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January 21, 2020

Company X is a prestigious music apprenticeship festival for instrumentalists and singers. They take in about $15 million USD a year in revenue, own over $80 million dollars in assets, including real estate, investments, and cash on hand, and pay their CEO almost half...

December 23, 2019

Fatherhood has made me realize my time spent vs. income earned ratio is way off. I was spending too much time making “exposure bucks” and that needed to change.

A year ago, I made a promise to my wife Devora, my unborn son, and myself. First, I would trim down the botto...

December 9, 2019

A full-time singing career costs a million dollars. Seriously.

Imagine you have a million dollars, and someone offers you a wager. ”Invest it all with me,” she says. “We’ll wait 10 years, at which point you’ll have nothing 99 times out of a hundred.”

“Hmm,” you think, “t...

August 21, 2019

I am a loving father. I am a working singer. Can I be both?

May 31st 2019, 1:19 AM at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA was the most terrifying moment of my life.  Remy Winston Finkelstein was pulled out of the womb, his face pale blue, arms limply hanging below his...

July 15, 2019

Artist fees aren’t even close to the true cost of our labor. The price of taking a gig is way, way higher than you think.

A key goal of the Middle Class Artist is to provide creatives with an all-purpose toolkit, drawn from my background in economics, statistics, and po...

May 22, 2019

I’ll be honest: I think a lot of budgets are dumb. Whether it’s done with envelopes, spreadsheets, or an online dashboard, I don’t need a screen full of numbers telling me what I can and cannot do. I’m plenty smart and I’ll be damned if I can’t buy a 12-pack of tea tow...

May 16, 2019

The question ‘how much does a full-time classical singer make per year?’ is a thorny one. There are singers that perform as their only job; there are opera singers, concert singers, new music singers, and ensemble singers; there are singers that also teach; there are s...

May 6, 2019

Even though it was over 7 years ago, I remember the day I decided to stop pursuing a full-time career singing opera.

I was a young artist/cover getting ready to do a run-out concert. My apartment was near the concert venue, so a colleague asked to stop there to get read...

April 29, 2019

Big corporations like Google or Apple, with patient shareholders and deep pockets, can spend years investing in themselves without turning a profit. Amazon, our new shopping overlord, started in 2006 and only in the last few years turned a respectable profit.


April 15, 2019

There is a gravitational force, a cosmic pull for all artists towards the spotlight. We can’t help but dream of winning the title role, performing the star-making solo to a crowd of adoring fans. We think we have something special to offer the world, and we’ve been con...

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My name is Zach Finkelstein, and I'm a 34-year old classical tenor living a comfortable, fulfilling middle-class life in Seattle with my wife Devora. 


My primary career is music: I am a leading professional concert and operatic tenor in North America, particularly in the works of Bach, Mozart and Handel. For the past seven years, I've sung as a soloist all over the world, from Boston to Beijing. 


I also work remotely as a senior public affairs and strategy consultant: I analyze and advise on Canadian election campaigns as well as in the transportation, energy, education, media, healthcare, food and beverage, non-profit, and governmental sectors. 


The goal of this blog is to minimize the "starving" part of the "starving artist", by creating a toolkit that any artist can use to have a chance at a successful career. I’ll cover topics from business development to marketing to budgeting and accounting to personal finance to life on the road. As I get deeper into the process, it will include audio interviews with industry professionals including agents, directors, and working artists in all fields.

Singing great is necessary, but not sufficient. You need real world skills to survive.

Britten and Pears:

the Canticles

available now on iTunes

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