All dues have to be paid at some point, they just aren't equal in consistent in who or how much does what. Sometimes it happens in the form of someone who struggled for 20 years and finally got their break into success, sometimes success comes immediately with the price of failing each time afterwards (and subsequent drug habits, downward spirals, etc.), sometimes it's eating nothing but ramen noodles for 3 years, sometimes it's doing it while one of hundreds of other precedents and scenarios play out - either way, all success has a price and it gets paid one way or another.
If freelance composers want to believe they have the same business model and social importance as a restaurant, plumber, lawyer or something like it, that's their business and I hope it works out for them, but I expect composers who call themselves "professionals" to have a really, really good understanding of what they're trying to undertake and how sickeningly overstuffed in supply versus demand the freelance composer market is. Instead, what I see are thousands and thousands of unproven, no-name musicians who want AAA recognition and AAA money doing the same music as everyone else, conforming every aspect of their artistic identity down to what they think producers will want instead of doing much to stand out, and focus their entire advertising plan on going to GameDev websites and posting "Hi, does anyone need a composer?" Then when they don't get the jobs and money that proven, known composers get, they shift the blame of not being able to afford their $2,500 a month townhouse in San Francisco on game music ALONE on their target employers, high schoolers and college student devs who don't already have a composer in place, not being able to afford $30,000 for a soundtrack and people who do it for fun instead of profit. They box themselves in with this thinking and stubbornly refuse to deviate even the slightest to try to risk some innovation and cleverly get AROUND their employment obstacles. They are destined to make a failure rate much higher than it could be and they have no one to blame but themselves, no matter who they put the finger at.
I'll believe the validity that music composition is the same business model and infrastructure as the aforementioned businesses when I see people making and running restaurants in their spare time, or 19-year-old plumbers flooding (pun intended) forums with "Hey y'all, does anyone want free plumbing work? I'm looking to get experience and get my name out. My work is inspired by Roto-Rooter and LemKo Leak Prevention. Here's my portfolio on Toiletcloud.com!" - you know, things that generally aren't considered fun pasttimes for most normies that they would get into after work was done...
It absolutely is. Just because the logistics involved may be different doesn't mean the entrepreneurial goals are any different. You could say "Becoming a successful doctor is NOTHING like becoming a successful shop owner" for the same reasons, and still be missing the mark.
There is no point in pursuing a career in something if the financial returns, expanding operations, and bigger and better things are not the goal. It's all about growth.
Successful musicians have exactly that aim, and very much understand it as a "business". Bands want to play to more and more people, composers want to score bigger and better movies/games/tv shows, etc. and these also come with bigger paychecks. Just as a police officer wants to make detective, or a lawyer wants wants to take on wealthier clients, etc.
There is just no other type of business or business person who thinks this way; that positive response or "artistic" goals alone make them "successful". Everyone works to hit a point where it is both personally satisfying and allows them to live comfortably. That can depend on the person's needs, but the reality of whether or not one is in that situation is undeniable.
You later contradict this point by saying you "love" your job.
No, it's completely untrue that "no one likes work". Musicians tend to act like every other job in the universe is horrible, corporate enslavement or something, but that is far and away from the truth. There are plenty of fulfilling, good careers out there. Plenty of people love their jobs.
You don't, though. This is one of the things that among "artists" of any kind contributes to the rising levels of depression: The idea that you HAVE to give up things to be successful and that the greater your sacrifice, the better your odds.
It's not true. You don't have to eat nothing but cheap noodles and live under the stairs at your day job (Axl Rose), to make it in music. You just have to put some time in learning how to compose and use your virtual instruments (which is really a lifelong study anyway) and meet some people; the rest is up to fate. The better you are, and more people you know, you just have somewhat better odds, but still no guarantee. You don't have to quit your job or even cut down your hours, you don't have to give up other hobbies or social lives, you don't have to hold off on some other career for fear that it will interfere with your music dreams because the truth is: if you're good, and you're going to be lucky, it's either going to work out for you or it's not. You also don't have to sacrifice music should you wind up in another career or whatever.
Appreciating what you have doesn't mean jack if you're about to have nothing when your landlord is going to evict you. If you've chosen to try and provide for yourself by being a musician, but are unable to do so...you're not succeeding as a career musician. Doesn't mean you haven't done anything cool, that you're not good, or that it's not worthwhile.
It means that it is still a hobby or a side-job at best.
Making a successful restaurant is NOTHING like making a successful music career. Those two things couldn't possibly be more different for more reasons than I care to type out here. Among the main differences is that most people around the world will enter a restaurant at least once a year, whereas most people will probably never hire a musician for anything other than a wedding or something like it at its closest, much less an indie composer - in addition to the fact that it's very difficult or likely impossible to have and run a restaurant from your bedroom or living room. You can start a moderately successful music composition career with $700 on top of the computer you already own. You don't need to purchase or lease commercial real estate, trucks, vans, tools, hire employees, get special licensing, undergo training and government procedures (except for paying tax)... the entire cost/risk structure is completely different.
And I'm not too sympathetic for artists who have to work a "dead-end job they hate". No one likes work, that's what "work" is - stuff you only do because you have to in order to have objective needs met. It goes back to the unshakeable reality of life that sooner or later you have to sacrifice things in order to keep moving ahead. If it's not working a job you should be thankful to have floating your artist ambitions, then it will be the reality that you will have to compromise your art in some way to pay bills and eventually make your "passion" work; where it will give you stress, make you deal with unreasonable people, force you to turn out stuff that can tarnish your name... something always has to balance out there. If you don't choose that balance, reality will choose it for you.
In that regard, I'm actually fairly lucky - I actually love my day job AND it allows me to do my music ambitions as I see fit. Sooner or later that reality will no longer be true, but I will give praise to the God or Gods or powers that be that I have it while I have it. Those who can't appreciate what they have will contribute to their failure later.