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making money off your music
Okay, that does it.
That's the single most depressing website I've ever visited.
This then leads to the argument, yeah, but what about
playing live gigs with their inherent revenue stream?
This then, is my own personal story. It may sound like a lament
or a plea for pity but it truly isn't. I'm happier than I've ever
.....just much poorer as a professional musician.
I put it out there as an adjunct to this particular article:
In 1969 the Cataylst in Santa Cruz was paying a 4 piece band $300
to play there. $75/person
In the 1980's the money was flowing. You could frequently
find gigs that paid anywhere from $100 - $300 in this area
or in Monterey/Carmel or San Jose (where the pricier hotels
and resort centers are). There was a lot of studio work too
which augmented income quite a bit. There was a phase in the
late 80's and early 90's where I wouldn't walk out of house to
play a gig that paid less than $200 but I was also quite a bit in demand.
At the end of the 90's and before the dot com bubble burst, there
were many gigs that paid extremely well (but the studio work
had completely vanished)
Then the bubble burst and that was that. I went from having between 12 and
20 very high paying corporate gigs to finally having only 1 a year and then
I had raised my rates from $30 a lesson (40 minutes) to $40 a lesson (40
or $50 a lesson (60 minutes) sometime in the early 90's.
I haven't raised my rates since then (though my skill level and
knowledge base is
vastly higher than 20 years ago.
Then the recession hit and it's really been rough ever since. I
refused to lower my rates but my teaching schedule dropped rapidly.
Commensurately around 2003 or 2004 people stopped buying CDs (at least
world). I went from selling 20-upwards of 50 a gig to the point where
I no longer bring CDs to gigs because it's a waste of time and energy.
Additionally, the number of gigs that pay in this area has just dried up.
I'd dearly love to do $50 gigs in this region. There are still some
$100 - $200 gigs out there
but way too many professional musicians vying for them to be viable as
And I've been blessed to be one of the most lucky and fortunate
in this area. One by one, most of the professional musicians I came up
with have left
the field because there just was no way to make a decent living.
So, it looks like the paradigm has changed irrevocably and the life
that I have known as a professional
is coming to an end.
It makes me infinitely sad that things have gotten so bad but it is just
I also realize that my own story may be anomalous.............after
all, I've successfully been able to have
an unencumbered artists life that sat along side of my
Also, Santa Cruz is just a weird,anomalous place demographically. The
average family makes
$83,000 a year in Santa Cruz according to census figures just
released. The price of housing is very high compared to the price of
low waged jobs (a professional musician being lumped in with
most minimum wage jobs in terms of monthly income).
It would be interesting to hear from professional musicians on this list
who live in other regions
yours, in the spirit of music and community,