Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 999: Life after music

If you are a professional musician—that is, you’re being paid to write and perform music and can actually make a living from it—you’re a part of an infinitesimal quintile of people who are able to do that. You are living the dream…

This, in fact, may be the only career you’ve ever known. You’ve never had a “real” job. Maybe you’ve had a chance to see the world because of music. And if you love what you’re doing and the money works, you want this to go on forever.

But it probably won’t. At some point, the music stops.

It might not be your fault. The music industry moves fast. One day you’ve got it all figured out, working from immediate deadline to immediate deadline and from gig to gig. And then everything stops.

Maybe it happens quickly. Maybe it happens slowly then all at once. Changes in musical trends. The industry changes. Trends change. Technology changes. And one day, what you offer—what you can do best—is no longer in demand.

It’s like Captain Jean-Luc Picard says: “You can do everything right and still lose. That’s not weakness. That’s life.”

So, what’s next? If you exit the world of music—be it voluntarily or by force—what do you do?

Maybe it’s best to study what some other musicians have done to transition from rock star to civilian life. This is a look at examples of life after music.

Songs heard on this show:

  • The Clash, Career Opportunities
  • Communards, Don’t Leave Me This Way
  • Blur, There’s No Other Way
  • Five Finger Death Punch, A Little Bit Off
  • Japan, Adolescent Sex
  • Elastica, Line Up
  • Faith No More, Epic
  • Pulp, Common People
  • REM, Driver 8
  • Econoline Crush, You Don’t Know What It’s Like.

Here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist for the show.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37816 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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