone who offers to help you, get references if you can, and be cautious if they're asking for money up-front or asking you to sign paperwork that locks you in to long-term agreements, or gives them any rights to your music.
I'm telling you these painful truths because ultimately it will serve you well. I don't want this article to dishearten you, but instead make you feel glad that you are more aware of how you can become successful, and that you can spot and avoid those who couldn't care less about your success.