If music pays, then how come there are musicians who are still struggling financially? Why do we see some of them become frustrated shortly after they quit the industry? These scenarios, and of course many more, are what can cast doubts on whether music really pays. But to answer the above question, yes, music pays indeed. Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd, Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, Sean Combs, Celine Dion, and others; these are the people we have heard of or seen perform live (for those of us who are lucky). A common thing among them is the fact that they are all rich. These people are an epitome of well paid musicians, and we don’t need to say more with regards to whether music pays. In fact the question above is what we can answer without thinking twice.
Who does not know the benefits that come with being a celebrity? Let’s forget about lack of privacy (of course, the cameras tend to follow them everywhere they go) and such stuff and focus on the positives instead. A musician who has played their cards well is a hotcake for big businesses and investors. There are many investors out there looking to strike business partnerships with popular musicians because they know that doing so will make them excel in business. Additionally, big businesses always look for music celebrities to endorse their products or services at a fee. These partnerships and endorsements can be a huge source of income, and they can pay a musician even more than what selling music can bring in.
How many times have we had to spend tens or even hundreds of dollars to watch a popular musician who is visiting our local town? If Chris Brown, for instance, was to visit our hometown, would we hold onto our $200 and miss that one-life-time opportunity of meeting this celebrity? I guess most of us would be more than willing to spend the money just to see him. So, if 2000 of us were to attend the event, this man would walk home with a cool $400000 that day. That is how lucrative music can get, when it comes to live performances. In fact, I know of many musicians who charge per hour. They simply don’t care where enough people will be attending the event or not. So, it is upon the event organizers to ensure that they raise the money to pay the musician.
While piracy has crept into the music business, we have been seeing musicians sell their original music CDs in concerts and other events. This still earns them a lot of money. Besides, most of us (music lovers) will pounce at the opportunity of buying the original CDs from the musicians themselves; it is a nice feeling, one of its kind. For musicians who have not yet reached the status of endorsements, selling music could be their main and perhaps the only source of income.
We have seen many musicians teaching music in educational institutions. Some of them even start their music schools, and they tend to do well. Online music lessons are also common these days. Live audio streaming solutions similar to those available with Agora (https://www.agora.io/en/solutions/live-audio-streaming/) are often used by music teachers to conduct online music lessons. From teaching vocals to how to play instruments and how to write songs, musicians tend to teach all these things at a fee. I once wanted to enroll my son in a music school owned by a musician only to be told that I was required to part with $4000 per semester (three months). I had to drop the idea because I could not afford to pay that money at that point in time. I just can’t imagine how much the proprietor of that school earns every semester.
We all know that not all musicians are like Bob Marley; I mean not all musicians write their own songs. For musicians who are singer songwriters, they can sell their songwriting skills to other musicians who do not write their own music, for one reason or another (writing songs is not easy). A single music piece can be sold for thousands of dollars. I know of a friend whose songs go for at least $3000, and he is making a kill out of this special skill.