Continuing the Income thread

brentcn

Platinum Member
Not judging, just calling it as I see it. I don't beat around the bush. Information is not gathered by just accepting things at face value. It's okay to question everything.
I understand your skepticism (the world is littered with dishonest salespeople). Questioning everything is a good start, but maybe you can agree that questioning your own ideas, as much as others', is perhaps a better way to go about it.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I don't see the issue. Many drummers have been on here giving the info on their sites and their lessons sites which to me seem more like spam than this posting. If you aren't interested in Steve or his site, move along. It has been reported, and verified and after further review has been found to be a complete pass. First down.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
That’s interesting Bermuda. Why do you think that is? I have definitely experienced that when I was doing a gig that a drummer such as Dennis Chambers or Dave Weckl have done, where quite honestly the audience is 25% larger because they are playing drums
For the kind of gigs they typically do, yes, they're a significant part of the draw. that's why they are hired, and management will usually pay better for their presence. Whether they have a consistent fee that they throw out to everyone is probably not known except for those who hire them. If you or I stepped in on those gigs, we wouldn't make the same money (certainly not for the way *I* play fusion!)

I believe if you are bringing a certain skill set to the gig that you should be paid accordingly,
It's a given that musicians with the required skill set should be hired in the first place. But some gigs only pay so much. Should Vinnie expect to make as much at the Baked Potato as he did with Sting in front of 18,000 people? He's probably being more "Vinnie" at the small gig. But the gig (usually) drives the pay, not the players, unless someone is bankrolling the appearance.

You can’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth
It's good to have a sense of your value to an artist, but real "worth" is established by the person paying, much in the same way that an Ebay seller doesn't determine an item's worth... the buyer does. But it is important to NOT devalue yourself, because it becomes difficult to overcome that level of pay. In those cases, I think it's fair to say "I can't go out for less than xxx" and to be prepared to walk. I play out for a variety of pay, but I do have a limit. Sometimes I say no, they say okay thanks anyway, and I feel good for not selling myself short. I truly don't mind staying at home.

$500 weekly is not a sustainable professional income unfortunately. That’s a fee for 3 hours on a Saturday night here in LA.
For some gigs, that would be fabulous money! For others, it would be an insult. It depends on the gig. Every gig is different.

And again Musicians are usually afraid to negotiate, and this is why it’s subjective.
Unfortunately, there's not a standard rate based on experience, technical ability, musical sensibility, or the amount of money a gig generates. It's all subjective. Vinnie gets a ton of money on one gig, and $150 on another, he doesn't get a fixed amount just because he's Vinnie.

I don't mean to suggest that negotiation is impossible, but the player has to weigh each situation carefully before tying to be assertive when it comes to money. If it's Vinnie or J.R. or Gadd, then the artist/manager already knows the level of player they're courting, and some negotiation wouldn't be unusual. But that dynamic is reserved for those kind of elite players, not the other 99.9%

Bermuda
 

Jml

Senior Member
I’m happy netting $100 and a free beer for a 3 hour set at a local pub. I would argue most people on this site are probably in a similar position, as opposed to worrying about making enough $ to earn a living playing drums.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
If people have nothing to add, or they are not interested, they just shouldn’t respond. That’s proper etiquette
That's part of the beauty of this forum, there are all sorts of personalities and opinions here, much as it is in real life. That's why this forum is well-respected and enjoys longevity and growth, while others stagnate or have disappeared. It's not biased by a brand, or genre, or member location, or level of professionalism. The concept of 'if you can't say something nice...' doesn't fly here, for better or worse. That's part of what makes the membership great. :)

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I’m happy netting $100 and a free beer for a 3 hour set at a local pub. I would argue most people on this site are probably in a similar position, as opposed to worrying about making enough $ to earn a living playing drums.
In many cities, $100 maybe 3 or 4 times a week is enough to keep food in the fridge, gas in the car, and fresh heads and sticks in the arsenal. Every city is different. In L.A. or NYC... no way! But Phoenix for example is very livable, and it's the 5th largest city in the US. A decent apartment in a decent area is maybe $600/mo and utilities are often included, which is a real money-saver in the summer when running the a/c 24/7. Decent music scene as well.

l may get back there some day!

Bermuda
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Bermuda: funny you mention Phoenix. I’m at a gig right now in Cave Creek, Arizona. I’m making $100 for a 4 hour gig. We got $150 in tips divided 5 Ways. I’m having fun. Life is good. (Except it’s time to pack up and haul everything home. 45 mile drive. That’s the worse part)

.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
45 mile drive. That’s the worse part
Here in L.A., 45 mi isn't that unusual. My closest gigs are 20-25 mi away, and it's not like I live far away from things. But mileage can be a bargaining chip. Sure, driving yourself and the gear is the cost of doing business. But with a longer drive - say 75mi - and L.A.'s gas prices of $4/gal, an otherwise acceptable $100 gig is suddenly less attractive when $25 of that is spent on gas. So asking for some extra gas money would be an appropriate negotiation, especially when the bandleader is also well-aware of the added expense and can't argue too much.

Bermuda
 

roncadillac

Member
So for $5, you will talk to someone? We do it here for free. This smells of spam to me. Why not just hold a sign on a street corner and beg for money if you need $5 that bad?

For $3 I'll give you my phone number and tell you the meaning of life.
Sounds Like A Drum has a great patreon... So does this girl who goes by "lety does stuff" :D

In all seriousness... It's tough. I work a 40+ hour week at a typical 'job' and am able to have a 3-4 hour full band rehearsal once a week with an average of 2 gigs a month. I'll net maybe $100 a year in total for playing drums, if I'm lucky. I drive anywhere from 20 mins to 5 hours (no exaggeration at all) to play 45-60 mins of original music. In my region, unless you play Jimmy buffet, Bob Marley, and zz top covers... You do not get booked nor paid when you do. I get no gas, no sticks, no heads, and rarely even a free beer. Meanwhile our perpetually unemployed singer has a huge house and all his bills mysteriously paid... But that's a conversation for a different time.

"If you give me $5 a month.... I'll teach you the secret to making a minimum of $5 a month" I'm not knocking you @Steve Hass I'm just making a joke. I'm sure you have a lot lf helpful info to share and I'm sure many people are willing to pay for it so I wish you well.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Interesting thread. Seems any career the success has to be built, and sometimes just some degree of luck or serendipities, so no short cuts-a lot of work. It isn't being super gifted at whatever it is you're doing (though that obviously helps) but that really isn't enough nor is not being super gifted limiting either in regards to success. The last school I was at was looking for programs to initiate to help build the school so lots of educators come to our college with ideas that worked at their school-selling their success. Being a researcher I'd investigate their success and I was generally negative because most had confounding factors of circumstance-time-other things that also played into the success and generally those things don't always translate to success for everyone. That and we should be the innovators and people knocking on our door asking how we did it. Seems success is persistence, time, lot of work, using your wits, circumstance, and personal happiness factors. But that said I'd always listen to the educators and their programs because their insights of their success is helpful to help others innovate-so you don't have to exactly emulate them but more learn how they navigate and innovate in finding similar success. So it wasn't a waste of time is what the lengthy diatribe condenses into-good grief I can babble. So if I took "Art" lessons from Picasso I probably won't paint like him but definitely influence, inspire, and might learn how I might find success. So Good luck dude.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I´m not so sure why people are so interested in this subject, to me only interest should be in "elevate" the playing, for having a better playing experience.
Agreed, that should be the primary goal with any art. Not everybody needs to make a living at their art in order for their creativity to be valid, or their playing/acting/painting/writing etc. to be personally satisfying. I know many people in the arts that are dedicated, passionate, and as good at what they do as those who the rest of world knows and respects, and they're happy. There are also some who wish they could translate that into more money.

For those who are privileged to be able to also make a living with that art, money is a concern, and they'd like to know where they fit among their peers. But as I've said, every situation is different. Knowing what one person makes for a particular gig doesn't mean that someone else doing that same gig or a similar one will make the same money. There's no standard for wages in the arts. There are also no hiring standards or discrimination policies as there are in most normal employment situations. There's ageism, sexism, and people can be fired without going through all of the stuff required of a normal employer. Hiring and firing is completely subjective, and personality and looks sometimes play a bigger part than the person's skill and experience at what they do when it comes to hiring.

Bermuda
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Seems any career the success has to be built, and sometimes just some degree of luck or serendipities, so no short cuts-a lot of work.
Very true, and with regard to music, being in the right place at the right time is usually the key to opportunity. Truly, there's a lot of luck involved. But once that threshold has been crossed, it takes a lot of work and growth in order to maintain the gig, which is exactly what happened with me. Meeting Al was completely by chance, but growing with him has been a real journey in to musical areas and skills that I never could have imagined at the time. That growth and continued relevance as his drummer is the result of an open mind, open ears, and willingness to learn as a musician and drummer. I'm still learning and growing, but that luck factor was a long time ago. It's truly a lot of work... in a good way of course. :)

Bermuda
 

Channing

Member
I don’t get paid at all usually. I think the dream for me at one point was to make enough to pay for my practice space, but then I stopped renting it and just started practicing in my home so it’s not a concern anymore.

I’m in two bands and they’re both different. The one I’ve been in the longest, when we make money from a show, it goes into our band fund and is used for recording. We all contribute to these songs and so each of us “owns” 25% of the recordings, I guess it’s like being paid in equity or something, I don’t really know. It’s what we all agreed to.

For the other band, since I have no creative input at all and just play whatever they tell me, if we play a show I get 25% of what we made at the show. It’s usually not even enough to pay for all the beer I drank or food I ate.

I get that some people make a living from drumming but I’m probably not ever going to be one of them unless my first band somehow blows up and we can go on tour and sell out stadiums or something. It would be like winning the lottery.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Everyone's situation is different. Every gig pays a different amount, and everyone needs a different amount to survive or be happy. Some pro's make a TON of money, some scrape by. Most do things such as patron accounts, private/Skype lessons, clinics, work in music stores to supplement the gigging income. Some bands get huge and become a sole source of income. That's all I need to know personally. Can you make it big, sure, but you can also go into serious debt trying. It will come down to your ability, networking skills, gigs, location, and being in the right time at the right place. If the stars align you can quit your day job. Patron sites are alright and I am a fan of private/Skype lessons so more knowledge never hurt anyone. I personally know going "pro" isn't in my cards seeing what I make at my day job.

I don't tell people my salary at my day job, so I don't expect a drummer to tell me his net income either. I am happy with my bands gig and merch sales as they fund more merch, gas, and gear sometimes. I am am happy that I make a few cheques a year from YouTube as well. In the end it comes down to the things I stated above, and how hard you are going to work for it.

I do agree it's a tough industry, and even knowing a "pro" salary, won't change anybodys situation. It might be helpful to talk someone off a ledge if they want to try and make it to know the risks involved. Or something willing to put their chips on the line to get some advice. If I was considering quitting my day job and touring full time I'd be all over talking to people who took the leap to find out what I'm in for. I'm sure the advice would be quit playing death metal and punk, haha.

I can't blame someone for trying. It's no different than posting a YouTube lesson in here trying to get views, or advertising Skype lessons. No one is forcing anyone to sign up.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Regarding income, it seems so many of these threads are based on gigging income while I'd bet that giving lessons is the major income source for a lot of pro drummers.
 
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roncadillac

Member
Regarding income, it seems so many of these threads are based on gigging income while I'd bet that giving lessons is the major income source for a lot of pro drummers.
I agree. Lessons and clinics/expos seem to be what a lot of the older non-touring pros turn to and it makes sense.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
I agree. Lessons and clinics/expos seem to be what a lot of the older non-touring pros turn to and it makes sense.
I would bet that clinics/expos is a rather small % of the teaching economy. Only the few elite players will have name recognition to draw enough people to make it financially worthwhile. And then some percentage of clinicians don't have much of a name but will do a local clinic to try and gain students and build stoke for the instrument. When I say lessons, I mean private lessons.

I think music/drumming is a case where 80-95% of the economic action goes to 5-10% of the people and the rest is split up. Seems on these forums the focus is placed on how to make money as part of that 5-10% group which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I'll also add that the concept of "it's not about money, it's about developing your craft as well as you can" is kind of a bogus position. If you want to develop your drumming to the maximum potential, you can't have a 40-60 hour/week distraction that isn't drum/music related.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I'll also add that the concept of "it's not about money, it's about developing your craft as well as you can" is kind of a bogus position. If you want to develop your drumming to the maximum potential, you can't have a 40-60 hour/week distraction that isn't drum/music related.
I think that's more a perspective of drumming for the love of it, rather than focusing on trying to make a living by playing. I find all of my musical happiness from just playing. It's a treat to be able to also make a living from it, but from where I sit - behind the kit - a gig for 10 people is the same for me as playing for 10,000... the money (and whether I move my own gear) is the only difference. :)

Yes, I'm all about growing as a player, but I'm not 'shedding' 8 hours a day trying to be the next Vinnie.

Bermuda
 

Mr Farkle

Well-known member
I only posted to offer a resource. I’ve been a successful professional drummer my entire life in three different cities . I can help those looking to do the same or similar
Hi Steve, Thank you for posting this information. Do your Patreon subscribers have access to past videos or archives? I spent some time on your Instagram last night and saw some non-income related things that interested me. Thanks!

(And $5 a month amounts to free advice in my estimation.)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The "right place, right time" argument, while true, seems to ignore the other side of that argument of "if you have a 40-60 hour/week commitment that isn't music related, your odds of being in the right place and right time are greatly reduced."
I was working 40+ hours a week at an auto parts house back in 1980, yet managed to be in the right place at the right time...

Bermuda
 
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