Ever since the 1970s, a fiction has existed about the rich-and-famous rock star. According to legend, he only travels by Learjet or stretch limousine. He drinks only the finest Champagne. He has an endless supply of women, all of whom stand at the ready to serve as muse for his next big hit. Forty years ago this may have been true, but today the reality is quite different. Thanks to illegal downloading and almost nonexistent streaming royalties, rock musicians simply don’t make the kind of money they once did.
Even heavy metal and hard-rock musicians, who boast some of the most devoted fans on Earth, can in some cases barely make enough to get by. Canadian heavy metal musician Devin Townsend has enjoyed a busy career for more than 20 years, but in February he told the Music Business Facts Podcast exactly what that’s worth in monthly terms. “About five grand a month, before taxes,” he said.
This is where entrepreneurialism comes into play. What follows is a list of 10 very successful rock musicians who have made sure that if gigging on a grand scale ever ends and technology upends the royalty streams on which they have been able to depend, entrepreneurship sustains their fortunes.