Making Ends Meet as a Musician


“Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot.  In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. ” ~Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism, 1891

Making ends meet financially seems to be an innate part of playing music for a living. There are few musicians at an intermediate level who are able to make more money than month.  As the current economic meltdown continues to force budget cuts everywhere, entertainment dollars are one of the first whacks made by bars and restuarants. Turn the sound system up louder and cancel the band. Or still offer band opportunities (thank you Jesus), but just cut the budget or the hotel rooms or the deli tray.  As much as musicians struggle to make it, bars and venues hosting live music struggle as well.

In the face of fractured finances, it’s important to remember we are creative individuals. After all, from an intangible, nebulous idea we form a melody and words to go along. We sing our creations. We record them and sell them and perform them for income.  If that’s not some sort of magical miracle feat, I don’t know what is.

As a musician facing rising tour costs, budget cuts and shakey job prospects, it’s essential to not forget all those shining attributes and usuable skills inside your soul that can help you through tough times. Don’t forget that because you can DO this music thing, you can also TEACH this music thing.  Offer lessons in song writing at a community center or teach group guitar lessons to children for additional income.  Check into the lucrative jingle writing market or sell songs as ringtones.  Offer to play lunchtime performances at a local coffeeshop for tips.  It’s nearly Christmas. Offer your services as a holiday shopper for parents wishing to give their children musical instruments. People would pay for your expert opinion as they choose an instrument for their child.  Sell your services as a booking agent or publicist for other bands. There is NO LIMIT to your abilities.

My fellow blogger Jason at www.frugaldad.com has a ton of what he refers to as “side hustles” on his site today.  Jason talks about housesitting, babysitting, dogwalking and selling on e-bay as additional ways to make income.  In addition to talking about creating income, Jason blogs daily about saving money and tracking spending. His blog is well worth a daily read.

Remember as an individual who lives close to inspiration on a daily basis, you can find innovative ways to be a musician and survive the fractured economy.  It takes a clever, cool, gifted person to make it in the music world. Use your talents and creative survival strategies. Remember to pass along inspiring thoughts and ideas to your fellow musicians too.  All of us need encouragement and understanding at this odd time in the world.

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