As mentioned before, my husband is a musician, and a fabulous one. He majored in musical performance, he can play both upright and electric bass, not to mention keyboard, guitar, etc. And he can play almost any genre of music.
Yep, he's pretty much awesome... *wipes away goofy grin and continues with blog*
Anyway, we've had a lot of conversations this year about the writing industry, and the music industry and how the two compare. And I gotta tell you, I'm feeling pretty lucky to be a writer and not a musician.
Here's what I mean:
1. To even start thinking about being a full-time musician you have know what you're doing. Which usually means lessons, practicing and doing it for years. (This is also true of writing, cough cough. But in writing, people are less likely to tell you "you suck, get out of our band")
2. Then you have to buy the gear. And musical equipment is expensive. The most expensive thing most writers will ever buy is a computer. One computer. When you get into quality instruments, not to mention amps, speaker cabinets, etc, EVERY PIECE costs as much as a computer. The last bass my husband bought was over twelve hundred dollars, and don't even ask about the upright.
3. Then you have to find a band, if you're not a solo artist, or some backup musicians if you are. You have to find people who know what they're doing, who want to put in the time commitment, and preferably who you can get along with for more than five minutes. That's not easy.
4. Now you have your band and your equipment. So now you have to play. A lot. You hire a manger to find and book you shows, and spend most of your weekends practicing and playing at them. You try to build an audience, you set up a website (not cheap) and put out a few songs on CD (also not cheap).
5. Okay, you're decent local musicians. But you want to be able to do this full time, and that means touring until some small label signs you and then touring some more. Which means you'll have to quit your job and fling yourself on the mercy of the good God and your fans. You'll be on the road for weeks to months at a time playing as often as you can manage.
6. If you're fortunate enough to get signed, you'll tour constantly throughout the year. (Provided your drummer doesn't go crazy from long hours in the van and too much fast food and kill your lead singer with a drumstick.) Which means leaving your family, or possibly taking them with you. Hope they agree...
7. Okay, you're signed and you've made an actual official album to sell. (The making of this is also fraught with sleeplessness and drama, so we'll skip over it.) The album sells okay, then drops like every CD is doing these days. So back on the road you go.
8. You tour and play and tour and play and tour some more. Then you make another album and that does well. Does that mean your first album will sell more too? NO!! Your first album will stay in its hole, weeping.
Here's the kicker. Even after all of this, even after beating the odds time and time again and being phenomenally lucky, your chances of being signed by someone really huge, and making lots of money are still minuscule.
AND your chances of being the next U2 or Rolling Stones--heard into the next generation--are practically nothing. This is because the music business, unlike the publishing business, has no real backlist. You have to continually make music, make it fresh, yet consistent with what's going on in music. You have to keep up with trends, yet transcend them. You have to be amazingly good, incredibly stubborn, and have tiny green wishing elves on your shoulders at all times.
Just reciting all of that was tiring!
This sequence of events can take ten years to play out. And at the end of it, you might be just what you were when you started: a small band on an independent label working your butts off to earn enough money for gas for the van.
I'm so glad I'm a writer....