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  #1  
Old 01-29-2009, 10:08 PM
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Default What does it mean to "make it"

Hi guys... I've been drumming as a hobby for the past 8 years of my life. It's become an obsession the last 3 yrs though, and I've joined a local band less than 1 year ago in hopes that I'd play some gigs, meet some friends, etc. In fact, it has only fueled my passion more than before! I have a day job but all I end up thinking about is the how the next gig will turn up, how the recordings will work out, what I should do play for the new song the guitar player threw at me last time, etc. As a band, we've steadily played about 1 gig every 2 weeks at local bars for little pay (about $50 split 5 ways), on average getting about 30 people to listen to our 1 hour set. I've gotten compliments on my playing but am positive it is just niceties... I'm quite critical of my own play, which lends to why I practice so often.

Anyways, our band had a lucky break where one of our unreleased songs was chosen to be included in a Rock Band 2 DLC update based off a demo recording. We decided that since we have a catalogue of about 15 songs ready to record, we should do that and have a CD ready for all that hooplah. I went to the studio and recorded 7 songs about 4 weeks ago. Being the super-picky player that I am, I decided I only liked how 3 of those went, and am going back this Sunday to clean up the rest, and get more done. Regardless of weather the public has any interest in our stuff, at the very least, the songs should be clean and mistake free. Of course I don't mean it should sound like a drum-machine, but no obvious rhythm problems.

I don't know any drummers where I live, and with all that's been going, I'd love to hear stories about any breaks you guys had and what you did with them. What did it mean to you, to the hard work you put in? Did it get you guys anywhere? Are you self-sufficient as a musician? Was it all worth it? If there was something you would do differently, what would it be?
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:13 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

I would say that deriving the best part of one's income from music-related activities is "making it" in the music business. It doesn't mean being a star, but making a living by some combination of playing, teaching, writing, publishing, selling, etc.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:26 PM
ermghoti ermghoti is offline
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

At a minimum, "making it" means making a living at music. By which I don't mean netting $20k after a Geithneresque tax filing, and living in a van, I mean providing one's self with a home, health care, retirement, and an emergency nest-egg.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

I would think it may depend on your goals. I work a 40 hour week at a hospital. For me at this time in my life, making it would mean getting a weekend gig at a local pub etc. If your goal is to make a living at it then yes you would have to do well and find a good band with members that had your same goals. If your goal is to have fun with a few friends then that too could be your goal.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
I would say that deriving the best part of one's income from music-related activities is "making it" in the music business. It doesn't mean being a star, but making a living by some combination of playing, teaching, writing, publishing, selling, etc.
Hey, I dig this definition. It means that by teaching music and playing gigs here and there on the side, I've made it! :-)

Although as a teacher, I don't make a ton more than that $20K... :-(
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by Ethan01 View Post
Anyways, our band had a lucky break where one of our unreleased songs was chosen to be included in a Rock Band 2 DLC update based off a demo recording.
I have to say, that is pretty outstanding. I'm actually kind of interested; how did they hear about you? Did they call you? Do you have to go to a special studio to record it for Rock Band? And what kind of royalties do you get? Sorry if I'm being nosy, but that's just very cool and interesting to me.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by 805Drummer View Post
I have to say, that is pretty outstanding. I'm actually kind of interested; how did they hear about you? Did they call you? Do you have to go to a special studio to record it for Rock Band? And what kind of royalties do you get? Sorry if I'm being nosy, but that's just very cool and interesting to me.
Yeah, what song is it? What's your bands name? Well in man.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by ermghoti View Post
At a minimum, "making it" means making a living at music. By which I don't mean netting $20k after a Geithneresque tax filing, and living in a van, I mean providing one's self with a home, health care, retirement, and an emergency nest-egg.
Exactly! it kills me when I see aband that says they tour 35 weeks a year and 90% of the shows were for free and they are all starving. That isn't being on tour. If your band is good enough, a booking agent will set up a tour and you will get paid and have room and board and of course, a nice paycheck. I would say a minimum of $1000 a week would be making it, but that isn't very much money.
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Old 01-30-2009, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by arthurk1 View Post
I would say a minimum of $1000 a week would be making it, but that isn't very much money.
Oh, well, maybe scratch me off the "made it" list then... Teachers aren't paid very well... :-P
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

Call me naive, but making it is being the best musician you are physically, mentally and spiritually capable of being.

Yeah the money is important, and yeah you can't live without it, But I've never been entirely sold on the put a dollar/euro figure on it concept as a bottom line definition. There are a healthy number of players on this forum who don't make great bread, but are better contributors to art than many known rich guy drummers. When you look at the history of this deal, several of the most influential drummers who ever lived never made big money. We still talk about those guys, sometimes even years after their deaths, while there are a fair share of past and present millionaire drummers who will never amount to a footnote in history.

I think legacy will always trump money. And fortunately most of history's legacy drummers ended up making decent livings despite their idealism, because they took on music for the right reasons.

I just believe in stuff like that.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

Making it. Wow.. that's a pretty broadly defined statement.

As in making enough money so as not to HAVE to do anything else to supplement you income, is one of of describing it.

But as Matt put it, you've already 'made it' if you are all the musician you can be and/or are trying to be true to your music..... not an easy road in the music business, I might add, which encourages you to compromise at almost every step of the way.

'Making it' can also mean being an honest musician and making a living being an honest musician. For this though , one has to be very good, very savvy, very professional, very pushy, and most importantly very lucky.

Making it could mean having a big house overlooking the ocean at Big Sur, or it could mean having just enough so that you get to perform your music that way you want to.

I think the real musicians can't help being anything other than what they are. They don't need to make a choice. For good or for bad, its already made.

Some of them make it and some don't. In some ways.

But all of them make it, in another.


................

Last edited by aydee; 01-30-2009 at 09:25 AM.
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  #12  
Old 01-30-2009, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

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Originally Posted by arthurk1 View Post
Exactly! it kills me when I see aband that says they tour 35 weeks a year and 90% of the shows were for free and they are all starving. That isn't being on tour. If your band is good enough, a booking agent will set up a tour and you will get paid and have room and board and of course, a nice paycheck. I would say a minimum of $1000 a week would be making it, but that isn't very much money.
lol, I've been one to think of it as a goal. that's good pay for a touring gig.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:13 PM
TheGroceryman TheGroceryman is offline
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

Quote:
Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Making it. Wow.. that's a pretty broadly defined statement.

As in making enough money so as not to HAVE to do anything else to supplement you income, is one of of describing it.

But as Matt put it, you've already 'made it' if you are all the musician you can be and/or are trying to be true to your music..... not an easy road in the music business, I might add, which encourages you to compromise at almost every step of the way.

'Making it' can also mean being an honest musician and making a living being an honest musician. For this though , one has to be very good, very savvy, very professional, very pushy, and most importantly very lucky.

Making it could mean having a big house overlooking the ocean at Big Sur, or it could mean having just enough so that you get to perform your music that way you want to.

I think the real musicians can't help being anything other than what they are. They don't need to make a choice. For good or for bad, its already made.

Some of them make it and some don't. In some ways.

But all of them make it, in another.


................
wow that made such little sense, but at the same time made so much sense. that was put in a very good way :P
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ermghoti View Post
At a minimum, "making it" means making a living at music. By which I don't mean netting $20k after a Geithneresque tax filing, and living in a van, I mean providing one's self with a home, health care, retirement, and an emergency nest-egg.
That would be my thought.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2009, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

Principals aside, I'd rather be on the high income/famous side of the house than the best unknown drummer that has self-actualized only within the confines of my basement. (as much of a false dilemma that is.) Content obscurity doesn't pay the bills or change my life.

Making it means... well hell, just watch Todd Sucharmans DVD and you will see.
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

I think there are two different terms in play here:

"Making it" means that you have achieved, or are achieving, the goal that you have for yourself. For many on here, that means that they are able to practice a few times a week and get better, and play a few gigs a year. But they also have other focuses (such as a beautiful family). For others on here, it means owning the nicest kit they can, but not really worry about gigging. Everyone has their own goals, and when they reach them, or are reaching them (if you have many of them), then you have "made it."

"Making in in the music business" to me is a term that means that you can make a living off your music. Again, not in a "I live in a van and eat bread and water" way, but enough to live, have a place, have a family if that's your thing, etc. So even that means different things to different people. A few years ago I had enough success to be living off my music, but I was single, in a small apartment, with an already paid-off car, etc. The money I made then couldn't support my townhouse, car payment, wife, etc, that I have now...but the money I am making now does.

This distinction leads to some interesting thoughts, too. For instance, I have not yet achieved my personal career goals, so I have not "made it." However, I make a living off drumming, so I have "made it in the music business." Maybe that's why I feel so proud and so bummed at the same time when talking about my career.

For many others on here, they have not made it in the business, but have made it.
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  #17  
Old 01-30-2009, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

maybe the question should be: "What does it mean to make a living in the music business?"

I derive my entire living from playing drums and percussion, have toured, recorded on many albums, won awards, I teach, I've done clinics, blah, blah, blah... do I consider myself to have "made it"? Well to be honest, I don't have enough time to really worry about that, because I have many tunes to learn for my upcoming gigs. I have clients that I need to maintain relationships with. I have some current and upcoming recording projects that require me to find time to fit them into my schedule and make it work with my peer's schedules. I have students that have expectations, I have a up-coming tour with one of the bands I regularily play with to prepare and rehearse for, I have wife and a daughter that require my ongoing attention, not to mention love and support. I have a house that is never lacking 'issues'. I have gear that needs my attention. I have to take care of my dog and cats. Oh, and I like to spend a bit of time in drummer's forums and following my favorite hockey team. Oh, and I shouldn't forget that I'm flying out to play a one-off tomorrow night, so I've gotta get my you-know-what together for that, while getting my little girl to karate then her grandparents and hopefully have an evening with my lady.

Have I made it? Sure, I'd love to be a 'well known' drummer/percussionist, but the fact is, me and most of my peers are too busy living and making a living to worry about what 'it' is. We are all just living and doing. "It" is a movable and often a hard-to-define target. I am no different than anyone who on some level wants to 'be someone' and wants others to "know who I am, cause don't you know who I think I am?"

What I really try to do is to really enjoy those moments that remind me of why I play.

Setting then reaching, surpassing then resetting new goals seems like a manageable way of proceeding.

I suspect that there are possibly hundreds, if not thousands of more players like me in here, than the 'famous' guys on the Drummers page of this forum. And one shouldn't forget that a great many of the ones who have the recognition of this particular drumming community, are also simply just doing what they do and not worrying about "it"
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2009, 07:26 AM
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Monica McCoy Monica McCoy is offline
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Default Re: What does it mean to "make it"

When your green room has chandeliers and naked women swinging from them you can say you've made it. Until then, happy tapping.
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