I think maybe I’m not explaining myself clearly.
Well, for one, that’s absolutely happening in the pop world. There are bands hitting the studio with million dollar recording and promotion budgets and emerging as stars. Yngwie in some ways is maybe not the best example, since he broke out in an era where technical guitar playing was in, and today it’s regulated to a niche - you don’t sell out ampitheaters, you play clubs packed with guitarists scruitinizing your hand movements as you play.
But, I think what I’m trying to get across, is the advent of widespead (and high quality) home recording and the ability to connect with others over the internet has allowed artists to support themselves on a smaller scale in ways they couldn’t previously - not spend “a few hundred grand and make millions,” but spend a couple grand and make tens of thousands.
The last show I saw was Angel Vivaldi, Scale the Summit, and Andy James. None of them are household names outside of the guitar world, but Andy, Chris Letchford (of StS) and Angel are all monster players who (well, I’m less sure of Letchford, I seem to recall him coming from a wealthy family) have been able to support themselves writing original music, teaching, and through sponsorship deals. I’ve known Angel personally foor a number of years now and I think it was three or four years now since he quit his day job and went after music full time, and things seem to be going pretty well for him. And he did it all independently - no label, mostly committing his own money but crowdfunding his last two albums, buzz building through word of mouth and over the internet, and leveraged that first into a deal with Ibanez and Dimarzio, and these days with both Mesa/Boogie and Charvel. He’s a long way from collecting Rolexes like the Yngster, but he’s supporting himself. And of course then there’s Periophery, which love them or hate them they’re probably the hottest new band in metal, who I remember from back when they were just this dude named bulb posting these crazy Meshuggah inspired riffs on the Petrucci forum and sevenstring.org. They’ve turned into a financial juggernaut these days, without the support of a major label.
Back in 1987, how many guys other than Satriani, Vai, and Yngwie were really able to make any real money as instrumental musicians? Yet, maybe a month or so ago, I saw three guys on tour making modest but feasible incomes as independent artists. I think the real problem here is that outside of pop music, labels just aren’t that much use to guitar-driven music these days.
Neither here nor there, though - the real post of all of this is Chris Brooks is a killer player and seems to be doing just fine for himself