Dining out has always given me mixed feelings. It's fun, of course! I missed it through much of covid. And of course it happens often in a musician's life. Like every Canadian musician, I can still recite my former band's full Tim Hortons drive-thru order.
But I know that dining out – and especially drinking out – is one of my excesses that I've never really been able to afford on my early career budget.
On the other hand, I love the people who get the bulk of that money when I tap the card! It's local venues, breweries, cafes, and the people who employ them. I enjoy supporting them.
I hope they understand if the visits aren't as frequent in leaner times and that I can resume when it stops being an excess.
The entertainment industry is all about excesses.
The best popular art is the likes you've never seen. It's extra. You'll only recommend the exceptional things to your friends.
Like other industries, if you're not growing you're nowhere. The pie needs to get bigger for everyone (label, publisher, agent, manager, etc.) to keep having a slice – and also leave enough for you.
You do lots of expensive things when you join the industry – make albums in studios for many days with a producer, go on tour, or buy media/publicity. These are excesses. Your livelihood doesn't depend on your use of them. You won't miss your rent because you didn't hire a producer.
In fact, it's much more likely you're injecting lots of your own money into these things (or applying for the government's if possible, which is also your own money).
And if you're as compulsively all-in on this career path as me, you might shuffle money around to make rent because you're hiring that wonderful producer. If you're sorting actions into what builds a career and what is consumption for your own sake, I must say that this one falls into the latter bucket.
What if we didn't do these expensive industry things until they stopped being excesses? Then, we'd build careers around profit. That would take some thrift and some questioning, but it would give us cash in our pockets for more of those good times dining out.