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Memoirs of Composer Chance Thomas

Chapter 29 - Sneak Peek Excerpt


Making money has always been an integral part of my music career paradigm. I was never among those who claimed they didn’t care about money. One experience in particular is illustrative. 

I was asked to join an afternoon panel at a regional Comic Con which featured four composers. In answering an audience question about art versus commerce, the other three composers stated that money was not a motivating factor in their work: 

“It’s not about the money, man. It’s about the art, the purity of expression, being true to yourself.” 

“I never think about the money. I just think about the music.” 

“If you’re in it for the money, you might as well hang it up now.” And so the dialogue went. 

But I disagreed. I posited that music scoring was a business. Although the business delivers a highly artistic service, it was nevertheless a business. Only with sufficient money would a composer be empowered to devote full-time efforts to composing.

Full-time devotion leads to higher quality work because the more time a person devotes to a particular pursuit, the more proficient they become at it. Additionally, a robust cash flow provides money to upgrade capital assets, engage in professional education, and employ outside experts who can make artistically elevating contributions to the composer’s work. All of these positive actions flow from a prosperous business, allowing the composer to deliver music scores of increasingly enhanced artistry and excellence.  

That’s where I gravitated. I always wanted to treat composing as a viable business that delivered an artistic service.  

Every composer who cultivates their craft and business long enough will eventually strike a decent payday. When that happens, some will party away every penny, or spend all their new money on new gear. Granted, periodic gear investments are an important enhancement to your arsenal. But I encourage composers to reserve a portion of any big payday for investing in appreciable assets. We live in a capitalist economy, which means those with appreciable assets win. I'm talking about real estate, stocks, precious metals, copyrights, and brands.  

Beginning 25 years ago, I started investing a portion of my music earnings in stocks and real estate. I also began building a brand and gathering copyrights. Those investments have grown to the point where I'm comfortably retired today. But I'm no unicorn or extraordinary outlier. This strategy can work for anyone. Let's explore some of the finer points...