Why Money Wasn’t Eric Clapton’s Priority In Cream


Eric Clapton‘s music journey started by playing in the British local bands in the early ’60s before joining the Yardbirds to fill the space of the founding guitarist Top Topham. He embraced a blues rock sound with the band and delivered the lead guitar on several albums. However, he grew dissatisfied with the change in the band’s musical direction and played with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers for a while.

In 1966, Clapton formed Cream along with the drummer Ginger Baker and the bassist Jack Bruce. The band released successful albums like ‘Fresh Cream’ and ‘Wheels of Fire,’ in which they navigated blues rock sounds. Mr. Slowhand came to the fore with his impromptu blues style playing.

Later, he continued to be on the music scene after embarking on a solo career and got the chance to witness the change in the music industry closely. Clapton could see that the music world of his Cream times differed from the current years. According to him, musicians used not to consider music a business.

Eric Clapton Did Not Consider Cream A Business


In the ’60s and ’70s, the music industry was predominately guided by record labels. Both musicians and the audience were acting according to the labels’ instructions. They came up with the style of the songs, tour schedules, tour stops, and marketing budgets for the musicians.

However, the music industry has evolved ever since, especially due to the extensive use of the internet. Currently, there are many streaming platforms and independent musicians, which increases the competition. During a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Eric Clapton stated that musicians of his generation never used to consider creating music a business and gave Cream as an example. He noted that they were guided on where to go, were not involved in money matters, and did not consider the strategies.

According to him, the circumstances have changed today, and musicians like Ed Sheeran, whom he had a chance to meet before, can direct their shows themselves. Eric Clapton believes that the music business has come to the center while creating something is a part of it. As the guitar icon stated, these tasks used to be considered a distraction for them in the past.

Eric Clapton said the following about the change in the music industry:

“We didn’t consider what we were doing as a business. I always use Cream as an example. We were just told where to go. We didn’t have time to think about how much money we were making, what was the right strategy, and which town you should go to. Now you have guys like Ed who direct and produce their own shows. The music is part of that. But we couldn’t have done it that way then. It would have been a distraction.

Slowhand noted that young musicians should be careful about the modern music industry because he has witnessed a radical change in the music world. In previous years, he gave the multi-instrumentalist musician Ed Sheeran a piece of advice so that he does not consume himself quickly. According to him, musicians like Ed Sheeran should ‘slow down’ and not burn out.