The Side Hustle: To Replace Revenues, Artists Tap Other Talents

Radney Foster performs a private concert after hosting a farm-to-table dinner. Photo by Cyndi Hoelzle When Radney Foster and Suzy Bogguss were busy riding the upper reaches of the country charts in the 1990s, they couldn’t have fathomed that two decades later, record sales, radio airplay and touring wouldn’t provide enough income to pay the bills and put their kids through college. But as file-sharing, satellite radio and streaming services helped turn the music business inside out, even artists who once sold out arenas have been forced to seek alternative revenue streams — good ol’ side hustles — to keep their families fed. “Everyone I talk to who is a singer-songwriter, from people in a band with five in the van to people who are just going out with their guitar, have all talked about, in the last two or three years, the precipitous drop in CDs as merchandise sales,” Foster notes. “Diminishing royalties have hit all the way up and down the food chain for everyone.” Foster should know. He spent his share of time toward the top of that chain, racking up a string of top 10 hits as half of ’80s duo Foster & Lloyd, then as…

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Subscription to the American Songwriter Print Magazine
  • Access to all Feature Magazine Content Online
  • Access to Print Edition Archives
  • Premium content in our Songwriter U section
  • Discounts on vinyl, Songwriter services, and other American Songwriter Partners
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started an American Songwriter membership! Click here to learn more.