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The Disadvantages of Being a Musician

Updated March 18, 2017

There is much allure to becoming a musician, but ask anyone who's given it a go and you'll find that there are disadvantages. For instance, for every success story you hear, there are thousands of musicians who didn't make it. That's not to say that it's an exercise in futility, mind you, but it will serve you well to prepare yourself for the disadvantages.

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The issue of money is a disadvantage on several fronts. To begin with, musical equipment isn't cheap, especially if you wish to play professionally. Plus, there's also the issue of making next to nothing when you start out playing your own material. You can either pocket the paltry sums or reinvest them in recording or merchandise, but either way you won't have much to show for it initially.

Career Path

Unlike more conventional career choices, there is no set path to follow when it comes to making a living playing music. A lot of networking is involved, because much is based on who you know and being in the right place at the right time. Even then, you could toil for years in anonymity waiting to get a stroke of luck. True, you can make more right off the bat by playing cover tunes, but it probably won't be as fulfilling and also has a lower ceiling in terms of how much you can do with that route.


Because the money will be tight initially, you'll probably still have to keep your day job. In theory, it's a simple line of reasoning: play out until you make enough to quit your job. However, this gets tough as the line between your music career and livelihood gets blurred. For instance, to make more money with music, you'll need to play out extensively and tirelessly market yourself, which gets hard when you have to report to the office at 8 a.m. on a regular basis.


It has been said that being in a band is like having four significant others. While that simile might not be a perfect one, it is apt in that playing music with other people can be tricky with all of the egos involved. Plus, there's the issue of gossip, hurt feelings and perceived importance within the band. Even if you are a solo musician, there are still side musicians, club owners and promoters to deal with. Bottom line? Talent alone is only part of the puzzle; you have to deal with all sorts of personalities and have a thick skin.

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About the Author

Dave Stanley has covered sports, music and hard news since 2000. He has been published on and various other websites. Stanley is also a feature writer for "WhatsUp!" magazine in Bellingham, Wash. He studied journalism at the University of Memphis.

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