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Let's do a poll about compensation, shall we?


OneThing

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So, if you are in a duo, or work solo, how much do you pull in a year doing it? If you would also like to include how many hours you average a week putting into it, that would useful information.

 

As for me, I'm still working out some things before I start looking for opportunities to play. I currently work a full time job (non music related), but will be switching to part time. It is my goal to eventually work as a musician full time. As a full time musician, I'm looking to pull in more than $50k a year.

 

So, how about you?

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In addition to performing, I also give lessons, do repairwork and some customization, as well as breed/sell exotics (primarily reptiles, currently) and do some photography, so my annual income, of all these combined, is a bit more.

 

Average week of gigging, not including travel time, comes to maybe 12 hours.

 

Holiday's (Mid-November through the New Years) hours come to quite a bit more, though...today, alone, I put in 5, and will log 4 more tomorrow night.

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i started out my solo career getting 150 a night for 3 hours. that was 20 plus years ago.

about every 3-4 years, i'd bump the price $25.

 

i book around 220 gigs a year. thinking if i raise my price, i will play less gigs, but make same amount each year.

 

after bumping the price substantually, i am still gigging 220+ times a year, but the money is much better. i've weeded out the low budget venues.

 

hours are easy. usually done by 10pm. i now have a social life outside of music venues.

 

i like my situation better than if i was a big recording star.

i couldn't be happier

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i started out my solo career getting 150 a night for 3 hours. that was 20 plus years ago.

about every 3-4 years, i'd bump the price $25.


i book around 220 gigs a year. thinking if i raise my price, i will play less gigs, but make same amount each year.


after bumping the price substantually, i am still gigging 220+ times a year, but the money is much better. i've weeded out the low budget venues.


hours are easy. usually done by 10pm. i now have a social life outside of music venues.


i like my situation better than if i was a big recording star.

i couldn't be happier

 

what a great post!! nice to see someone not complaining for a change ;)

im quite amazed you do 220+ gigs a year, all for great money, i would consider $200 for a solo gig great money - certainly nowadays...

and your home by 10pm..!!!

 

where is this nirvana you speak of?! oh ok.. i see in your footer youre in florida... how come the gigs end so early there?

i can understand a few but 220 a year and most of them done before 10??

 

im packing my bags as i write ;)

 

oh one last question. i'll bet you do, or at least used to do in the early days, a ton of promoting.. to have been able to generate such a level of business . right??

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what a great post!! nice to see someone not complaining for a change
;)
im quite amazed you do 220+ gigs a year, all for great money, i would consider $200 for a solo gig great money - certainly nowadays...

and your home by 10pm..!!!


where is this nirvana you speak of?! oh ok.. i see in your footer youre in florida... how come the gigs end so early there?

i can understand a few but 220 a year and most of them done before 10??


im packing my bags as i write
;)

oh one last question. i'll bet you do, or at least used to do in the early days, a ton of promoting.. to have been able to generate such a level of business . right??

 

yes, i moved from ohio to florida in 2001. never looked back. everyday is the weekend down here. at least from november to april (snowbird season). i'm averaging 350-400 per gig, not including tips or cd sales. most gigs are 6-9 or 7-10 pm. the latest i play is new years eve. i'm done by 12:30

 

i also do 2 hour concerts (15-17 per season) where i play a lot of my instrumental tunes and originals. it requires me to bring several guitars, a keyboard, and a banjo. but its well worth the extra gear. it pays the same as my other gigs, but i sell quite a few more cds. i usually have a table setup on the side of the stage with a friend manning the sales.

 

as for promoting....i had a tough time getting work in ohio. it was basicly a fri-sat and a wednesday once or twice a month. i had to really push myself to get bookings, plus go in at a reduced rate.

 

when i moved to florida, i got my foot in the door of a tourist venue where i was seen by thousands of people. played there tuesday and friday for 6 months. during that time, word of mouth took over and i was offered jobs everywhere within a 100 mile radius. yacht clubs, golf and country clubs, gated communities. those are the high money venues. i now do not play public bars.

 

tonight i play a singles/couples dance. there is a $7.00 cover charge. i get 50% of the door. there will be 150-180 people. i play 7-10pm. average age is 45-65

 

my tip if you come to florida to play music, is to stay away from the beach tiki bars, unless you want to play for 75-100 a night (4 hours). the beach jobs look cool, but they have a ton of soloist that will play cheap just to play. the owners will not pay anything good. they dont need to. its always busy. plus the salt air is tough on gear.

 

it has taken me 10 years to get in position in florida. like i said, i am very happy and settled in down here.

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yes, i moved from ohio to florida in 2001. never looked back. everyday is the weekend down here. at least from november to april (snowbird season). i'm averaging 350-400 per gig, not including tips or cd sales. most gigs are 6-9 or 7-10 pm. the latest i play is new years eve. i'm done by 12:30


i also do 2 hour concerts (15-17 per season) where i play a lot of my instrumental tunes and originals. it requires me to bring several guitars, a keyboard, and a banjo. but its well worth the extra gear. it pays the same as my other gigs, but i sell quite a few more cds. i usually have a table setup on the side of the stage with a friend manning the sales.


as for promoting....i had a tough time getting work in ohio. it was basicly a fri-sat and a wednesday once or twice a month. i had to really push myself to get bookings, plus go in at a reduced rate.


when i moved to florida, i got my foot in the door of a tourist venue where i was seen by thousands of people. played there tuesday and friday for 6 months. during that time, word of mouth took over and i was offered jobs everywhere within a 100 mile radius. yacht clubs, golf and country clubs, gated communities. those are the high money venues. i now do not play public bars.


tonight i play a singles/couples dance. there is a $7.00 cover charge. i get 50% of the door. there will be 150-180 people. i play 7-10pm. average age is 45-65


my tip if you come to florida to play music, is to stay away from the beach tiki bars, unless you want to play for 75-100 a night (4 hours). the beach jobs look cool, but they have a ton of soloist that will play cheap just to play. the owners will not pay anything good. they dont need to. its always busy. plus the salt air is tough on gear.


it has taken me 10 years to get in position in florida. like i said, i am very happy and settled in down here.

 

Hey leftyjay, you're in the sort of position that I'd like to be in, in terms of music. I have a career outside of music (that I love and that pays decently,) but I also love music and started sort of working my way up the ladder a little bit, but part time. I've gone from playing for free to playing for $10 per hour plus tips to playing for $50 per hour, so I'm on my way. It would be great to be able to move up to the next step where I'm playing for richer people. I live in New Port Richey, which is not a haven for rich folk, but Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Pete are all within an hour drive. I'm not looking to play more than 4 to 5 times per month, but I'm trying to work my way up to the better paying gigs. And I'm after the same demographic you're talking about, ie maybe the 40 to 65 age group.

 

Actually, I'm even OK with $50 per hour - I just want to play more steady gigs. Times are tough and I need the money. An extra $600 a month would really help. Right now I maybe average one gig a month and as I said I want to get to four or five.

 

One step at a time. :)

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Even mobile home parks are a good source for better money gigs. You how many there are alond the west coast of florida. Each one has a monthly or weekly dance. Especially in season. They usually pay 250-400 for solo/duo acts. You just have to be prepaired for the music needed. Its hard to go in those places and play a prepaired setlist. The crowds change on a song to song basis. I play 3-4 songs to get me started, then the rest is off the cuff. Reading the crowd is crutial. The crowd will let you know if you're not doing what they want

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Well, and there is one of the big differences between you and me... you've been at this a long time and can play 1,000+ songs. I do this part time and haven't been doing it for that long and I have maybe 135 songs. But this is good, this is why I'm here... to share what I know, learn from others, and endlessly debate pointless things like whether one should use backing tracks. :) At quite a few gigs I've done, I've been able to find some songs in my list that the crowd responds to favorably, but I always seem to run out of them. I definitely, definitely need a lot more material.

 

Case in point is tonight's gig. 200+ people, supposedly most of them will be in their 60's, and they want slow music to dance to. I've been talking about it in other threads. They want Billy Joel, Elton John, and the Beatles. I know some songs by each of them. I know maybe FIVE songs by each of them. I have to fill between two and two and a half hours. I recently learned a bunch of the classic slow dance songs (Misty, etc,) and those go over at almost any slow dance, but this demonstrates my lack of depth in my song list.

 

I just need to keep gigging and keep learning new songs all the time. I enjoy learning new music, though, and coming up with the best orchestration for the backing tracks. I appreciate your advice and your continued contributions to this forum.

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Oh well, why did you make it a public poll? Because I don't want to answer. But I'd like to see what most people said. I just don't want anyone to see my figure. I think it's pretty darn good pay, for a musician, for doing what I love. I'm sure other people would think of it as kind of pitiful. ;)

 

I'll say this, I never made even close to 50,000 in a year like the original poster wants to. Heck, I never topped 40,000. But if I made every year what I made in my top earning year, and we combined that with my husband's income, we'd be feeling pretty rich. But you know what, we live debt free and below our means. We have old paid off cars and a paid off house. But we are still able to save for retirement and take a few nice vacations here and there. We have what we need, a few fun extras, but not many.

 

I don't even have a concept of how other people live with what I hear they earn. I hear people talk about making the amount of money I make like it's the most pathetic amount ever. And then you hear about people earning 4 times what we earn .. being behind on their mortgages and stuff. It's wild to me!

 

So pretty much yeah, I'm raking it in over here, haha.

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It's because people live at the top edge of their means. I know my family does. We mapped the whole thing out, and we would have been OK, but we are now starting our 5th year without a raise (my wife and I both work in education.) So we're having a hard time right now. But, you know, you cut back in some areas when you have to. I'm happy that we both have stable jobs at this point. My goal with music is to be able to earn cash that we can spend on vacations and stuff. I used to reinvest everything back into my equipment, but at this point I own pretty much everything I need.

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I shouldn't have made it a public poll. It's my inexperience with posting that led to that decision. Personally, I don't care if people know my income level, but I know that a lot of people do. I currently earn $75k a year in a non music related field. I've earned considerably more, and I've earned considerably less over the years. Maybe we need to do another poll???

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