As musicians with bills to pay, we often have trouble figuring out where
our next meal is coming from, let alone paying the utility bill or buying new
equipment. If you find yourself in this boat, what can you do to financially
support yourself while you are trying to make it in the music industry?
Actually, there are a lot of options and you don't have to sell out to make
money as a musician.
One of the best things about being a musician is we play for the sake of
the music. It doesn't matter where the gig is scheduled. We just want to be in
front of the crowd with our guitars in our hands and a microphone. Since the
music is the main reason you play, ask local establishments if you can arrange a
gig to entertain their customers. Offer to share revenue with them by setting up
a cover charge to be paid by customers as they enter and include the purchase
price of your CD in the cover charge. At the end of the night, split the money
with the house.
If the owner of the establishment balks at the idea of making customers
pay a cover charge, offer to play for free if they will allow you the courtesy
of setting up a tip jar and a merchandising table. On the night of the
performance, put some cash in your tip jar before anyone arrives so it looks
like you are already collecting tips. This is a little trick used by bartenders
everywhere and it works to get the money flowing.
You also need to have your table stocked with your CD's, T-shirts and
other merchandise. At the beginning of the night, and even a few times
throughout your performance, drop subtle hints about the tip jar and a little
bolder hints about the available merchandise. Live performances sell merchandise
and help the establishment to draw a larger crowd so you may see a great deal of
cash flowing into your budget using these methods.
As musicians, most of us possess a skill which others would like to learn.
Why not teach someone else how to play your chosen instrument? Place an ad in
the local paper, on Craigslist or on bulletin boards at the grocery store. In
many places, charging fees of $25 or more for a one hour tutoring session is
considered very reasonable. If you can find four students, you can easily make
an extra $100 a week by just teaching someone else to play an instrument.
If you own your own recording equipment, why not use it to make some spare
cash? Offer to record and edit the music of other musicians or bands for a small
fee. A single two hour recording session, plus an hour of editing and creation
of a CD or a USB thumb drive with a copy of the edited recordings, could easily
be worth $100 or more to a local band that is seeking to gain popularity. If you
own a CD burning tower, you could even offer the additional service of creating
duplicate CD's at an additional charge. If you have artistic skills, you might
even make a few dollars more designing cover art for the jewel cases.
Learn how to avoid being taken advantage of by greedy record label owners,
managers, promoters and others. Visit the world's largest free
music industry community,
Music Biz Center at
http://www.MusicBizCenter.com to learn more.