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What are the struggles of a musician

what are the struggles of a musician starting out, is it hard? is it sustainable?

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Reed’s Answer

Hi Mason,

I was in bands for about 8-10 years of my life and played decent sized shows and venues. Times have changed, but I will highlight the struggles I went through and what I think are some of the struggles in the life of a musician today. However, I do think there are many more opportunities to be a successful musician today, which is great for you!

1. Getting started: you have to put yourself out there and hustle to make sure your music is being viewed and listened to by others. Thankfully we have TikTok, Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud, Instagram, etc. to do that now. Remember that everyone started out as not having an audience so as long as you put the time and effort into creating and sharing music, you will generate a following.
2. Profits: The best way to start out making money as a musician is to join a paid band or to work on obtaining a consistent gig at a venue. I.e. playing every Friday night at a local rock venue. In order to avoid struggles, I would pair this with consistently uploading your music on the channels I mentioned above. The bigger the following you have the more likely you are to start generating revenue and a following from it which will create more opportunities for you as a musician.

It can also help to look up musician or music tech jobs on sites like Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com. You can sustain the life of a musician by working in the industry AND playing music at the same time.
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Kyle’s Answer

The struggles of being a musician are real. However, if you love what you're doing they're worth it. Many musicians make a good living without ever becoming famous - studio musicians, local bands, theme parks, cruise ships, etc. There really is a lot of work out there BUT it can be hard to keep up your skills, always learn new skills, work long hours, maintain your gear and advertise yourself or your band. Plus there can be a lot of travel involved. The travel can be fun but after a few years of touring or lots of travel, it can become a lot. Anyways, there's lots of reasons why it might be hard but the bottom line is most people don't enter or make it in the music business if they want an easy job. There are much easier ways to make money. But if you love playing and making music, then the work doesn't seem as hard and the long gigs are something you look forward to and you're able to sustain yourself for many years. If you think you might like it, try it and see how it goes! Nothing lasts forever and you can change your mind if you want to.
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Ellie’s Answer

Be a performing musician is hard work, and can hard to make it. If you want to go for it, do it! Music is amazing! But if you're truly scared to go into a performing career, you can always go into a different career and join community ensembles!
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Eric’s Answer

Mason,

Be a musician because you love playing/performing music. The percentage of people able to make a living as a full-time musician is very low. If you have the talent or persona to make it, you will.

Eric
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Mason, thank you for your question. The struggles of a musician are real, they seem to have a harder time with their families and extended family. For example, if a musician has to choose between buying a plane ticket to get to a gig and not be reimburse for it the musician wants the ticket even though he/she knows this money is coming out of their home. For some reason every gig means this might be my big chance, most spouses give up on that line about a year into doing without and every extra dime goes into the musician career. Lastly if the musician is single the only thing, he/she has to worry about when hard times hit is which friend will let you sleep on their floor. Best of luck
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Allison’s Answer

Hi there! I'm mainly a singer/actor performer and I play the piano & guitar. I'm more of a stage performer but I'd say start playing as much as you can and reach out to people in your industry! If you're in school, join music-related clubs and attend any seminars/events that are related to the music industry!
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Thomas’s Answer

While I can't answer in full because I am still in college for music and am not doing this completely full time, I can say this- when you first start out you will feel like you have absolutely no social life. I remember nights where my friends were partying or out watching movies or at football games. During those times, I was practice, or working on new music. You will miss out on a lot and you will have to be ok with it.
Secondly- it will feel like EVERYONE except other musicians will be counting on you to fail. People will ask about backup plans or will push you to go in a different direction. Even my PARENTS once tried to talk me out of music. You must be ok with that as well. Depending on what part of the industry you want to go in, you also need to prepare for long nights, technology failing, protools crashing (producers and audio engineers reading this will find that hilarious), and a lot of times very critical feedback. Take everything that comes at you and don't let it bother you. I remember working in a studio on a mix with my band and we couldn't get sound out of the speakers- we were at each other's necks and were all getting really irritated. This is basically a long way of saying this: If you are uncomfortable when you are starting out or when you are working on something new- you are doing it right. Nothing comes easy with this industry- that's why so many people give up. Don't give in to the hard parts of the industry- keep working towards the end goal!
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Adam’s Answer

The main struggle for musicians in the early stages of a career are lack of focus and lack of direction. It seems so random and nebulous that it is hard to find a solid direction.

Start by asking yourself what you want? Where would you like to live? What kind of life would you like/ What kind of people would you like to spend your time with? Work on your craft, be it an instrument, sining, songwriting, production/beat making. Become the best version of that you can be. do something everyday for your career. Decide what kind of artist you would like to be. This can and should change throughout your journey, but you need to decide who you are now to begin. Breathe. Enjoy your day This is a LONG road, a marathon not a sprint. Make friends. Make connections. Do things for other people to hep them as well, don't just ask for others to help you. Give back whatever you can to your fellow artists.

Is it sustainable is a whole separate conversation. Get started first and see if you like the life!

Adam recommends the following next steps:

this is a terrific resource for information: https://aristake.com/
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