For four thousand years, there were two ways to make a living as a musician.
You could be a troubadour. That is, strap your harp or lute or hurdy-gurdy on your back and travel town to town. Set up on a street corner, in a market square, or in the corner of a pub, and start playing. Sing the epic or play the requests and hope you make enough money or charity to get a hot meal and a place to sleep before you move on to the next town. You are Homer, you are any one of a number of anonymous medieval bards, you are a vaudevillian or music-hall performer, you are Woody Guthrie.
Or, you could find a patron. Become a court musician, write and play for banquets, weddings, religious holidays, coronations. You work for the Catholic Church, writing masses and choral music, playing organ and directing the choir. You are Haydn, whipping off a symphony a week for the court concerts. You live your life in the service industry, with art as a by-product. You are Handel, you are Lully, you are Palestrina.
Then, a hundred or so years ago, a window opened for a third model: the recording artist. Now, under the right circumstances, you could stay home and mass-produce a widget that could, in a way, do your touring for you. Like the old dream, you could clone yourself, and send all your widget clones to homes and bars and radio stations all around the world to, for a small fee, play private shows for as many people will have you. You are the later Beatles, Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson, Glenn Gould.
That window appears to have closed. The CD, the cassette, the vinyl LP, are all more or less devalued below the level of the T-shirts and other dry goods that orbit the burnt-out sun of the music industry.
Which brings us back to touring --- which for most musicians, means playing smaller venues. We're at the very heart of a big revolution in music!