Categories
Article Opinion

Musician Defined

The old expression “starving artist” is used so frequently, because the situation is so common. It’s fun and exciting to play music, and tons of people want to do it, and they dream about being rich and famous, but huge success is usually impossible without huge sacrifice, and every small business must suffer through the “starving season” before the harvest comes.

I saw this meme a while back, and while funny, there is also a lot of truth to this for a musician starting out, and even musicians with decades of experience performing gigs still operate like this. We know hundreds of local musicians, and I don’t know a single musician in Pittsburgh that can pay their bills with music alone; that’s what they all want (to pay the bills with music), but it simply isn’t happening. The old expression “starving artist” is used so frequently, because the situation is so common. It’s fun and exciting to play music, and tons of people want to do it, and they dream about being rich and famous, but huge success is usually impossible without huge sacrifice, and every small business must suffer through the “starving season” before the harvest comes. When I worked at Google, my coworker told me he thought about opening a pizza shop, and he got advice from a friend that owned a restaurant. The friend said, “Do not start a business unless you are comfortable making no money for at least 3 years and you have $300,000 to invest.” Every situation is different, and there are always exceptions to the norm, but as far as I can tell, every kind of startup business (and a new, working musician is a startup business) is going to struggle and sacrifice simply to survive and then struggle and sacrifice so much more if it wants any chance at being successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.