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Making money with music

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by superhand, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. superhand


    Sep 14, 2009
    Fresno, CA
    I'm going to try to make this short and to the point. I want to make money making music, or at least doing something related to making music. I hate my job. There is nothing about it that I like. I go there to get paid and thats it. On the other hand I love music. Any ideas? suggestions?

    Please don't say get a get a job at Guitar Center or something like that, if I had to listen to people noodling around all day and playing "Stairway to Heaven" and the solo to "Santeria" all day I would probably hate music after a while.

    I'm not a great musician but I'm pretty good. I'm not trying to be a rockstar or anything like that. And even if the opportunity came about, I would not want to tour all the time. I like to be at home. I know there are guys out there who do it, you know just normal guys with wives, kids, mortgages, etc. who make a living playing music so help me out here. What can I do?
  2. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada

    Let me clarify. Join at least 3 busy coverbands that play corporate and or well paying gigs. Teach bass. Write books that teach bass. Write articles for music mags. Learn how to repair gear and do setups and sell your service to do so.

    And most importantly practice your ass off.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1 but don't quit your day job. Here's some advice I heard a while back. Don't play music because you want to make money, play because you love playing. Put yourself in a position that will allow you to get paying gigs, but don't be tricked into thinking you can make a living from it, for a long time. If it happens, that's great, but play for the love of playing, and see what happens.
  4. superhand


    Sep 14, 2009
    Fresno, CA
    I understand what you are saying, but I guess I need to clarify my question a bit. I am going to play music regardless, even if I never make a dime. I am just wondering if there are guys out there who are making a living doing it and what advice they might have. Even if I have to work part time doing something that sucks and make half of what I am making now (which is not much, by the way) by playing music, that would be cool to.
  5. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    The guys who do it for a living are either super talented or are well connected. I think alot of it is who you know.

    Personally I agree that working a parttime day job is the way to go. I think that when you HAVE to play music to pay the bills it becomes a job like anything else.
  6. Revvv


    Oct 31, 2007
    I will tell you as a studio musician that it is tough to make a living as a musician. I won't say that it can't happen, there are many that enjoy a steady paycheck due to the musical abilities. However, those people are far and few between. I know several artists that have a label backing them, and these guys are struggling to make ends meet.

    I will only say that when I work and record, I am nicely compensated. However, there are dead spots in the music business in terms of work. One can go months without doing anything.

    My advice to you if you are looking to make a living in the music field. Find out what you love the most about music and chase it. There are a lot of avenues to follow. There is studio work, teaching, promotion, management, and of course the band and shows. I could go much more in depth, but I think you may see where I am going.

    Keep your dreams, make achievable goals, be sure to keep inspiration around you, and never give up. That is practical. The other side to this; keep a day job until music can and does take you to a comfortable level. I'm telling you this from experience.

    I don't know your age or background, but be sure to get an education, and have a back up plan in terms of work that can be a 1st choice if something were to happen. We don't know what the future holds. A bad case of arthritis, an accident, or some other minor tragedy can happen that can take you out of playing.
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    The good, the bad, and the ugly about making a living playing music.

    The good - You get to do something you love to do - make music. You have to love to play because you will never get rich at it unless you hit it big and that is a very remote chance that will happen. I always look at it as I play for free and get paid to do everything else I do.

    The bad - It is extremely difficult to make a significant living playing music. You are also your own boss and have to do many things as well as there are no benefits such as health care, pension plan, etc.

    The ugly - It is a very rough business and band wages have not really changed much in the last 30 years.

    On the positive side of things. I was cut back from a nice corporate job years ago due to the economy and I could not relocate at the time. Having music as a secondary income for many years ended up becoming my main source of income for the last 8 years and without it, I would not have been able to pay my bills and I am so thankful that I have a musical talent.

    Also, in addition to the fine advice given by other posters, I would suggest that you learn everything you can about the business side of music and running a band, events, etc. I have always done the music management and it is very valuable and always needed. I eventually got several college degrees in business which have served me well. The business end of music is hard work and sucks but somebody has to do it. If you learn that, you will always have it even if you cannot play due to injury, health, or other issues that may arise. I got into the concert, festival, and event management business as well and am currently working on some events that are music related. I usually get my band headlining or opening act gigs out of it as well.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I know quite a few people who make all their money from music - but all of them are involved in teaching, to a greater or lesser extent!

    They all know their stuff as regards theory and can play/ read anything thrown their way, at the drop of a hat!

    Generally they have some kind of qualification from a recognised university music course - although not all.

    Writing film/tv background music, playing on live TV shows, pit band for musicals etc. - all things I know people do as well as play "normal" gigs with bands!! ;)
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    THere are lots of options, and the better you are, the more you have.

    Check out service bands - most countries have them, and they can be a great way to make a living.

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