What it means: It's a complicated situation that involves everything from training musicians in the skills they need to sustain themselves, and plugging the hole in funding which used to come from the state and now has to come from classical music fans.
Local councils and the Art Fund are investing less in classical music than they used to, so musicians are relying on ticket goers and sponsors to pay their bills. Many end up topping up their salary through teaching, or running workshops, but music colleges don't actually teach them those skills – you study 6 or 7 years to be a performer, despite the fact that performing rarely even makes you enough to be able to afford your instrument without a loan.
The expectation to do unpaid work is high: a French horn player who performed at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges' wedding was paid a piece of cake. Classical musicians are doing more to try and show people how valuable their art is – playing in old people's homes and schools, and starting a social media campaign to save the genre.