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Are you a full-time gigging musician?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Optofonik, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. Optofonik


    Jul 17, 2015
    Los Angeles
    I'm wondering how many people here are full timers, part-timers, weekend warriors, and hobbyists when it comes to making a living from gigging.
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Part-time weekend warrior. 4-6 paying gigs/month. Most players won't ever support themselves solely by gigging.
  3. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    A keyboard player friend of mine got an offer to do a clubtour with a blues band last year. I saw him just last weekend and he said that between June (when he joined the group) and end of December he logged 184 gigs. There were some days that they played 2 or 3 venues in one day. Yet he still cannot say that he makes a living playing music.
    Fortunately for him, he doesn't need the money from it though.
    BassGeekJack, pjbassist and Optofonik like this.
  4. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Not for many years. Made my living this way for about a decade between 1978 and 1989. It's gotten much harder to make money at this in recent decades.
  5. 10%.

    Hats off to the full time musos.... :thumbsup:
  6. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Weekend warrior here. Usually play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I have a full time job and make good money. So, gig money is just a bonus to buy more basses, guns, and gear for both.
    eJake, Ellery, dfoehr and 5 others like this.
  7. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I have held a full time job for 47 1/2 years and played almost non stop during that time
    I currently play in a trio, a duo, and sub in two other bands and will after my retirement from my day job at the end of April
    So to answer your question
    While I have made some money all the time I have played it was never counted as income
    It paid the expenses of being in a band and for gear
    Any extra was always used for fun things
    Family outings when our kids were home date nights vacations and other hobbies
    I hope this answers your question
  8. 5%, which I am pretty certain Uncle Sam feels strongly that I should keep track of, despite your poll options.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I voted 50% but in reality about 60% of my income comes from doing music for television and studio work. The rest comes from investment accounts I set up a long time ago. In the past I worked as an account manager in the after market auto parts industry, a Vice President and Director in a billion dollar bank and a regulatory compliance consultant in the banking industry. About 8 years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to do music for television and decided to do it. I'm glad I did.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  10. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I've been a weekend warrior since 1990 when I went back to school to finish my long-delayed degree (21 years to finish my BA, then on to grad school).

    From 1971 until 1990 I was a full-time bassist in a top 40 cover band, playing nightclubs, lounges, hotels, etc. That was a viable way to make a living back then, but not any more. Like Vaudeville, the 6 night a week, 5 set a night cover band market has disappeared. Glad I got to be part of it for 20 years.

    Now I put all my gig money for the year in an envelope, and it's usually enough to pay my property tax for the year. Plus I get to get down, meet women, and be cool, so I can't really complain.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  11. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Full time. 180 shows a year.
  12. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    There is no money in playing original work in a local band. My 9-5 pays for my music career. Even bands that are signed and tour have day gigs.
    Nashrakh, Tnavis, Dabndug and 3 others like this.
  13. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Weekend worship warrior - about 40 in terms of weekends per year. Absolutely zero income - just the way I like it. Taking money out of music was the best decision I ever made.
  14. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    Part-time professional: Play for decent pay at least 2 times per week (regular gig) and as much as 4 times per week -- like this past week, Thursday-Sunday. Last few years have averaged about 120 shows a year.
  15. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    No income worth discussing currently. My main originals band typically "reinvests" income back into the band to cover expenses and ensure that we have funds on hand for recording sessions whenever we have a new batch of tunes ready.
  16. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Weekend warrior. 50-60 gigs a year.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  17. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Back in the early 70's I was playing bass for a nightclub group touring throughout the west and mid-western US playing 5-nights a week, 52-weeks a year. So it was about 250 nights a year and 100% my income for three years. We typically played Tuesday through Saturday with 2 weeks at each locale.

    Then my wife and I started a family and although I still played, it was weekend gigs only because I had a "real" job. In 1976, all my gear, except one mic stand, was stolen and I didn't really start playing bass again until 1997 after I had replaced enough of it to actually gig again. My screen name, Rip Van Dan, is a play on words from the old story of "Rip Van Winkle" because really I didn't play bass for 20 years. Actually bought my current bass in 1985, but had no amp or any $$ to get an amp 'til 1997.

    I retired from my day job in 2015 and am currently playing with two groups. One is a classic rock group with a wide range of music and the other is a blues and rock trio. One is hosting an open mic night every Friday night and playing full gigs 2 Saturday nights a month. The blues-rock trio is just starting to play out.
    BassGeekJack and Optofonik like this.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Part timer. Average about 4 gigs a month.
    BassGeekJack, Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  19. If things don't start looking up I won't be.

    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  20. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I'd be surprised if anyone is making 100% of their income from gigging. Diversification is the name of the game if you're a full-time musician - gig, write, teach, score, record/produce, etc. I'd be interested in a survey looking at those dimensions.
    Dabndug, Optofonik, Wasnex and 2 others like this.

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