Over the years I’ve found that focusing too much on the business side of music can sort of taint our experience of performing and writing music. Not that focusing on the business side of things is bad per se, this is the “music business” after all. But being overly consumed with making money and stressing about the business side of things can interfere with the creative process and clog our channel of inspiration, if we’re not careful.
I’ve returned to playing live music with a vengeance this year. It feels so good to be performing again and it’s really reinvigorated my passion for music once again. Performing music live again has reminded me of what a wonderful gift being able to perform music is, both to ourselves as musicians, and to the audiences that come to hear us play.
One of the great things about playing live music is that when I'm performing, the last thing I'm thinking about is money or making money. I'm simply lost in the moment, enjoying the beautiful exchange between the audience and the group of musicians I'm performing with.
What I’m trying to say, albeit in a somewhat woo-woo way, is that we need to strike a balance between playing music for the sheer joy and thrill of playing music and worrying about all the business stuff. I find that when I relax about making money from music and stop worrying and obsessing about how I’m going to monetize my music, things tend to work out much better, both financially and emotionally.
There’s something about going with the flow of things and not overly obsessing about things outside of our control that is very freeing. In many ways I feel like the path of being a musician is a spiritual path, in that you really need a lot of faith to pursue a career in music. It’s not for the faint of heart. It can be challenging at times, but what I’ve found in my experience is that if you keep pushing forward and keep putting one foot in front of the other with determination and faith, things somehow work out, often in very unexpected and amazing ways.
Practically speaking, it’s a good idea to tap into multiple revenue streams as a musician in this day and age. This is why I push the idea of music licensing so frequently, because it’s one of several revenue streams available to musicians that can help musicians carve out a full-time income doing music, for those that have that as a goal.
It’s certainly not healthy to worry or obsess about how you’re going to make money from music, but it’s also not healthy to simply ignore all of the different potential revenue streams available to musicians in 2022. It’s about striking a healthy balance between art and commerce. You can make art that you’re inspired and moved to create AND figure out ways to monetize it. It doesn’t have to be either/or.
I’m currently in Mexico performing in a variety of cafes and wine bars for a project that I will write about at greater length in the future. It’s a project that I’m only able to pursue because of the income I’ve built up from licensing.
I’ll be sharing more about my Mexico project in the near future, as well as a few other interesting things I’ll be doing musically this year. In the meantime, I’ll leave with you my latest release called “We’re Only Human”, featuring my friend MJ on harmony vocals, and produced and engineered by MJ and Gary Gray and his production team.