There are people making good money playing in bands that will never perform an original song. Corporate work is all about pleasing the widest group of folks. A Christmas party for a business is all about making everyone from the warehouse staff to the CEO happy.
Heritage bands will always find work as long as their original audience is alive, even if they’re just licensing their music to movies, TV, or commercials.
Most of the time I work with artists creating original music. That’s what I know most and that’s what I want to talk about.
Can you make a living creating original music? Yes you can, but you have to be willing to work harder. Those other players are riding on the coat tails of past success. You are going to have to make your own success.
According to Butch Vig, Nirvana practiced together almost every day for 6 months, 10 hours a day, before they went into the studio just to make sure they were ready. Despite the slacker attitude they wanted to be successful and were willing to put in the hours.
You’ll also need to play out and chase those paying gigs like your life depended on it. If you don’t play and get paid, you don’t eat.
There is a lot more and I can’t cover it all in this posting, but the answer is yes, music pays. People are doing it every day.
Here is something to think about: Comedians have to come up with a lot of original material. They are always in a different town. And they work alone. If they succeed or fail it’s all on that one person. There are comedians you’ve never heard of who make over a hundred thousand dollars a year.
You are most likely with a group of musicians you like. You can bounce ideas off each other all day. You share the load driving, setting up and tearing down, even calling venues and booking. If nothing else, you've got it better than a comedian.
Find your niche and serve those fans. You can do pretty well for yourself.