The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Being a Musician

Once you have your dream set and you are considering becoming a professional musician, it is useful to know what you get yourself into. The music industry has its benefits and its challenges, and today we’ll take a look at what you should look out for and what you can look forward to.

I’ve worked with musicians of all sorts, including singers, rock bands, freelancers and session artists, and even though they all cover a wide spectrum of the industry, they often all encountered similar challenges and successes.

Let’s get going!

The Advantages of Being a Musician

The main advantage of being a musician is having the freedom to express oneself through talent, passion, and creativity. Secondary advantages include having a flexible schedule and often having the luxury of choosing the people you’d like to work with.

The Freedom To Express Yourself

As an artist, you get to write music and publish your own content to a wider audience. This is very exposing but also very satisfying and rewarding knowing that your work has an influence on the well-being of others.

Your influence will increase as your fanbase and following increase, and therefore great responsibility comes with this type of influence.

Having a Unique Image

A part of being an artist is also having a unique image. Your image is developed with what you stand for and what you believe in. It can also simply be the way you look and talk.

Most artists find it hard to find their unique image. People with a noticing image draw the attention of the public quicker than artists who try to fit in with the norm.

If you are an artist looking for your true image, don’t miss the blog post I published about Your Image As an Artist.

I believe in being unique, but staying true to the 10-year-old version of yourself that started your dream of becoming a musician.

Having a Flexible Schedule

You can often decide how you will spend your day. All artists try their best to be as productive as possible during each day since they know that the work they do today will have an impact on the next month or even next year only.

You still have a relaxed schedule during the day when you are not recording, touring or performing and therefore, it opens up time to even run a side hustle.

I recommend all artists also learn skills that can complement their music careers and run a side hustle for extra income. We’ve all seen and learned with COVID-19 that especially the entertainment industry can come to a standstill.

For a nice variety of side hustles to consider, check out my article about the 13 Best Side Jobs for Musicians.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from on 25.07.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Learning another instrument makes you invaluable to your band (Photo credit: Canva)

Choosing Whom To Work With

If you are in a band, you choose your bandmates, who are often also family or best friends.

When you start performing, you get to choose which venues you’d like to perform at, and often also take your own sound engineer with you.

When you get signed, you can make the best decision based on the contract agreement and continue to focus on your music and performances.

The way to the top is a long one, but start easy and take it day by day.

I created The MEGA Starting a Band Checklist which will help you on your journey!

Charity Work Is Easy

I loved performing for charity just as much as for a normal booking fee. The vibe of the gig is just different and you get to be exposed to new fans.

People attending charity gigs are often open to spending a bit of cash on the night so make sure your tip jar and merchandise are also visible. Also, announce to your audience that your income will go to the good cause of the event.

I have also organised many charity band nights and events. It’s lovely to see how artists can get together and perform without any feeling of competition or worry.

If you are keen to arrange your own charity event, check out my post The Guide to Organise an Amateur Band Night for Charity.

You Meet Interesting People

There are no more boundaries between you and shaking the hand of a famous musician that you’ve been a fan of because backstage, everyone becomes equal.

Backstage is such a cool place to be at. You see all the celebrity musicians and get to know them close and personal and you get to have meaningful conversations with them.

You will also meet artist managers and labels who could help you with progressing your career faster.

Having a manager is always a great idea, and I can definitely recommend anyone to take that step.

If this is something you are considering, check out my post about When is it Time to Find a Manager for Your Band and another helpful one is What Makes a Good Artist Manager?

You Are Living Your Own Dream

Many people never get to live their dreams and I see this as true happiness in life. You are not living the dream of anybody else than yourself. You are not living up to the expectations of others, but just your own and on your own terms.

You Get To See New Places

Not only performance venues in your area but also new towns and villages where you get booked.

Make the most out of travelling for your music and enjoy the time on tour. It’s valuable!

Extra Exposure Like Interviews

Doing interviews has always been one of my favourite things to do as an artist. The interviewer is really happy to meet with you and you get to tell your own personal story.

Some people find it a little stressful when they think that they are actually speaking to thousands or millions of people, but in the end, all these people want is just to get to know you a little better.

I wrote a helpful post about Rock Your Radio Interviews for Bands and Musicians that should help you calm your nerves a bit.

The Disadvantages Of Being a Musician

The main disadvantage of being a musician is the uncertainty of success. This includes not getting enough bookings, not covering the base living costs, and often being dependent on doorkeepers. The secondary disadvantages are constantly dealing with self-doubt and often a lack of exposure.

The Uncertainty of Success

It it’s a real challenge to start a career in a very tough and competitive industry where you’ll get analysed, criticised and you will most likely end up getting more “no’s” than “yes” and that brings a lot of uncertainty to your career as an upcoming artist.

Struggling With Self-Doubt

Continuously being turned down, or not seeing growth in your fan base then turns to become a case of self-doubt.

Remember why you started doing this in the first place. Keep your mindset in the direction of taking one step at a time and start off with realistic goals.

As soon as you get stuck, strategize and rethink your goals to make the steps smaller and reachable for you to see the progress you deserve.

Here’s the link to my article about Goal Setting for Bands and Artists.

A Lack of Bookings

This is a normal problem for new artists. As soon as you’ve started to build some connections and trust, you will get booked more often for shows.

A Tip: Always try to network and build relationships with people at venues so that they would like to work with you again.

If you are keen to learn more about getting booked more regularly, check out my block post called What to Do to Get Booked Regularly as an Artist.

A relaxed musician waiting for bookings (Photo credit: Canva)

Your Day and Night Gets Turned Around

It’s normal to work at night in the entertainment industry. You want to fill your venues while your audience has free time.

You will most likely need to work from 16:00 when the sound check starts, until about 24:00 when the last formalities have taken place.

That makes it tough for family life since you want to spend time with your loved ones.

There are proper solutions to these challenges that I wrote in my blog post called How to Balance Your Band Commitments With Personal Life

It’s Hard Work

Not only the lifting and carrying of equipment but also arranging practices, finding practice venues and managing a crew take a lot of communication and patience.

People love working with others who treat them with love, respect and patience, therefore it’s really important to keep your cool even when you feel like losing it.

Your success also lies in your own hands. The work you put in will only bear fruit in the unforeseen future, which often leads to artists burning out. Be careful of that and make sure that you manage your workload properly.

If you want to know more about why Being in a Band is Hard Work, here’s my article about it.

Songwriters Block Is a Reality

If you write your own music, make sure that you expose yourself enough to the daily life of others so that you don’t lose inspiration for writing music. Often people run out of ideas or creativity when they’ve been focussing on the songwriting task for too long.

Your music is your product and if you stop producing quality content you might struggle reaching your goals.

Make sure you take regular holidays and take care of your physical well-being so that your brain can stay refreshed and mentally healthy.

This reminds me to also do a few push-ups while I am handing out advice 😀

If you’d like to know more about Modern Methods to Avoid Songwriter Block, scan through my article for more key info.

Unpredictable Scheduling

I have often come to gigs where the whole event has been moved around. My booked time to hit the stage was at 19:00, but on arrival, they wanted me to get up at 18:00 when my fans had not yet arrived.

These types of situations are terrible to deal with and really sad for the artists.

Try to keep a flexible mind and confirm your performance time with the host so that you can also keep your fan base updated.

Performing In Dodgy Venues

You will often get booked to perform at a venue where you don’t feel comfortable performing. It might be dark, dodgy, dirty and scary. Or the road there might be completely sidetracked from where you feel comfortable driving.

Not all performers suit all types of venues, but we need the income, right?

Possible solutions are:

  • Take a few friends with you so that you can take care of each other.
  • Place Apple Tags in your belongings so that you won’t lose any of your things.

Musical Equipment Isn’t Cheap

Just getting yourself set up with all your gear already costs you a pretty penny. Then you need to get maintenance done on your instruments and perhaps upgrade a few items once in a while, while you are still just keeping your head above water and getting the bills paid.

I recommend trying to get gear secondhand. It is often the case that musical equipment does not get damaged that often and is still a valuable category to trade with used instruments and electronic gear.

Try to save a little more every time you are looking to buy an item so that you don’t have to upgrade too often, but already have the needed quality at hand. This will also help your career excel when you have advanced gear and sound better.

By the way, if you are in need of a proper stage tuner, these are great:

  • Can’t go wrong with Fender
  • This Donner is ideal for live performances

Before you go: try to keep your reputation up as a professional artist by having the correct Concert Etiquette For a Performing Band.

I hope you found what you were looking for!

Until next time, Rock On!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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