Self-Taught Musicians Dominate USA’s Spotify Charts

June 18, 2024 0

A study by Skoove and Crafins Studio revealed that 87% of the top 100 US Spotify artists did not engage in regular training with music teachers, and only 4% have a music degree. This data indicates that many successful musicians pursued self-guided learning through apps, YouTube, or tutorial books.

Self-Learning vs. Formal Education

While private lessons are often seen as the gold standard for musical education, they may not suit everyone due to their rigidity, pressure, and cost. Self-learning, on the other hand, has become more accessible with resources like YouTube tutorials and learning apps. These tools offer flexibility and affordability, allowing aspiring musicians to learn at their own pace.

The rise of digital tools for music production and the evolving nature of pop music have made it easier for self-taught musicians to produce chart-topping hits. However, self-learning requires self-motivation and resourcefulness, which can drive musicians to push their boundaries.

10 Self-Taught Icons

  1. Eminem – Starting in Detroit’s underground rap scene, Eminem became one of the best-selling artists of all time without formal training.
  2. Post Malone – Influenced by his DJ father, Malone taught himself guitar using YouTube and rose to fame with his unique genre-blending style.
  3. XXXTENTACION – A pioneer of emo rap and SoundCloud Rap, he started his music career after juvenile detention and gained critical success.
  4. Kendrick Lamar – Introduced to writing early, Lamar used music to navigate his environment and eventually won a Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN.
  5. Chester Bennington – The Linkin Park frontman used music to cope with mental health struggles and found success with the band’s debut album Hybrid Theory.
  6. Doja Cat – Dropping out of high school to pursue music, she gained fame through viral hits and her bold visual presence.
  7. SZA – Initially studying marine biology, SZA entered music with encouragement from her brother and achieved success with her unique style.
  8. Tyler Joseph (Twenty One Pilots) – He turned down a basketball scholarship to teach himself music and formed Twenty One Pilots, achieving Grammy success.
  9. Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers) – Despite lacking formal training, Kiedis and his bandmates relied on energy and enthusiasm to become rock icons.
  10. Mac Miller – Teaching himself multiple instruments as a child, Miller found his passion in hip-hop and gained recognition with his mixtapes.

For a deeper dive into the research, you can read the full article here.

Broader Implications and Concluding Thoughts

The success of these self-taught artists demonstrates that formal music education is not the only path to musical achievement. With modern resources, anyone can learn and produce music independently, fostering creativity and self-reliance. This democratization of music education allows aspiring musicians to connect authentically with audiences and succeed on their terms.


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