#1
I've just finished two years at music college as a bass player, with intent to start a career as a bass player and doing other music based stuff. How many UG bass players are making from money from what they do, and how?
I'm in a motown covers band that plays weddings and birthdays, and that makes a bit of money for me but the band doesn't gig half as much as I would need to in order to have anywhere near a sufficient income. What do you guys do?
'If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.' Albert Einstein
#3
Try and find other bands/musicians to gig with, increasing your exposure and income. Just remember not to double book dates
#4
Try and find other bands/musicians to gig with

this is what i'm trying to do at the minute, in a dead city like Leicester it's hard to find bands that will take themselves seriously... but yeh I suppose this is what I have to do. Are you a 'working' musician?
#5
I used to play guitar in a band, left about 2 years ago. I was in the band 3 1/2 years, first two years, money was great, steady gigs. Then it declined sharply the last year, couldn't even pay my rent at the time, so I quit and got a "real" job, lol. Been jamming with the drummer again recently, he is still in the band but it still sucks and he's tired of it.
#6
fair enough, yeah. I guess I don't want to be in a situation where I go a year or two in a band that does fairly well and then all of a sudden the work dries up, like for you... I have a part time proper job but I want to quit it as soon as I can. I suppose I should just get into as many bands as can.
#7
ah....the joys of "using band money for income" days are long gone. too much hassles with cash all the time, too many hassles with checks, too many hassles with trying to promote ourselves- not having a sponsor with unlimited money.

and now 20 something years later, all the tax-free cash I made without a "valid" income will affect my SSI checks when I retire from not having income for almost 10 years-- What can I say free money had me 3 cars, a place to live with all the stuff that goes along with it...cash to buy anything I wanted - easy money ( UNTIL you get old and realize your mistakes )

but even though I am 51, I am still in a couple bands around here that pay for most of my bills, and my bank account is much better off having a full time job to keep it full.
#8
Isn't Leicester a MASSIVE Uni city, there are two Uni's there I'm sure it's not as dead as you like to think.
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#9
Move to where the music is. Where there is a need for bands you could play in.
#10
I play rock, country, jazz, bluegrass, funk ... whatever. I make more money playing music than I do at my day job. if you went to music school it should be easy. start gigging with your professors. eventually your name gets out and the less green you are.
#DTWD
#11
-Covers are a good start. I do a motown/doo-wop cover band too

-Up the ante by doing a 'Tribute' band. One where the cover band actually puts on a show simmilar to the band they cover... Kiss, The Ramones, Led Zepelin... These bands get paid much more than a regular cover band.

-Musical Theatre. This is where i'm trying to break into, personally. If you're young, can read music, and play both electric and doublebass... you're a hot commodity. Plenty of older guys that can do pit for older musicals... but a lot of contemporary ones feature the band more and more ON stage. So, with a cast of hot young thesbians, a hot young musician will be a better pick.

-Session work. I know a lot of people think of pop music with session stuff... but i've found that hip-hop NEEDS more session work. Sure... synths, keys and pro-tools have made us more obsolete... there is still plenty of demand for organic 'real' instruments to be played.

-Pop music. Another thing i'm doing. Just because some up-and-coming Brittany Spears or N*Sync can sing, doesnt mean they can play shows with a backing track... they NEED live musicians, and they get paid for it. (True Story... i was asked to be the bassist for Christina Agulera's first run of live shows ever.)

-Make a band. It's probably the hardest... but potentially the most rewarding. But, it's a COMPLETELY different thing to be able to write creative and good songs than it is to be technically proficient. Lots of timing and genre-specificness are required to 'break out'.


Those seem to be the more lucerative outlooks. I'm a bit iffy on the idea of 'moving to where the music is', you might get into the sittuation of "big fish in a small pond becomes big fish in an entire ocean". Unless you are top-mother-effing-bassist in places like NYC, LA, Austin, Nasheville, Seattle or Portland... it's gonna be tough to find work. But if you go to a music friendly, but not as large area like Savannah, DC, San Francisco, Omaha, etc etc... the potential may be smaller, but the guarantee of you scoring a more stable living wage is higher.

In any case, good luck! I'm always trying to live off music. From 2003 through 2006, i did! It was tough, but it was the happiest, most rewarding time for me. These days, i still strive for it... but i've since furthered my school and have a well paying day job that can fund my music playing these days.

Good luck! Biggest tip... if you don't already play doublebass.... learn it now.
"Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and has passion."
#12
Quote by Din of Win


Lots of timing and genre-specificness are required to 'break out'.


Unless you are top-mother-effing-bassist in places like NYC, LA, Austin, Nasheville, Seattle or Portland



Do mean to say, the best idea would be to say latch onto one of these -core bands that are popping up, and ride the (terrible) yet trendy music to the top?

And damn, thought I was lucky that I was born here in Austin, now I feel that's a bad thing. Though I guess it depends on what you're playing, god I hate all these singer song-writers here.
#13
This is my favorite UG thread! Let's hear more!

Personally, I'm 17 years old and going to SDSU for Jazz Studies. I've been playing electric for almost 5 years, and I'm learning upright. It's tough work! I take lessons weekly and practice with my band/jam buddies whenever we can. I dream of traveling the world, and playing music. And just living off of playing music... although it is tough, I know, sounds like the most rewarding thing ever.

Let's hear more stories!
#14
Dead city ? are you mad ??? its a huge city with an university ( or 2)

I live in a country that population is 200,000 and my city is 15,000 this is a dead city.

Anyway im earning 200-400 euros per month which goes to my university money..





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#15
@askrere


Well... not really, but kind of.

First... let's just get it straight that the "-core" suffix has been used since the early-mid 80's. So, it's not at all something that's just now 'popping up'.

Second... you're not really looking at it the correct way in terms of getting paid vs being popular. So, before you buy a few V neck shirts, get a script cheast tattoo, and sling your bass all the way to your knees, you need to think a bit more.

How popular is that stuff really? Aside from a few meth-addict spawns in the american midwest... i'd say not really at all. Maybe in 2k9 it was at its peak. So, say TODAY you decide to start one of those bands... or shoot, even JOIN one. In 2k11.5 do you REALLY think that stuff is popular enough and moreover will STAY popular enough to make a living off of? I'd say hell to the no.

So, Third... you need to be a bit of a fortune teller if you want to ride any sort of trend-wave. It takes time to become a popular band. By the time YOU discover something is popular in the main stream, it's pretty much too late to start from scratch. So... you need to think about what WILL be popular. Don't think about what's trendY, think about what's trendING. I could prattle off about a dozen or so genres that I feel are going to reach their popularity peak in the next few years. But there's always genres that will ALWAYS be popular... sort of musical safe zones.

Fourth... trends need cross-popularity. Sure, those deathcore bands may be kinda popular to acne ridden mall tweens. But the biggest revenue will come from the 20's and 30's demographic.How many 20 and 30 somethings give two craps about that stuff? Not many. So again, look at cross popularity. The golden end-zone is underground AND mainstream success. A band like The Arcade Fire is a good example. They've had the underground cred since the early 00's... but now they are winning Grammys and there's a good chance most people in their 20's and 30's know who they are. I've called this my "NPR RULE", the demographic that listens to NPR on the regular and finds their 'hip new music' from them. Bands that are able (to an extent) to play shows to a WIDE variety of audiences. The more possibillities, the better.

So to really do the trend thing you need to think more like an economist.


Also, i forgot to add above...
-LEARN TO PLAY KEYS!! With so much stuff heading over to the synth side of things, it's a godsend to know how to do it. Sure, an actual bass sounds better. But there will be plenty of times you may need to do/write/play bass parts on a keyboard. The hitch is, that an actuall bassist will generally understand, and therefore write MUCH better and more interesting basslines than a non-bassist. So, learning keys will broaden your horizon and allow yet another door to remain open for you. It also helps you become a better musician in general (IMHO) to know your way around a keyboard/piano.
"Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and has passion."
Last edited by Din of Win at Jul 13, 2011,
#16
thanks for that, I have to say, the synthy screamo bands, which is what I meant by core, i know hardcore has been around esp. in DC like you said way back. Those bands still have a lot of love here in Texas among the people my age and older in the universities etc, texas might not be mid west meth heads, but there's a lot of damn ed hardy and affliction wearing red necks. It's an interesting subject, and you know a hell of a lot more about it than me. It is true, once you "know" about it, it's kind of already dead. I guess I'll never become famous, cause I hate synths and keys with a passion, and you are right to say most bands incorporate synths these days that do well.
#17
Quote by askrere
thanks for that, I have to say, the synthy screamo bands, which is what I meant by core, i know hardcore has been around esp. in DC like you said way back. Those bands still have a lot of love here in Texas among the people my age and older in the universities etc, texas might not be mid west meth heads, but there's a lot of damn ed hardy and affliction wearing red necks. It's an interesting subject, and you know a hell of a lot more about it than me. It is true, once you "know" about it, it's kind of already dead. I guess I'll never become famous, cause I hate synths and keys with a passion, and you are right to say most bands incorporate synths these days that do well.


Haha, i minored in economics in College. I hate all that stuff, but it's useful to know about it, i suppose :/

-Aside from HARD-core, did you know EMO-core was coined all the way back in 1985ish?

-I LOVE Austin. I have a bunch of friends that have moved there. I played SXSW in 2010, and it was one of the best times EVER! I'm totally jealous... though i do hear ya about the singer-songwrites, haha! Where i live it's folk, bluegrass and doom metal that are a dime-a-dozen.

-My honest advice is to not worry about fame and fortune. If you get so caught up in that end-goal, you're likely to let a LOT of really important things pass you by. Personally, i would NEVER ever ever sacrifice integrity and the very joy of playing music just to make money. While i HAVE picked up the doublebass, i also dislike keys. As long as you stay true to yourself, that's all that really matters.


...and now i sound like a campy after-school special
"Punk Rock should mean freedom, liking and accepting anything that you like, as sloppy as you want, as long as it's good and has passion."
#19
Learn all your theory, all your scales, learn the fretboard better than the back of your hand and stop caring about genres and just love playing bass. There are loads of things you can do as a musician, obviously being a creative member of a popular band is the dream but you can be a bassist for hire, playing for solo artists, a session bassist, a musician on a cruise ship (its weird how common that is) or even, if you get good enough, a busker. Also consider that wages aren't important as you'll be doing what you love so expendable income suddenly becomes less important (unless you join the aforementioned -core bands and develop the mandatory drug problems.)

Go to were the music is.
#20
Let's see more posts from people who have/are currently making a living off of bass playing. I want to hear about your experiences! Tips, tricks, let's hear em!
#21
Leicester is not dead. It's among the top music scenes in the UK... sure they're not as good as places like Manchester or Liverpool but saying it's dead is completely false
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#22
Quote by Zeletros
No idea...

And frankly that's why I didn't want to study music in university



I did for a year, then realized if your a good player you don't need qualifications to prove this. I imagine you must be a pretty good player, maybe teaching and cover bands are a way to go? Also get saving and buy some recording gear and get recording bands too!


EDIT : This is what I currently do by the way along with a 30 hour a week "real" job to make money to live off. The bass money is just luxury I guess!
Last edited by 6stringbasshred at Jul 15, 2011,
#23
Yea, both my sister and her husband are music majors, she's a stay at home mom now, but he is a high school band director, marching instructor and does state and nation wide band camps in the summer. His best friend though, graduated, and he's now in the band Grupo Fantasmo or something I think they just won a grammy of the latin persuasion. I think if you're a orchestra or band musician, music school makes sense especially since you can always teach at a school. As for the rock etc musician, I think college should be about creating an alternative safety net. One of my favorite bands at the moment, they all went to high school together, stuck with it through college, so they now play full time, but made sure they all had something else to do if music never panned out. They are Dead Confederate btw
#25
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'If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.' Albert Einstein