Best Place to live as a musician

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BassPlayerPL, Nov 3, 2012.


  1. BassPlayerPL

    BassPlayerPL

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Hello there,
    I know that answering my question could be not a piece of cake, but maybe some older people than I can share their experience.
    Next year I'm going to graduate the music academies.
    It is well known that music conservatorium is a first step to music carrer because of contacts that you can make during the studies.
    But there is one more factor that we have to keep in mind.There are better places to: be,work a musicians and worse and it's not always dependent of region's economy.
    For e.g. Denmark is a rich,succesful country but I heard some opinions that there is too many musicians,and not enough jobs.
    I'm concidering between : USA,Australia and Holland.Could you give me some advices?I know that this question can be too general,but I want to make the best choice which will good influence over my carrer after studies, and make my upkeep during the studies easier.

    Peace
  2. Waster

    Waster

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    Nov 24, 2011
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    Belfast
    In a thread I posted recently I was told LA, Nashville, New York and London. I'm sure there's others too.
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Madison WI
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    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    If you want to make your living as a full time performer in the US, then I think you have to live in one of the bigger cities, or be willing to travel a lot. I live in a smaller city of roughly 1/4 million people, in a mostly rural state. There are actually quite a few musicians in Madison. Based on my observation, those who are earning a decent middle class living, that they can sustain for the duration of a career, are not solely performers. More often, they are doing one or more of the following:

    * Teaching classical music to children
    * Teaching music in the schools
    * Running a music related business
    * Day job
  4. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Durham, North Carolina.
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  6. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    Oct 18, 2012
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    South Shore, Massachusetts
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    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Depending on the type of music you are playing L.A, New York, Nashville, Boston, Seattle, Austin and London.
  7. kellyrojo

    kellyrojo

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    Feb 16, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    These...for a smaller more mountain based community throw ashville, nc in there
  8. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I am going to be amazed at how many people suggest that living in THE most expensive cities in the world is the only way to make it as a musician when there are so many easier places to enjoy your life and passions. Like Asheville.
  9. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member

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    May 17, 2005
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    I have to admit that I don't think of NC as a live music mecca. What kind of music scene is happening in Durham and Asheville?
  10. HolmeBass

    HolmeBass Supporting Member

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    Charlottesville, VA
    I don't do this, but among folks I know making a living playing music the idea of a multi-modal career seems to be the key. As someone else mentioned, performance plus some other music-related income, usually from teaching, in many cases both private students and in some class-room situation. Those provide the schedule flexibility to allow for some travel for gigs. As for gigs, try to play as many society gigs as possible: weddings, parties for wealthy people, arts and museums, stuff like that. Clubs and bars is the least lucrative option unless you're band gets hot and you start to be able to reliably draw 500 people to a show.

    Exactly where you do this is less important, but I think a moderate-sized community near a major market might give you the best of both worlds.
  11. wilberthenry

    wilberthenry

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Ashesville and Durham have a lot of places to play live and a lot of musicians/bands. They are not super expensive compared to NYC. North Carolina is a decent central east coast location if you go on the road a lot. I think a lot depends on genre/style of music you play.
  12. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yes. You'll be drawn to the handful of large culture-center cities if you want to specialize in certain kinds of work. But I'm with HolmeBass (and others) on this: it's more common to build a liveable income if you spread out your work includes teaching and various kinds of commercial work, not just chasing marquee gigs in genre X.

    For that multi-modal income, one appealing option is to be near but not in a major market, as long as your smaller city or town brings together a critical mass of talented musicians and a sufficient number of prosperous civilians to offer enough local gigging, teaching, and networking opportunities. (For example, a thriving college town within an hour or two of a large city.)
  13. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    Dec 10, 2009
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    Durham, NC
    I wouldn't say that we are a live music mecca like Austin or anything, but we are surrounded by three giant universities, high-class culture, nightclubs, major arts and entertainments and the whole region is teeming with technology/medical industry (i.e., educated people with money who support the arts.) There is an extensive network of top notch musicians in this area, as well as some successful mid-level labels (Merge, Yep Roc). Many of the musicians I know make their living through teaching in addition to playing. There are corporate/wedding type gigs around and a number of touring musicians use this as a home base, due to the low cost of living and convenient location.

    Obviously, if someone has what it takes to break into the New York Philharmonic, or some kind of Nashville session work, then they should go for it, but for someone who just wants to work for a living, I would look at smaller cities that are on the upswing... I know a LOT of guys who have traded on the subway and tiny apartments for more space and a lighter workload.

    Everyone's mileage may vary, of course.
  14. throughthefire

    throughthefire

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    Oct 1, 2010
    Location:
    Utah
    Regardless of all the reasonable music advice you've been given, there's also the minor issue of whether you're ALLOWED in these countries.

    You can get a vistor's visa pretty easily, but you're not allowed to work if you have one of those. You need a work visa, which is much harder to get.

    e.g, say you live in Denmark. You have free movement within the EU, so Holland is fine, as is London. But you won't be able to get into the US or Australia without jumping lots of hoops; they both have enough musicians of their own, and to get a working visa you have to show that there is nobody in the country who is able to do that same job.
  15. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    South Shore, Massachusetts
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    I agree but if you want to make it in the music business you have a better chance if you live where the larger booking agents and management firms are located. I have a friend who is a great country song writer, guitarist and singer. He could have had a record deal and a contract with a prominent agent. The problem was that they wanted him to move from Minnesota to Nashville. He didn't want to move and believed he could be just as successful no matter where he lived. The agent dropped him and he is only playing local clubs.
  16. 4dog

    4dog

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    Aug 18, 2012
    Pick a small hub city,, between bigger cities ,, less traffic,, people ,, and more space
  17. bolophonic

    bolophonic

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    Dec 10, 2009
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    Durham, NC
    My advice to that guy would have been: move to Nashville.
  18. SBsoundguy

    SBsoundguy

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    As a professional musician LA is good, but if you're trying to build your name touring around LA sucks. This is all due to lack of good venues and the pay to play phenomenon plaguing clubs.
  19. Big Brother

    Big Brother

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego
    Most musicians I know are broke no matter where they live so it really doesn't matter how expensive things are, as long as there are enough potential girlfriends to support them in the area.

    But since you aren't paying rent anyway, it makes sense to live around the people who could potentially make your career. That at least gives mom hope and lends plausible deniability to all the accusations of having no real direction in life.
  20. Johnny StingRay

    Johnny StingRay

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    Nov 24, 2006
    Believe it or not, a small but growing community of musicians is becoming established and more active in Detroit not that far from Wayne State University's campus.
  21. backup

    backup

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Location:
    Saturn, Solar System
    musicians that are broke are often bad business men.
    it is definetly possible to make a decent living as a musician (i know dozens of people that easily make a living as session musicians)

    you people on TB shoudnt discourage young musicians to take the path of professionalism because there is already plenty discouragement and disappointment in it!

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