It was never really lucrative

Chris Randall on his music business success:

My absolute best year as a professional touring musician was 1996. That year, we had a semi-hit that tied in with a multi-platinum selling soundtrack album. I got a large (for me at that time) amount of mechanical royalties from the sales of that soundtrack, plus we played about 300 shows that year, mostly in theaters and larger venues as a headliner. I was, by any measure you’d care to use, one of the more successful musicians of that year. You want to know what my before-tax income was? $75,000. That’s the best I ever did, as a demonstrably successful artist in the top tier of my chosen genre. That seems like a lot now, but I paid self-employment tax on that money, and whatever was left over went to bills. So I spent 1996 more or less broke, like every other year in the 90s.

The rockstar dream is just that, a dream. There’s a reason the saying “there are 10 people making a million dollars and a million people making 10 dollars” exists.