The next generation of home-grown artists may not even need to be that much better to survive.
In a new report from The New York Times, it’s possible to make a living as a musician without paying much more than a $1,000 salary.
That means, theoretically, a young artist could earn $1 million a year without even having to work full-time.
The Times also found that “many” artists do not even require much training.
Even a simple YouTube video, for example, can be turned into a gig for less than $500.
And if a young musician can make $100,000 a year as a solo artist, that would mean a lifetime of income, even for a musician who has only worked a few gigs in the past.
Even the most successful artists can be lucky to make $25,000 per year from their own recordings.
It could also be a big mistake to expect that young artists will get paid anything at all in the future.
As the Times report explains, a new generation of music producers could still be making much more money than their parents did before, and they will still be able to afford to live the good life.
“We think it’s going to be a great thing,” says Matt Gagnon, a co-founder of the nonprofit Live Music School, which teaches students about how to record music.
“If we were to have that kind of opportunity, we would not only take it, but it’s just going to have an effect on how much of this [industry] is there.”
The Times reports that in order to take advantage of this new economic model, young musicians will need to learn to create more than one version of the same song.
If they need to change their songwriting to adapt to the times, for instance, they may need to spend some time creating more than the same version.
The report also found there are still “significant barriers” in the way of new musicians entering the industry, particularly for those from underrepresented communities.
“In the past, artists from low-income communities have been disproportionately targeted for copyright takedowns, which have been a major driver of online piracy,” says the report.
“Now, with the advent of digital platforms, there are new opportunities for artists to reach audiences from all walks of life.”
Gagnons team is helping young artists with a number of projects.
They are trying to help them find and get music licensing in countries that have less restrictive laws, like Australia and Canada, and in some cases, a bit more.
They’re also working with a music producer who recently signed to record for Spotify.
He says the company is offering to work with him to get a new song to his label and then release it as a new version on Spotify.
“I can be the one who gives the artist the ability to get the song out,” he says.
“And that’s a great opportunity.”
This kind of creative freedom is a big reason why it’s so important for young artists to find a way to make money from their music, even if they don’t need to.
If the new music industry can be a real and viable alternative to the one that existed before, the world could become much better off for it.