If you are a musician or songwriter and you are starting to wonder what you are going to do for a living (how you are going to make some money for a change), this may help you.
If you’ve decided to “pack it in” and your equipment (drums, guitars, keyboards, piano, violin(s), microphone(s), typewriter, or notepads have been put aside, then I think I have a job for you.
If you have been trying to “make it” for years, and you are tired of having no money, I think I have a job for you.
If you have finally “come to your senses”, and realize you need to start thinking about ways to make some money, doing something that is fun, creative, with a potential for high earnings, then I have a job idea for you.
This post is for musicians who have been trying for years to make a living in the music business, and are starting to wonder if there is another way to make a living besides “working for the man”. First of all, let us explore why, and how, we got here in the first place.
Why We Wanted to be Musicians in the First Place
The first reason musicians fall in love with music is for the pure enjoyment of making music, listening to music, and creating music. Just the simple act of playing a guitar, a piano, a set of drums, or perhaps singing into a microphone, can be so inspiring and beautiful that it’s hard to explain in words. I know that when I was a young boy, at the age of 10 or 11, I watched my father play guitar for the first time and was very curious. Eventually I started to pick up his guitars and plucked a few strings. Over the years of my adolescence when I picked up a guitar it had more and more meaning. Soon I was able to play a full song on the guitar, and then I was completely addicted to music (for years to come).
What I’m getting at (slowly) is that our (us musicians) first initial motives for getting involved with music were absolutely pure and clear of ego. I am talking about the actual good musicians out there, and not “fly by nighters”. I’m talking about musicians who actually develop their craft well enough that they become accomplished, whether that be in the art of recording, songwriting, or just playing a single instrument. These are the musicians and songwriters that usually accomplish something in their chosen field — the ones that truly love the act of playing music, at their core, are not just gratifying their egos.
There are some musicians that certainly gravitated towards music making for purely egotistical reasons, such as a way to meet girls, a way to make money, or a way to get attention. Even the musicians who start playing music out of pure love, can (and usually do) become seduced by the ego side of the music business at some point or another. In fact, if the ego takes over completely, it will destroy the initial love for music that the musician had at the genesis of their early inspiration.
So the reasons (motives) are varied, but in this post I am talking about the musicians that had a pure love for music from the very beginning, and were not that wrapped up with the ego side of things.
We Wanted To Do What We Loved For a Living
Obviously all human beings would like to do what they love for living, and this is what drives most serious musicians towards their ultimate goal. We want to be able to make a decent living playing music, recording music, or writing music. At least we think we do.
All of the different motives that drive us to play music, and be part of the music industry, can change over time, and the ones that keep being full-time musicians the rest of their lives, usually have to pay a price. It is very difficult to try and make a full-time living being a musician. Usually there is lack of money. Usually there is lack of support. Often there is a lack of respect from society as a whole.
As young aspiring musicians we all dreamed of living the ultimate dream. We dreamt of making millions of dollars, playing our own music for millions of people, and never having to “work for the man”. This last aspect (of not wanting to work for the man) is a big, big, big, deal! We never wanted to spend a day of our life doing a job we really don’t like, and taking orders from somebody else just to make a little bit of money. In fact, this was a true nightmare for me and my young friends when we were growing up as young musicians.
There are psychologists who suggest that sex is the driving motivation behind all males in human society. I don’t believe this for a second, but when I was a young teenage boy, playing in teenage bands, I did meet some musicians that were solely concerned about how well they did with the girls. These musicians never lasted long, and they soon splintered off and left the music scene altogether.
There are other musicians who believed that with fame and money they could get any girl he wanted (or woman) and this was another ego driving force behind their motivations. These guys never lasted long either. They usually became frustrated very quickly, and after their first couple of bands failed to “make it”, they left the music scene altogether.
The musicians who usually make music their full-time occupation, and their total income, are the ones that have two main motives behind their actions.
- They have an absolute pure love for making music
- They want the freedom that some highly successful musicians appear have
Unfortunately, musicians who think succeeding in the music business gives them freedom, soon find out that they are simply working for the man anyway – that is if they get that big recording contract and sell a few millions “units”. (more…)