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Jesse Crawford

This is an excellent article. I like how it explains to spread the effort out and try different things.


Seeing only one comment following this post, I suspect the formulas and accounting terminology may have scared away many of the musicians that could have benefited from the content, but have no background in business and find it a bit overwhelming :S

Speaking as an artist who used to struggle with this, perhaps it would be helpful to include some links to other articles or wiki pages that explain some of the terminology? Of course, ideally, people would just have the initiative to look it up themselves... but I think it might help.


Meghan Morrison


Having been in business it can be summed up that you shouldn't spend more than you can recoup quickly. Sales beyond that become profit. I was hoping for more marketing ideas.


Seems like a lot of freaking math to me:} . Seriously though, I have been a full-time musician for roughly 15 years. About 5 years part-time prior to that. I try to release a New CD of original material no less than once every other year, and I've had some moderate success doing this. However, I have to make the heart of my income from the fees I recieve from live performances. I play guitar and sing, so I am able to present 4 different shows. I do restaurant shows (Solo Acoustic) and I have an acoustic Duo and Trio for special shows (actually the bulk of my shows at the moment) and I have a full production electric band. The bulk of my/our songlists are cover tunes doing what the heck ever people want to hear, and trying to squeeze in originals whenever possible in order to push some product. As the economy has been a real bummer here of late, I've opted to lower a lot of overhead by trimming shows down to the acoustic Duo. Having made the initial investments in the right gear to do the job more than a few years back, All I really have to do is routine maintenance. But, as I/we have to travel quite a bit to be able to play about 4-5 shows a week, Gasoline has become a huge factor in determining what to ask for at any new places I/we want to play. We don't want to price ourselves out of the market, but we want to be able to sustain a full-time schedule. The best advice I could ever give anyone who wants to have a sustained career is to learn as many styles of music as you can, and don't let cover-songs detour you. I have heard so many musicians say that they will not play cover songs or whatever, and I usually say, "Fine, I'll take that gig too and you can hang out with your cool friends in your basement and talk about how much it sucks that no one wants to hear your originals." Get yourself in the door with some cool cover versions of your favorite artists and then slip your originals in once you're in the door and on the stage. If you tell a venue that you have a CD to push, most of them encourage you to play your originals. If you can establish a fan base, no matter if its only 3 or 4 people, in every town you play, it can only grow. Its a very tight market out thee, at least in the midwest where I/we play. It never hurts to prepare for a show and act professional. But if its just something that you are going to do on the odd weekend, or to impress a chick or....dude, you will never now proffitability in the music business, so its best not to think about how far in the hole you are going into just to feed your ego or to merely just jam and have a good time. But if you are serious and you are going to make it your job, be prepared to hate a few things about it, just as you would any other job that you have to do. Not all of my gigs are my favorite gigs, but I sure do like not having to wear a paper hat and a name-tag....anymore :}

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