How much do successful, but not megasuccessful, musicians make?
February 5, 2013 12:57 PM Subscribe
I'm curious about the real-world economics of being a musician who "made it" but is not, say, Sir Elton John or Bruce Springsteen or Jay-Z. For instance, how's James McNew, bassist of the incomparable Yo La Tengo, doing? Is Ken Bethea, guitarist for the Old 97's, comfortable? Ian Matthews, drummer for Kasabian, are you sorted for a comfortable retirement?
posted by Admiral Haddock to media & arts (46 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Obviously, how well or poorly an individual artist is doing is anyone's guess, and possibly to a large extent on whether the artist has a songwriting credit and whether their catalog has been licensed for soundtracks or ads or whatever, and whether they have a bad contract with a major label vs. put stuff out themselves, etc., along with the usual financial costs (health, children, aging parents).
But I've always wondered about the day to day lives of musicians who I think are great and incredibly talented and have a fantastic body of work, but are not getting invited to the White House and don't have six mansions and their own vanity brand of tequila.
Sort of the "musical middle class"--maybe not destined to go ultra platinum, but also someone who is well past the opening-act-for-karaoke-night-at-the-local-dive stage.
Question has been with me for years ever since seeing a picture of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth sitting on the floor of their kitchen in a really unremarkable NYC apartment.
Could your average indie darling simply retire--maybe not to luxury, but to an average "middle class" life without punching a clock--after three or four albums (particularly if not the leader of the band)?
Conjecture or personal experience are both welcome.