The Big Question: How To Make a Living In Music?

What's Hot
ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
An insightful video by Rick Beato looking at the realities of earning from the music business.


Duration 37:55

Obviously US-centric, but in today's globalised industry, is there really that much difference here in the UK ?

Please feel free to add your experiences and points of view...

0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Comments

  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 6737
    be a smug arse on Youtube
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
    5reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 1092
    I think the thing I wonder is why there are so few completely internet based artists who rise to international superstar 

    after all it was supposed to be the great democratiser you no longer needed a record company a video MTV like previous generations who were held back by corporate A&R and corporate execs rejecting your notion of making the difficult 3rd album a 3 disc trilogy of your poems with the LSO.

    i made get of missed something if those bands or artist exists these days but that's how I thought people would be making music when the Internet go going.


    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    edited July 2017
    Yes @57Deluxe ;, but I think he is trying to be a genuinely helpful smug arse.  He just has that sort of smile and demeanour  :o3

    It appears from some of his recent video streams that he is looking at growing and monetising his YouTube channel.  That would look like a bit of a career change, either because it is an exciting new frontier, or it is just an easier way to make a living, especially as the industry continues to change.  So I guess he is voting with his "feet" too...

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • MyrandaMyranda Frets: 2908
    I thought the answer was - be a producer for a lot of artists ... or be a very popular artist... was that not right?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • TheBlueWolfTheBlueWolf Frets: 1534
    The only correct answer is you *won't* earn a penny in music unless you're a watered down, BGT Lite, fun draining novelty act that nobody will have heard of or care about by this evening....

    Twisted Imaginings - A Horror And Gore Themed Blog http://bit.ly/2DF1NYi


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    I think the thing I wonder is why there are so few completely internet based artists who rise to international superstar 


    Some of it is where the industry trawl YouTube and other media to look for the next upcoming "safe bet".  They really don't want to take the risk on new talent, just what is already established, in demand terms.  Think Bieber (or try not to!)

    A good example of someone doing it for themselves is Stormzy, so it is happening...

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948
     Making money from selling original music must be extremely difficult now.  People generally expect music for nothing nowadays ....  The revenue from streaming sites is pathetic 

     I do know of some recent success stories but these are from people who had the money to back themselves to begin with.  They are now reaping the rewards and making a lot of money  being effectively their own record company  and having a product which most people prefer to buy  in physical CD format as that's the age range . 

     I make a living out of music by playing live ...  playing covers ...  Pubs, weddings, corporate gigs.  Quite a few of my friends do exactly the same. They supplement the income with a bit of teaching, I supplement my income with a bit of electronics repair.   Some months there is so many gigs  it's not necessary to do anything other than play in the  evening. 

     I know a lot of people would absolutely hate it . Playing other peoples music et cetera !! but I actually don't mind it ... I really enjoy the lifestyle 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    @colourofsound , you may be interested in taking a look at the OP video, given the tack of one of your recent threads.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • @colourofsound , you may be interested in taking a look at the OP video, given the tack of one of your recent threads.
    Cheers buddy, will check it out :)
    Guitarist/Drummer; Studio person, Composer, etc etc PM me for recording/tracking/mixing in the North West or via the 'net
    Website || Feedback Thread || PayPal
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969 said:
     Making money from selling original music must be extremely difficult now.  People generally expect music for nothing nowadays ....  The revenue from streaming sites is pathetic 

     I do know of some recent success stories but these are from people who had the money to back themselves to begin with.  They are now reaping the rewards and making a lot of money  being effectively their own record company  and having a product which most people prefer to buy  in physical CD format as that's the age range . 

     I make a living out of music by playing live ...  playing covers ...  Pubs, weddings, corporate gigs.  Quite a few of my friends do exactly the same. They supplement the income with a bit of teaching, I supplement my income with a bit of electronics repair.   Some months there is so many gigs  it's not necessary to do anything other than play in the  evening. 

     I know a lot of people would absolutely hate it . Playing other peoples music et cetera !! but I actually don't mind it ... I really enjoy the lifestyle 
    Do you have to travel a lot? I could do weddings etc but where i live there just isn't the number of decent paid gigs to earn a living. Very active pub-gig circuit but its very low paying; however some of my mates in the big city earn their crust from function work
    Guitarist/Drummer; Studio person, Composer, etc etc PM me for recording/tracking/mixing in the North West or via the 'net
    Website || Feedback Thread || PayPal
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 9045
    edited July 2017
    I know someone who plays in two bands:

    One is the band of a solo artist you have definitely heard off who had a number of top 10 hits in the 70's/80's. With this band he typically tours Europe playing festivals.

    He also plays in a top end function band. He earns about twice as much for the latter, but still works as a decorator in between as he doesn't earn enough from his two bands.

    Another person I know is an exceptional classical musician and tours with a number of the top orchestras in the country (not as a soloist just rank and file). She is in her late 30's and still lives with her parents.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
    0reaction image LOL 2reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7538
    It's all relative to your needs, I know several people making money from music if not their whole living, not all of them well paid but several comfortable. Most people need to do more than one thing (generally teach and perform), except those that work in Secondary or Higher Education - the guys I know working in HE own nice houses (but it is cheaper to live on the NW).

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948
    Danny1969 said:
     Making money from selling original music must be extremely difficult now.  People generally expect music for nothing nowadays ....  The revenue from streaming sites is pathetic 

     I do know of some recent success stories but these are from people who had the money to back themselves to begin with.  They are now reaping the rewards and making a lot of money  being effectively their own record company  and having a product which most people prefer to buy  in physical CD format as that's the age range . 

     I make a living out of music by playing live ...  playing covers ...  Pubs, weddings, corporate gigs.  Quite a few of my friends do exactly the same. They supplement the income with a bit of teaching, I supplement my income with a bit of electronics repair.   Some months there is so many gigs  it's not necessary to do anything other than play in the  evening. 

     I know a lot of people would absolutely hate it . Playing other peoples music et cetera !! but I actually don't mind it ... I really enjoy the lifestyle 
    Do you have to travel a lot? I could do weddings etc but where i live there just isn't the number of decent paid gigs to earn a living. Very active pub-gig circuit but its very low paying; however some of my mates in the big city earn their crust from function work
    No I don't travel much, most gigs are within 30 miles of Portsmouth. I got a corporate gig on Wednesday night in Warwick which is a good 2 & 1\2 hours drive but that's unusual. Most corporate stuff is London but that's only 65 miles from me

    It's a shame about the pub scene rates in other parts of the country. We are lucky in Portsmouth as venues will pay up tp £500 for a good band and you can get up to 2K for a wedding gig.
    It's not hard to earn £1100 or so  a month which isn't a lot but if you keep your cost of living down it's enough 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Very very difficult to make money to live off from one income stream. I'm a private tutor and its been going for about 9 years and its ok, has it ups and downs but I don't bring in enough to get a one-bedroom house in London, let pay off a mortgage, so its tough. People are flaky, mess you about with payments and at some point move on with their lives meaning they give up lessons. The demand for guitar tuition has fallen (in my area anyway) and I seem to have suffered a high turnover rate since 2017 kicked in. Only just taken on a new beginner this week after 6 months of advertising.

    I'm trying to look for another role somewhere, maybe a sound guy at a local venue, or a music shop (even though they're in dying existence round here) and even cover band/function stuff so I have a variety of jobs and income. 

    Unless you're Oasis or the Arctic Monkeys you're not going to make much money off originals music. Live audiences have also decline and many music venues are shutting, alot of bands I know have had to split due to living costs and no money from the band which is sad to see.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 4815
    The easiest way to make money from the music industry is as a facilitator or in management. Provide a necessary service for which others will a) pay and b) specifically seek you out. 

    A character in my area divides his time between instrument repairs and small scale gigging. There is not enough of either type of work to survive on in any comfort.

    In the U.K., the music industry has an obvious and direct parallel in the theatre business. How do you get noticed in either of these? You get lucky with a surprise hit. Once your name and success are known, demand will (hopefully) snowball. 

    Readers of "Believe Me" by Eddie Izzard will know that his "overnight success" took ten years of working his butt off in unglamorous circumstances. Some productions were good. Some were terrible. Eventually, the guy got spotted and given a break.

    Simon Cowell may well be an obnoxious get but he does know what sells. He is unashamed about putting his money behind acts that will usually generate even more money for him. One hit would suffice. 


    Be seeing you.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • holnrewholnrew Frets: 8159
    1. Dumb luck
    My V key is broken
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 8260
    I've never known many pro musicians well, the only one I knew wellish played and sang in his own 3 piece band. Ancient gear that was maintained and seldom changed and a circuit of pubs playing blues and rock covers. Lovely guitarist who had played in the past with some fairly well known people and when I knew him made a living out of surprisingly small gigs. The money was only split 3 ways and they had minimal costs so he got by on this. Not a very luxurious lifestyle but a pretty relaxed one, he seemed a happy  chappy. 

    I also used used to know a pro comedian who wasn't in the slightest bit famous ( he was married to someone I worked with) and he made seriously good money. Pubs, clubs and holiday parks plus the ( fairly low) salary his wife was on and they lived in definite style. 

    The easiest way to make money from the music industry is as a facilitator or in management. Provide a necessary service for which others will a) pay and b) specifically seek you out. 

    A character in my area divides his time between instrument repairs and small scale gigging. There is not enough of either type of work to survive on in any comfort.

    In the U.K., the music industry has an obvious and direct parallel in the theatre business. How do you get noticed in either of these? You get lucky with a surprise hit. Once your name and success are known, demand will (hopefully) snowball. 

    Readers of "Believe Me" by Eddie Izzard will know that his "overnight success" took ten years of working his butt off in unglamorous circumstances. Some productions were good. Some were terrible. Eventually, the guy got spotted and given a break.

    Simon Cowell may well be an obnoxious get but he does know what sells. He is unashamed about putting his money behind acts that will usually generate even more money for him. One hit would suffice. 



    Who invaded Spain in the eight century?
    The Moops.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2413
    I liked Rick's vids, there's some useful knowledge on his channel but I had to unsubscribe in the end as I was getting spammed daily.

    As well as his regular vids he does live streaming, which is great if you are into the q&a stuff but sending out daily reminder emails is a bit over the top imho.

    As for making a living from music, one way is to find a niche. I used to write loop packs for GarageBand until everyone else started doing it, but for a couple of years it paid the bills.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • RockerRocker Frets: 3253
    The clichéd 'hobby that pays the bills' is merely a cliché . @Danny1969 and a few others have managed to make a living from music but they are the exceptions. Like having an interest or skills in computing and photography, the reality of making a living from these interests is far removed from the dream. 
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • dindudedindude Frets: 6352
    Rocker said:
    The clichéd 'hobby that pays the bills' is merely a cliché . @Danny1969 and a few others have managed to make a living from music but they are the exceptions. Like having an interest or skills in computing and photography, the reality of making a living from these interests is far removed from the dream. 
    @danny1969, full respect, but his music income equates to around a £16K salary. I'd have to REALLY enjoy what I did for that. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 3444
    Tbh, I once made a little money from music and it wasn't fun at all. 

    I did a gig, played great but was paid less than expected. So despite the good crowd, good set and great feeling, the last feeling was disappointment 

    After that, I let music be my hobby only and I got a lot happier. I also got some stick for not asking for much money from other bands, as apparently lessened the going rate for bands. 

    Cannot win sometimes! 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948
    dindude said:
    Rocker said:
    The clichéd 'hobby that pays the bills' is merely a cliché . @Danny1969 and a few others have managed to make a living from music but they are the exceptions. Like having an interest or skills in computing and photography, the reality of making a living from these interests is far removed from the dream. 
    @danny1969, full respect, but his music income equates to around a £16K salary. I'd have to REALLY enjoy what I did for that. 
    It's not as much as that is it ? 
     
    Yes what I do wouldn't work for most people. The only reason it works for me is I've done the whole big earning thing and my outlook on life has changed since then. I enjoy making a little money go a long way these days. It's actually amazing how much money you can save when you have time to shop around and cook fresh food etc, when you have time to cycle rather than take a car, when you have time to build your own solutions to problems and maintain your own car \ house \ electrical items. 

    I also see my way of life as NOT having to do things I don't want to. For example when the suns out I can sit in my pool with a cold beer listening to music and having a gander on here while a lot of other people are beavering away in factories  \ offices \ stuck on the M25 etc. 
    I've just come back from a gig now, next gig is on Wednesday ..... it's not such a bad life :)
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 3reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3082
    all the guys I know personally that are making a very nice living out of music are session players..
    they all have this in common:
    - they are extremely good players
    - they play for artists that had already made it in their own right either as solo artists or in established bands
    - they had some sort of 'fairy god mother' that gave them the leg up

    it was a combination of working hard and often, and a stroke of good fortune
    play every note as if it were your first
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • dindudedindude Frets: 6352
    Danny1969 said:
    dindude said:
    Rocker said:
    The clichéd 'hobby that pays the bills' is merely a cliché . @Danny1969 and a few others have managed to make a living from music but they are the exceptions. Like having an interest or skills in computing and photography, the reality of making a living from these interests is far removed from the dream. 
    @danny1969, full respect, but his music income equates to around a £16K salary. I'd have to REALLY enjoy what I did for that. 
    It's not as much as that is it ? 
     
    Yes what I do wouldn't work for most people. The only reason it works for me is I've done the whole big earning thing and my outlook on life has changed since then. I enjoy making a little money go a long way these days. It's actually amazing how much money you can save when you have time to shop around and cook fresh food etc, when you have time to cycle rather than take a car, when you have time to build your own solutions to problems and maintain your own car \ house \ electrical items. 

    I also see my way of life as NOT having to do things I don't want to. For example when the suns out I can sit in my pool with a cold beer listening to music and having a gander on here while a lot of other people are beavering away in factories  \ offices \ stuck on the M25 etc. 
    I've just come back from a gig now, next gig is on Wednesday ..... it's not such a bad life :)
    Wait, you have a pool? You're doing something right!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Drew_TNBDDrew_TNBD Frets: 22401
    I think I'm genuinely thick enough where I'll just keep doing it regardless of the cash. Pretty idiotic when you look at it objectively - you don't make money, you don't play huge gigs, you don't get a lot of happiness out of it... but you just keep doing it. Madness.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 401
    I think it would be hard to make money out of music unless you are a in demand session guy playing with a known succesful band then even that could be short lived..

    I would think the other way would be a good function band and teaching but even then could maybe be a bit hit and miss...i read about a lot of guys trying and and constantly struggling ..okay they do it because they love music ..how long before hate it because of all the heartache its causing financially...

    Im maybe sounding a bit negative here but in my opinion you are better using it has a second income ...i think things have changed a lot unless you are a top class player and even then its not garanteed work
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2880
    Can't watch the vid from work, but of the full time pros I know in the industry those with multiple income streams do the best and that has always been the answer for most (except the few that become stars).
    I know one local lad (now appraoching middle age) that is a full time pro, has a number of albums out there and more in the offing, but he tours in a Vdub van with his two dogs and does mainly solo gigs around the country and occasionally on the continent. Even so he sometimes has to work a few shifts as a psychiatric nurse to cover the bills.
    Others are involved in retail ot aspects of the business that don't involve playing like agents or organising mini tours for others. Lessons and selling T shirts/CDs all help but you need to be adaptive and create a mini business you can wander in and out of.
    In the end having a job as a session/corporate/covers band ain't so bad if you don't like factories or offices.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 8260
    Just thinking about other people I've known a little bit. Even the pretty successful one ( solo albums, worked as a sideman for internationally famous artists like members of the Rolling Stones) had a reasonably modest lifestyle.
    The guy I had a few lessons off worked mostly in Christian rock bands, as far as I ever worked out he had no religious faith but some of these were properly big gigs and more so in Europe than here.
    The other one runs his own jazz night and acts as a sideman for all sorts of just about on the radar people. Last spotted playing for Musical Youth, it's pretty much 0% rocknroll credibility but again these are reasonably well paid gigs. He is a guitarist first but worked a lot on his bass playing and, IIRC, got a lot more paying gigs through that. I think for Musical Youth and other people he also acts as the Musical Director. 
    Who invaded Spain in the eight century?
    The Moops.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3948

    I think if anyone did want to go full time muso-ing then they would definitely need a second income to start with. I was only in 2 bands and only doing around 50 gigs year when I started running 2020 studios and then I met so many good people which led to so many opportunities ...... without running that studio I doubt it would have happened. You can be the best player ever but if no one knows that your not gonna get the calls, the gigs or the money

    In terms of skill, ability etc I'm not that good at all. I do have a reputation though of being able to figure things out very quickly and reasonably accurately and that's what most people are looking for in my line of work. Most of my friends in the same line of work are the same. They aren't the type of people who will impress you with their Gunthie Govan licks but they are are solid players who don't need endless rehearsals before they gig with others 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2880
    @Danny1969 is right about the 'being known' thing. Many years ago as a spotty 19 year old young gun for hire my best move was once being in a band with the local 'fix it' drummer. Even after we split up people would ask him about dep guitar and my name was front and centre. You kinda had to take everything (folk/country etc.) at the last momenbt too, but the constant stream of gigs would lead to me being temp guitarist in a folk band longer that any full time guitarist in the bands 18 year history. As well as doing one gig for some 12YO school kids who fell out with thier guitarist 5 days before playing in front of thier parents and friends at the local social club. The contacts built paid dividends in later years too. Don't be precious, it's a job so just do it well and look for the next paid gig, stoke your ego in front of your bedroom mirror if you must but never where business is concerned.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.