The Real Costs Of Being A Successful Musician Or Indie Artist

dollar sign 1st placeEverything has it’s price. Being a steadily-working musicians or artist is no exception. The trick is to be able to identify all of the prices you will need to pay in order to reach and stay at the professional level. Here are some things you’ll need to invest:

  • Money – This is obvious, but do you realize exactly how much money you need to spend? You need to make enough money to cover equipment,one or more computers, lessons, recording, mixing, mastering, rehearsal space, industry education, cell phone, internet access, licensing fees (e.g. mechanical license), joining organizations (union, Indie Connect, NSAI etc.), attending conferences, CD duplication, website, graphic design, newsletter service (e.g. Mail Chimp), wardrobe, a manager, booking agent, entertainment attorney, photographs, a publicist, press release distribution, video production, graphic design etc. This list can go on and on depending on the level you’re at, or are trying to reach! You need to ask yourself, ‘How much money do I need to make to cover all of these costs and still make a profit, and what kind of work do I need to get to make that much money?’
  • Time – You need to constantly set aside time for rehearsing, practicing on your own, songwriting, set up and tear-down of gigs, sound check,  the gigs themselves, calling to get gigs, marketing and promotion, networking, educating yourself, interviews, website maintenance, writing and publishing your newsletter, connecting with fans on social networks, checking out other acts, checking out gear, lessons, recording, getting photos, shooting and possibly editing videos, posting photos and videos etc. Again, so much more can be added to this list. In many cases it is more than a 40 hr./week job.
  • Personal life: You may not think of this as a cost, but you are definitely giving up a lot to live the life of a full time musician. Some of your personal sacrifices can include a steady, dependable income, time with your friends and family, employer-paid insurance, returning to a comfortable home every night, having privacy (especially if you’re living on a bus),  developing deep relationships (tough to do from the road), having children (you may not want to have children with this kind of lifestyle), sleep and a whole lot more.

You have 3 decisions to make now. 1) Am I willing to sacrifice all or some of this for the chance at working full time as a musician? 2) If not, how can I eliminate some of these costs (e.g. barter services with someone else), and 3) If this is unacceptable, what can I do in the music field that won’t require me to pay these steep prices?

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About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.