Student loan debt is more than just a financial hardship for artists with college degrees; it’s a professional death sentence.
- It might be difficult for musicians who rely on student loans to pay for their undergraduate degree to find a viable career path.
- Many musicians cannot pursue a full-time career in music because of the significant expenses connected with being a musician.
- Rayland Baxter, a Nashville musician, told us about the difficulties of paying loan payments of $600 per month while pursuing a career in music.
As a lacrosse player, he received a full athletic scholarship at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore in 2002. Nevertheless, after his sophomore year, Baxter, a communications major, was forced to take a break from school and assured his coach that his scholarship would be maintained when he returned. Easy Loans Online – OakPark
But it wasn’t.
His scholarship had been replaced by a new one when he returned to Loyola in 2005. Baxter was compelled to take out loans for his junior and senior years because of the high cost of tuition.
Unsolved on a national scale
In this battle, Baxter is far from alone. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, 44 million Americans have school debt – overall, Americans owe about $1.5 trillion in student loans.
It’s almost unheard of to attend college nowadays without taking out a student loan. Even though more people are going to college to earn better salaries once they graduate, higher education expenses have skyrocketed. According to the College Board’s 2018 Trends in College Pricing Report, tuition at private nonprofit four-year institutions has increased three times in the last three decades while tuition at public four-year colleges has increased six times.
Even though a college degree is not required to become a musician, some people like to have a Plan B if they fail to make it as a musician. Debts accrued while making music might prohibit some artists from ever achieving their goal of making it big.
A musician’s ability to make a living as a musician might be hampered by the high expenses of performing and promoting one’s music. Unlike many other professions, artists must invest a significant amount of money in everything from their instruments and studio time to merchandising and concert tours.
Guitars, for example, may cost anything from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars. Artists still need to purchase recording equipment and the software even if they opt for DIY. Purchase or renting a van and paying for petrol, food, and lodging are some of the considerations artists must make while embarking on a tour.
Traditional nine-to-five jobs, where gas is the primary expenditure, are far from this. Health insurance and a 401(k) retirement plan are everyday rewards in more traditional employment.
If you have college debts, can you still be a musician?
Student Loan Planner, a consultancy firm started by Travis Hornsby, assists recent college grads with debts ranging from $50,000 to $1 million. In his opinion, it is possible to follow your dreams even while you are in debt.
“Student debts don’t have to stand in the way for most individuals who aspire to be artists,” Hornsby added.
According to him, clients who are interested in music should avoid taking out private loans and instead use an income-based repayment plan when they graduate.
With the appropriate strategy, you won’t have to worry about where the money comes from to pay off your debts; instead, Hornsby said you could concentrate on other crucial expenses, such as rent and food.
Music became Baxter’s true passion when he dropped out of the lacrosse team after losing his scholarship.
For him, the final two years of college were “great” since they were spent playing cover bands in which everyone in the group was terrible. “During my senior year, the parents of one of my housemates asked me, ‘Are you going out and making music?’ ‘No, this is just a pastime,’ I said. I’m moving to Colorado, and that’s it; I’m getting a dog and a cabin.'”
Before moving back to Nashville, he had no intention of turning his pastime into a full-time job, but he decided to do just that after his first two years out of college. Baxter stayed with family friends and took part-time manual labor jobs to devote more time to writing his invigorating but melancholy folk-infused compositions.
A student loan business called Baxter up to seven times a day and sent letters demanding that he repay the $70,000 he owed to Sallie Mae.
Baxter received one of those calls when he was in Chicago a few years back to attend Lollapalooza with pals. At this point, the concept for the song “Casanova” was conceived. One of Baxter’s best-known songs, “Wide Awake,” appeared on his third album published in 2013. Since signing to ATO Records in 2012, Baxter has released three albums.
Sallie Mae is brought to life in an animated music video for “Casanova” by Baxter, who now pays roughly $600 each month after not making a five-year payment.
“As far as I know, it will be there for the rest of my life,” Baxter remarked.
Privilege as a systemic problem
Zach Sullentrup, 24, is unquestionably one of the fortunate ones. He, unlike Baxter, did not take out student loans to attend the University of Missouri, where he studied media and graduated with honors in 2004.
Now, Sullentrup is employed at an advertising firm in St. Louis as a copywriter for the company. The Astounds and Tidal Volume have been his leading bands since high school, although he also works as a solo artist.
Suellentrop says he began taking lessons as a child. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to pursue it either as a job or as a pastime for the rest of my life.”
Even though Sullentrup has no college debt, he has spent considerably in his music career