Originally Posted by jer
That was my final "pay" when a band I played in recently hung up it's hat. We did everything DIY, released 2 indie albums, countless regional shows, 3 national tours and 1 international. We funded everything ourselves with the exception of the international tour, which we received a $12,000 grant from our government, that tour left us with $120 in our bank account.
The second album had a price tag of around $8000, we sold maybe 500 discs @ $10 a pop. We also never saw a return on the money we put into our rehearsal space or our van - where did all this money come from?
Individual members. We worked jobs and saved money that we put into the project. I'd loose pay checks when we went on tour, as did the other guys. How did we pay our rent? We ultimately went into debt with ourselves and we would spend the next couple months making up what was lost to get back on top.
This is one reality. We were able to get the band to pay for itself, but we couldn't pay ourselves. Maybe we could have worked harder, but with limited resources (and having to continue working day jobs), it's tough. We wanted to hire someone to do the booking for us, couldn't afford it. We wanted to hire someone to do radio tracking, no $$. We wanted a publicist, again, no $$. These are the types of things that can allow bands to actually break into new markets and help develop fan bases so that when they tour the area, promoters will actually pay you to bring people out to their events instead of simply taking a cut of the door or "gas money".
What we did was not right or wrong, just one approach. We never solicited labels, so we never got the opportunity to utilize resources they can provide, by the figure I listed at the top of the post, I'd say I saw $0.10 a day for the 5 years I was with this band. Not quite enough to live on...
Having said all that, by all means - I'd love to see you succeed in your endeavors.
Having dreams and goals is important in fueling the machine that will become your band, but be aware that a can of gas won't get you anywhere. You need a solid frame, a good motor, tires that can handle unknown / unpredictable roads and a strong body to protect you from the sometimes harsh elements. You also need a mechanic to help when things start to fall apart... Yes, it's possible to put this all together yourself and it can be done. But where do find find the time to do the single most important part of being in a band, writing songs that you and other's will enjoy? That's the real kicker.
Here's a thought... if you are willing to live in a van and crash on floors to pursue your dream, if you take the money and default on a loan, the worst that could happen would be 3 squares and a climate controlled cell. A step up from instant noodles and a sleeping bag on the floor.