#052: Roundtable – The Working Musician

News, calls, emails, tips and tricks!

The Podcasters revisit last week’s episode with Greg Poree,  share some more Twitter tips, and investigate the art of playing other people’s music for a living.  This and much more on your beloved DIY Musician podcast.

The Seth Godin interview that Kevin mentions can be found by clicking here!

Want to check out Matthew Ebel’s subscription side to his artist website? Just click here to sign up and enter in promo code cdbaby50. The subscriber side of his website can be accessed at http://matthewebel.net

  • If I recall there was some talk of people being afraid of jumping into being a working musician because they’re afraid of getting stuck being a working musician. Well, it’s absolutely true. I know plenty of musicians who want to do creative projects but don’t have the time anymore because of becoming a busy working musician which usually involves playing in cover bands or doing cheesy corporate gigs to pay the bills. I avoided that road at all costs for two major reason. First and foremost, I don’t want to lose a night to playing covers instead of being able to play my own gig that night. Secondly, filling my time playing music but not being fulfilled by it is a waste. Money or not, I’m not a part of anything that I don’t believe in. Most working musicians don’t have the luxury of picking only the gigs that they believe in. A tangent on that thought is that the further down that path you go, the more desensitized you become to the whole scene. I was fortunate enough to become a successful technician (pianos and guitars) and am able to set aside time dedicated for my own music projects . My professional life never gets in the way or diverts my attention from what my goals are.
    (Sorry for rant but I’ve seen really creative musicians disappear from the scene because they fill their nights with only paying gigs so that they can afford to live.)

  • Hello from Spain,

    I would like to share a thought with you, maybe it would be cool to discuss it in the show.

    I’m a working jazz musician, mainly in the local jazz scene in Madrid. Most of the guys around me are actively involved in
    great original jazz projects and we play in festivals and clubs. We do this for really really disappointing salaries. Therefor nearly no-one of
    us rejects entertainment music jobs at weddings or private parties. However, no-one publicly recognizes that fact. None of my colleagues
    seems smart enough to have a party music web site with a phone number (me neither yet). I guess that’s partly because of the fear to harm our
    reputation as serious artists. I would like to hear about opinions on that: advertising dinner/cocktail/party music jobs vs. working solely on
    a the artist portfolio (and as a consequence do less party jobs, incognito)

    Igor (myspace.com/igorprochazka)

  • This is a conflict of terms. One is either a working musician, meaning, gainfully employed at something other than music and continuing to pursue music.

    Or, working AS a musician, meaning, earns his/her living as a musician.

    The vast majority fall into the first group, not the second.

    If your goal is to do nothing but music as a career then you have to make the choice to starve when gigs are sparse and save when they are plentiful. There is no other way to truly do it. You must check your pride at the door and perform every time because that gig is your paycheck.

    Put another way, with the exception of signed acts making huge incomes, there is no such thing as being a serious “artist” when you are working AS a musician. Your existance depends on forgetting all about what you want and delivering what the club, corporation, wedding or party hiring you to play wants.

    Choose. Work for a living and keep your artistic integrity intact or, work As a musician and toss it out the window for a buck.

  • Thanks for pointing out that linguistic nuance, Robert Lee King. I agree on these contrasting concepts. But why not do both anyway? You don’t need to work in a bank or phone company in order to make cool music in your spare time. You can earn your bucks playing at weddings and funerals but still maintain your scarcely paid artistic projects. Just remember that these are two different things, that’s it. One minor challenge is to advertise both things in a convincing matter.

  • I interviewed Matthew about the nuts and bolts of how he is doing his membership site on my Podcast at http://musicianscooler.com/2009/05/04/his-membership-site-is-paying-the-rent/