hobbyist wrote: I think I said: for making a living. If you do it for fun then things are okay as long as you dont expect to become famous. You might be the odds are very very long against that.
Music may have been the same; I was not involved with that back when.
Not talking about publishers or record producers but in context of the individual person trying to succeed.
Depending on how long ago you're talking about, I was there and tried exactly that. Early 1990s making a living doing live work with an established, if not famous, rock band and knocking out stuff as an individual on the side in the soundtrack and jingles departments. Our crowds were reliable and repeatable and resulted in a (basic but viable at the time) living for 6 people but those crowds were in the 100s, not the 1000s (with one or two specific event exceptions).
I could have opted to continue doing it but 1/40 of a millennia ago in the early 90s it wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. The gear we had to work with was hugely compromised compared to now. Less so if Mummy was related to the queen or Daddy owned a brewery but even serious money couldn't compete with Reaper on a modest laptop these days. There was no WWW, 8 tracks were a luxury outside of very expensive studios and we physically sent out hundreds of photocopied newletters a month in the post to keep our crowds warm.
If now I had the energy, image and drive that I had then and wanted to do it I think I'd have as good a go at most at it, but at my age (and for the last 2 decades) I'd have to sacrifice a bunch of things I don't want to sacrifice to do it. That and the fact I have none of the energy, image and drive for mainstream recognition any more renders the point moot. Apart from which I 'grew up' and having lived the dream for a while I got practical and got a paying job ... neither the first nor the last of many but those intervening years of on-the-road chaotic musical freedom are precious memories.
I probably wouldn't do it with the material I output now, but if I'd started producing what the current audiences seem to want then it would be an option to go in that direction. I have zero interest in doing so, but there you go. The catch-22 of being older and... I won't say wiser, but certainly with different priorities.
I know one or two youngsters (early 20s) with the image and the drive but not the talent (they expect it all to just happen, which ain't gonna) and I know a couple of youngsters with the talent but not the drive (they spent the time on crafting their skills and bypassed the whole PR/marketing thing).
In short, I don't think it's any harder now than it ever was, because you're not taking into account the additional challenges to make demos to succeeed back then through lack of equipment, and the fact that the Internet didn't exist, so you had to make demos to get an intro (unless you knew someone) ... and so on.
It's changed, certainly. I'd say if anything today's wannabe's have more opportunity than those of old (throw stuff on Bandcamp, promote it). However because there are a lot more of them, you need talent to rise above the crowd (well, one always did really) but more to the point you need to break through the marketing barrier.
However, if the likes of Zep, The Beatles (sorry CS70 I omitted them earlier but so ... many ... examples!), Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, ELP or Queen popped up tomorrow I suspect they would have little trouble breaking through. All they'd have to do would be to start a youtube channel and throw a few moody pics on instagram.
The talent would do the rest I'm fairly sure, and not being funny or nuffink, I've seen relatively little in the way of talent on that level in recent decades.
No regrets here, quite the opposite. I had an amazing time. If anything I'm sad that fewer people can perform in half decent-but-modest venues as regularly (with a bit of work getting bookings) as we could back then. Live music was much more of a thing in locals, clubs and theaters than it is now.
Still, you have the Internet, and we didn't!