Author Topic: Anyone musicians making money?  (Read 4430 times)

ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Anyone musicians making money?
« on: November 04, 2015, 10:15:14 AM »
Hi there,

I've got an album coming out in a couple days. My first in 10 yrs. The business landscape of music has changed a lot in that time period.

Are there any mustachian musicians out there are that are supplementing their income with their music? And if so what are you doing to generate income? And how do you go from $0 to something more than $0?

I made this album pretty cheap but there was still a ton of time involved and some money (distribution costs and other musician costs). As the release date is only a couple days away I am just feeling nervous about whether or not I will even make anything back. I make music because I love it, not necessarily to make money but generating money would certainly help me feel better about putting the time and money into creating more albums.

Thanks

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2015, 05:46:42 AM »
Hi,

I think it doesn't need explaining that selling albums in a physical store is not going to earn you a lot of money. No one browses through albums to see what's new nowadays. It kind of depends on your genre by the way. Christian music and classical music still are very different than pop-rock-metal etc.
If you want sales, you need to sell stuff at concerts and online. Also, Spotify and Apple music are good options.

The best way to make money is to build a fan base. You do this by more than just making good music. You need to do cool things that appeal to your target audience. Then those people might buy your stuff from your website. Also you could then earn money from endorsement. But for that you need a sizable group of followers. Remember this. You are the brand.

Depending on what your ambition and potential are you could seek the help of a promoter/manager/record label. They have the network and knowledge of how to get you introduced to larger audiences.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13588
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 06:09:46 AM »
You have two options now, which is kinda cool  . . . since for ages there was really only one option.

1 - Traditional approach.  Get scouted/somehow impress/sexually gratify an A&R guy.  Get signed to a label for what seems like a good amount of money and get a big advance with an agreement to record an album.  Find out that the label really liked your sound when the signed you, but now they think musical tastes are changing, so they want you to write entirely new songs in a style that isn't really something you like.  Discover that the studio costs are taken out of your advance so you end up broke by the end of the recording process.  Then tour like a motherfucker playing songs that you're not really into, while trying to make some money selling t-shirts on tour . . . and really hope that you can hit superstardom so that by your third or fourth album you start to make some real money.

2 - The Ani DiFranco route.  Create a huge grassroots following and manage/publish everything yourself.  You'll never be as big and huge as you would have been signing with a label, but you'll maintain creative control and probably make more money.

mrteacher

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 203
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 06:33:21 AM »
I play covers at a local sandwich shop for 2 hours/week at a $20/hour rate. It's a nominal sum, but it's some nice extra cash in my pocket. The best part, though, is I can play whatever I please, and have friends come up to accompany me as desired.

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 10:01:32 AM »
I play covers at a local sandwich shop for 2 hours/week at a $20/hour rate. It's a nominal sum, but it's some nice extra cash in my pocket. The best part, though, is I can play whatever I please, and have friends come up to accompany me as desired.
That is actually the easiest way to make money with music. Play covers and make a nice show. Don't make your band too big. If you can give people a fun evening, you can make $500 per evening. Most people actually like cover songs more than new songs unless you're really good.

The Pigeon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 126
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Now *I* drive the bus! *FIREd*!
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2015, 11:01:19 AM »
Ha ha ha ha ha! At the topic title.

 The only time I ever made any money as a musician is when I played in a somewhat popular cover band. However, despite fairly fat paychecks, the earnings never did offset the price of rehearsal, equipment, car expenses to get to gigs etc.
 I have a few friends that make an actual living in high-visibility national tribute bands.  Most of my local cover/tribute friends are lucky if they earn enough to offset their expenses, and perhaps enough additional for a couple meals. Tribute bands generally out-earn variety cover bands at about a 5:1 ratio, and get better gigs (fewer sets and better venues).
 Almost all of the original-music musicians I know don't make any money off of their gigs or records (CDs/downloads). They also have stacks of their unsold LPs and CDs cluttering up their apartments.
 The original band I am in just did a tour and lost over $6000. :-/   Despite claims that musicians now "make their living on the road," few come to the shows, few buy the records, and few buy the merch… Of course, the gamble here is the people who *did* come will "spread the word." But in today's noisy distraction-filled world, I have serious doubts.
Despite all that gloom, Good luck with your record release!
-The Pigeon


ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2015, 05:06:41 PM »
Thanks for the tips and advice everyone.

I've known for awhile that cover bands and tribute bands make the most money which is just crazy to me and pretty sad. If people can make their living like that then more power to them. I personally just have no interest in making a career out of playing other people's songs. Playing shows is tough at the moment. I live somewhere with no music scene beyond a few heavy metal cover bands so finding other people to play shows with hasn't worked out so far.

Thankfully this is a digital release and I have not invested a bunch of money in cds that no one wants. Personally I think Youtube has to be part of any musician's plan but creating an interesting music video and then also getting people to watch it are pretty tough things to accomplish.

Anyway, the album came out today. Here is a link if anyone wants to check it out: https://dropkickpossum.bandcamp.com/releases

Thanks

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 12:43:49 AM »
Oh, one of the best ways of making money that people totally overlook is just by yourself play music on the street. If you're good solo and look poor you can make $50 per hour easily. I know a guy who said he pays his rent by just practicing outdoors everyday on strategic times and places. If anyway you're going to practice 2-3 hours per day, why not get paid while doing it.

ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 03:41:39 PM »
I've always been impressed with those street performers and if I lived somewhere with any kind of population density, I would give it a shot.


2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 03:44:05 AM »
I've always been impressed with those street performers and if I lived somewhere with any kind of population density, I would give it a shot.
If you want to go pro, maybe you should think about moving anyway to an area with an audience. Or live in a van permanently on the road. ;-)

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4529
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 06:37:13 AM »

ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 06:22:01 PM »
Read this: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

That was an excellent article, thank you!



As for moving to a more populated area, that is probably a good idea for a lot of reasons but when a real life job and family are in one place, picking up and moving is easier said than done.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2064
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 06:39:21 PM »
Now listen, Dropkick, do you really expect people to pay money for a seventeen-second song called "Beans" that consists of you singing "Beans, beans, beans, beans, beans" while giving loud flatus sound effects in the background? Hahahahahahahaha.

Great album, by the way. (There's more to it than just the "Beans" song, folks.)

D Bopp

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 07:17:13 PM »
I've been playing bass since I was 11 (36 now). I played in countless original bands. Did ok with a few (played SXSW, etc)
but I never really made any money doing it.   Now, I still play, but am playing in cover bands a few times a month, making $100 per gig between 3-4 hours.  I also play a few Sundays a month at a church, where I make money as well.

ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 08:05:22 PM »
Now listen, Dropkick, do you really expect people to pay money for a seventeen-second song called "Beans" that consists of you singing "Beans, beans, beans, beans, beans" while giving loud flatus sound effects in the background? Hahahahahahahaha.

Great album, by the way. (There's more to it than just the "Beans" song, folks.)

Thank you for the kind words! I actually intended Beans to not be purchasable separate from the album but somehow that got missed. And I have been told that it is a favorite with my nieces and nephews so if someone really wants to buy just a 17 second song well then I shouldn't stand in their way.


ChaseMcD

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 08:06:59 PM »
I've been playing bass since I was 11 (36 now). I played in countless original bands. Did ok with a few (played SXSW, etc)
but I never really made any money doing it.   Now, I still play, but am playing in cover bands a few times a month, making $100 per gig between 3-4 hours.  I also play a few Sundays a month at a church, where I make money as well.

I played in church many years ago and I miss it. It was never a paying gig though.

I know lots of people who make a living playing in church but for some reason it just feels weird to me to get paid in church. Guess I would never make it as a preacher either :)

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 631
Re: Anyone musicians making money?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2015, 02:28:25 AM »
Read this: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
As for moving to a more populated area, that is probably a good idea for a lot of reasons but when a real life job and family are in one place, picking up and moving is easier said than done.
Hmm, I would not recommend becoming a touring musician anyway if you're having kids. Maybe you can turn it around and embrace your town. Write songs about the town and stuff that's important there, play at community events, add your town name to the band name.

Apparently, your town is the proud record holder for the worlds largest Banana split(4.55 miles!). That seems like good material for a song.