Opinion: Indie musicians deserve to be paid better

Independent musicians deserve to be paid better for all the hard work they put into their craft


Beth Brackmann

A lot of people assume that, if an artist’s music is on Spotify, then they must be a rockstar making a million dollars. The truth is that many artists, especially those in independent and underground music, probably aren’t making much money off of their music at all.

Preston Boysen, Staff Writer

Musicians are some of the most impactful people in the world, with music being the only universal language. Music is a massive part of how people express themselves in their day to day lives. However, Musicians are under-appreciated for so many reasons partly, because they don’t get paid nearly enough. 

Small scale musicians put forth their best efforts to get their name out there. Becoming known for music is one of the biggest uphill battles that musicians have to fight. This hard work and stress that musicians are put under means they should be getting paid even more for their work.

“I don’t think smaller musicians get paid enough because I only really see them perform on weekends which leads me to think that these musicians are working full time jobs during the week.” Kyle Buzek, a senior at McHenry upper campus said.

Musicians do make some money from venues that they perform at, but usually the money ends up being spent on more music equipment. Mackenzie O’Brien is a former student of MCHS who went on to pursue a career in music. She knows first hand the struggles that come with becoming a musician, that being the fact that even the money they make goes toward making more music. 

“Some musicians get paid very well such as the session players I have worked with in Nashville.  However, session players are at the top of the game! Most musicians are greatly underpaid.  A lot of folks do not figure in all of the costs that come along with performing.” O’Brien states. “I get paid for each booking I have; however, I have to practice often, attend and pay for vocal and other lessons, have to pay for my stage clothes, pay for trips to Nashville to record and pay some studio fees. I also have to pay all of my band members”

“Not only does a large amount of what musicians are paid go toward their career, but there are other factors that play into the little pay that smaller musicians get. Part of the issue is the large discrepancy between pay at different venues among other changing variables. 

“Some gigs pay very well, but some gigs I take because perhaps it means I’m opening for a big name.  Sometimes those gigs result in no pay at all!” Says, O’Brien. 

Independent musicians, just like popular musicians deserve to get paid for their art. The amount of work that is put in by smaller musicians deserves to be appreciated more by the general public, and a lot of times that appreciation is shown through money. Smaller musicians deserve to be paid more for their art as well as be able to have a successful career for their talents.