Career Advice

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Career Advice

Postby blakrain on Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:20 pm

Let me s'plain

I have the opportunity to do some volunteer work in the field I have my degree in. I need that experience because finding a job in my field in this economy is tough (it wasn't that easy when times were good). I have been told landing the job I want could take a while, and having experience that is relevant is a must to improve my chances. The city I wold work for is totally broke do they can't pay me anything. I'm getting unemployment but that won't last, and we gotta move out of the crappy place we are living in right now. So, I need to either find a part time job (many of those would have me end up losing money because the cost of gas would offset any money I made) or find a means to make money with a minimal of capital expenditure.

Which brings me to my question. What has been mother's experience in getting paid for your music (either through DJ gigs, playing at shows, or selling EPs and tracks)? Has the economy had any affect in finding work? How did people get started when they decided to make a concerted effort?
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Re: Career Advice

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:09 am

One phrase homie: good luck. Music is a tough world to make money in, in other words, you could have talent pouring out of your asshole but you'll never make any money on it, or vise versa. It depends on your style and drive.

I can tell you right now I was going through a similar moment last year and ended up doing something I promised myself I would never do which was take on programming as a job. Now it's a career and worked out well.

Once again, more important is where you live. If you got the skills and the right place you don't even have to be talented to get good and make a little bit of cash... the key phrase being "a little".

Another thing I hear repeatedly, specifically from electronic musicians, is that you really have to cover a lot of ground as a musician to make money meaning... you're not just gonna do one thing such as produce music and sell it, you will have to program yourself into a multi-tasking, sample pack releasing, show organizing, advertisement specialist of a musician before you get anywhere.

I can tell you of one successful electronic musician: Ill Gates, aka Phat Conductor. I took one of his Ableton courses. This guy makes more money selling his Ableton liveset templates then making music or playing shows. He's become very successful by being very dynamic and doing lots of things at the same time.

Good luck man, tough times are hard, but the best times to bring out the music "vein" if you got one.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby Blue Monster 65 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:20 am

There used to be a book out entitled "How To Make $30,000 a Year as a Musician - Without a Record Contract." While that amount of money doesn't sound like much today, back in the late '80's/early '90's, it was huge. If you could find a copy of that, it would be a source of great ideas for you.

Essentially, what you're going to have to do, though, is hustle. If you're expecting to only play one type of music for adoring audiences, forget it. You'll have to sell yourself to a variety of markets and play a variety of musics. Mind you, this may sound difficult, but it can be done and I'll wager that even someone who's only playing an Electribe could do it. Look for opportunities at corporate events, background music for weddings, store openings, etc. You have to be versatile and meet the clients' needs.

I won't lie to you: it's going to be difficult.

This is an interesting subject and one that we need to delve deeper into. Unfortunately, I've got a gig to run off to. I'll write more tomorrow.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:34 am

Ya dude and it's difficult from many perspectives.... and the approach would definitely be different depending on which path you take.

The most important difference is weather you want to make music for the love of making music, or do you want it to be your business and your main goal is to make money? I'm not saying there is something wrong with either one, for you it is a question of need... not of desire so I think in your case both paths will be difficult.

Those two paths will dictate your career plan and unfortunately I think should be treated as two totally different approaches... both will be very difficult.

I think it is entirely possible for a person to spend 2-3 years of solid learning, switch over into "sell out" mode, give the bait and blow up.... I think even to do that you must have talent of sorts... and most people do not get good enough in production in such a short time.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby blakrain on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:06 pm

Thanks for the input! I have been aware that when it comes to DJ'ing one wold have to try getting all kinds of gigs. I didn't realize it would be the same with making music (at least electronic). I have always imagined making music wold be a part time thing (on the weekends, an occasional weeknight). I had never planned to making an actual living at it. My goal is to supplement what income I can bring in from other sources (I have a license to sell insurance) unemployment benefits for a time. that kind of thing.
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Re: Career Advice

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:06 pm

Well I'll put it this way, I've been playing publicly for two years, my music stopped sucking about a year ago when I got my levels down, right now I am working 40 hrs as a programmer and close to another 40 as a musician every week.

This is the type of work that gets me progress locally and a positive response which makes me feel like I am on the right path to success...

I think I could cut my work time on music to 20-30 hours and it would almost be a little bit too little.

As a contrast I know people that will learn for just a few years and after that are touring the world making thousands per show.

I personally met one.... KJ Sawka, who know works with Pendulum. He's a great example of someone who started playing in little venues and moved up to very global scale.

Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that music is something creative. Your brain only has so much "creative juices"... if you do creative work, that capacity will be pretty damn near exhausted by the time you get to music making...

Anyway, like all say, bottom line is, yes you can, it will be a very hard thing to do :)
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Re: Career Advice

Postby Blue Monster 65 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:59 pm

I am definitely NOT talking about "making it" in the music biz. I am talking about either making gigs or taking gigs that are outside what you normally do.

As I said above, if you're able to do so - provide music for opportunities that you wouldn't normally do. Got a talent for talking to people? Maybe you want to put together a program to take to elementary school classes, showing them what you do? It might not pay (at first), but it will open doors for you elsewhere. Got a local coffeeshop or art gallery? Offer to provide music there - ask if you can put up a tip jar and play for free. Learn to program background music (we used to call it "New Age") for events like this. The list is almost endless. Much of it you may not get paid for - at first - but if you keep it up, you'll build your own market.

I will not tell you this is easy - it's not. It's harder than getting standard gigs, but if you're persistent, you will find it pays off. You can still work on "your" music - you definitely should not give that up - but if you can branch out in other ways ... well ... there are opportunities that aren't always obvious.

Hell, for that matter, you could get lucky and hit it big right off, but ...
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Re: Career Advice

Postby Blue Monster 65 on Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:00 pm

Of course, this might make you think twice about your decision: http://www.sonicstate.com/news/2010/11/ ... musicians/
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