The way of rock musician. All the truth without illusions

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Why being a rock musician is so wrong?

The roar of guitars, the cracking of amplifiers, the banging of drums and the roar of thousands of people. Such a picture in his dreams, perhaps, every person who took a guitar. Of course, it could be drumsticks and a microphone rack, but historically, it was the guitar associated with rock. So we’re just gonna keep talking about it.

Having once heard hard rock, some can no longer get rid of the tireless desire to become part of it. From live recordings of concerts and video clips we see stadiums and chanting halls. They attract us! And so in our dreams, we’re imagining ourselves in the shoes of these cool guys with guitars in their hands. You’re on TV, you’re on the radio. Your portraits are hanging on the walls of 16-year-old hot girls’ rooms. And you yourself travel the world in perpetual carnage, making millions. It would seem — here it is perfect work! Just learn to play some cool instrument (and the coolest, most traditionally see an electric guitar) or sing, gather like-minded people, and here it is — the life of your dreams!

And how many fools have thought themselves capable of going this way! And how many more will be.

But the problem, friends, is not that this path is bumpy. The problem is that it leads nowhere. Once, Boris Grebenshikov said that rock’n’roll is dead. And BG was damn right. Of course, the music itself is alive and will be alive for many more years. But the spirit of rock-n-roll, the way of life of rockers, irrevocably gone.

Don’t believe? Then name at least 2 bands created in the last 15 years that were able to collect stadiums. And now I’m talking about the global scale. But this is not the fault of the performers. So the consumer decided.

Want to know what a rock musician is today?

Well, first of all, it’s a man with two jobs. With two, because one of his work is music. And the second he earns a living, and for music. If you think that music can easily earn a living, then you are wrong. You can earn, but it is not easy. In this case, your level of music skills should be well above average. And play you should not what you love/know, but what others want to hear. Otherwise, you’re not gonna make it. Even the coolest rockers are forced to look for work on the side, playing, in most cases, with pop singers. The royalties from your band’s performances and recordings will barely cover the rehearsal costs.

  Start playing the guitar from scratch

Think for yourself. Because to play, you need a instrument!

Let’s say the cheapest electric guitar costs about $100. But if you consider yourself a good musician, able to play and hear, then such an instrument will not suit you. The standard guitar with good sound, which can be played on stage, has already cost $ 1000. And it is only a guitar. It needs an amplifier, a cable or a radio system, a series of devices for sound control, a belt and so on. And all this also costs quite a lot. If you want to be a good musician with a good sound, you can give me $2,000 minimum. And this does not take into account the cost of consumables (strings, mediators, cleaning products) and rehearsals.

How much will you get?

There are three possibilities:

  1. You will not get anything. Because your work will not be interesting to anyone (or interesting to a narrow group of people whose income will slightly exceed a couple hundred dollars).
  2. You will earn as an average musician.
  3. You’ll be a famous musician or a rock star.

Option number 3 is objectively equal to 0%. Because it is almost impossible to interest people with your work so that they buy it.  The world of show business is extremely closed. And the ball is ruled by producers (and they receive most of the stars’ royalties).

The first option is tragic and can only be realized with absolute altruism.

So let’s consider the second option.

So the average musician basically makes his concerts. A private concert at a karaoke club, bar, or other similar establishment costs several thousand dollars. For one concert is not so bad, you can say. But keep in mind that usually it is the amount per band, in which there are at least 4 people.

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You can multiply that by the number of days in a month and say, “Wow!”. But in fact, most musicians consider a great result at least 3 concerts per month. Why? Supply exceeds demand. There are many bands, there are few venues, the listener is naughty and does not want to listen to the same thing. That’s why you have to look for the musicians work on the side.

Usually, this is teaching activity. The musician does what he can, i.e. teaches to play on his instrument of others.

The price for such work can be different, but usually it is not as high. Because all well-paid places in lyceums and music schools are quickly occupied “by connections”. And freelance work will not bring much money.

What about the big venues? Yeah, big venues make more money. But to get to the big venues, you have to be the popular artist who brings it together. Otherwise, you will not be invited to perform on it. There is an alternative — it is to rent a venue yourself in order to recoup it. But a band with little publicity will never do that. And investing in advertising will burn a hole in your pocket even more. To get to the opening for the popular band you also need to have either good connections or a thick wallet. Another way is mythic.

That’s what a musician is, my friends. And from now on, before you seriously decide to become a professional musician or rock idol, see how much a day’s worth of courier work.

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