Most people tend to talk about how healthy singing is for you and what a wonderful career path singing is. The problem is that making it as a singer isn’t that easy, most singers can’t sustain themselves from what they are earning with their singing. While most will say that a talented singer will always make it but this is not the case for the vast majority of them so you better have a backup plan if your singing career doesn’t go as planned.
The disadvantages of singing are no guarantees of success, big upfront investment, competitive industry, constant auditions, no steady work, criticism, constant spotlight, fake people, and damaged vocal cords.
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Way too many young people focus on making something out of themselves in the music industry, but the industry is already saturated with new talent, and making some space for yourself will be extremely difficult. On the other hand, there are plenty of hobby singers who have never studied singing, never went to a vocal coach and they still made it big, so even if things don’t go your way right off the bat they can still turn in your favor.
The main problem with a singing career is that there is no guarantee that you will even make a liveable wage. No amount of talent and number of degrees will ever guarantee that you will become a successful singer. The main reason why there are no guarantees is that singing is subjective and trends tend to change extremely quickly. I mean just look at what paintings looked like 200 years ago and now you place a pineapple on the floor and call it art, yes that is an actual thing that happened and people were taking photos of it and debating the meaning of a pineapple…
If you go to a music school or to a private vocal coach you will always hear that you are talented, but far too often this is not the reality. The problem is that you are paying these people and if they say that you will never be a singer as you lack the qualities for it then you will no longer pay, so instead, they will often praise you for being a good singer which only needs a couple of more lessons. But once you go into the real world the reality will hit you big time. If you want to become a better singer then you should check out my recent article Online singing lessons ( Top 8 ).
No guarantees of becoming a successful singer
The singing industry isn’t like any other industry, where once you have finished the uni and you got your degree you can apply for work and they will hire you based on the degree. If you are going to a music school then you will hear from every professor how important a degree is, but once you go out in the real world with your fancy degree you will soon find it that nobody is going to hire you to sing based on a degree.
The problem is that even if you are a talented singer you still have no guarantees of making it big. Although hard work most of the time pays off but in certain situations, you will need some luck as well. You don’t need to be a famous singer in order to make a decent living from singing, for more information check out my recent article How to become a backup singer? ( In 9 Steps ).
A singing career is a big upfront investment
One of the main disadvantages of singing is that it is a big investment, both in terms of money and time. If you are serious about singing then you will probably go to a music school, which costs a lot of money. In addition to this, you will most likely dedicate a portion of your life just to singing. The problem is that no amount of time you have dedicated or how many degrees you have it will still not guarantee that you will become a successful singer.
There are a lot of singers who dedicate a big portion of their lives to singing, yet they either don’t make any progress or they do not have the courage to go to a couple of auditions to get a job. If you are singing as a hobby then it is perfectly normal that you would invest some time and money into your singing. But if you are planning to make singing your career then you have to be very careful about how you spend your time and money.
Singing is a competitive industry
The music industry is one of the most competitive ones, the sad truth is that most singers will not make a career out of singing no matter how talented they are. Generally speaking, the more competitive an industry is the more money is there to be made, and this is definitely true for singing. There are a lot of one-hit singers, who got famous due to one song and they are still earning from that song decades later.
If you have ever been to an audition then you have probably noticed that there are a lot of extremely talented singers all competing for one spot. Simply put the supply of new singers is way too high for the demand, and this is why most singers don’t make it.
Constant singing auditions
For a lot of beginner singers, auditions are the worst, and I can understand why. Usually, you will have to wait for a couple of hours until your turn comes, sing for a couple of minutes, and only hear “we will call you back”. Usually, that call never comes, as there have been hundreds of singers for that audition and this might not be the only audition for the same position. In certain cases, auditions also have an entry fee, as they have to pay the staff.
Sometimes these fees can be justified, but there are a lot of fake companies that set up auditions just to collect these fees, so you have to be very careful which audition you go to. If you are constantly going to auditions then you should know how to prepare your voice for them, for more information check out my recent article How to prepare your voice for an audition? ( In 13 Steps ).
Singing is not steady work
Even if you manage to get a couple of paid gigs you still have to look for new gigs constantly. If you got hired by a band then the success of the band will determine how long you will have steady work. This is why a lot of bands start out as hobby bands, this way all the members can have a steady 9-5 job and play with the band in their spare time. Some of these bands make it big, but only a small fraction of them will.
As a singer, it will be fairly difficult to find steady work and this is why so many singers have a 9-5 job and they sing whenever they get a gig. The money you earn from singing can also fluctuate a lot, although this depends on a lot of factors.
Singers tend to be criticized a lot
If you want to be a singer then you have to get ready to be criticized, constantly. This is normal for singers, you will be criticized no matter what you do, especially if you become famous. Social media isn’t helpful, as you will find yourself criticized for some random comment you made a decade ago. As a singer, you will have to have a thick skin or develop one if you don’t have one. A big part of singing is about confidence, and not a lot of singers can handle criticism which inevitably makes them question themselves and lowers their confidence.
Auditions are probably the worse, most people will be harshly criticized at auditions even if they make a small mistake.
Successful singers are constantly in the spotlight
Congratulations, you have made it, now you are an internationally famous singer. Now everything you do will be seen by the entire world, and it will be extremely difficult to have a normal life. This is why a lot of famous singers get depression, no matter what they do they will never be able to make everybody happy, and trying to make everybody happy just makes them lose it. A lot of famous singers simply isolate themselves in their homes, and you can understand now why they are doing it.
The singing industry is full of fake people
There are a lot of fake people in the music industry, and it is hard to know who you can trust and who not to. Successful singers will be surrounded by a lot of fake people, to a point where they think that those are their best friends. Beginner singers have to be extra careful with every contract they sign, as there are a lot of traps in this industry. Far too many famous singers are bound to contracts and they only earn a fraction of what they are actually making.
Singing can lead to damaged vocal cords
As a singer, the last thing you would want is to have damaged vocal cords. But far too often successful singers have to sing as often as they can, while they are still in the spotlight. This is why so many singers have damaged vocal cords and some also develop vocal cord nodules, like Adele for example. The problem is that you can always make money but if you damage your vocal cords so badly that you can no longer sing then you can say goodbye to your singing career.
As you can see, singing is not all sunshine and rainbows, it does have some significant disadvantages. Although if you are a singer you shouldn’t be discouraged by them, no matter in what industry you want to work in there will be some disadvantages. Just try to be the best singer you can possibly be and avoid the pitfalls of the industry.