Originally Posted by MikeM
There are several pros on this board that play whatever it takes to make a living - but they're playing music for a living, which is no small feat and I have no interest in minimizing their achievements, but ... for me, I really like the originals route and there's really no money in that (at least not for us 99.9999 %-ers).
I like playing dingy little bars to 10 people. We might start off playing to 10 people and if 5 are left at the end, and if they have grins on their faces, then I put an X in the 'win' column. I also enjoy rehearsals where we're putting together and nailing down new material because when we're done and like what we've got, then we go into a cheap studio and have someone record us. Because it's always on our own dime, there is nobody to please but ourselves (no producer, per se) and we're not beholden to anyone or entity. It's really the whole process that is fun for me. I prefer having my income come from elsewhere that allows me to do that. How else can you fund band rent, equipment purchases, and studio time?
But back to the original question ...
You can call yourself a sellout if:
1) You get a day job and give up your dream of playing for a living, or
2) You play whatever paying gig is offered you, no matter if it suits your musical preferences, so that you can avoid the morning commute.
It cuts both ways and just comes down to what your personal drivers are.
You make a good point, at least you kind of see where the money is going when doing originals but to not see any money coming in would be discouraging. I don't expect anything in return for any of the original acts I'm involved in. I did play covers for this dave matthews type of act at really nice venues but the pay was just a bonus. I'll tell you, a 30min set with an original act doesn't cut it sometimes but a 3-hour cover gig will definitely get my fix for the week.