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Are you a full-time gigging musician?

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

  1. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    What kinda gig do you have where 180 shows is 1. Fulltime, and 2. Enough to pay the bills?
    I’m not doubting you, i’m just a little jealous.

    I’m fulltime, but here that means ~250 dates a year.
    Dabndug, Optofonik and cdavisshannon like this.
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Rock Cover band with original music
    $150-200 per gig x180 shows a year = $30,000-32,000 a year .
  3. I do 5 -7 gigs a month, some pay pretty well, some not so well.
    I have a day job, so basically income from gigs & merch allows me to have a decent lockout studio with lots of toys. when there is a good surplus I buy a nice microphone or reverb unit or compressor thing.

    At this point I think I make about the same from merch as gigs, if you include online sales.
    Optofonik likes this.
  4. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    $150-200 pg x 250 = $43,750, and my wife still needs to have a full-time job.
    Austin is a pricey town.
    Bunk McNulty and Optofonik like this.
  5. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Just did the math, and turns out I'm in the same boat. BUT over half comes from royalties compared to income from shows, merch, or even straight up music sales of any sort.

    Given that it's tax season, Uncle Sam is actually the only reason why I have the figure so top of mind. :cool:

    The original question also is based off of total non-music income, which I imagine could vary wildly from member to member. 10% of $30k is a far cry from 10% of $100k. :p
    HolmeBass and Optofonik like this.
  6. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    I live in Florida. It’s cheap here
    Optofonik likes this.
  7. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Montreal, QC
    Wasn’t there a thread awhile back where someone claimed to be auditioning for a gig where the BL claimed each band member was making 6 figures a year? I wonder what happened with that...
    Optofonik likes this.
  8. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Honestly, it doesn't seem that far fetched. I used to play in a band that was signed to an entertainment agency that had cover bands on their roster who boasted those types of earnings (at least to the core members). Given the frequency of high-profile casino shows that they'd do, I have no reason to doubt them.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
    Optofonik likes this.
  9. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    For the last 8 years I played bass for the US Army band full-time. It made me grow as a player having to cover everything from Salsa, Jazz, Big Band, pop and concert band(not counting having to double as a percussionist).... Left it this last July, now it's strictly part-time (once a month with the reserves)as I'm getting paid to go to school full time(GI Bill).

    Before that cover bands were a significant part of my income, though it wasn't enough to pay for everything being I was married at the time($150-200 a night). I during the 6 months leading up to me joining the Army band a $200 a nite tribute band was my only source of income aside from donating plasma for cash. The most I made was close to 60k a year when I was stationed in Hawaii, but for the most part I was scraping by financially. I voted for 10% nowadays, though last year it would've been 100%.
    Optofonik and Lesfunk like this.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    There's a band in my area that the core members made pretty good money. For years they were nationally known. Disco band in full costumes. Played for Presidents. Lately they have been doing local gigs.
    Optofonik likes this.
  11. jj4001


    Dec 27, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I chose 25% because 1/3rd wasn't an option.
    Optofonik likes this.
  12. SaucyJackBass


    May 6, 2009
    This. We just released our 5th CD () and have spent more than we have ever made.

    That said, since we all of good jobs we can't go out on tour, so we make just enough money from local gigs to kick start the next CD. We do it for fun and because we can't help ourselves.
    Eighthnoterock and Optofonik like this.
  13. G19Tony


    Apr 27, 2018
    Las Vegas, NV
    Hi! I'm from the IRS. Can we have a chat? :wideyed: ;)
  14. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Mostly harmless Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Most of my music income is from digital channels. I don’t mean to brag, but I clear $12-$30 a year. I have been saving it for the last 10 years and hope to buy an fx pedal soon. Almost there.
  15. Weird poll. Because the percentage of your annual income will obviously be much different for people who work part time at McDonald’s compared to say a surgeon making a few hundred thousand per year. So the more money you make at your day job the more of a hobby and less of a job playing music is? So if someone was jobless living off off of their parents and playing gigs that pay $10 but that $10 is 100% of their income then you’d call them a pro? Lol

    I’m just trying to make sense of it.

    Anywho. Last couple years I fall into the less than 10% category. When I was in my early 20s delivering pizza for next to nothing and people were still buying a ton of CDs I’d say the highest that percentage ever got was around 30%.
    Kro likes this.
  16. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    The only way I could see making a living playing gigs full time would be to be in a very busy GB band. When I was "full-time" with an originals band (which was still less than full time, maybe 100 gigs a year tops), I was broke AF and significantly less than half of my income was from gigs I would guess. My part time pizza delivery gig was probably 75%.
    Optofonik likes this.
  17. Optofonik


    Jul 17, 2015
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the replies. I really wasn't looking for actual income figures, though, just percentage of overall income. Times have certainly changed since I was a kid. There used to be what one could call "regional bands" that could make modest living playing covers.
    hintz likes this.
  18. lbbc

    lbbc Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    I wish I was full-time...but am a weekend warrior
    Optofonik likes this.
  19. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    I was going to describe myself as a weekend warrior, but I only gig about 6-8 per year. I'd be into more, but the rest of the band really isn't there what with family obligations.
    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  20. I gig about twice a week in the summer (i live in a resort town) and maybe once a month off-season.
    Optofonik likes this.

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