From the outside looking in, it seems like an easy gig. You get to do the thing you love—play, sing, write, perform—and get paid by endless adoring fans to do so. Travel the world, hang out with your friends, meet new people; it all seems pretty perfect.
Or is it?
The bright lights and the big show give off the impression that musicians make big money on their tours, supporting their own shows. That the most important and crucial part of being successful and financially well off in this industry is to be on tour 24/7, hitting the road for as much time as you can. And for some, through proper management and balance of funds and purchases, this can work out in the positives. However, this is not generally the case.
Often, the individuals who participate in studio recordings actually make more money than touring musicians do. Laying down a track or two, or a whole album even, can cost a musician a truckload of money. Studio rental, recording material, equipment, etc... it all adds up to a hefty bill. However, when the record is complete, that new music is where the money starts to come in.
But what about the people behind the scenes? The ones who don't perform, don't travel, don't put out an independent record? How are they doing financially?
As it turns out, the money making in the music business isn't the job in front of an audience as it would seem—it is the people behind the scenes making it all happen. A studio musician plays in the studio on tracks for any variety of artists. This flow can have it's ups and downs—making you in charge of managing your own money well for the future. If this is not well done, you may find yourself in a deep hole.
However, when properly managed, this flow of money can be enough to support a full blown life—and enough to surpass what the performance musicians end up taking away as well. This is largely due to the fact that, as mentioned earlier, performance musicians put most of their profits back into their production. Whereas a studio musician doesn't have anything like this to hold up their money. They make a higher flat amount per song tracked—depending on the track—compared to what one might expect.
This is not all said to detract an individual from entering into and exploring the world of music performance. If this is your desired career path and a relentless lifestyle you are ready to put all of your effort into, absolutely pursue it and let nothing stop you. Success, both financially as well as in general, can be found if one goes into it ready to accept the responsibility of managing personal finances with a view for the future.
Be prepared for this sort of financial importance from the behind the scenes music aspects as well. Any sort of job in the music business involves two very crucial things. The first being an unceasing passion for the industry in all of it's aspects, one that does not cease in the face of hardships and difficulties. The other being a wherewithal of your personal requirements for the standard of living you want, the in and out flow of money depending on the music division you are in, and regulation of these funds in a logical distribution towards these things that you want and the things that are needed for your life.
All of this to say, if your interest is in music but not necessarily in music performance, don't fret. Your potential for success and financial stability is not reliant on an audience. You can have the opportunity to work with endless musicians behind the scenes, still doing what you love, and making good money doing it.