Internet Is Making It More Difficult to Be a Successful Guitarist, Matteo Mancuso Says: ’You Need to Be a Musician and a Content Creator’

According to modern guitar virtuoso Matteo Mancuso, who’s well-known for his classical-style picking hand stance, there’s a major issue guitar players are facing today, and it all has to do with how things are on the market.

There’s, of course, a major advantage today, as Mancuso explained, and it has to do with the internet. However, having all of these audiences at your disposal is both a blessing and a curse. Speaking to Mike Nelson in a recent interview, the young guitarist explained how one needs to be both a great musician and a successful content creator. These two things usually don’t go well together, Matteo pointed out.

Matteo Mancuso Interview

“The positive thing is that you no longer have to be in a big city in order to get well known,” he said when asked about his YouTube fame (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs). “I did everything I did from a small town near Palermo, and I never saw Los Angeles, I have never been in big cities — you know, like living in big cities.”

“So you no longer have to move in order to be well known,” Matteo added. “Back in the days, you needed to be in LA, or maybe you needed to be in New York — if you were interested about jazz — or London, but you the positive thing is that you can do a lot of work from home.”

And yes, obviously, this is a huge advantage for every talented musician today who’s trying to make it big. However, the problems come with algorithm dependence — and that’s pretty much with all audiences today — and having to be an entertainer as well. And these two things, according to Mancuso, don’t work that well together.

“But the negative thing is that you need to be also an entertainer,” he continued. “You need to be a musician and a content creator, also. So that’s a negative thing because they are two separate things.”

Matteo Mancuso - Silkroad (Official Music Video)

“In order to be a musician, you need to play live, you need to release music, and all of that. The content creator, on the other hand, is another thing. So you need to do a lot of videos, and the quality of the videos needs to be on point. They are two separate works, and you need to do both, actually, to succeed.”

In Mancuso’s opinion, there’s rarely anyone who can successfully do both. Any guitar player following the YouTube algorithm might know about this. There’s always a bunch of guitar-oriented content creators (an expression that some artists may even dislike) popping up on your YouTube and social media feed. And they might be great guitar players as well, but the content isn’t exactly all about guitars.

“And that’s when it gets tough — because it’s not for everyone,” Mancuso said. “I don’t consider myself a content creator, I’m just a musician, and I want to be a musician. I want that my main work is to play live and release records, not making videos — making videos is that second thing.”

More importantly, he sees this as two entirely separate categories. A content creator can rarely ever be an actual musician. He continued:

“Sometimes people mix up these two things, and it’s okay. But we need to separate content creators from real musicians, let’s say. If you can do both, it’s a great thing because you will have numbers on Instagram, YouTube, and all of that.”

While he admits that, overall, there’s a positive side to things, it gets challenging to juggle all these things and actually make a decent living or a side income from it. Matteo said:

“And it’s a positive thing because you can do it from home. Now the work has changed a little bit, so also the income of a musician needs to be [separate]. You need to have separate incomes, you can’t rely anymore on live music, you need to have instructional material on the internet, and then you have also private lessons and all of that.”

Matteo Mancuso - Blues Shuffle in G

“So everybody now is trying to do everything. Everybody is a teacher. Everybody is a content creator. Everybody’s a musician, also. So that’s why sometimes it gets a little bit tough. In order to be a musician, now you need to diversify your income, basically.”

“And thanks to the internet, we can do that now, but it’s not like in the old days when, in order to be a musician, you just needed to play live. It’s not like that anymore.”

Photo: Idunnorick (Matteo Mancuso, Stefano India and Giuseppe Bruno)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.