How To Become a Profesional Musician in 2022

We're all raring to get back to business in 2022, but when it's the music business you can never be sure what that will look like!

There is some good news, I'll get to that 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? Listeners don't need to own music anymore, their music collection is now a Spotify playlist - and that is very bad news for musicians.

Record companies still get a fair crack from streaming of course, but not the artistes. It's always been an issue but ever have the rewards of a music career been so inequitable. They (the industry) claim 250 streams make a dollar so a quarter million to make $1,000. That's bull.  How many bands make a living off streaming?

Look at the math.

If you get £0.0031 per stream means 366,000 streams to make minimum wage. The reality is you need more like 4 million streams to earn a living wage once your overheads are taken into account (capital costs of instruments, running costs, studio time to record the tracks). It's a struggle to break even but you can hope the next one blows up I suppose. Guess what, even after deductions the taxman wants to stick his hand in your pocket too!

The truth is you will see musicians from famous bands waiting tables to make ends meet!

What the options?

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

Gigging

You'll be lucky!

But if you do get hit the live circuit in 2022, playing live can still pay well. Trouble is, can you do it 5 nights a week? The festivals may return 2022 though they are already booked out but you might find a slot. However, even pre-covid, festivals would rip off acts desperate for exposure. I played at the alledgedly prestigious Cheltenham Jazz festival, our 10 piece band got £10 each! Name and shame them I say.

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!

Teaching

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 someone who created a very successful photography course that 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. I am, but that hasn't stopped numerous claims against Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran, and others. As a business model it has merit, going after known revenue, but morally you need to be the lowest of the low!

It's one reason the back catalogues of musical icons like Dylan and the Beatles are changing hands for eyewatering sums. Why would record companies take risks on new artists tomorrow when proven money-spinners exist today? Because new talent needs to replace the old you idiots!

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

Here's a Suggestion.

Why not sell musical 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.

Conclusion

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 in 2022 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 2023