Saturday, March 07, 2009

A 3-part series – How do we make money now?

A few months ago I was talking to an introverted musician who said there are only two ways to make money in music: performing and teaching. Man did this guy not get it. There must be a gazillion ways, a gazillion styles and twice that many market segments. But you sure do have to think out of the box.

Were you playing any paid gigs last year? For me it was going great until about November. The holidays cratered the market. Clubs had a third fewer slots open, and the more established players in their rotations got the fewer gigs left. It didn’t get any better in December when the holidays made it pretty rotten, but then there were some parties to make up for it—not so bad if you wanted to chase it.

Then came January. January is usually slow, but this one was ridiculous. The sports bars all but went into fetal position with the dual competition of the Superbowl run up and the disastrous economy.

To keep things going, I had promised my venues that I’d cut back my prices for the slow part of the winter. Some of them didn’t even want to take that, but I have been working steadily anyway. Still, I have a feeling that higher rates may not be coming back for quite sometime.

Personally, I’m going to keep playing so I’m an established roster player when the economy starts to recover. Several years maybe, but I refuse to let my chops wither.

So what else can we do? I’ll be discussing some in my next few posts.