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What are other ways musicians can make money?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by oniman7, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. As many people as are on talkbass, I am floored by the number of people who think that playing in bands or as a studio bassist are the only two ways to make money. So I figured I'd start a thread talking about different ways for musicians to make a living. Perhaps this will help people who think they have to make it in an original rock band or play wedding gigs their whole life (although those are both viable options).

    Here are a couple off the top of my head:

    1. Performance - Original or cover band gigs can be at bars, parties, weddings, corporate events, etc. There are also jobs doing orchestral work or something like a play. I suppose busking could be considered as well.

    2. Session work - Somebody pays you to go in and lay down bass tracks. I would also consider substituting gigs to be session work.

    3. Education - can range from private lessons to public schooling, classical to rock guitar.

    4. Composing - I am into video game composing and working on a mobile project right now. What made me start this thread was all the musicians that are on the same game development forum as me and how I have never heard anybody mention it as a legitimate pursuit on Talkbass. Of course, in addition to video game there is also composing for TV, Movies, radio, advertisements, just about anything with speakers.

    5. Orchestrating/Conducting/Arranging - an art that I wish I knew more about. Somebody feel free to correct me or add info on this. This would be somebody who takes the songs, arranges them to the format desired for the specific gig, creates and distributes the material, and may also be tasked with organizing the members.

    This is assuming direct involvement with creating the music on paper, computer, or instrument. For now I am leaving out technical arts such as live sound, recording, luthiery/repair, etc.

    If anybody can contribute any or help give ideas of jobs within any of the above categories, please feel free to contribute. I have done a couple to get things going, but am by no means an expert.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Solo Bassist
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    You forgot the 2 main sources of income for the gigging musician.
    Mc Donald's and Domino's Pizza.

    Not sure if you realize that orchestration is an art of its own that takes years of study and experience to even become decent. If you master it you don't really bother with bass playing gigs anymore.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The future is in whatever you want it to be. Learn as much as you can about all facets of music from PA to production, be proactive about networking with others, be able to deliver the goods, but the biggest skill to have is being able to sell yourself to people who will hire you. That's the one skill I don't have, wouldn't you know it? ;)
  5. Egbert89


    Aug 30, 2012
    If you're a drummer you can deliver pizzas!!!!
  6. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
  7. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    Definitely consider audio engineering, both in live and studio situations. Not only can it provide additional avenues of income, it can also give you invaluable experience and insight when it comes to your own recording or performance, from a point of view you cannot get from the stage or playing side of the studio.
    You can also sell drugs or your body, but I don't recommend those things as you either end up in jail or get std's.
  8. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012

    I mean, what else are axes used for? :bag:
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I've been a technical advisor for shows, done music for a television series, several movies, corporate videos, websites and for radio and televison advertising. I've also run sound for bands.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
  11. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Things people I know personally actually do:

    Running live sound
    Live acts with DJs (though bass is probably the least useful instrument for this - you either want drums or something higher-pitched like violin or sax)
    Managing a troupe of bodypainted dancers
    Touring with a circus
  12. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    touring with a circus

    I sat near the circus band on a recent tour and those pl;ayers were first rate -- they could play with anybody.

    don't forget the dreaded cruise ship gigs
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    play in a military band.

    work for a booking agency.
  14. michael_atw


    Feb 28, 2009
    Jamestown, NY
    Over here, many musicians tend to gravitate towards a 7-11 for all their consumption as well as employment needs.
  15. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Sheet music transcription (writing parts, basically, or even scores by hand), if you have a good hand at calligraphy. I've made a little doing it, but it is tedious work.

    Music store clerk, if ya can find a job.

    I also did private lessons for awhile. A real PITA, IMO.

    Or, just get any day job. Then, supplement it with weekend gigs. That's what most of us do. Or join the local union and hope you get calls for whatever.
  16. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    In Poland this is a more common service than in most countries. Nice-looking charts in standard notation are required to copyright a song here, so the main customers are probably bands without the musical literacy, calligraphy or notation software skills to produce an acceptable chart - vocal line plus piano reduction plus lyrics is the minimum. The keyboardist of an originals band I used to play in struggled through this in Sibelius with some help from me, but it took him a couple of weeks and annoyed him to no end. So, yeah, I can see this being very tedious.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    What are other ways musicians can make money?


    A DAY JOB!!!!

    When it became obvious to me as a young man that most musicians don't get rich playing music. I pursued a college degree and a professional career and kept playing music for fun.
  18. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    I hear there's a bountiful reward for bringing in the headstock of the fabled Mothman bass.
  19. eddododo


    Apr 7, 2010
    Alive or dead.
    Its revered.by alchemists for its best-for-metal properties
  20. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Sell drugs to people at the gigs...not me seen it before thou.