#2
a day job does not mean your not a serious musician..as I have had some and almost every working musician doing bar gigs and pass the hat type dates have had one sort or another..restaurants..drivers..office work etc..my last day job afforded me a new car and new music gear..bar gigs and such may pay at best 50-100 a night..that goes fast if your living in or near a big city..mine is los angeles..and everything is expensive..

looking at some "signed" bands and how they are paid sometime is not the fame and fortune life we may think it is..check out the Allman Brothers band..they had a real rough road and they were one of the best in the south..bad management is a lot worse than a steady day job..
play well

wolf
#3
Quote by riccikg
Do unsigned musicians necessarily a day job to sustain their career?


No.

Unsigned musicians come from all walks of life. One of my colleagues represented a band in which 2 members were blue collar, and the other three came from old money. Other guys were infamous moochers before they "made it".
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
yeah, even when you're signed and filling out every show you play (which takes a lot of luck, good marketing, and tons of experience and material, often 2-3 albums into a band's career), most musicians will be making less than 40k a year (before updating equipment that they wouldn't be able to afford without sponsorship deals) after touring expenses

that's not to mention that your first several tours will come out at a loss. someone did a documentary a few years back of touring with a metal band and i think it came out to negative 6000 dollars or so, plus the wages the band lost taking time off work. it ain't easy grinding out there.

if any semi-professional musician isn't a trust fund baby, working full time, or living with their parents, they're probably not musicians. even professionals work as producers/engineers for other musicians when they're not on tour because they understand that the band life isn't sustainable. even if you are wildly successful for a few years, that isn't gonna last forever, and it's not uncommon at all that you'll come out of the touring life 10 years later, covered in tattoos with almost no marketable skills, few savings, and without any educational backup.

if you look around, you'll see more and more every day that musicians in bands that were big in 2005 are mailmen, police officers, etc.
modes are a social construct
#5
Quote by riccikg
Do unsigned musicians necessarily a day job to sustain their career?

I'm an unsigned musician.  Music is my day job - I teach guitar.   IOW, teaching music sustains my "career" in playing music.  Or maybe vice versa...

I don't teach every day, mind (I couldn't stand that).  The hourly rate is reasonably good - about 3x the minimum wage here (in UK), and roughly similar to what I get from gigging (per hour that is).  Of course I enjoy gigs more (usually).  
I work fewer hours a week than the average 9-5 drone, and make a living - just - so I can't complain.  I get time to lurk and post here!
I'm not rich or famous of course, and never will be.
I've made plenty of recordings, but only ever self-financed ones.  I was nearly "signed" once (to a big label), about 40 years ago - but the band split. (With hindsight, it wouldn't have come to much anyway; our self-financed disc had a fleeting novelty appeal.)

I once had a series of non-musical 9-5 day jobs - simply because I wasn't confident enough in my musical skill to give them up.  I wasn't prepared to starve in the pursuit of the appealing idiocy of fame.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Aug 4, 2017,
#6
You do whatever you have to do to keep going for as long as you can. If you have no constant income you can't do the things you will need to do to keep playing music as a profession. I have been at this for more than 40 years. I have done all kinds of playing gigs hoping to make a living with music in some way. While playing full time I worked at a recording studio (first as a gopher and eventually as an engineer), played low paying session gigs and taught guitar to beginners at a local music store. Though I was somewhat successful (financially), it never lasted more than a year or so then it was back to having to get a regular job. It was a yo-yo existence. The problem is that after the first fifteen years of bouncing between being a full time musician (and making sure I was available to travel and do road gigs) then back to a 9-5 job, I got to the point where I was not a good employee risk because I had three or four short term jobs broken up by a year or so of playing full time in between. I ended up with a poor job history that made it hard to find an decent well paying job or an employer who would take a chance on me unless the position was so minimal and brainless that it required no skill which also meant it didn't pay well. About 25 years ago I made the decision to just be a "weekend warrior" and play what I want to play and consider playing music an extra part-time job. This has worked well for me as I have been able to continue playing gigs regularly without worrying about how to pay the bills each month. 

In my heart I am a musician but I am also a realist. In my younger playing days I had my turn up at bat. Even though I struck out making music a full time job I enjoyed the experience and still love to play gigs and still do often. Now my gig money is reserved for new toys (guitars, amps etc.). I also look at it as a great part-time job. I get well paid (most of the time), I get to drink (usually free or at least one drink per set), I get a 20 minute break every hour and I play what I want to play and just hang out. Not a bad part time job. At least I don't have to say "Do want fries with that?" or "Paint rollers are in isle 6".
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 4, 2017,
#7
Thanks everyone for all your feedback. I do have one other question as part of my research. Does music have a significant role in grade school education? Why/why not?
#8
Quote by riccikg
Thanks everyone for all your feedback. I do have one other question as part of my research. Does music have a significant role in grade school education? Why/why not?

Here in the UK the government are doing a pretty good job of curtailing music education, by funding cuts.  I read a couple of days ago of one school's solution to this ... reduce the staff teaching music, don't provide weekly lessons, and instead, set aside 6 days across the entire year, for outsiders to come in and teach.  It's disgusting.
#9
when i was growing up, it was always an hour of music class in elementary school, but it was more like a second recess than anything. a room full of various small percussion instruments and recorders we had to buy ourselves

then middle school, there was a comprehensive middle school band, but again, we had to buy or rent the instruments ourselves, even if we used the school's horns. the exception was stuff like percussion. even travel wasn't covered in almost all cases, aside from a trip we took to San Antonio once (which was fundraised)

high school had a lot more comprehensive travel with band, but by that point there was a clear division. people in band wanted to be in band, because of the time investment in marching, so people in other sports didn't mingle as much and it got a little clique-y. it felt like another sport more than anything. those of you who know me around here won't be surprised to know i quit marching band after they didn't make me first chair or give me a section leader spot at the end of my freshman year, so not much has changed

that being said, i am about to start my last year of university to teach high school english, and i fully intend to use music in minor lessons. my teaching POV is centered around using a lot of short (but comprehensive and difficult) texts so we have the time to give the proper attention to a piece. i live in texas, though, so a lot of my focus will be on progressive/underground rap and hip-hop (at least as much as i can find that's clean lol)
modes are a social construct
#10
Quote by Hail

if you look around, you'll see more and more every day that musicians in bands that were big in 2005 are mailmen, police officers, etc.

I know a few that were huge in the early 2000's.  They are a piano tuner, a history professor at a community college, a UPS driver, and a district manager for a whole foods.  


Signed or not, you need to make bread to eat.  If you can't make money making music, then you've got your answer.  Case closed.  
"I definitely don’t write all my music in a blackout, like I used to, although I did come up with some good stuff in a blackout."
-Matt Fucking Pike
#11
Whether you need/want a day job has nothing to do with having a recording or distribution contract. If anything, original music is probably where a person is least likely to make a living with just one gig. Stuff like teaching and high-end cover bands are where the money is more reliable (plus a lot less work for the same amount of money). Not as "cool" as going on tour with your own tunes, but you also don't have to live in an Astrovan half the year.

Mostly you just gotta hustle, if you want to make money in music. Nothing stops you from having a teaching gig, a regular pro gig, and then pursuing original music in the time left over. Most working musicians I know either have day jobs or a lot of irons in fire around the music scene.
Last edited by cdgraves at Aug 4, 2017,
#12
Quote by cdgraves
Whether you need/want a day job has nothing to do with having a recording or distribution contract. If anything, original music is probably where a person is least likely to make a living with just one gig. Stuff like teaching and high-end cover bands are where the money is more reliable (plus a lot less work for the same amount of money). Not as "cool" as going on tour with your own tunes, but you also don't have to live in an Astrovan half the year.

Mostly you just gotta hustle, if you want to make money in music. Nothing stops you from having a teaching gig, a regular pro gig, and then pursuing original music in the time left over. Most working musicians I know either have day jobs or a lot of irons in fire around the music scene.


CD--and to the unconcerned onlooker who may say.."playing music isn't work.." my reply is...don't try this at home..getting paid $100 a night doing bar gigs 3 nights a week is not going to be an easy gig .. even with free drinks and groupies..
play well

wolf
#13
Quote by riccikg
Thanks everyone for all your feedback. I do have one other question as part of my research. Does music have a significant role in grade school education? Why/why not?


Depends on where you are. When I was a kid, beyond what I learned at home (Mom was a music teacher), we had lessons using recorders, rhythm sticks and so forth. While I know some districts still have formal music education like that (+/-), I know a lot don't. I have no clue as to what the percentages or even the trends are.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Quote by wolflen
CD--and to the unconcerned onlooker who may say.."playing music isn't work.." my reply is...don't try this at home..getting paid $100 a night doing bar gigs 3 nights a week is not going to be an easy gig .. even with free drinks and groupies..


Yeah that's not a hustle I'd want, which is why I'm fine keeping a day job until I have enough properly compensated gigs. My only pro gig right now is wedding music, and I have a couple students. Makes up about a third of my total income. I'm aiming to get solo jazz and wedding/cocktail gigs, which can fetch a few hundred bucks for an hour of performance.