Pointless to follow this dream?

Andii

MAMMALHAMMER
Joined
Mar 25, 2009
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
243
Location
Western NC in a secret lair high on the mountain
It's absolutely possible to make money off of music and make all of your dreams come true.

But you have to realize what all goes into that, just how difficult and time and money consuming it is. The bar for what it takes to get there is raised every single day as many other people saturate the market with their own creations.

At your age, you really have a nice little window before adult life takes hold.

My advice to you is to give it a try. And to give it a try you should put everything you've got into it and be relaxed about what happens. Plan your life around something else that is easier to achieve. Trades are HOT right now. Electricians, plumbers handymen are raking in cash nowadays because academia are steering people to liberal arts degrees and putting them behind counters at starbucks to languish.

Advice #1 is get rid of any video games you have, quit looking at social media or anything that lacks any return on your time so far as working towards what you want and focus all of your time and funds to what is most important to you. If you are watching something online while you eat, try to have it be learning how to do something. The more things you know how to do yourself the more money you will save in your lifetime and the more money you will make. And you should always being learning about music related things of course. Recording, audio engineering, gear and so on.

Always have a realistic self awareness about what you make. Many people really get caught up in the idea that they are undiscovered. Like actors that think that they just need to get a role, get noticed or musicians that think they're just one record deal away from "making it". The reality is that they aren't good enough and stopped pushing forward. Success depends on you. With the internet, things that are truly special rarely go unnoticed. Put the burden on your own shoulders and accept it. Make progress and celebrate it. Even if it's frustrating, keep moving forward and enjoy that.

Also just have fun and explore. Even if music becomes a life long hobby, it's still good. If you have another career and become successful and spend a lot of time having to do something you aren't passionate about, your success in that career means more funding for the things that you are passionate about. Your moment could be 10 years from now when you have funded yourself into a good place and have had years and years of practice and learning.

I honestly think that the #1 mistake people make when they are young is sinking time into things that do not matter like video games and social media. I did it. I played guitar a lot when I was a teenager, but I also played video games. I was maybe 23 before I realized that the video games had to leave my life and never come back.

Protect your hearing. Join the earplug religion. Obsess over every single sound that is even remotely loud. Concerts, guitar amplifiers, drums, off road vehicles, hammering, saws, air compressors, pneumatic tools, machinery, gunfire, dance club sound systems. The only way to accomplish this is to always have them with you. If you don't have them with you and something comes up, there you are getting damage. Protect your future self. If your ears EVER ring, you have messed up.

Also drugs. At one point you will realize that the "drugs are bad" generalization is extremely wrong. Weed is great for some people, fueling their creativity and keeping them in tune with everything, for others it's bad, completely stopping their productivity. One thing I can tell you is that the narrative on opioids, meth and cocaine being bad is 100% correct. Don't even TRY them. Treat them as you would poison. It might be best to avoid opioids even if they are prescribed. The problem is that they will give you the best feeling you've ever had that is unmatched by everything else in life and then.... it diminishes more and more and takes more and more of the drug to get there and then diminishes to where the person is slamming it into their body just to not have horrifying withdrawals and they are no longer having a good time at all and their life is completely destroyed. It's a trick, a trap and life destroying. Antidrug propaganda is the boy who cried wolf, but drugs like opioids and methamphetamine are the actual wolves. Stay away from people who do them at all costs. Even if they are people that seem important to you and are at the moment are good to have in your life, get away, the time is coming when they will drag you down with them if they can. Hard drugs take over someone's life until that's the only thing that matters to them. They will eventually steal from you or bring trouble to you, probably both.

Read "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman and "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. These two books will absolutely change the course of your life for the better no matter what you end up doing, and give you better control of your life. Emotional Intelligence is really heavy, I might not have been able to read it when I was 15, but maybe you can. Buy it and try, if you can't come back to it again and again until you're ready. But how to win friends and influence people is a lot lighter and you can definitely handle it. It will show you how to get people to like you and give you skills to engage people successfully. You can get them used on ebay for maybe around $5 each. That's a really low investment that will give you the biggest return. These books teach you things that your parents probably didn't and that some people never learn in their entire lives and that will take you a lot of time, failure and trouble to learn yourself in the school of hard knocks. So just read the books and you will get a tremendous jump start.
 

wheresthefbomb

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Messages
2,091
Reaction score
2,842
Location
Fairbanks, AK
Pretty sure the QOTSA song First it Giveth is about using drugs to make music.

"First it giveth, then it taketh awayyyy..."

At this point I'm just echoing what others have already said, but yes it's a pipe dream and yes you should give it a shot. Expect the best and be prepared to appreciate whatever you end up with that isn't that. You probably won't "make it," you also might, but either way you can still have a lot of rad experiences touring etc.

The thing about music is that unless you do a "real job" like teaching, nobody is gonna give you health insurance or match your retirement contributions for playing guitar. Not necessarily a problem in your 20s, but past that you're rolling the dice. This fact alone eventually led me to go back to school and sort my shit out.

Honestly the best advice I can give you is to just keep playing guitar, no matter what else you decide. I had a really hard time internalizing study habits and long-term benefit/delayed gratification until well into my 20s for various reasons (s/o to the "gifted" program), and playing guitar is one of the few things that helped me realize that and how I could pour hours, days, weeks into something right now for serious rewards down the road.

If I could go back and change one thing about myself when I was younger, I'd spend way less time playing video games.

Also, if you're not taking lessons, start! Also, piano lessons. I took them briefly as a kid and that basic "literacy" has made a huge difference my entire life as a musician.
 

CanserDYI

Yeah, No, Definitely.
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
3,190
Reaction score
4,092
Location
419
Just because it's a pipedream doesn't make it impossible. I'm not saying give up, at all, I was merely saying don't stress your 15 year old self out about it. Something like 1-5% of musicians actually work in the industry.
 

Andromalia

Pardon my french
Joined
Dec 24, 2009
Messages
8,340
Reaction score
2,543
Location
Le Mans, France
Well to be fair there is a sort of reliable way to earn a living as a musician, and it's starting music at 5 and follow a classic curriculum to endup as an orchestra musician. It's not rock, but it's a pretty decent upper middle class salary although with COVID now isn't the best of times to get recruited somewhere. Also, pick the violin, not the piano: most orchestras have TWO pianists on a rotation while they need 32 violin players.
The crux of it is, those people succeed because mostly everyone starting at 5 is from a family of musicians who know how to get there.
 

Necris

Bonitis.
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
4,462
Reaction score
987
Location
Somewhere in New York
Advice #1 is get rid of any video games you have, quit looking at social media or anything that lacks any return on your time so far as working towards what you want and focus all of your time and funds to what is most important to you. If you are watching something online while you eat, try to have it be learning how to do something. The more things you know how to do yourself the more money you will save in your lifetime and the more money you will make. And you should always being learning about music related things of course. Recording, audio engineering, gear and so on.
People, in general, are lazy so making the choice to pick up your guitar and practice or write music as easy as possible is important, too. If its easier to open your phone and scroll endlessly, play video games, watch tv etc. than it is to go grab your guitar and practice, or write music then you'll probably do one of those even if they aren't actually helping you achieve your goals. Try to make the path of least resistance at least kind of point towards music. By making music an easier choice you'll help to facilitate your own success.

When I was a teenager I was churning out music like crazy, but as an adult for a long time I'd had two modes, I would either be struggling to finish anything, or I'd produce something relatively quickly, but then that would be followed by a long period of relative silence.
It turned out that by doing something as simple as leaving my phone on a table when I'd walk in the door and having a guitar and a bass, blank tab/sheet music paper and a pen out on a stand within easy reach mostly fixed my issue. I can just walk into my room after work, sit down, grab an instrument and start working on music. Every obstacle that could be reasonably removed is gone and I'm far more productive in my free time now than I had been for years.
 
Last edited:

AwakenTheSkies

SS.org Regular
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
424
Reaction score
397
Location
The unemployment office
Heh heh heh it's not pointless, but you shouldn't expect that you will make a living from it. I make music because it blows my mind like nothing else. Like most others here, right? From my personal experience I tell you to keep making music, but try not to end up obsessing with it, falling behind in everything else and becoming a hermit. Because if you don't succeed you might find yourself in an ugly situation. That has been my experience, and I'm "turning my life around" a bit while still going at it with the music. But it fucking sucks, I'm older now. But you can't say that will happen to everyone, it depends on the person & circumstances.
 

Lorcan Ward

7slinger
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
6,496
Reaction score
4,264
Location
Ireland
We have no idea what the music business will be like in 3-5 years. Right now the live music scene is in a disastrous place because of Covid and tours being cancelled multiple times with no sign next year of it being possible to play a full European tour.

Streaming has drastically reduced musician’s other main source of income. YouTube/Spotify etc do pay when you have big numbers but for a band the payout gets fractioned so you end up with something a lot less than a minimum wage job.

Right now artists can make money selling physical CDs, digital albums, merchandise, tabs(physical and digital), guitar lessons, Mixing/mastering services, ghostwriting, co-writing, guest playing on songs, various midi services, tabbing services, selling social media posts, advertising gear on socials, YouTube playthroughs, making YouTube review videos, endorsing gear, royalties from signature gear, selling gear when finished with it.

That’s nearly everything you can do at home. After that you’d be looking at patreon, twitch and relying on straight donations. Which is where most internet creators get their money, or at least their reliable income.

So basically everything you need to do to get money involves having a social media presence and knowledge of building and maintaining that presence. You also need to be a jack of all trades to be an internet musician nowadays to.
 
Last edited:

Giest

Never a tune you can dance to.
Contributor
Joined
Nov 15, 2021
Messages
232
Reaction score
342
Location
540
When I was younger I wanted nothing in the world more than to make music on my guitar that everyone else enjoyed. I didn't care if there was no money in it, I didn't care that everyone told me it was basically statistically impossible. I'll tell you now 100% screw the people who say that, you don't need those people in any case. What I'll also tell you is that regardless of the statistics the reality of making a living as an artist is harrowing. Between the myriad of people who are just there to hold their hand out for your hard work, to the critics who are mostly just failed artists trying to take it out on acts like you, to the fake friends you make along the way- it's basically all bull crap. The most true old saying I know is "if you find something you love then never do it for a living".

Imagine this thing, which you cherish and work so hard for, just going up in smoke one day because you had so many expectations of where it would take you and how much fun it would be forever instead of concentrating on just investing in yourself along whatever avenues you find fulfilling. If that's only music then so be it, if it changes to something else then so be it. Whatever it is don't count on other people's opinion to be a fulfilling part of it, most aren't worth it. Sure, you might think it feels nice when everyone loves you for this or that reason, but most people's love ain't worth a shit in reality. It's sad, but it's true. Make sure you want to do music for the right reasons, the artistry of it. I think you'll find that as you forge your own path in life the opinion and dependency on others in general becomes less and less important to you, and the more genuine you become as a person the more they will display the same in suit.

I've been playing for over twenty years, but after ten years of playing 6-8 hours every single day I went to school. Much later than most I still came out with more opportunities I find fulfilling to this day. Big plus of those is they pay the bills whereas music literally never did for me. Just being good isn't enough to make a living as any kind of artist, that is unless you're willing to be a human jukebox which I was not. My advice in a nutshell then would be if you like solving creative problems or puzzles look into engineering, material science, or computer science fields. The fulfillment I used to find through only music I now find through engineering and chemistry as well, but I am that kind of person. I think there are types who primarily want to express themselves and there are types who like solving abstract problems creatively, I fall mostly into the latter category. In the former I gather there is nothing as exhausting as the life of an artist, constantly gasping for expression against our own self eluding natures, but I don't have the ability to take myself seriously enough to get so mired in it that I cannot find enjoyment otherwise. Stop worrying and just do your best at whatever you like, but be careful not to convince yourself you're too invested in one thing to ever be good at anything else. I know when you're young everyone wants to you find a passion and pursue it with all your heart and soul, but life doesn't have to be like that. If you're honest with yourself and intelligent then life has ample opportunities for you to take many different paths many different times, focus on that.
 

buriedoutback

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 13, 2015
Messages
620
Reaction score
275
Location
North Bay, ON
I'm 40ish now.
If I could jump into a time machine and go back to when I was 15, or 20 yrs old, I'd drink less and smoke less, practice way more, move to the USA and go to audio / video recording school. Then I'd open a studio.
I'd also start a youtube channel to try to get multiple income streams going.

in 2021? I have a good job that pays well, so I can run a dinky recording studio in my garage for me and my musician friends.
I can't see any way of me making money playing super-niche music in an absurdly over-saturated market (IMO).

I realize that there are people doing it; new youtube channels and new bands, etc.

The only advice I can offer is (IMO):
-practice and learn as much as you can, and don't worry about what the retards on facebook/etc say is 'cool' - its all bs.
-if you wanna give being a musician a try, study business or accounting or marketing or something as well as music/video; Playing music (metal) (IME) is just barely breaking even or consistently losing money. Look at Ola England or Misha Mansoor or guys like that. Multiple income streams, and they'll admit (IIRC) that the music doesn't make them much money.
-get comfortable with computers and music and video technology, social media, DAWs and photo and video editing. You can save a ton of $$ if you can do it yourself !!

Cheers !!
 

Grindspine

likes pointy things
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
1,698
Reaction score
804
Location
Indiana
If you are posting on a forum to ask about it instead of spending time pursuing it, then yes, it is a dream.

Making a living off of anything, for most people, is going to require more than 40 hours a week for years or decades to see any return.
 

Metaldestroyerdennis

Heavens Football Bat
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
577
Location
Missouri
I may not be passionate about C but let me tell you it sure is nice having top end guitars and a safe apartment that costs 1/4 of my take home along with great insurance. Engineering bought me the Mayones Regius and PRS I was drooling over when I was your age.

Financial stress will destroy your passion for life itself kid; it's really hard working full time only to pay 70% of your earnings toward rent. I did that in college when I could spend the rest on beer because I had student health insurance and federal loans, but it was incredibly draining and I would not want to do it for the next 60 years of my life.

The real world is a lot more expensive than you can fathom, and having a solid job-even one that you aren't super passionate about-will make things a lot smoother for you.

THAT SAID, anecdotally, I dated multiple music performance and education majors when I was in college so I've seen people succeed in making money from music. First, I hope you're prepared to practice your ass off, because you'll be up against people who are practicing 6 to 8 hours a day and spending their remaining time performing, teaching and networking. And networking. Hope you're an extrovert because oh boy will you need to be networking constantly, all the time. Alongside networking as well. You'll have to be prepared to play whatever guitar music they're paying for, so I hope you're passionate about every style of music because you'll have to be at least competent at most things.

One of those girls had to take a gap year before grad school because she could not pick up her instrument anymore; she hated it by then but was too deep in to do anything else. Does that still sound like the glorious, passionate metalcore career you envisioned? Or is it more like the boring, work-y job career you don't want (with less pay and job security as well)?

If you still think you want to go for it when it's time to choose a major, do it
because there are certainly people out there making a living off music, just maybe not quite the glorious rockstar career you want. But go to college.
 

budda

Do not criticize as this
Contributor
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
29,086
Reaction score
11,884
Location
Earth
If you can do a trade, take a trade over college :2c:
 

ArtDecade

John Bohlinger's Miyagi-Fang Karate
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
6,377
Reaction score
6,412
Location
The MCG
If you can do a trade, take a trade over college :2c:

Unless you are exceptionally clever and can excel in a field where most others cannot, like nuclear physics. And if that is the case, let the NAVY pay your way and be a sub captain for a few years. We don't need anymore baristas with English degrees.
 

Adieu

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
3,335
Reaction score
2,795
Location
California
We don't need anymore baristas with English degrees.

True, after a couple more corona years, remote everything and broadcast/recorded lectures by only the best and the brightest won't even leave them the fallback plan of teaching basic literacy and presiding over detention once their dreams have flamed out and they're fully hollow inside

And as to coffee, we'll be getting it better and cheaper by drone from China or something. With no more baristas.


PS it's "we don't need any_more baristas" or "we don't need baristas anymore", btw.
 


Top