While it might seem that the possibilities are certainly expanding, Pete says that the financial opportunities are not expanding at all — they are contracting. "[However], the point is that even with that it is still business," he states. "It's just that you're going to have to work a little harder, wait a little longer, and make a little less." However, if it is what you're passionate about, if it is what you have to do to be happy, the professor is sure that you will still be okay.
"[It] has never been easy in the music industry. Some of our students have come here thinking that our connections will help them, but you still have to apply to your internships, you still have to apply for your job. Our students intern and they bust their ass in these internships to become the best intern they've ever seen because that's how you get a job," Alan shares. This comes as no surprise: there was a senior who completed 11 internships before she graduated, which let her see what jobs she actually liked and because of she already has so much experience, she is much more likely to get the offer.
With more opportunities comes more competition. "I realized that there are so many things that other people can do better than me, and why try to do something that someone else can do better than you [when you can] really seek out finding your voice when it comes to writing music," Matthew Wang
, a film composer working in Los Angeles, thinks.
At the same time, "there are a ton of different jobs in the music industry that nobody really knows about when they're 17 or 18 years old," Alan mentions. At Clive Davis, the first and second year curriculum focuses on helping young musicians understand the whole spectrum of possibilities and everything they can learn. Watson had a senior who was working full-time his entire academic year as the Head of Content for a VR company that specified in arcades. The job turned out to be a perfect fit for the student, even though this wasn't the typical music job he was looking for at first.
As technologies advance everyday, musicians are finding new creative ways and platforms to earn money. "I would say that even as technology develops, many of the foundational principles of music performance, education, and business remain the same," Sean notes. "It is just that the medium through which those things are communicated is modified. Having a firm grounding in the practical application of music and good patterns set up for yourself from a professional perspective will allow you to address whatever changes in technology and business."
The musician himself has implemented online lessons as part of his teaching routine thanks to online video chat platforms. Although a lot of people don't view bagpipes as an instrument that can be taught through video call, Sean described the process to be different
, not difficult
: you don't need a video to teach someone, as most mistakes can be heard.
"There are always going to be middle-class artists that are actually making money from their music, and maybe they supplement it with one thing or the other, but eventually you snowball, and you try to grow that snowball a little bit bigger, and hopefully that's planting seeds for future income. Ultimately, I think [getting a job] is easier [now], but it's got to be easier for the right people," Alan explains. "If you don't have the right mindset to join and be adaptable and savvy about your choices of what you want to do, it's going to be hard."
"Now is the best time to be able to make a living in music. There definitely was way more money to be had in the 90s and before that from CD sales and other aspects of the music industry, and right now it's harder to make millions of dollars as one individual, but it's way easier to make a pretty stable standard income," Matthew elaborates, adding that there are also many easier ways to break into the music industry now than before.
"It's very easy to get your music on Spotify, and because of that, you have to figure out how to make it shine. If [you] post a music video on YouTube and [you] want people to watch it, [you're] competing with not only people from your music school: you're competing with Beyonce, your best friend, Jimmy Fallon, and a clip from the New Avengers movie. You're competing with everything!" Wang concludes. "That can feel so defeating, but at the same time that is the point. Invest the time in your creativity and try to find your unique voice. Figure out what instruments you like, how you like your productions to come off, and when you are fully confident that you've created music that defines who you are, release it into the world. Not everyone is going to like it, but if your unique artistic voice shines through, those who listen to your music will stick around."