You don’t have to be a professional athlete to make it as a professional musician.
In fact, according to a report released Wednesday, it is the only profession where you can make money on a full-time basis for less than $12 an hour.
“There is no other job that is this easy to get a job in,” said Karen Mowat, executive director of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents the nation’s top musicians.
“The real question is, where do you start?”
Mowate’s report estimates that professional musicians make $17 million per year in royalties, but only $3.5 million of that is from recording.
The majority of that comes from touring, and it’s not even close to the $6 million in profit recorded artists make each year.
But it’s enough to keep many musicians afloat.
The top 25 musicians on the Forbes 400 list of the most profitable musicians make a combined $8.8 million a year.
The median annual salary is $62,000, and the top earners make more than $1 million a month.
And even musicians who don’t tour are making big bucks.
In 2012, professional musicians made $7.6 million from touring.
That number jumped to $8 million in 2013.
“We’re seeing the rise of artists who can tour for a long period of time,” said Kevin Krasnostein, a music professor at Ohio State University.
“It is a great career for those artists.”
Krasna, who runs the site the Music Industry Business Institute, said the real problem is the lack of jobs for musicians.
The unemployment rate for musicians is 8.9 per cent, which is much higher than the national average of 5.5 per cent.
“I’ve had to say to my students that we are the ones who are making a lot of this stuff,” he said.
“You’re making more than we are.”
Many musicians are starting out in the music industry to pay for their education.
But some are not, he said, because of the rising cost of tuition and fees.
“If you can’t afford to pay tuition and a couple of years of your income will be taken from you,” Krasnick said.
Mowar said it’s possible to make as much as $12 a hour playing the guitar, but it requires a lot more work than most people are comfortable doing.
“For most people who aren’t very well paid, it’s a very hard job to find work,” she said.
Krasnic, the economist, said some musicians have to work in concert halls, recording studios, stadiums and other venues.
The music industry employs about 500,000 people.
But there are no jobs for most musicians in the video game industry, and that includes developers and artists.
“What you need is to get in a studio and play a game, but you can do that on a small scale for a couple thousand dollars,” Karsnosti said.
In 2016, about 60 per cent of video game developers earned less than about $30,000 annually.
“Video game developers don’t make enough to live on, so they are finding other ways to make money,” Mowatt said.
But for musicians, there are still ways to get by, she said, like working from home.
The American Federation for Musicians has estimated that musicians make about $2.4 million per month in royalties from playing games, and more than a third of that goes to paying for rent and food.
Some musicians make even more money by touring, Krasnik said.
Some of the biggest names in the industry tour together.
Some are big-name bands that are paid millions of dollars to play festivals.
Others are smaller bands who make a little bit less money.
“A lot of the bigger acts like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eagles, etc., all tour together,” Kasnost said.
The biggest players are also among the biggest critics.
“They’re going to say a lot about what they do,” Kvasnost told CBC News.
“And they’re going a little different way than the average musician.”
A music industry that is losing its identity is a lot less comfortable than it was 20 years ago, said Krasnov, who works with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the National Centre for Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
“People who used to be the Beatles are not going to be Beatles anymore.
People are going to want to go back to the days of the Beatles,” he added.
The big change, Kvasnova said, is that the music business is losing the people it once was.
“Every band that was once popular is now a little more fringe,” he explained.
“Most people who used be the Eagles are not Eagles anymore.
It’s a lot like the fashion industry was before fashion.”
That change is happening all over the world, he added, and many musicians are feeling the pinch.
“Musicians, I think