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Re: making money off your music

Interesting developement, Rick. A bit frustrating too.

Similar situation here in Germany.

Iīm not a professional musician but Iīm trying to get gigs from time to 
This year my Duo played in churches and galleries cause it fits well with
our music. We didnīt get a guarantee at any venue. It was either 
from the door or
just a donation deal (people are free to give a few Euros or not), which 
the policy for
churches sometimes. They donīt do "Deals at the house of God" you know?
At the end of the day, we could be happy to just pay our expenses (mainly 
car costs).
Itīs ok for us, but even getting jobs when you are willing to do it for 
nearly no fee is difficult.
Not sure, but for me it looks like the live business is about to collapse. 
Too many
musicians want to play live. Probably because for them itīs the only 
possibility to sell
some CDīs (even this is quite poor when there are only 10 - 20 people 
Another reason: The instrument industry generates more and more 
possibilities to
make music even when you havenīt learned to play an instrument. Example: 
music on the laptop and other electronic devices.
Itīs ok, but does everyone need to play live?
I think thatīs different from the 70ies/80ies. Itīs a huge society of so 
called -musicians all over the world.
Too many musci/concerts everywhere.

In an ideal world I would be happy to do my dayjob (not more than 20 hours 
week) and
playing around 3-5 concerts a months with a fee of 50 Euro (after 
per musician per gig.
AAAHH! That could be paradise.....


From: "Rick Walker" <looppool@cruzio.com>
Sent: Friday, October 08, 2010 4:55 AM
To: "LOOPERS DELIGHT (posting)" <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
Subject: 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 
> been........
> .....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
> none.
> I had raised my rates from $30 a lesson (40 minutes) to $40 a lesson (40 
> minutes
> 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 
> base is
> vastly higher than 20 years ago.
> Then the recession hit and it's really been rough ever since.     I 
> stubbornly
> refused to lower my rates but my teaching schedule dropped rapidly.
> Commensurately around 2003 or 2004  people stopped buying CDs (at least 
> my
> world).   I went from selling 20-upwards of 50 a gig to the point where 
> 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 
> 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 
> income.
> And I've been blessed to be one of the most lucky and fortunate 
> professional musicians
> 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 
> 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 
> life.
> 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 
> professional/commercial work.
> 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 
> (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
> and countries.
> yours, in the spirit of music and community,
> Rick Walker