How to make a living as a musician this year

We all seem to have written off this year as far as earning a living from music is concerned. Or have we?

After the pandemic we're all raring to go back to business but when it's the music business you can never be sure!

There is some good news, I'll get to later. First, understand the problem.

Music lost its value when it became free of physical storage. If it's not  a tape, CD, or vinyl how can it be sale restricted? You don't need to own music anymore.

Record companies still get a fair crack from streaming of course, but not the artistes. Never have the rewards of a music career been so inequitable. You need 4 million streams to earn minimum wage in the US!


What the options?

  1. Gig
  2. Teach
  3. Sue another artiste for copyright infringement!



You'll be lucky!

But if you do get a gig, playing live can still pay well. Trouble is, can you do it 5 nights a week?

Remember, as a musician you have three choices when you play a gig...

  1. The music
  2. The people you're playing with
  3. The money

You only get to pick two of those, so choose wisely!



Two options, teach locally or online.

Either way you need a high level of music theory so, If you're just a shredder (nothing wrong with that),  forget it.

Setting up an online courses is feasible though the space is crowded.

I'm speaking as the person who created the Worlds #1 underwater photography course. It raked in 5 figures per year from what is a much smaller demographic, but I won't be creating another for guitarists. Leave it to Justin


Sue someone for infringing your copyright

You might think I'm joking.

But that's one reason the back catalogues of musical icons like Dylan and the Beatles are changing hands for eyewatering sums.

It makes you wonder. Will we run out of songs if every permutation belongs to someone?


Here's a Suggestion.

Why not sell instruments/consumables to other musicians?

In the Gold Rush the people who made money were not the prospectors, it was the people who sold them shovels.



I know it's conventional to end on a high note, to sound positive, and give some hope. But we have to be realistic. The prospect of earning a living from music this year is a bit of a longshot but, remember, the pendulum always swings back. Just because we are in a low doesn't mean to say this is the new normal. Some other new, disruptive technology will come along and put the power back into the hands of the musicians.

I just don't see it happening anytime soon. The good news is that if you act now you can position yourself for next year.

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Date: July 2021 last updated August 2021
Genre: Showbiz gigging      Author: Benny Sutton
Keywords: make living musician this year 2022 showbiz gigging