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Income of musicians

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  • Income of musicians

    I'm going to be joining a band and do gigs and studio work. I'd like to hear comments on different types of music jobs and profiting in the music scene. How much do you earn for the investment in time, equipment, practice and energy?

  • #2
    I guess it depends on who you be. In '69 I knew this dude who earned $33K for a 90 minute gig. That same evening I earned $330 for a 240 minute gig.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Marc.
      That same evening I earned $330 for a 240 minute gig.

      And if it is a wedding party you only play 10 minutes of it....
      Robert

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      • #4
        I guess it depends what league you're in and whether you want to earn as an individual or as a member of a band. Either way you'll need an awful lot of luck to make it as a pro. If you choose the individual route then you'll need to put in some years of learning, and at a good school. And you'll still need lots of luck to get regular well paid work.

        At semi-pro level much of the work we used to get has dried up over here in the UK - I used to make a living both in residencies and on tours, but now I'm happy to cover my expenses and have a good night out. There's no way I'd cover the cost of my gear in less than a year - but I do live in a rural area where the work is sparce and mainly in pubs. The young bands around here play for nothing they're so desperate to get working experience and exposure. There is function work of course, but now my kids have grown up I don't need the money that badly! But a young guy can gain a lot of experience and stagecraft that way - and make a few bucks.

        Do it 'cos you love it and take any opportunities that come along, but remember there are thousands like you which sort of sets the odds on making it big-time eh - the more tickets you buy the more likely you are to win the Lotto - with music it's hard work rather than tickets - but its still down to luck........

        ~Pip~

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        • #5
          If you are in a typical bar-wedding band, considering hours of practice, the many hours of an actual gig - probably twice what you spend on stage, the cost of your equipment, insurance, etc...it probably works out to 30 cents an hour! ( OK, OK, $1.20 for weddings)

          Up here, a good gig at a bar will give $100.00 per person. On a Friday, thats 9:00 PM til 2:00 AM. That's $20.00 per hour. Except, really, you meet at 6:30, load up your gear, drive to the place, unload, set up, sound check, wait for a while. Then you play, pack up (which is the most exhausting job in existence), repeat the moving. You get home at 3:30 AM, but you can't sleep until 4:30 AM.

          You're now down to $8.00 an hour. Divide all your annual earnings by the hours of rehearsal, and you are down to $2.00 an hour. Figure in the cost of equipment, insurance, any overhead and stop right there. Cause you don't even want to calculate the wear and tear on your family/relationship to say nothing about your liver or your lungs!

          Nevertheless, good stuff and a great bargain as far as I am concerned.
          Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

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          • #6
            I realized two things a long time ago. One was that I must (MUST) play drums. Playing is what keeps me sane. The other is that I will probably never be a drumming super star and make a comfortable living at it. So, it's the actual playing that makes me happy, and everything else is gravy. In the pursuit of playing for the sake of playing (vice playing for the sake of getting paid) I discovered that I was much in demand with other musicians who wanted to play for much the same reason. Playing for the sheer joy of playing led to playing for parties and events and that led to playing in bars, etc. The exposure led to more gigs with other musicians and jobs. So, I end up getting paid to do what I would do for free, anyway. That is validation that I am at least nominally skillful at playing drums, which reinforces my desire to play. I don't make great wads of money playing, but I am paid as well or better than other drummers in the area, and I play a lot, so I get paid often. I never factor in costs (sticks, cymbals, heads, etc for As and pads, amps, cords, etc for Vs, gas for the trips to shows and rehearsals) or the time I spend practicing and rehearsing (practice being what you do on your own to master your instrument and rehearsing being what you do with your band to master your songs/show/presentation). I practice anyway, and I will play (rehearse) with anyone, just for the sheer joy of playing, so those costs would be there whether or not I was in a paying gig. I am just happy (and lucky) that I have usually been able to hook up with competent musicians who have a similar outlook on playing. I know I have never lost money (I've never had to "pay to play" for instance). So, I guess I'm saying IMHO do it because you love it, and everything else will follow.

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            • #7
              some good stuff here ill think ill add. "we pay for the privilege" R. Fripp

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              • #8
                Working band income

                We play about 10 times a month, at about $130/man. That means that I make about $1300 a month. I also drink beer for free and watch the girls dance and play drums. So, that's worth a whole lot more.

                I couldn't do it without a full-time, well-paying day job. But I could do it if I was single, no mortgage, no kids, no car payment, no student loan payments....
                - Hans

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                • #9
                  Re: Working band income

                  Originally posted by hmasing
                  ...But I could do it if I was single, no mortgage, no kids, no car payment, no student loan payments....
                  Oh really? Join the club dude!

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