When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #160446  by tcsned
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:38 am
I did for a good 8-10 year stretch. I cobbled together a “living” playing in 3 different bands, teaching guitar, and working in a music store. When I started grad school I kept those balls in the air and added graduate assistant $$ to the mix. Then I had a kid and off to career job I went. I have to say, I’m happier gigging 2-3 times a month and working a university job I love than the feast or famine music world.
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 #160448  by MattMan
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:08 pm
My life is also now like tcsned. I used to own a recording studio on Broome Street in Little Italy section of Manhattan. Between serving as recording engineer, midi programmer, guitar session player, trumpeter in a quintet, and producing MTV music videos (rap artists in the 1990's), I made a living. Fun for my 20's and 30's, but not entirely conducive to health living family life with a daughter. Much easier now with a day job and playing live a few times a month.

But I would love to hear your plan and I can give you some advice afterwards.
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 #160450  by tcsned
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:30 pm
MattMan wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:08 pm
My life is also now like tcsned. I used to own a recording studio on Broome Street in Little Italy section of Manhattan. Between serving as recording engineer, midi programmer, guitar session player, trumpeter in a quintet, and producing MTV music videos (rap artists in the 1990's), I made a living. Fun for my 20's and 30's, but not entirely conducive to health living family life with a daughter. Much easier now with a day job and playing live a few times a month.

But I would love to hear your plan and I can give you some advice afterwards.
Yep, it's a dog's life. It was fun being a dog for a while :)

I don't know if you ever crossed paths but I have a good buddy from high school, Tim Donavan who did a lot of studio work in NYC (still does). He worked at the Hit Factory and worked with the Tribe Called Quest guys a lot.
 #160453  by WokeUpDead
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:53 pm
Funny. I am coming from 9 to 5 and hate it. I would like to avoid that all costs. Granted if I had a job I loved that would likely be a different story but I was in mortgage. Now I am a realtor so I can work when I want. My girlfriend has a home business so I work with her in that. My overhead is low. Playing music is my passion so I want to structure my life so I can make money there and have that be my main gig. Not expecting to get rich but ...I'm gonna live the life I love. Ha.

I play JGB music now. Was playing Dead as well but that band ended. Want to do original music as well and hopefully put something together that tours and festivals and what not. Need a 5 year plan or something. Maybe shorter plan since I"m not a spring chicken.
 #160454  by tcsned
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:06 pm
Right on! My only advice is to keep you musical options open. When is was doing music for a living I had 3 bands playing different styles - Dead, Bluegrass, and gypsy jazz. That kept me playing regularly without having to travel too much. I taught between 20-40 guitar students and made about $30/hr doing that. I took theater pit gigs, fill-ins for other bands, whatever was open, I took it. I was unmarroed and had no kids so I was pretty free to bounce around.
 #160455  by WokeUpDead
 Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:46 pm
tcsned wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:06 pm
Right on! My only advice is to keep you musical options open. When is was doing music for a living I had 3 bands playing different styles - Dead, Bluegrass, and gypsy jazz. That kept me playing regularly without having to travel too much. I taught between 20-40 guitar students and made about $30/hr doing that. I took theater pit gigs, fill-ins for other bands, whatever was open, I took it. I was unmarroed and had no kids so I was pretty free to bounce around.
Yes I've been considering the teaching angle as well. I used to be a journeyman stage hand many moons ago. COuld probably do that as well... OR sell more houses. lol.
 #160461  by aiq
 Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:14 am
Very difficult these days.

Around mid eighties the ability to make a living as a local/regional musician began to fade. Tougher drunk driving laws, cable tv, VHS machines and video stores.

Now the all powerful internet.

Some folks are fighting the good fight but almost always with some form of side hustle.

I got out in'83, wotked in TV master control for a bit, then teaching school. No regrets, still had bands, practice daily.

I get what I need.
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 #160464  by gratefulredhead
 Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:42 pm
I started as a full time musician about 4 years ago after 30 years of working in the natural foods biz. It's lean living. Very lean. I never have a day off. If I'm not gigging in 1 of the 4 projects I'm in, I'm booking, promoting, maintaining online presence, making posters, practicing my instrument, rehearsing with my bands, scheduling those rehearsals (more time consuming than you'd think with 4 bands) and teaching a few guitar lessons on the side. And after all that I live on beans and kale, don't drink (because it costs too much), don't go out for fun, buy all my clothes at Goodwill....the list goes on.

It's not for everyone. You need to be able to live without many things you take for granted as necessary, live like a monk almost. All that said, I'm happier now than I was four years ago. I'll die a pauper, but so what.

Unless you're one of the .01% percent of musicians who "make it."
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 #160473  by Searing75
 Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:24 am
At one point a band I was in started playing every night of the week but Sunday and Monday. We were fresh out of College, all living together, and had cheap rent. However, it still really wasn’t enough to live. Part of that may have been due to where we were living though. The Capital Region of NY is expensive. The music scene in the area in the early 2000’s was lame o Rama, and although we built a small following, it was never enough. On top of that, we were all working full time, well, most of us had from November ‘till April off due to being seasonally employed. It was rough when the work started back up, and we had to be there at 6am! Then, one of the guys wanted to get his Masters, which I ended doing as well a few years later, and my girlfriend got prego (it’s in there), so I needed a better job with benefits, and it all slowed down. A few gigs a month. Life happens when your making other plans. Now, I work full time as a mental health therapist, and perform in two bands. One is local, the other is regional. So, I guess, have at it man, and see what the universe has in store for you!
 #160485  by Pete B.
 Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:18 am
My advice is to go directly to applying for a position in a Nationally Touring jam band.
Anything else, you might as well have a day job and play locally whenever.
I can't stand the the thought of having to give lessons, myself. (unless I feel giving a lesson for free to a friend).
If you can make $100/day, under the table, that's $36,500 a year.
Seem doable?
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 #160492  by tcsned
 Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:08 pm
Pete B. wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:18 am
My advice is to go directly to applying for a position in a Nationally Touring jam band.
Anything else, you might as well have a day job and play locally whenever.
I can't stand the the thought of having to give lessons, myself. (unless I feel giving a lesson for free to a friend).
If you can make $100/day, under the table, that's $36,500 a year.
Seem doable?
Yeah, I could make it on $100/gig in the 80s and early 90s, not so much in 2018. The pay hasn't really gotten better for local music.

Image
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 #160517  by strumminsix
 Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:56 pm
Here's my experience:
1997 - $5 cover, nobody complained
2007 - $5 cover, people begged to be on a list --------------------- $7 people wouldn't show up.
2017 - $5 cover, people checked facebook to see who said they'd be there and then decide ------------- $7 will turn off many, $10 will turn off most

Meanwhile:
1997 - $2 MGD
2007 - $3 MGD
2017 - $4 MGD

The problem is that the whole scene is different. Live music isn't what it used to be. Somewhere there's a cosmic disconnect between venues and fans and it doesn't hurt that Deadheads are getting older and don't desire to be at the bars til 2am.

I'm quite convinced that there's a huge untapped market for 6-10pm gigs for folks that love live music but don't party like they're 20 anymore.
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 #160520  by mikelawson
 Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:30 pm
Well, for our regular Monday gig, we make about $100 each. No cover, house pays, provides killer sound system and lights, and $100 tab for great food. Festivals, we get more like $300-500 each. I end up spending $30 to park half the time, but whatever, I'm almost 50 and this isn't my main income at this point. I have made a living in music, one way or another, all my life. My "day jobs" were in music, and my night jobs make me happy, and it ain't about the money anymore. I laughed when I got a 1099 for $5100 for 2017 from one venue we play (which means that place paid us about $100 each for ten shows or so with an extra $100 I guess for a holiday or something). I dropped $4500 on the Tiger. I dropped $3500 on the Wolf. I dropped $1800 on the Bolt. I dropped $1800 putting the micro Jerry rig together. The pedal board, fuck, don't get me started. It clearly ain't about the money anymore or I'd have a seriously foolish heart. I do this now to honor the amazing years and mentoring Merl Saunders gave me, and because it brings me joy.
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