Give Up? More like shut the f*ck up!
That’s something people tell you a lot regardless of their involvement in this business, you know? Give up. It’s not worth it. Stability and money will make you happier than music in the long run. You’re going to be poor without any prospects.
SHUT THE FUCK UP! I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing this because I love the creative process of writing songs and getting on stage with a band — with a team — and performing to an audience. If you truly love something, you’ll pursue it because you love it, not because you want money out of it (I do admit that the latter is more appealing). What I know for a fact is that regardless of whether or not I am able to support myself through performance, I will be pursuing my music as if I were. Deciding that ‘oh, I want to be safe and stable’ can sacrifice that opportunity to be on stage regularly. Keeping music as a hobby and looking for a different career is ludicrous to me. I will gladly crash on couches if I have to. I am more than willing live off the pretzel-water diet. I have, and it’s not as bad as some make it out to be.
The way I see it is that if I don’t drop everything and pursue my greatest passion, I will inevitably live with regret for the remainder of my life. But hey, some can ignore that regret better than others. Pursue what is meaningful to you. For some, it’s supporting a family. For others it’s a fascinating career in law or medicine, or any field that motivates them. For me, it’s getting on a stage and performing. It comes at a cost but that cost is far less than the regret that will haunt me if I’m not on stage. As Jon Westenberg pointed out in a recent post, there is no guarantee that you will be successful. None at all. You can put all the work in and more and still be at the bottom of the ladder. But you have to try. Don’t assume you’ll fail. Don’t assume you’ll be successful. Do not let others define success for you.
Some people have “made it” and play to very large crowds. They do make money out of their music but most of the time they still have to work other jobs to get by. Many “successful” touring bands still don’t see significant profits out of their tours. They’re well known because they pack their venues and sell lots of merchandise and have their fans talking about them and listening to their songs all the time. But most of them still lose money at the end of the day and even those who see profit are still trying to make ends meet for the 9 or 10 months not spent on the road. But you cannot quit. You cannot leave unless you want something else — not because someone tells you to want something else but because your gut and heart tell you that it’s time for a change. Some may call bullshit on this, criticizing me of being idealistic. But what else can you go by? If you don’t seek your own happiness, then there’s no point to anything and happiness is 100% subjective. So once again, to those who doubt. I say shut the fuck up.