1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Are you a full-time gigging musician?

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

  1. I fired myself from weekend warrior now i just live vicariously through @BassCliff and other TB dudes!
    BassCliff, richntiff, Dabndug and 3 others like this.
  2. I wish I could make a decent living from playing music like I did in the 1980"s. Those days ore over. But now that I have a real job and gig on the weekends I got way better gear.
    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  3. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    It used to be 100% for the better part of a decade... then I hit my mid-thirties and realized that I'd like to not *have* to play until I'm in the grave, I'd like to be present for my family, and employer covered healthcare is pretty great. I'm still playing 3-4 gigs per week, but I've dialed back on the "yes to all" response. When I leave the house, it's for something I definitely want to do and not just for a paycheck which puts me in a much better head space.
  4. JohnPaulSmith

    JohnPaulSmith Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    I consider myself a professional hobbyist. I play a couple dozen gigs per year. It basically pays for my lessons and gas.
    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  5. landrybass


    Oct 23, 2011
    I know SEVERAL "Professional" "Successful" musicians that make 100% of their income from a couple gigs a month. But they live with mommy and daddy at age 30 and up. Or mommy and daddy pays for their housing, transportation, bills etc... gig money is play beer and tattoo money. These kind of musicians make me sick.
    lbbc likes this.
  6. BEADG63

    BEADG63 Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    Playing in a few different projects once or twice a month currently. Hoping that the warmer months will have an increase of activity...
    Optofonik likes this.
  7. bassgrackle

    bassgrackle Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    In the NYC/NJ area we make nothing doing gigs. I hardly make enough on a gig to pay for parking and a few beer that night. It’s only an expensive hobby for us. And this is after playing with cover and original acts for the last 15+ years. It’s amazing how everyone loves music but no one wants to pay for it. So much so that almost all our bar style venues around here have closed or removed there stages.
    Optofonik likes this.
  8. Inky13


    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    I’m low enough on the economic ladder that a $100 gig payout means a lot to me. :p
    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  9. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Part Timer --- Staff Church Musician, Work for a Song Writer, Play with Friends for chump change.

    I did play full time (travelling) was not a fun life after 2 weeks.

    I then tried full time (local) - killed my Marriage

    I believe my current mix of career and 4 weekly gigs is about as good as it gets (now).
    Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  10. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    100% of my income is from music, but only a small portion as a bass player. More like, music director, classical singer, composer, arranger, pop/jazz singer, choral singer, instrumentalist, in that order.
    Optofonik likes this.
  11. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    I’m not it it for the money. If I was, I would have been a plastic surgeon, or a personal claims attorney instead..

    Seriously, I could full time, but while I like playing music, I’m not big on the bar/gig sceneand the business that goes with it.

    And frankly the hours suck and the pay isn’t all that great, even if you are. When you add up the hours spent to learn material, the rehearsals, driving to and from gigs, honing your chops, then divide it by your annual compensation, add in equipment purchases, repairs, the cost to operate your vehicle, taxes, (yes when you make money playing music, it is taxable income), if you’re making minimum wage, you’re doing well above average.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
    EdO. and Optofonik like this.
  12. Nightman

    Nightman If it ain't low, it's got to go! Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Playing bass is the only paying job I've had since 2015! I'm retired!!!! :D

    I'm playing 5-7 paying gigs monthly.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
    G19Tony, 4 Strings Good, lbbc and 3 others like this.
  13. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    I made enough money to call it a living when I was too young to realize I shouldn’t blow through the money. Now I’m older and wanna go back and beat the crap out of my younger self.

    These days, I make enough for the IRS to notice, but not enough to call it a job.
    BassCliff, Dabndug and Optofonik like this.
  14. Hurricane Jimmie

    Hurricane Jimmie Supporting Member

    So Anyway, under 10% but I do have to keep track of it for tax purposes.
    My current gig schedule fits my music needs without having to miss out on a regular life.
    I put all my band $$ in a S&L account and use it for cars, vacations, gifts to our kids.... and new bass stuff!
    In my case, trying to be a FT musician would be too much work, hustle, frustration for too little money.... and I couldn't expect my family to live in poverty. This is a reflection on my amount of talent as much as the music business.
    But anyone who thinks a FT musician doesn't 'work'.... has never done it.
  15. Remoman


    Mar 14, 2017
    I have some paid, some not individually paid gigs. Those are generally ones where the group makes some money but that goes to expenses. You think it's hard to hit $100/person in a 4 piece group, try hitting that in an 18 piece group (let alone a 40~50 piece orchestra)! I do however, have several musician friends that hit the 50%, 75%, and even 100% mark. They're out there...
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I voted "not enough to keep track of," but of course I keep track of it for the IRS. ;)
  17. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    Being a full-time musician has always been a precarious way to make a living, unless you're in the tiny percentage who make it big. Over the last 15 years I've done weekly worship (gratis - but dropped out a few years ago for a variety of reasons), fortnightly swing-jazz-pop (peanuts) and recently a fortnightly indie-rock gig with a bandmate from the '80s (gratis with a dream of going weekly peanuts). So, averaging weekly, with financial return being insignificant. Money is definitely not a motivation.
    Remoman likes this.
  18. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    My last band had 3 CD and was thousands in the hole. Every show cost us money. I do it because what's the alternative? Not playing? Yeah right. How else can I tell the world how disappointed I am with it.
    Dabndug likes this.
  19. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    I am sitting between 75-100%. Just because I also earn my living by teaching in a music school and other work. Still music related though.

    I am currently 100% on gigging.
  20. Our band is trying to "make it," so we almost never put the money into our own pocket. There's always some expense, whether it's recording, mixing, mastering, gear, touring, booking, marketing, licensing– the list goes on. It's expensive to make an original band work. And it's not unusual to get scammed once before you learn how to do something right. That's happened to us too many times. Sometimes I try to sit in with some local cover bands to make extra cash, but I can never make it work long term because the original band's schedule. So that's why I work part time at a library! :bookworm:
    Dabndug likes this.

Share This Page