Money and Music(Part 1)

Stepping into the music industry, or earning a living through it, has always been a difficult decision for many out there. For a music lover, earning money by doing what you like is definitely a fun thing. But because of that, the competition you will face in this industry is extremely huge.
It is the purpose of this post to:
1) explore the options you have on earning money by doing music
2) Compare these options in terms of income stability, degree of work enjoyment, and requirement
3) Give a rough idea, on each option, of what you will be into for a few decades of your life.

Apart from celebrity musician, there are basically two types of performing musician. The first type is the one that takes up a contract in a hotel, or a pub, etc and perform up to 6 nights per week. The second type is the one that performs only in weddings, parties or company functions. Of course a combination of these two is possible.

As a musician who takes up a contract, you will be performing quite frequently, and because of that, your potential for improvement in playing is very big. Especially when you are in a position that demands and pushes you to improve, either by pressure from more experienced band members, or regular customers demanding for a broader repertoire.  However, the opposite might happen, where you are just playing the same songs every night, waiting for your lazy bandmates who would pick up only one new song everyweek.

 I have seen many musicians wear out performing everyday in hotel lounges, don’t think that it’s always fun even if you see the musicians on stage smiling all the time, it’s his job to smile.
Here’s a better picture of what you will be doing..  

A musician who performs functions only, might be working only 2 or 3 nights per week, or sometimes even 2 or 3 nights per month, depending on his reputation and his social network. Due to the frequency of performing which is considerably less, discipline and self motivation in practising his music is crucial in order for him to continue improving. Job security is a big issue in this field, there maybe months when your earnings are three times the average salary in your country, there may also be months when you end up sitting at home wondering where to get the money to pay for your house and car loan.
Check out these videos of my friend who is doing quite well performing functions all around my country.

Income stability : 3
Income for a function musician is of course very volatile. Income for a contract musician is comparatively more stable, but don’t be complacent, most hotels will only sign a band for around 3 to 6 months, after that, you might still end up jobless for a few months until you find a new contract.

Work enjoyment : 8
Performing music is definitely one of the most enjoyable job out there, especially if you find a good band and good place to perform. Short working hours, with good money. You are literally being paid to have fun!!

Requirement : 7
People are paying to see you do what they cannot, mastering your instrument is a must. Some musicians still manage to pull it off, but what’s the point of that.

Hope you enjoy reading so far. Stay tune for Part 2 ..:)

Money and Music (Part 2)


  • KCLau

    Reply Reply August 2, 2007

    I am definitely the musician who are waiting for the egg to fall from the sky. I got only 5-10 gigs ……… per year!

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