How Artists Make Money
"Starving artist" may be a cliche — but if most artists aren't literally starving, it's a fact that few make a real living with the work they love. In this series, NPR looks at how creative people keep body and soul together.
Jon Auer (second from left) and Ken Stringfellow (right) held The Posies together until the band broke up in 1998. Back together, the pair shares songwriting duties with Matt Harris (second from right) and Darius Minwalla (left).
The members of The Posies were barely out of their teens when they got a record deal with a major label. Their power pop stormed commercial radio 15 years ago, but it's been a while since one of their songs hit the charts. The band keeps playing, though, and its members still make money from music.
Ghostwriters face a trade-off: stable writing work in exchange for credit on the cover and book royalties.
Authors struggling to hit it big on the publishing scene find that writing other people's books can open the door to financial freedom.
Every year American colleges, universities and conservatories graduate hundreds of trained classical musicians. Only a small handful will be able to get full-time salaried work with a major orchestra. Yet flutist Tod Brody has managed to find a way to pay the bills with his music.