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.
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.
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!
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: