Being an artist on the road sounds awesome, right? Five star hotels, first class travel, surrounded by luxury… who wouldn’t want that? While this is the life we see on Instagram, it’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to being an artist than flying around the world and staying in nice hotels, and that the financial decisions artists make can impact them greatly down the line.
Granted, if you’re a touring DJ that plays all over the world, having that next level of comfort can be very valuable to you, and beneficial for your mental health and performances. In some cases, being in a nice environment definitely helps out an artist on tour, especially if they are multiple weeks in and don’t even know which country they are in anymore. However, this is not the case for most artists, and if you’re reading this article, odds are you aren’t flying around the globe every weekend, but still on your way to reaching your goal.
However, these days it’s a bit too easy for artists that are coming up to think that’s the only way to do it. Without proper foresight, it’s possible, and very easy, to blow all of your hard earned cash on luxurious amenities.
When you’re on tour, it's generally up to you to decide how you want to spend what you make. While hotel suites and expensive seats are nice, do you really need them if you’re only playing one or two shows in a weekend in the same time zone?
Remember - nice amenities on tour aren’t part of the job. You have the choice to pay for the added luxury. It’s very easy to oversee this when you’re playing for big audiences and having a great time. Getting used to the good life too quickly can be very damaging to not only your wallet, but your expectations of the future, and your mentality as an artist. If your career takes a dip, you have less gigs and you can’t afford nice amenities anymore, your motivation will definitely take a dive too.
Feeling deserving of superstar treatment and not receiving it has been the downfall of many artists, and will continue to be so, as being an artist is a psychologically tough job that involves a lot of showing off, both to your colleagues and your audience. It’s very easy to get sucked into this and start acting beyond your means, so, in the words of Ice Cube - check yourself before you wreck yourself!
For this reason, it’s important to always be humble and realistic about the situation you are in. Artists are paid to entertain the audience that the promoter brought to the show, and how they decide to spend their money is their choice. A good way to remind yourself of this is to always think about the value and utility you bring to the promoter and the show. You want to keep as much of that value to yourself, right? So, why would you want to directly transfer all your hard earned work right into the pockets of hotels and airlines?
Ultimately, the choice is yours, but know that being a successful artist requires not only sacrifices in terms of time in the studio and your social life, but also requires sacrifices along the way to ensure that you can stay afloat. With the right habits and mindset, the world of artistry will become much clearer, and as you grow, you’ll have a better, more mature perspective which will help lead to a thriving career.