"Making it" without gigging

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
quandry
Posts: 1611
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 2:31 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Post by quandry » Wed May 31, 2006 12:27 am

ishimaru wrote: That's why you need something plausible to sell. i know i'll never make any real money doing music but selling my shirts and hoodies and other stuff makes a nice amount of cash. There's this grindcore band called The Locusts thats a very good example of this. They have there name on everything. Belts, Badges, shrits, and whatever else is out there. They make more money from the sales than the music. Dieselboy is another example of this. Get yourself a good designer and when you gig bring some shirts and badges for easy money. I've seen horrible bands (Mae, Rob Gee) that have awesome merch.
great point. even highly established bands like the dave matthews band (not the biggest fan, but they are locally based here and a few friends of mine work for their merchandising empire) make a lot more off of merchandising in terms of profit. For them, and most other major label bands, the highest profit is from merchandise sold at shows (no middle man!), next is concert tickets, last is album sales (even when they're in the multi-million range). For people producing your own tracks on your own gear in your own studio, the overhead of the production cost can be minimal, so you can stand to make a good profit margin on your physical and digital album sales, and certainly on merch. But, as Angstrom said, you've got to find a way to push it on people with PR or BNR or a miracle. Without giggin and touring, all you have is either getting signed to a label that has decent distribution and is willing to promote you, or somehow just spreading like wildfire on the net because your tracks are so hot. It is tough, even if the music is great.
Dell Studio XPS 8100 Windows 7 64-bit, 10 GB RAM. RME Multiface, Avalon U5 & M5, Distressor, Filter Factory, UC33e, BCR-2000, FCB1010, K-Station, Hr 824 & H120 sub, EZ Bus, V-Drums, DrumKat EZ, basses, guitars, pedals... http://www.ryan-hughes.net

jerry123
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:26 am
Location: Toronto Ont. Canada

Post by jerry123 » Wed May 31, 2006 12:34 am

This is another issue. I've often scolded friend's bands with 'Are you a department store or a band!?!'
It is true though, some do make a good living off 'musically related' merch, which is fine.
Think of it this way:
A musician with a regular day job, making a comfortable living and having enough time to be creative, is a very good place to be. I might even consider this person to be 'rich' in more ways than one.
A musician who makes a comfortable living from providing music they may not like to other people who are appreciative in some way, is a great situation to be in. This means no day job.
A musician who makes a comfortable living from doing what ever they want is exactly the same as anybody doing whatever they love for money. I mean, I like cake. I like making cake. I think I make a damn good cake. How can I make a living off making cake without making cake that others are asking for? I just want them to eat my cake as it is. I put alot into my cake!
So, anyway, if you are doing what you want and not getting paid for it now, somethings got to change right?

j0shu@
Posts: 547
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:27 pm
Location: tn
Contact:

Post by j0shu@ » Wed May 31, 2006 1:45 am

im glad there are others in this position.

i have just had a kid (4mos old), have a day job, and live in the middle of nowhere. this makes gigging pretty much an impossibility if i have any hopes of maintaining my family life.

so i recently went into this frenzy to produce an entire album (of good stuff) by a certain deadline. the album is called "the rural sequence" and it is essentially a reaction to and description of the same situation that rbro is talking about. the tracks are named and influenced by things around my house, the family dynamics, and rural living in the woods of tennessee (however there are no lyrics and the songs range from psychedlic breakbeat style dance tracks to greazy hammond organ acid jams, im trying to say its not like folk music or anything. even though there is nothing wrong with.... i digress). anyhow, i now have an album i am confident in, good songs, cover art, and a short run of cd-rs on the way.

with nowhere to go.

i realize that i cant really gig, though i do have just a few gigs lined up, and i am in a similar situtation. i am going to do the cdBaby, digital distribution, and all that web jazz along with my current websites, as well as having some interesting ideas for viral marketing (which i will unleash upon you guys at some point in the near future!)

so im not planning on "making it big" or even "making it" by a longshot. im just trying to get something out that i think is good and have a few of my friends and couple of strangers think its good.

thats what im trying to focus on now.

rbro
Posts: 1530
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:09 pm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Post by rbro » Wed May 31, 2006 2:10 am

j0shu@ wrote:im glad there are others in this position.

i have just had a kid (4mos old), have a day job, and live in the middle of nowhere. this makes gigging pretty much an impossibility if i have any hopes of maintaining my family life.

so i recently went into this frenzy to produce an entire album (of good stuff) by a certain deadline. the album is called "the rural sequence" and it is essentially a reaction to and description of the same situation that rbro is talking about. the tracks are named and influenced by things around my house, the family dynamics, and rural living in the woods of tennessee (however there are no lyrics and the songs range from psychedlic breakbeat style dance tracks to greazy hammond organ acid jams, im trying to say its not like folk music or anything. even though there is nothing wrong with.... i digress). anyhow, i now have an album i am confident in, good songs, cover art, and a short run of cd-rs on the way.

with nowhere to go.

i realize that i cant really gig, though i do have just a few gigs lined up, and i am in a similar situtation. i am going to do the cdBaby, digital distribution, and all that web jazz along with my current websites, as well as having some interesting ideas for viral marketing (which i will unleash upon you guys at some point in the near future!)

so im not planning on "making it big" or even "making it" by a longshot. im just trying to get something out that i think is good and have a few of my friends and couple of strangers think its good.

thats what im trying to focus on now.
This is exactly what I'm talking about and exactly my situation. You're just way further along than me. I hope to have something I am proud of out by the end of the year and I've been looking at the CD Baby route as well. I own my own small internet biz, and I know a bit about marketing on the web. For me, "making it" doesn't necessarily mean making big bucks, but being able to have music I create and truly enjoy listening to myself played and enjoyed by as many other people as possible. Even when I played in live rock and roll bands, I was satisfied with a packed little bar with maybe a couple hundred people. I just want the internet equivalent of that I guess...............

MrYellow
Posts: 1887
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 7:10 am
Contact:

Post by MrYellow » Wed May 31, 2006 4:35 am

Do what the big guys do....

Pretend you're a success and everyone is listening to you and the real ppl will follow.

Think it was the Simpsons.... "The screaming girl effect".... pay a few
screaming girls to jump around infront of the camera saying how much
they love u and soon u'll have hundreds of real ones. Morons or not they
have cash.

Better yet, write, gig and record for fun and pay for it with a dayjob.

-Ben

Tarekith
Posts: 17456
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed May 31, 2006 11:45 am

If your music is really that good, people will listen and pass it on with little help from you. If you can't gig and promote yourself to help this end (and I question how much it really DOES help most people), then just enjoy the process of making music and don't even worry about "taking it that next step".

There's no reason that all musicians have to be famous, or even sorta well known. You'll probably be a happier person if you just focus on the things you have control over (ie, making music), and leave stressing the fame to those who are shallower than you :)

pepezabala
Posts: 3499
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 4:29 pm
Location: In Berlin, finally

Post by pepezabala » Wed May 31, 2006 11:50 am

one of my favourite spanish pop bands is Le Mans. I was surprised when I read that they hardly ever played live. The lead singer was reluctant to go on stage since once she nearly stepped on a mouse on a concert. And they say that the drummer did not know the names of the songs. So concerts were not really possible.

But still they made some of the most beutiful albums in spanish-pop-music, sold some thousands copies of it and were famous in japan.

elektrovert
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:51 am
Location: Dublin
Contact:

Post by elektrovert » Wed May 31, 2006 11:54 am

It's not about the fame though, is it?

it's about the dream af being able to support yourself and your family doing what you love to do, be it gardening, graphic design, or in our case - music.

That kind of life style is something to strive for.
I'm getting to a place in my life where there is no other option, I've just bought a house with my Fiancé and looking at the mortgage term realised that I'm going to be paying for it for 30 years!!!
I can't see my day job being fullfilling enough to keep me happy that long.
so I'm striving for that dream.

I love a challange. :D

Tarekith
Posts: 17456
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed May 31, 2006 12:10 pm

It's a cool dream no doubt, but it's SOOOO difficult these days that I think it's not worth the effort :) I can't imagine paying a mortgage on a musicians pay!

There's just not much money to be had if you're JUST a band/person releasing CDs. If you really want to make money at music, get into doing music for television Ads, sound effects libraries, etc. Far more money in that type of work, and I speak from experience.

Not trying to be negative, just realistic. I know a few producers in Chicago who have dozens and dozens of releases. They are well known worldwide in their respective genres. Yet they still need a real job to make ends meet, even with frequent paying gigs.

There's also the stress of having your primary income dependant on an artistic endeavor. What happens when you get a rough bout of writers block?

snowtires
Posts: 759
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: philadelphia, pa

Post by snowtires » Wed May 31, 2006 12:37 pm

if you want to 'make it' without touring, you have to be the absolute best in the world. seriously. you have to be absolutely fucking incredible. to be blunt, there are thousands upon thousands of other people who want the same thing as you, except those other people are willing to everything it takes to get there.

who's a label going to sign, the guy who sits at home writing music and waiting to get famous or the guy who takes the music he wrote, goes out and busts his ass touring and making a name for himself? labels want to see initiative and commitment, they don't want to see that you don't even have enough time to do shows.

snowtires
Posts: 759
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: philadelphia, pa

Post by snowtires » Wed May 31, 2006 12:46 pm

jerry123 wrote:This is another issue. I've often scolded friend's bands with 'Are you a department store or a band!?!'
It is true though, some do make a good living off 'musically related' merch, which is fine.
Think of it this way:
A musician with a regular day job, making a comfortable living and having enough time to be creative, is a very good place to be. I might even consider this person to be 'rich' in more ways than one.
A musician who makes a comfortable living from providing music they may not like to other people who are appreciative in some way, is a great situation to be in. This means no day job.
A musician who makes a comfortable living from doing what ever they want is exactly the same as anybody doing whatever they love for money. I mean, I like cake. I like making cake. I think I make a damn good cake. How can I make a living off making cake without making cake that others are asking for? I just want them to eat my cake as it is. I put alot into my cake!
So, anyway, if you are doing what you want and not getting paid for it now, somethings got to change right?
i just find it hard to believe that someone in this day and age could make music that nobody wants to hear. i mean, unless you're one of those people who only listens to frank zappa, most people get influences from SOME popular artists, whether they're popular now or were popular 30 years ago. how could you take those influences and make music that nobody wants to listen to? you'd almost have to make a conscious effort to try and make something no one would like. i think, in reality, the stuff people as a whole don't want to listen to is just not very good. musicians can explain away that no one understands them, that they're too far ahead of their time, but 99% of the time, they suck and they just don't want to admit it. if you're a talented musician, it will come through in the music and there will be people who want to listen.

smutek
Posts: 4489
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:30 pm
Location: Baltimore,United States

Post by smutek » Wed May 31, 2006 12:52 pm

If you are looking to do music full time you can always get into freelancing, I think there are plenty of opportunities out there if you are willing to network. You could write jingles, ring tones, commercials and film scores, installations for art galleries, etc.

If you don't want to be associated with jingles and such you can always do this type of work under a different alias. If you think it is cheesy just remember that you are creating a commercial product - and remember that there is a market for it and decent money in it if you are good. I know there are a few people on this board that do that type of work in addition to their artistic output.

Guys like scanner and speedy j do instillation and scoring work. And from what I understand there is pretty good money in ring tones. I know a guy that freelances doing audio for a videographer during on location shoots and makes damn good cash. I met him while freelancing as a lowly production assistant and the money was really good, even for me. He also does freelance video editing and scoring for independent films and he does very well financially. This guy can make more in a week then I make in a month.

I may be missing your point as well, but I mention all of that to point out that there are opportunities out there to work solely with music if you want to venture into other areas. Success may not come from just releasing (insert genre here) albums. But you can always freelance three, four, or five days a week during the day, earn a good living working with the medium you love, and have time in the evening/weekends to pursue your art. Also, while doing this, you may find more oppurtunities for artistic success.

just a suggestion.

Tarekith
Posts: 17456
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Post by Tarekith » Wed May 31, 2006 12:56 pm

Writing jingles is easy money if you can stand to write music that isn't always in your style. I was making like $300 for 2 hours of work, plus a fair bit on the licensing. It was kinda rediculous how easy it was to be honest.

Downside was that at the end of the day when it was time to make my own music, I'd be burnt out and sick of the music thing by then (yes it does happen).

smutek
Posts: 4489
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:30 pm
Location: Baltimore,United States

Post by smutek » Wed May 31, 2006 1:01 pm

Tarekith wrote:Writing jingles is easy money if you can stand to write music that isn't always in your style. I was making like $300 for 2 hours of work, plus a fair bit on the licensing. It was kinda rediculous how easy it was to be honest.

Downside was that at the end of the day when it was time to make my own music, I'd be burnt out and sick of the music thing by then (yes it does happen).
Thats a good point. Music freelancing is out for me. Even though I love music I have to admit that I have absolutely no musical talent. I am passionate about it but this is just my hobby. I do visual arts and work as a graphic designer - but doing graphic design all the time for other people I find less motivation to work on my own art. It takes a lot of discipline.

But on the other hand I am happy. I have to earn money smehow and this beats the pants off of selling insurance, or cooking in a resteraunt, or whatever. atleast for me it does.

Mbazzy
Posts: 1726
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2002 1:35 pm
Location: Gent-Belgium
Contact:

Post by Mbazzy » Wed May 31, 2006 2:41 pm

Think -as others advised here already - it has ALL to do with personal -as in "real life" , as in meeting people in the flesh - relations ... you won't see much established artists or artists on the rise on Internet boards ...

These are also the same people that won't be discussing CPU performance or OS etc ... they work with what they have and feel comfortable with it ... even if it's Acid 1.0 ....
http://www.mbazzy.tk -
Mbazzy's "The dysfunctional playground, a scrapbook a bout the shape of useless things" now OUT on Retinascan - http://www.retinascan.de

Post Reply