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When this thread started, we were "still bouncing back" from the 2008 crash – and really, we never quite did. Then came COVID. Meanwhile, the wrecked recording industry never caught up to information technology. So this is an eternally challenging topic, and while I've been very fortunate in my music career, I wouldn't recommend it to most people. Some of the best artists I know make a living in other fields and create (often absolutely brilliant) music without fear of having to make it sustain them financially.

One weird upside of the last year, for me: I got to focus more on creative music than I had in a long time because of the absence of "money gigs." There were NO gigs, so I was forced to make ends meet in other ways (thankfully, remote recording and remote teaching through the college came through). Now that I'm vaccinated and gig offers are coming in, I'm finding myself being more picky, and ready to say no to good-paying gigs if I think they'll be a drag. It's been a positive examination of creative and professional values in a dark time.
 

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Pete, I think these are excellent points. Being a composer is my favorite part of being a musician, it's probably the thing I'm best at, and I've been trying to make it my primary source of income for a very long time, but it's never been able to get up there. I get a little trickle every month from my PRO, and occasionally a cool gig with a good fee, but the climate these days is ultra-saturated. You're absolutely right about the briefs: the industry is plagued by supervisors who say "I don't know what I want, but I know what I don't want!" (The kiss of death. I did a thing for JC Penney with a guy like that and it was absolutely nuts.)

My solution for now - thanks in part to encouragement and advice from my friend/mentor Henry Hey, who's done some of the biggest touring and soundtrack work in the business - is to focus on purely creative work, like I meant to from the start.

Which is why I switched to composing. It coincided with finding out there was a bay on the way so it made sense to go the more lucrative path, especially as many of the diversions on the road were no longer so relevant, being in a steady relationship.

However I wouldn't advise it so much these days, getting your foot in the door is less easy, budgets are on the whole lower. Directors are getting less and less able to give a coherent brief (preferring to get lots of unpaid demos knowing there's a half decent chance one of them will work etc. etc. The nice part about it is the royalties don't stop necessarily when the work does.
 
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