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#1
Hey guys I have a question about the music buisness.

When I am 22, I plan on trying to get a record deal and trying to make a living off of music.

My question is how much would an average band make off of playing gigs, and selling albums?

I probably won't be a big millionare, but I want to know if I would make enough money off of making albums and playing gigs.

If I can't make a decent living off of making albums and playing gigs, I would probably make music for an american video game company (I don't want to live in Japan,) or maybe do both.

Would I be able to make enough money from making albums and playing gigs to easily afford living in a house or apartment and be able to afford food without any financial struggle? Or would I have to make music for the video game company as well?
Quote by user_nameless
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/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#2
And I want to be the first man to fly around Venus on a jet pack, but that won't happen.

How much you make depends on how many people come to see you. So, no you won't make any money.
#3
Why twenty two?

It's not gonna happen. Well it could. But realistically, what you need to do is go to college. Making a living off music is one of those things that's too g ood to be true.
RAZZLEFRAZZLE
#4
It all depends on how good you are. It's the same for everything. You need to have balls and just go for it, and if it doesn't work then you need a back-up plan.
Originally posted by TestForEcho
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#5
Your back-up plan to a career in music is videogames? I uhhh really hope it all works out for you man.
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#6
how long's a piece of string?

depends on how many gigs you get, you could survive but you wouldn't be well off if you were just in one of those bands who are around but never really get big
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#7
Quote by SoWrongItsMatt
Why twenty two?

It's not gonna happen. Well it could. But realistically, what you need to do is go to college. Making a living off music is one of those things that's too g ood to be true.

im guessing thats why he said 22.
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The time I fell on my face on a trampoline and cracked my neck, then proceded to run around the yard in a blind panic screaming "I hope I'm not paralyzed! OH GOD I THINK I'M PARALYZED!"


#9
Quote by slash4114
im guessing thats why he said 22.


Know something? That's a good point.

But TS, you'd better re-think your future.
RAZZLEFRAZZLE
#10
Quote by SoWrongItsMatt
Why twenty two?

It's not gonna happen. Well it could. But realistically, what you need to do is go to college. Making a living off music is one of those things that's too g ood to be true.

Yeah I am definately going to college I don't want to be a homeless guy.

This is one of my wild dreams in life, and I just had that question about it.

I don't need to be rich.

I am only 13 right now so I have plenty of time to think.

I am very into video games as well as guitar so if I can't make the music I can do a different job involving the making of the video game.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#11
the industry is based on who you know and luck
so make friends now with alot of musicans cause you never know. i make friends with bands at every show i go to if they are good.
#12
most professional musicians i know don't make any money and scrape by, by charging obscene amounts of money for lessons
#13
yea TS, you need to do some rethinking... video games that use non-album music like halo have symphonies play their music, or steve vai, and you aren't steve.. sorry..

your backup plan should be non-music related, or at least not you playing guitar related, maybe sound engineering or work in a recording studio.. something like that.. but as far as you playing guitar for money to live off of, probably not
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#14
Read This: http://www.amazon.com/Wanna-Rock-Roll-Star-Machine-Gunned/dp/0767914708

I'm not trying to discourage you, but the faster you begin to understand the realities of the music business the better off (and more prepared) you'll be. Also, keep in mind that you are young and it is likely that you'll change your plans more than once. Don't forget to enjoy the ride.
Miss Scourge? PM me.

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#15
A good backup plan would be something like, "I wanna work at McDonalds if the gig thing doesn't work out." Chances are it won't and you will. A smart man always has a backup plan.

I wanted to be an astronaut and be the first man to fly to Uranus, but since that didn't work out, I went to my backup plan. My backup plan was to become and electronics technician and be in charge of some people, people who work for me and make good money. Yeah, I know that's a sucky backup plan, but it works and pays the bills and buys all these guitars and this gear. Man, what a miserable life.
#16
Quote by FightinIrishPJ
yea TS, you need to do some rethinking... video games that use non-album music like halo have symphonies play their music, or steve vai, and you aren't steve.. sorry..

your backup plan should be non-music related, or at least not you playing guitar related, maybe sound engineering or work in a recording studio.. something like that.. but as far as you playing guitar for money to live off of, probably not


Anyway the music I would make for the video games would be for whatever needs a guitar. It could be for menu music, stage music, or whatever. Even if I ever needed to make an actual song for the game that was punk or metal I would make it.

I'll make sure I think of a good backup plan that involves doing something good enough, and I really am considering making music for a video game company.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
Last edited by tmfiore at Dec 14, 2008,
#17
Also depends on how good your band members are, and the chances a talent scout sees you play and is impressed with what you have. You also have to have that dreaded word, mainstream appeal. You can be good to a small number of people. You have to appeal to everyone. That means you will have to be like Linkin Park who went from their unique style and awesome albums and turn into a political band that plays generic music and looses all sense of individuality. Greenday did it too. Remember American Idiot? Political. You will be at the mercy of your record company for how much music you make, when you make it, what its content is. They don't publish it unless they like it. What do you think bands sign the contract for? You didn't think you didn't have to hold up your side of it did you? Contract means they own you. Like a dog they tell you to bark, you better do it or pay for it dearly.

So in the end. Not likely you become a band. There are other musical talents you can go with like teaching music or working in music somewhere but unless you have the right connections... Also helps to be able to not be part of a record deal and play in local areas, if people like you, you get some money. Remember you are splitting this with your band members too though.
#19
well uh when you get older if people like the band you're in the only thing you can do is constantly tour, which you need money to do
it'll be hard and you might as well be homeless but it's the risk bands take
the only way to get famous is to show people who you are
you need someone to find places for you to play shows all over the country
good luck, you may not get signed, but theres always a chance but its really a 'right place at the right time' kind of thing
if you dont get signed, it may still end up being one of the best times in your life
you just gotta go for it dude
you gotta be dedicated to make it in the music business


edit: if any of you know who besieged or for today are, i know mattie (vocalist), so thats how i know what its like
plus thats what lamb of god did =p
Last edited by chrismacker at Dec 14, 2008,
#20
Yeah I don't think I want to try to be a musician like that.

I will work for the video game company and maybe get a record deal on the side.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#21
I'll tell you this much: the ones that make it are the ones that have decided they will make it no matter what.
We're only strays.
#22
If I ever do try to get signed, I would probably go to Fat Wreck Chords. I think Fat Mike (from NOFX) owns it or is involved in it, and he would probably approve of the kind of music I play.

I still don't think I will make it my main job though, I would just do it on the side of making music for video games.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#23
Interesting topic. A lot of skeptics here.

I've got quite a few friends on labels. Small ish labels, I know one band signed to Sony NZ and a few others here and there.

Here's what you have to remember:

- Do it while you're young. Even if you **** up, you can still go to college at 25, thats still considered pretty young. Try and break through while you're IN college, even better.

Remember that most of the bands out there getting signed or whatever have put in a LOT of work. They haven't said "Oh i'll give it a try while I'm doing so and so...and here's my backup plan...". That's not going to work. If you truly believe you have what it takes - then you need to be all in, or none. Not saying you can't go to college and get a degree in something to USE as a backup, but where your focus is - where your head is - that's the important thing.

-What sort of label do you want to get signed to?

Keep in mind it's pretty easy to get signed to a smaller label, one that will assist you in distribution. But that pretty much means nothing. A lot of bands are opting for a label-less career these days. Record sales are non existent - all the money is made from merch and touring. However, if you somehow manage to get on a massive label, then it's worth your time because they can give you popularity, music videos, the sort of thing that the smaller labels won't get you as well.

Is your band worthy? Even if you're material is really wierd...really out there stuff, it still needs to be "marketable" to get on some sort of label. I use the term marketable pretty loosely, keeping in mind there is a market for each kind of band.

You'll want to get your live chops up....and I mean right up.

Get in a band ASAP and start gigging now. By the time you're seriously ready to start a "serious" band, you'll have extremely good live chops. That stuff takes a long time to really master and the only way to do it is lots, and lots of gigs. So get started early.

Songwriting is a huge issue and it's really a massive reason why a lot of bands don't get signed. Because they can't write. They can jam, sure. They come accross as awesome live bands, but when it comes down to the actual songwriting - they fail. This is one of the biggest reasons bands struggle...writing.

If you're going to be a "insert band here" knock off, then your songs better be damn good. Otherwise you'll fail.

If you're going for a massive record deal, like, Sony international, something big, you're going to have to write stuff that appeals to a mass audience. It's hard to predict but take a look at bands throughout the years right through to today. Some bands hit big unintentionally, they start as your standard independent band with a few "Cool" songs, then they write something that makes it to the charts and suddenly, they're huge.

Music these days is very hard to predict. It's nuts. There's a lot of crap out there, a lot of **** one time acts that were lucky to get a deal. But there's money to be made.

Sadly, when you ask a lot of people what music they're into, they will tell you this:

"music with a beat that you can dance to".

OK...Britney spears? Lady Gaga, Fall out boy? OUCH.

A lot people are radio tools. So get used to that. All the big labels are looking for bands who will make lots of money making music for people who like music with a "beat you can dance to".

Don't be afraid of getting on a smaller label, if you can do that you're well on your way.

It's a tough journey up to the top. Sometimes it hits randomly, you might be lucky.

The bottom line is, if you have your **** together - if you are a band that deserves a breakthrough - you will get one. But there are always reasons why the ones that don't go through fail. Songwriting, bad vocal, **** live, songs arn't catchy or clever, or whatever. There's always something. Maybe the right people haven't seen you? You have to hit hard.

Make friends with EVERYONE. Especially other bands. They are your friend. You can get to play really big shows even if you're unsigned - if you make friends with a band who is more well known than you are. Someone might hear you.

There is a big business side of things. It's not personal or artistic at all out there. It's "Hey, you look like a walking dollar bill...Say, do you have a manager?". If you don't look like a shiny dollar bill, then goodbye.

Even if you are on one of these labels, you might not make jack **** in terms of money until the one day comes that you write a single that hits the charts. When you do that, your demand meter goes up - people suddenly like you because you have a cool song. One song is all you need. But it's hard to get it. You will start booking more shows. You might make some money.

In regards to the video game music - if you're serious about that then get into it now. I write music for video games and films on the side. I've been doing it since I was 14 or so (I'm 19 now), I got my first feature film break (an independant feature film, but still) last year. I have a video game coming up that will retail on Xbox and 2 more films. I'm slowly working my way up. You can do this is you put in the effort. It's a lot of effort over a long period of time. You have to learn how to write with an orchestra, synths, whatever. But it's rewarding and if that's what you're into then there's no reason why anyone could stop you. If you have what it takes, and are a fighter - there's NO REASON why you would not succeed.

Remember, forget the haters. There are lots of them out there. Their band probably sucks. Sad but true. If you have a kickass band with memorable material, a good live act, there's no reason why you can't make it. But getting to that stage is hard, and not many bands even make it that far. Too many people give up, have a backup plan, whatever.

Follow your dreams man, the world doesn't need another Mr. Jones.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Dec 14, 2008,
#24
^^Thanks for the guide I will keep all this in mind when I am playing and thinking about my future.

Me and my drummer are good but our bassist is still learning. I don't have a vocalist and I can't do vocals for ****.

I think that if I get a good band I might be qualified to start off getting a record deal during college.

First I will want to hear what you guys think. Once I get my recording setup, I will show you some of my skills at techniques, examples from my songs, and a little bit of shredding.

Lol my shredding isn't totally crazy but its pretty decent for me being 13.

I want to see how my band will turn out and then if we are good I will consider going for a record deal with Fat Wreck Chords.

The frontman of my favorite band either owns or is involved with Fat Wreck (I am not sure) but his band is punk and so is mine so that might be an advantage.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
Last edited by tmfiore at Dec 14, 2008,
#25
Quote by ChrisBG
Interesting topic. A lot of skeptics here.

I've got quite a few friends on labels. Small ish labels, I know one band signed to Sony NZ and a few others here and there.

Here's what you have to remember:

- Do it while you're young. Even if you **** up, you can still go to college at 25, thats still considered pretty young. Try and break through while you're IN college, even better.

Remember that most of the bands out there getting signed or whatever have put in a LOT of work. They haven't said "Oh i'll give it a try while I'm doing so and so...and here's my backup plan...". That's not going to work. If you truly believe you have what it takes - then you need to be all in, or none. Not saying you can't go to college and get a degree in something to USE as a backup, but where your focus is - where your head is - that's the important thing.

-What sort of label do you want to get signed to?

Keep in mind it's pretty easy to get signed to a smaller label, one that will assist you in distribution. But that pretty much means nothing. A lot of bands are opting for a label-less career these days. Record sales are non existent - all the money is made from merch and touring. However, if you somehow manage to get on a massive label, then it's worth your time because they can give you popularity, music videos, the sort of thing that the smaller labels won't get you as well.

Is your band worthy? Even if you're material is really wierd...really out there stuff, it still needs to be "marketable" to get on some sort of label. I use the term marketable pretty loosely, keeping in mind there is a market for each kind of band.

You'll want to get your live chops up....and I mean right up.

Get in a band ASAP and start gigging now. By the time you're seriously ready to start a "serious" band, you'll have extremely good live chops. That stuff takes a long time to really master and the only way to do it is lots, and lots of gigs. So get started early.

Songwriting is a huge issue and it's really a massive reason why a lot of bands don't get signed. Because they can't write. They can jam, sure. They come accross as awesome live bands, but when it comes down to the actual songwriting - they fail. This is one of the biggest reasons bands struggle...writing.

If you're going to be a "insert band here" knock off, then your songs better be damn good. Otherwise you'll fail.

If you're going for a massive record deal, like, Sony international, something big, you're going to have to write stuff that appeals to a mass audience. It's hard to predict but take a look at bands throughout the years right through to today. Some bands hit big unintentionally, they start as your standard independent band with a few "Cool" songs, then they write something that makes it to the charts and suddenly, they're huge.

Music these days is very hard to predict. It's nuts. There's a lot of crap out there, a lot of **** one time acts that were lucky to get a deal. But there's money to be made.

Sadly, when you ask a lot of people what music they're into, they will tell you this:

"music with a beat that you can dance to".

OK...Britney spears? Lady Gaga, Fall out boy? OUCH.

A lot people are radio tools. So get used to that. All the big labels are looking for bands who will make lots of money making music for people who like music with a "beat you can dance to".

Don't be afraid of getting on a smaller label, if you can do that you're well on your way.

It's a tough journey up to the top. Sometimes it hits randomly, you might be lucky.

The bottom line is, if you have your **** together - if you are a band that deserves a breakthrough - you will get one. But there are always reasons why the ones that don't go through fail. Songwriting, bad vocal, **** live, songs arn't catchy or clever, or whatever. There's always something. Maybe the right people haven't seen you? You have to hit hard.

Make friends with EVERYONE. Especially other bands. They are your friend. You can get to play really big shows even if you're unsigned - if you make friends with a band who is more well known than you are. Someone might hear you.

There is a big business side of things. It's not personal or artistic at all out there. It's "Hey, you look like a walking dollar bill...Say, do you have a manager?". If you don't look like a shiny dollar bill, then goodbye.

Even if you are on one of these labels, you might not make jack **** in terms of money until the one day comes that you write a single that hits the charts. When you do that, your demand meter goes up - people suddenly like you because you have a cool song. One song is all you need. But it's hard to get it. You will start booking more shows. You might make some money.

In regards to the video game music - if you're serious about that then get into it now. I write music for video games and films on the side. I've been doing it since I was 15 or so, I got my first feature film break (an independant feature film, but still) last year. I have a video game coming up that will retail on Xbox and 2 more films. I'm slowly working my way up. You can do this is you put in the effort. It's a lot of effort over a long period of time. You have to learn how to write with an orchestra, synths, whatever. But it's rewarding and if that's what you're into then there's no reason why anyone could stop you. If you have what it takes, and are a fighter - there's NO REASON why you would not succeed.

Remember, forget the haters. There are lots of them out there. Their band probably sucks. Sad but true. If you have a kickass band with memorable material, a good live act, there's no reason why you can't make it. But getting to that stage is hard, and not many bands even make it that far. Too many people give up, have a backup plan, whatever.

Follow your dreams man, the world doesn't need another Mr. Jones.


+10000000000000000000000

Great post, all true.
We're only strays.
#26
i have postponed my college education for this year, and so far, ive gotten no where. yea i think i have some pretty kick ass songs and a good voice, but i have no band. im trying to do a solo thing to get my name out there and find people. it sucks. all of my previous bandmates have tried to screw me over or just dont give a ****. i feel like crap everyday and i feel like giving up all the time. i want it so bad and im gonna keep pushing but i dont know how long i can handle this.
Well Enough Alone
#27
I woulden't bank on a record deal.

For one, internet distribution is making record companies unnecessary. Sure, they'll always be around, but think of them as more for big names and "McMusic®".

For two, it's extremely unlikely to get a big record deal. It's like trying to make the NBA, a lot of people are good enough but few make it, and they only make it because it was under the right circumstances. It's not like the movies where you're playing in a park one day and on stage at an arena show the next.

You can make a living as a gigging musician, but like everyone else said, it depends on where you play and how many people come see you. At best, if you're lucky and have enough people coming to your shows, you can potentially make enough to scrape by on. Think like $16 - 24k a year (which is about as much as somwhere between minimum wage and an entry level position at most companies). You probably won't be rich and famous, but you can potentially make enough to be broke but survive on without doing anything else.

Be realistic about your goals and always hope for the best. Who knows, you very well could someday make it big, but it takes a whole lot of playing the crappy gigs and being broke.
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#28
TS you're like... twelve aren't you...
still, follow your dreams.

ChrisBG you have just shattered every single Dec08'er stereotype out there with your amazing advice and level headedness which is extremely rare in the pit.

Thank you.
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Last edited by B4Dkarma at Dec 14, 2008,
#29
Quote by B4Dkarma
you're like... twelve aren't you...

I'm 13, but does it matter that much?

I am starting to set a goal for this, I will still go to college though.
Quote by user_nameless
You can go ahead and sponge my bob.

/notfunnyatalljoke.


Quote by halo43
When you date a vegetarian, you're the only meat they'll ever eat.
#31
sorry if that seemed like an asshole coment, but you have alot to learn about the music business and life itself bro.

My advice=ChrisBG's advice.

plus, your aspirations will surely changed before the time comes to really start making those decisions man. I can assure you a year from now, you will not have the same thing in mind and a few years after that, your ideas for your life will change again, and again.
"Bullshit is the glue that binds this nation together."
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PM me to donate
Last edited by B4Dkarma at Dec 14, 2008,
#32
Also it's gonna be harder with the internet because so many people like you would probably post material on the internet.There would be heaps of bands like you and you need to stand out or get lucky somehow.
#33
Quote by ChrisBG
*Really long yet amazing post*


Great post, you seem to know a few things about this.
Wont you check the song on my profile? Do you think its marketable? Honestly.
Slso, at what age do you think you are too old to "make it"?
#34
You're 13? And you want to do this when you're 22, so, 9 years from now.

The music industry has changed a LOT in the past couple years alone, and there is really no telling what the state of it will be two years from now, 5 years from now, or ten years from now.

Yeah there will always be musicians but when it comes to getting signed to a label, hell, by the way things are going right now, in ten years we wont have any major labels at all, and so you're more than likely looking at getting on a small indie label - and that doesn't account for much.

Keep practicing, start a band, and try to write the best songs you can - always try to improve yourself. Worry about your musical ability, don't worry about the industry because you don't know what it will look like when you are actually ready to commit to this dream of yours.
#35
Quote by tmfiore
Hey guys I have a question about the music buisness.

When I am 22, I plan on trying to get a record deal and trying to make a living off of music.

My question is how much would an average band make off of playing gigs, and selling albums?

I probably won't be a big millionare, but I want to know if I would make enough money off of making albums and playing gigs.

If I can't make a decent living off of making albums and playing gigs, I would probably make music for an american video game company (I don't want to live in Japan,) or maybe do both.

Would I be able to make enough money from making albums and playing gigs to easily afford living in a house or apartment and be able to afford food without any financial struggle? Or would I have to make music for the video game company as well?


First of all, neither of these things are going to happen for you. Be realistic, they're just not.

Second, most bands are lucky if they break even.

Quote by tmfiore
I'm 13, but does it matter that much?

I am starting to set a goal for this, I will still go to college though.


The fact that someone was able to sarcastically say "you're twelve, aren't you?" and only be off by one year? Yeah, that matters. You're thinking unrealistically. Good God, I AM 22. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a musician, I wanted to be a pro wrestler, I wanted to be a game show host. I STILL want to be a musician. By the time I got to this age, I was going to have an apartment and a hot girlfriend and all the guitar gear I've ever wanted. But, as I type this, I'm unemployed, single and live with my parents and I also can't afford to go to college if I wanted to. You've got to realize that a lot of us are saying this kind of thing and sounding like assholes for your own good, the odds are massively against you becoming rich and famous. Life fucking blows and, more often than not, doesn't work out the way you plan. But, by going to college, you basically ensure that it DOES.
Last edited by Survivalism at Dec 14, 2008,
#36
Matt I sent you a PM.

First of all, neither of these things are going to happen for you. Be realistic, they're just not.


This is the kind of attitude that makes people fail. This is not realistic...this is called giving up.

Someone has to make it right? Bands are still getting signed and a lot of them are making enough money to get by. Sure, for the most part, there is a lot of struggle, but that's not to say that's unrealistic to have these goals.

The chances are "low", sure. But it's a controlled Low.

Once you weed out all the thousands and thousands of bands around who can't write to save themselves, then you weed out the bands that suck live, the bands with useless vocalists, the bands who don't have any experience, no fans or following, then you're actually down to a MUCH smaller number of bands you're competing with. The number of SERIOUS "We-actually-have-an-album-worth-of-solid-material-and-are-making-a-name-for-ourselves-as-a-decent-independant-band" bands is pretty low.

Quentin Tarrantino made a good point when asked "How do people become filmmakers when there are so many other filmmakers out there". He said "they're like waves on the fuc*ing beach". There are a lot of people out there DOING it, but are they doing it well? That's a different story.

So then it comes down to being lucky, meeting the right people, and getting out there and sure that's tough but it's not "never going to happen". It might. With the way music is going these days, we have no idea what's going to happen and some really random stuff is going on.

There's no "hey those 3 songs you have are awesome, here's a deal!"

If you're "not making it" then there might be a good reason. Maybe your material isn't wanted right now? Maybe it's not good enough, maybe both? MAYBE you're just about to break through? But are you ready? You know as well as I do there's more work involved that anybody going into it realizes.

Some bands might not make it for several years AFTER they have got themselves really together. And some might not make it all. But there's a chance.

You can still be realistic, but you have to be in to win, right?

One thing to note is way too many bands, even if they are "ready" wouldn't have a clue how to land a record deal if someone slapped one on their faces. You don't just play lots of shows and wait. You have to do WORK. Yes, work. Ouch. That's the killer.
Last edited by ChrisBG at Dec 14, 2008,
#37
^^ Queen Larry is right. You have a lot of time to try and get there. I'd say best thing to do right now is to keep going foreward with your education but put effort into your playing. To be a band it under a label and for your money is a job. You can't have everything all fun and games with it. Yeah, its exciting, but a lot of people think their jobs are exciting, but there is a level of professionalism that needs to be reached. Not everyone can be a jelly bean taster. Not everyone can be a musician (And make enough money to support themselves).
#38
You'll change your mind next week and want to be a racing driver or astronaut or dinosaur hunter or something.
#39
Alright people I think I got enough talking about this. I probably won't make it my goal in life, and will stick with the video games.

End thread please.
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#40
OP, you're making it sound a lot easier than it is.

My advice is to have a backup plan. Go to school and get a degree or something. Otherwise, you could just maintain a low-wage job while you gig and try to make it big. It's not that easy to sell your music.
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