I've mentioned before about Cat Valente writing a serial novel online to pay her bills. And it looks like Tim Pratt is going to be doing something similar. Amanda Palmer's rent isn't being paid by her record label, it's being paid by her fans. And Thea Gilmore is looking for angels to help her make music.
None of them are looking for charity. They just want to get paid for working.
What? Being a writer or a rock star doesn't sound like work? Okay. Try this: Write a song, music and lyrics, please. You can even choose the instrument. Now go perform it in public. In front of strangers. Or this: write a short story, 2500-4500 words. With a beginning, middle, and end, character development and plot. Then give it to people you don't know, and ask them to tell you what they think of it. That's just one song, one story. Think about making an album, writing a novel.
Just because something is creative, doesn't mean it's not work. Just because something seems like a nice way to make a living, doesn't mean it's a good way, or an easy one.
And I wonder if we're returning, at least partially, to the age of patronage, where fans support artists directly. As someone just starting out as a writer, and thinking about how long it might take to establish myself, and knowing that even having books on shelves, like Cat Valente and Tim Pratt do, doesn't mean security, I wonder if that might not be a good thing.