Many people, all around the world, might view music very differently. For some people, music is essentially a lifestyle, and their entire life revolves around both creating and consuming music.

Often times, these people might be artists that think of music as their career. Of course, you don’t have to actually create music to be a fan of music, and it’s important to define what is a professional musician.

Some people might play their guitar once they get home from their work, but never actually promote or publicize the fact that they make music.

You might get the urge to write an interesting song every year, but that doesn’t mean that you understand what it takes to be a professional musician.

A professional musician understands that music can pay the bills, and they often have learned, over many years, how to make money through the music industry. This might take a significant amount of time.

There’s a good chance that you thought a professional musician became successful overnight, only to do some research and found out that they have been playing music and working hard for years, or even decades.

There are also some people that start off thinking about music as a hobby, only to later find that their life dream is to be the best professional musician that they can be. Here are some different ways to think about music and how it fits into your life.

What About Revenue?

Let’s say that you think of yourself as a professional musician, even though you work a day job to pay your bills.

However, you do go out of your way to perform at the local bar and are always telling everyone that you are a professional musician.

You might want to hold back on using this term, because what is a professional musician if music isn’t even paying your bills at this current moment?

If you get paid several hundred dollars for a show, are you a professional musician or is music simply just another way for you to make money?

The situation is much different if you are a professional musician who plays shows several nights per week, and you make thousands of dollars per show.

MusicPromotionCorp can help you promote your music and get thousands of new listeners.

You may have USED to be someone that played shows for free – but now music is something that has elevated your lifestyle considerably.

You have now grown a huge fan base that appreciates what you do, and are making an incredible living through your music alone!

Many would say that the second example is a true professional musician, and the first example is not an accurate definition of a professional musician.

Respecting Connections

There are many people that might make music in their free time, but they have no interest in making the right connections and moving up in the music industry.

A professional musician understands that he/she has to respect the connections that he/she has, because if they continue to burn bridges it may affect the amount of money they make in the future.

However, if your income doesn’t rely on music at all, you might care less about the connections that you have or will make in the future.

Let’s say that you are a professional musician and you know that many executives follow you on Twitter because you are making noise. They might not have approached you about a deal, but it is clear that they may be interested.

If you want to be a professional musician, you should understand that you might want to avoid making divisive statements, and it might affect your fan base.

Similarly, you might want to consider that a professional musician has to use these connections to their advantage. Let’s say that you have met some famous artists and have connected with them thanks to some mutual friends.

If you are a professional musician and take to social media to criticize an artist or an album, that is the kind of content that can go viral.

If you were hoping to collaborate with larger artists as a professional musician, you should know that your statements might be used against you in the future by fans, other artists, and more.

Constantly Growing

Let’s say that you play with a local band, and you have created an incredible project. You keep touring off of the project for years, but your band doesn’t actually end up recording any more music.

You are simply touring off old songs at this point. A professional musician is a musician that puts out project after project, and often – these albums explore different themes, sounds, and issues.

You can’t call yourself a professional musician if you aren’t interested in learning more about music and listening to other music to make sure that you are up to date with everything musically.

You might pay your bills because of past hits, but many would argue that a professional musician is interested in innovating. If you are a professional musician that has gone through different phases in his or her career, it’s easy to see how many people would think of you as a professional musician.

However, if you are in college, play in a band for a year, then become a politician for decades after that – it would be logical to call yourself a politician rather than a professional musician. If you are serious about understanding what do you need to become a musician – the answer is longevity.

When you see interviews with some of the most famous and successful artists in the world, you might be surprised to find that some of these people had nothing but devotion to the art form.

They might have even been homeless or stepped in the car, but somehow convinced the people around them that they had music that the world should hear.

A professional musician often takes massive personal and professional risks for their creative career, and it is disrespectful to claim that someone who dabbled in music has what it takes to be a professional musician when there are musicians that have never done anything but play music/instruments their entire lives.

Getting To The Goals

There’s one very easy way to differentiate between someone who is a professional musician and another individual who plays music but clearly isn’t cut out for a music career.

First and foremost, if you are a professional musician, it means that you have a plan and a roadmap for your career. Let’s say that you are a talented singer, and you put out music videos that have gone viral.

You may have hoped to gain ten thousand followers, only to find that you gained even more than ten thousand followers.

This is quite a milestone, and a professional musician would get right back to work. They might make their next goal to reach a certain amount of views, or gain even more followers – and make one hundred thousand followers the new goal and/or milestone.

If you want to know what is a professional musician, you should understand that a professional musician is someone who simply keeps persisting and thriving in the music industry, no matter what the obstacles are.

A professional musician is also constantly thinking about their legacy. Let’s say that you have what it takes to be a musician, and your music has definitely been getting noticed more recently.

You notice that some music industry artists are reaching out to you, and you are a huge fan of one particular artist in the genre.

You might consider making a goal suggesting that you will eventually land a collaboration with that artist in the next year, or two years, or three years. A professional musician is constantly trying to figure out how to elevate their career, whether it involves streaming numbers, views, follower counts, or another metric.


There are some people that call themselves professional musicians that the music industry might not recognize. Just because you sing at an open mic every once in a while, this doesn’t mean that you have what it takes to be a professional musician or grow your audience nationally or internationally.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that your music is a hobby, after all. Music can still be a hobby for those who never even hope to be a professional musician but can spend the time and money to cultivate their interest in music by purchasing equipment, music promotion services, or even a recording studio.

You should recognize that it takes a lot to become a professional musician and that you should realize that the music industry is also the “people industry.”

Many singers and rappers have become successful by showing respect to the right DJs, influencers, and program directors, and there’s nothing wrong with being a professional musician with connections.

If you are trying your best to record your music in your home studio, but you never actually release or record your music – plenty of people in the music industry would not be a professional musician.

If you have what do you need to become a musician, one thing is for sure: it might take more time and work than you thought!

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