You are an artist creating, recording and performing songs for public release. As well as creating great music, you will also need to build your artist image, brand and develop your fanbase. Unless you are a signed artist with management, you will need to undertake your own promotion, so a good head for business is really useful. This is a really exciting and creative role, but there is a massive amount of competition meaning it can be very difficult to get established and make money.
You are a jobbing musician working for original artists on performances and recordings and on specific projects for commercial clients. You will need to be highly accomplished on your trademark instrument, or be an excellent singer. You will need to be very quick on learning new material and an ability to read notation or tab will be a useful skill. You will also need to be totally professional and punctual. It’s the original artists who check the tellies out of hotel rooms, not the session players!
You are a musician working as tribute act or as part of a tribute group. Here you will need to be a skilled musician or singer who is able to recreate an authentic performance of the chosen original artist. The tribute circuit has grown in recent years and there is a big demand for acts at venues and festivals. However, the sector is dominated by established pro acts and it can be hard to get in.
You are an artist creating music for adverts, film and TV. Media has a constant thirst for new music to promote brands, or to provide incidental music in videos and films. You will create tracks and license these, probably via an agency, from whom you will get fees and royalties when your tracks are used. Here the emphasis is on creating music which will have commercial appeal to clients, so the criteria is very different to an original artist, who is creating the music they are passionate about.
One way in which many musicians supplement their income is via freelance teaching and instrument tuition. There are always going to be those who want to play the guitar, keyboard or drums. You will need to have excellent communication skills, be well organised and have lots of patience.