Is music an under-paid profession?
Earning capacity, consistent earning capacity is a common anxiety in the minds of many musicians. It's basically what we call 'the question from hell'. For some reason, the arts have become an area of financial worry in the public imagination and I believe it's time to take a rational look at it.
Let's go outside the industry to look at analogues. Let's take shoes as an example and make a list of the common ways people meet their various shoe requirements.
1) Local mochi 2) Independent Shoe Shop around the corner 3) Big shoe brands 4) Famous Shoe Designers
When you look at all these roles, you'll never be able to make a blanket statement like "There's no money in the shoe business". There either is or isn't, depending on who YOU are and how YOU conduct the business of shoe making. You can be a local mochi, a retailer, a Nike or Jimmy Choo himself. Making shoes is a art, a science and a business, all at once. Different people need different shoes and you choose whom to serve and how to do it. It's the same for Show Business. Musicians work in many ways. The first mistake we make is to think that the working musician is only an artist. This is untrue. Artistry is the centre and the essential foundation but it is not the entirety of the musician's job at all. Many artists develop their skill to provide a service. They work as free lancers and entrepreneurs. Skills in composition, production and performance are often sold by artists as services.. For example : Music for Ad Jingles, Film Music, Stock Music, Voice Overs, Video Game Music, Music Therapy, Coaching, Interface Music .... the list is literally endless.
A very small minority are artists who solely perform for a living. Their job too, is a combination of authentic Artistry, Publishing and Promotion. It's a hybrid business panning many separate but interconnected industries.
So the question is not whether MUSIC is underpaid or not. It's about how solid you are at balancing the Art and the Profession.
This topic is vast and nuanced and I am publishing a book on the same, later this year. There is a lot to discover, many myths to debunk and many ideas to benefit from if you are looking to make a living out of music. Till then, like me, you need to figure out the inefficiencies in your own balance - Are your authentic musical voice, your capability to publish, promote and sell in balance with each other? If they, arent, there's the answer :) Happy working.
Love Vasundhara Vee.