How to Make a Family Musical Act Work

music trendsFamily acts have been an effective gimmick in the music and entertainment business since music trends were a thing at all. For reasons I’m not sure anyone can entirely explain, audiences like seeing a family get onstage and perform. This has been true back to the Bach clan, at the least.

From an entertainer’s standpoint, there are certain benefits here. Family acts usually don’t have as much bickering over personal percentages, and it’s a lot harder to break up the band when you’re living with them. Plus, when older family members are involved, they usually have better management skills than a band made solely of young adults.

The issue is that, when family acts go wrong, they usually go badly wrong. For every group like Hanson which successfully sticks together for decades, there’s a Jackson Five where internal drama leads to bitter resentment and emotional scarring.

What makes the difference? We’ve got a few ideas.

Family Acts As Music Trends: Can It Work Out?


1 – Find A Work/Life Balance

This seems to be true for nearly any family-owned business, not just music. To a certain extent, the “family” side of the relationship and the “business” side need to be kept separate. Otherwise, there’s drama.

From Leopold Mozart to Joe Jackson, overbearing or controlling family members can quickly ruin a family act.

2 – Stay On The Same Musical Page

I suspect this is why family acts tend to be more common in country and spiritual musical circles. When the family is all immersed in the same culture, they’ll have much more compatible musical ideas.

If dad is country, mom is hippie, little sis is goth, and big bro is a broski, the resulting act will probably be pretty terrible.

3 – Spend time apart.

When living constantly with the same people, both at work and at leisure, it’s easy for petty troubles to boil up into needless confrontations. It’s important for every member to have some sort of independent life away from the family business. Otherwise, again, there’s drama.

What were your favorite family acts, and did they end well?

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