Money is a pain in the ass. Even wealthy people are bothered by it constantly. I chose to pursue music in college, and among the many risks of being a musician is a huge financial one. I happily took on that risk because I never really cared all that much about money, but I did care quite a bit about making music, so it seemed like a no-brainer. But we all have to make ends meet, and the rite of passage to a creative life is to take on jobs that have little or nothing to do with your field of passion. Every day, my heart aches a little more when I’m not able to devote my time 100% to what I love to do. But no matter how little I care about money, I still need (and want) it, and it sure would be nice to have a lot of it. Because maybe money can’t buy happiness, but there is one thing it can buy: Freedom. Sweet, sugary freedom.
Sell Yourself, Sell Your Soul
The music-money relationship is a tricky one. To make money from music, you inevitably have to turn it into a business, and turn your band and your CD into the product you’re selling. Someone once told me, “make it fun, don’t make it work.” Well, the point of trying to make music my “work” is because it’s always fun. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. Don’t we all want a fun job? That’s all I’m trying to get for myself. When I make it work, it’s the most fun work I’ve ever done. It makes me want to work.
And so we come to the ubiquitous phrase: selling out. It’s one of the most over-used terms in the music business, particularly by fans. The problem is that there is no actual definition of selling out, because it’s totally different from everyone’s perspective. For a lot of people, selling out has simply become a synonym for success. As soon as a band makes it big, they’ve sold out. As soon as they sign to a major label or appear on MTV, they’ve sold out. But accepting money for your work isn’t selling out, even if it’s a big fat sum of money. The artists who have become rich are well-off because they have a ton of fans who shell out cash to buy their music, a T-shirt, a concert ticket, etc.Read More