Who makes a living playing music?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RAM, May 18, 2001.

  1. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Music...very tricky field. Most people I know can't afford to live on their music career alone. Some have turned it into a hobby. Who here has actually found a niche in music that funds the lifestyle you're comfortable with? How do you do it? What is your niche?
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I do. I dig my lifestlye, not bad cash, get paid whether I gig or not, no matter how many people show up, TONS of diversity.

    I played in the Army Band for years, and now am on my way to an Air Force band.
  3. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Between playing them, selling them, and teaching others how to play them, I almost make a decent living. Thankfully, my wife is hyper supportive! :D

    If things keep going as well as they have been recently, my lifestyle will improve significantly in the near future. Just hope the wife can put up with me long enough for it to happen!!! :eek:
  4. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    During my formative years (mid to late teens..early 20s) I made a bloody fortune as a session musician..mostly doing stings for tv and radio and also the odd album , the other good source of income was from doing shows (musicals etc) as a 'pit 'musician if you got 6 of these a year you were laughing...then of course there were the standard wedding/pub bands (you know those gigs where your competing with the football/tennis/snooker match on the big screen and playing requests... "this is an auld smokie song for Mary from Sligo..all together now.Alice , who the f*ck is Alice..,<shudder>.) Soul destroying stuff but the money is great..hey paid my way through college.

    Although as I got older I gave up the whole wedding/pub pand scene for the sake of my sanity.
  5. BigJH


    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I don't make a living period. I am a broke student. But someday I will be able to make a little extra cash on the side when I'm not working.
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga

    ya know wat i tink, spike?


    duh-wat, boss, iz it time for a 'nother knee-cap bashin'?


    no, spike, i tink what we have here is one a' dem genu-wine music related treads.


    iz dat like dem all-weather treads dey gots on dem hummers and jeeps, boss?


    spike, yous a dumbass. dis here tread's goin' over to miscellaneous, and i mean now, an' don't gimme any more a ya lip.


    okay, boss. can i kick it first?
  7. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    jt - never in the history of bulletin boards has someone been so creative at moving threads!

    music makes me all the money i make right now, but that's not saying much.

    then again, i don't have very many expenses.

  8. Stangg

    Stangg Guest

    ha! :D
  9. Reid


    Aug 25, 2000
    Oakville, Ontario
    There's hundreds of dollars to be made in the music industry.
  10. cschenk78


    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    I make my living from musical ventures and only musical ventures...I play 3-5 nights a week, and I have about a dozen students. Some weeks I only make 2-3 hundred bucks and others 2-3 thousand...it all depends on the time of year and how ambitious I am feeling. There is a lot of up and down in this biz.
    I have been doing this for some time now and I do not see it waning anytime soon. The only thing that really sucks is that many people think I am un-employed and often treat me as such when I decide to take a week or two off of being on the road...blah!
  11. I used to make a living off it, up to about 7 years ago, then I decided I wanted to live like a human being, have a nice car, nice furniture, go for the odd holiday etc, so I got a day job. Now I can pick what gigs I want to do, rather than have to take everything that comes along. However, I sure do miss the spare time for practicing, and being some-one's employee can be a drag. Ah, well......
  12. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    I paid my way through college playing. Guess you might say I was a semi-pro. Never cut any vinal.
  13. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Music is too important to make money from it :)
  14. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author &quot;The Art of Solo Bass&quot;
    One way or another I make my living in music. Until recently I also had a job as a Ski School Director. I think my wife was a bit jealous that all my jobs are fun jobs. Well the Ski biz is considerably weirder than the music biz. So I am back full time making, teaching, writing about music.

    An old buddy of mine, a club owner in Indiana once told me this joke:

    What is the difference between a part time musician and a full time musician?

    A part time musician has a dya job, a full time musician has a wife that has a day job

  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author &quot;The Art of Solo Bass&quot;

    and don't you bet that record companies, promoters, etc want every musician to believe it.

    A buddy of mine who owns a music store was recently asked if he new a string quartet that might be interested in playing at a fundraiser. He asked "how much is the pay?" anbd of course he was told that they were hoping to have the services donated. My friend then asked were the event was taking place, to which the response was the local Marriot. My friend asked if the Marriot was donating the room, food, wait staff, etc. The person from the fundraiser was silent for a moment, and then in a moment of brilliance asked "Do you know any student musicians who would domit for free?"

  16. CS


    Dec 11, 1999

    There was a Harry Enfield (UK comic) sketch where the DJ's Smashy and Nicey were discussing a charity gig and one said he refused it as they wouldnt pay him enough.

    Theres a lot of freedom being an amateur although I did get a free sandwich yesterday that I havent declared to Her Majesty's Tax Office :)
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I make about 40% of my living from playing music, and 60% from teaching it (divided between college music classes and private students).

    The NICE aspect: Not having to wear brown lipstick; not having any one single boss (the first two go together); after being in the business in the same town for 15 years, you can build your reputation and start to be more picky about which gigs you play; I'll be able to give up all non-acoustic gigs (piano and bass) as of Jan 1, 2002; the ability to stay focused on some aspect of music whenever you are working; building relationships with other musicians over the years; the hourly rate isn't bad.

    The SUCK aspect: schedule looks like a multicolered jigsaw puzzle; gotta learn how to juggle; always running from place to place; college politics, even for an adjunct; no benefits, no paid vacations; cyclical burnout syndrome when things get/stay too busy for a while to compensate for the times when work is more uncertain; people who walk up to you in the middle of a jazz trio gig and wanna hear the "Electric Slide" (you're not allowed to put them out of their misery).

    Actually, my wife DOES have a day job, but I was doing all this before I met her.
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    This is a living? ;)

    Actually, music been berry good to me. The main reasons I can get away with it as my only gig are;

    - I worked office jobs in large corporations for a long time and was able to accumulate some money.

    - In the 70's, my band toured relentlessly and a significant percentage of the income from that and recording were invested well, (thanks to our manager).

    - I was able to stay in one area long enough to get into an established band that gigs regularly. The side job, a rave band, makes simply stupid money when there is a gig. Plus, doing commercials helps the kick into the kitty.
  19. 15-20% of my income is from music. The balance is from my regular gig - a computer technician.
  20. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    This is me. My wife is well educated and makes a good paycheck, plus she keeps me insured. Right now music is paying my way through college. When my band is not gigging, I do fill-in jobs and occasionally pick up a job playing on things like local commericials, most recently for a local car dealership.