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Fame or Fortune: What Matters Most as a Musician? / By Sindy Sanchez


One in 12 millennials would cut off their own family to become a household name. Are you one of those? How far are you willing to go to make your dream come true? An article by J. Maureen Henderson in 2017 stated that more than a quarter of millennials would quit their job in exchange for fame. However, according to VooDoo Funk, “A survey of over 200 independent musicians, DJs, producers and bands found that while record sales are down, they are making up the shortfall through merchandise and live performances. However, almost a quarter (23%) actually lose money on their musical endeavors, and less than five percent of them made a living.” Given these statistics, it seems important to explore how young artists can be more focused in making their art form a viable, financially sustaining success than a ticket to fame, but how can they do this?

First, according to Nelson (1993), social media makes fame seem easy to achieve. In an interview with Gene, a professional musician, he shared how he became successful. “There’s a danger to feel frustrated or discouraged when you compare your skill set with other musicians. It’s important to find your uniqueness. No one else can approach music the way YOU do. It’s always a struggle to remain focused and believe in your voice but it’s the best approach.” Focus on being a great artist or musician NOT just fame. Gene was asked on his opinion about this concern and said, “In my opinion, fame doesn’t always equate to having artistic integrity and vice versa.” Gene reported the true investments in his music career that have paid off in, “Education from DePaul University and Berkley College of Music as well as mentorship from other working professional musicians.

Mr. Rakov from said that the key method famous musicians use to make a lot of money is by performing concerts. He added, “in order to be a successful musician, you have to create music to build an audience, play live-concerts, and brand building. The money is in live performances. You give away your music for free to build a fan base. Real Fans go to your shows. The more fans, the more tickets sold, the more merchandise bought, the more money you make.”

In conclusion, many teens are unaware of the consequences that come from looking up to their idols and only desiring to be as famous. Don’t choose popularity over your art form and making a living doing what you love!


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