Continuing the Income thread

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Whether it's anyone's business or not, the real problem with discussing salaries is that they are so disparate, that learning what a drummer makes for their particular gig has little bearing on what might be expected on a similar gig.
Some time ago I went back to one of my old drum teachers for a new round of lessons.

He had spent several years touring with a Big Name artist.

When I asked what happened, he explained management kept cutting his pay. They would say it's only temporary, just for this run of shows, etc, but then they would cut it again, and again, until he felt the level of commitment involved was no longer worth the severely reduced pay. But he also said they replaced him with *insert name drummer* who would easily command a much higher pay rate. so he didn't think it made much sense. Of course, if they simply wanted him gone, they didn't need to play the reduced pay game, they could have just canned him. Who knows.

As few years ago at NAMM, I was in on a conversation of someone who lost a gig because they got undercut by an almost-famous musician who was willing to do the gig for cheap just to get back in the game after some fame set backs.

It's brutal out there.

I just hired someone for my (not music related) business from the music business. He says you wouldn't believe how some famous people in the music business make no money. On the other hand, I have a recent client who bought a very nice house based on touring/recording with various bands.

So it's easy to see how one person's financial success at any one gig has little to no bearing on someone else's financial success doing similar or even the same exact, gig
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
It's not just right place right time. It's being in the right band, at the right place, at the right time. Playing the right genera, in the right decade. With the right marketability.

I fully agree, putting 80 hours a week into PUTTING yourself in the right place/right time helps, but you need to balance your life, not go broke, tend to your family if you have one etc. For some people they can do that and never be in that place/time. Some people put next to zero effort into it and still make it.

The city you live in, your ability to play, whatever it is all comes into play. Sitting at home shedding won't make you famous if you never leave your basement.

If I buy 100 lottery tickets, I have a better chance of winning than if I buy one. Financially that seems like a bad choice for me though. The risk to reward ratio is different for everyone in their own situation.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
If I buy 100 lottery tickets, I have a better chance of winning than if I buy one. Financially that seems like a bad choice for me though. The risk to reward ratio is different for everyone in their own situation.
That's actually not true. Each ticket still has the same odds of winning, you just bought more of them. Your odds don't go up. If it was a raffle then yes, as you have more chances in the pool.

Regardless, I think your example still is good. 100 shows gives you a better chance of being in the right place at the right time, with the right band, in the right genre, during the right decade, than just 1 show. Just substitute those variables for lottery numbers. The drawing would be who is in the crowd, who do they know, what are they looking for, blah blah blah.

I think at some point most of us come to the realization that life will destroy you if you don't give yourself other options.
 

Channing

Member
That's actually not true. Each ticket still has the same odds of winning, you just bought more of them. Your odds don't go up. If it was a raffle then yes, as you have more chances in the pool.
This makes no sense to me. If I had a 1 in a million chance with one ticket, then with 100 tickets I would have 100 chances in a million, or 1 in 10,000. Right? Unless all the tickets I bought had the same numbers on them.

Either way it’s not a big enough chance to quit my day job for.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
This makes no sense to me. If I had a 1 in a million chance with one ticket, then with 100 tickets I would have 100 chances in a million, or 1 in 10,000. Right? Unless all the tickets I bought had the same numbers on them.

Either way it’s not a big enough chance to quit my day job for.
Say each tickets odds are 1 in 1,000,000. That is the odds of the ticket. Not your odds. The odds don't compound because the numbers are random, and there is no set number of entries. So no matter how many tickets you buy, each one has the same odds. The only way to guarantee a win is to buy every single possible combination of numbers available. To give you an idea of how astronomical that is, a pick 3 game is 3 numbers from 0-9. That's 1000 possible combinations, or 10x10x10. A pick 4 is 10,000.

This is from the net about Mega Millions: There are 12,103,014 possible combinations of the first five numbers ranging from 1 to 70. Multiply that by the 25 options for the final ball and you get 302,575,350 possible Mega Millions tickets. At $2 for each ticket, then, it would be possible to buy every possible ticket for $605,150,700.

The ticket cost of every combination outweighs the prize.

In a raffle it works because there is a set number of entries. Say there are 100 entries. If you buy 1 ticket, that's 1/100. Ten tickets would give you a 1/10 chance, and 20 tickets would give you 1/5.
 

TomR

Junior Member
So many factors involved. Sometimes it's who you know that leads to good-paying gigs. Of course, this presumes one has the skill set and a likable personality. And it doesn't need to be at the national or world tour level. It's very possible to make very good money in a smaller market by teaching, performing, recording, etc. Two friends of mine make $100K+, mostly from theater work.
 

EhhSoCheap

Member
Say each tickets odds are 1 in 1,000,000. That is the odds of the ticket. Not your odds. The odds don't compound because the numbers are random, and there is no set number of entries. So no matter how many tickets you buy, each one has the same odds. The only way to guarantee a win is to buy every single possible combination of numbers available. To give you an idea of how astronomical that is, a pick 3 game is 3 numbers from 0-9. That's 1000 possible combinations, or 10x10x10. A pick 4 is 10,000.

This is from the net about Mega Millions: There are 12,103,014 possible combinations of the first five numbers ranging from 1 to 70. Multiply that by the 25 options for the final ball and you get 302,575,350 possible Mega Millions tickets. At $2 for each ticket, then, it would be possible to buy every possible ticket for $605,150,700.

The ticket cost of every combination outweighs the prize.

In a raffle it works because there is a set number of entries. Say there are 100 entries. If you buy 1 ticket, that's 1/100. Ten tickets would give you a 1/10 chance, and 20 tickets would give you 1/5.
Buying more lotto tickets increases your chances of winning. Don’t listen to this man.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Buying more lotto tickets increases your chances of winning. Don’t listen to this man.
Exactly, you get more chances to win, ergo you have more tickets. It does not increase your odds. Each ticket still has the same odds, that will not change.

The only way to increase your odds in a lottery is to be able to pick more numbers on the ticket than are drawn. It's simple math.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
We got a bit off topic with that. It was just meant to be an example. And yes. "making it" is different to everyone. Some that is just making a living. You still have to work your butt off.. If teaching is your goal, you need to work VERY hard to become well rounded and have a very full roster of students. That is a much more likely goal than making it as a touring musician.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
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...
This is the way to do it in terms of going pro, hence the old saying don't quit your day job! A lot of people go down the I'm gonna be famous road and end up as a broke 'arteest'. Have something to fall back on and never forget a roof over your head, food in your belly, bills paid and petrol in the tank can't be paid for with exposure.

I guess this is why the majority of professional musicians make up their money from lessons, theatre work, corporate gigs, cruises and anything else that pays the bills. It's not glamorous by any stretch but pays bills. There's also the issues that touring or doing cruises cause with home life.

I like my seasonal work but the 9-5 gives me what a friend calls f*ck off money, called so because if there's a gig I don't want to do I can afford to say no. I've seen guys n gals who are trying to go pro but end up being exploited by agencies and burn out follows fast because they're expected to take everything given to them.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
We got a bit off topic with that. It was just meant to be an example. And yes. "making it" is different to everyone. Some that is just making a living. You still have to work your butt off.. If teaching is your goal, you need to work VERY hard to become well rounded and have a very full roster of students. That is a much more likely goal than making it as a touring musician.
It was a fine example and your math is great. :) Your odds of winning a lottery are increased with possessing a larger number of unique tickets.
The bastardizing of mathematics that followed hurt my brain. :)
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It was a fine example and your math is great. :) Your odds of winning a lottery are increased with possessing a larger number of unique tickets.
The bastardizing of mathematics that followed hurt my brain. :)
I will try to explain this one last time. If you still don't get it, not my fault.

The odds in a lottery are for the ticket, not you. It's the odds of the numbers on the ticket matching the drawn numbers. That's it. If you buy 50 tickets, they each possess the same odds of matching the numbers. The odds of the ticket in Mega Millions is 1:302,575,350. You look at your first ticket and it loses. Your second ticket still has a 1 in 302,575,350 chance of matching the numbers. It loses. Your third ticket still has a 1 in 302,575,350 chance of matching the numbers. This remains true for all your tickets. You aren't increasing your odds of winning, all you are doing is increasing your opportunity to win at 1:302,575,350. Your 50 tickets don't miraculously change the odds to 50:302,575,350 or 1:6,051,507. A raffle works that way, a lottery does not. Chances and odds are not the same thing.

If you go back and read, you will see that I agreed with beyondbetrayals example regardless.

The so called bastardized math didn't come from me, it came from the Mega Millions site. If you would read you would see that too.

To get back on topic, regionally it makes a difference too. The cost of living where I live is extremely low. Gas is about $2.30. A 1500sf duplex can be rented for $700. Utilities are fairly inexpensive. As is food. Wages are lower, and it all translates. Even with all this, I still had to work 40 hours a week to pay the bills because music wouldn't afford it. Even now, I own my home, cars are paid for, my bills are all of about $350 a month. Even if I only brought that home, my family still wouldn't be able to eat, and I couldn't fill the cars. Being a musician is rough. I don't really think people who want to make a life as a musician realize this until life starts to get in the way.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
regionally it makes a difference too. The cost of living where I live is extremely low. Gas is about $2.30. A 1500sf duplex can be rented for $700. Utilities are fairly inexpensive. As is food. Wages are lower, and it all translates. Even with all this, I still had to work 40 hours a week to pay the bills because music wouldn't afford it. Even now, I own my home, cars are paid for, my bills are all of about $350 a month. Even if I only brought that home, my family still wouldn't be able to eat, and I couldn't fill the cars. Being a musician is rough. I don't really think people who want to make a life as a musician realize this until life starts to get in the way.
I'm glad you mentioned region. I only know a handful of local musicians who do it full-time and get the majority of their income from playing music. ALL of them are singer/acoustic guitar players, primarily solo acts, and the ones I know are slugging it out 4-7 nights a week. Every once in a while they will get a band together, but the majority of what they do is solo (I play with two of them). As far as support musicians, NO ONE in this area does it full-time. None of them sell a ton of merch, and probably make at least 90%-95% of their income performing, not selling t-shirts, stickers, albums, etc. One of the guys I play with has no merch at all, and the other guy has a little bit, but rarely gets it out whenever we play. He basically gives most of his stuff away these days. I watch how these guys work, and there is absolutely no "rockstar" benefits coming in. The crowds are small, the gear is old, the guitars are beat to death, and the schedule can be brutal. It's an absolute GRIND, but they love it and have great attitudes about it.

I play out more than any drummer in our area that I know of. Not counting church obligations, I usually have at least one gig a weekend, but it's not uncommon for me to do 2-4 gigs over a couple of days. I can count on one hand the number of weekends I've NOT had at least one weekend gig over the past 5-6 months. There is NO WAY I could afford to support myself, never mind my family, on my income from gigs and I get paid for just about every one of them. I'm very thankful for my day job. In addition, given the region in which I live, I'm also very happy to be able to supplement my income playing drums. My personal goal is that I want to be the go-to drummer in my region. I don't care about being popular; I just like being able to play different kinds of music, having different experiences while playing, providing for my family, and giving them different opportunities to do cool stuff with me when they can.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Economically speaking, it could be the stupidest way to make a living here in 2019, playing music. What business model gives their services away for exposure or work for way less than minimum wage? We've collectively ruined the livelihood potential overall for ourselves, for good. Plus there are just too many people who want to do it these days.

Being in the right place at the right time....seems like a phrase from a bygone era. Who is looking for talent these days? You can't walk down the street for 5 minutes without passing 9 musicians. There is such a glut of musicians vying for so little available work (compared to the 1940's for example)
that I refer to the first sentence of this post.

I'm glad that I don't have to depend on music for my money. That way I can keep it where I want it in my life. To much of a good thing (drumming) isn't a good thing anymore, in my life anyway. I like the balance of working my business, then playing twice a month or so. If I were rehearsing and gigging every day, I think it would become a grind for me. Unless I was making over 6 figures, then it would be way different. I can grind myself if the pay is there. I would feel that I was in a viable business that could support me and mine if I was pulling in 2 big a week. Making 100 dollars for about 8 hours of my time...before gas, tolls, heads and sticks...I couldn't do that but a few times a month...I need more money for my time than that!

Sure you can teach to supplement but how many drummers get into it to teach as the main objective? I think most drummers go to teaching more out of necessity, than desire. More drummers want to play live or record, not teach. That's only my opinion.

Music is both the greatest soul fulfilling hobby and the the crappiest way to make money in my life, both at the same time.
 
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EhhSoCheap

Member
What I would call “branding” seems to be a huge part of being successful in today’s music industry, and/or the adjacent industries where musicians are found.

YouTube, Instagram and social media in general are ways to generate income. Plus, you can build up a following thats leads to Patreon subscribers or customers that otherwise would have no idea to go to your website or find what you offer, be it lessons, instructional videos, etc.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Right time right place to me means, effort, ability, timing, location, and WHO you know.. If you have thousands to sink into advertising, paying other pro musicians, getting big names for features or recording credits yadda yadda you get a leg up in the situation. This still includes playing the right genera in the right decade that the teens/adults love and want to pay to watch. CD's aren't worth crap anymore. Chances are getting in some electropop band playing on SNL isn't in most of our future right now. I'm not really talking about some record label scout being at your show and signing you.

I also agree there are WAY more people trying for it too which decreases the odds. That online drumlesson site you were going to make, or trying to get YouTube famous is tougher now than it was.

For the ticket thing no one talks about the "odds of the ticket". It's your personal odds. if there are 1000 tickets and you buy 2 tickets, your odds are 2:1000, or 1:500... if you buy 4 tickets your odds are 4:1000 or 2:500 or 1:250. each can be calculated as a percentage. The number on the ticket has the same odds. but you have multiple, thus increases your chances of winning, or "odds" That's how I think about it anyways.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
This is the way to do it in terms of going pro, hence the old saying don't quit your day job! A lot of people go down the I'm gonna be famous road and end up as a broke 'arteest'. Have something to fall back on and never forget a roof over your head, food in your belly, bills paid and petrol in the tank can't be paid for with exposure.
I continued to work a day job pretty far into my career with Al... 1996 to be exact! Lots of Gold and Platinum albums and drum gear were shipped to me at my job, and my dual careers were widely known. I was the envy of my local bandmates and other pros, because I had a paycheck year 'round.

Of course it takes a special company and a special employee to make that work, and I was that employee and Westwood One was that company. They allowed me to come and go several times in order to tour 3 or 4 months with Al, primarily because I was a conscientious and valuable employee. I didn't treat my day job like a day job, and replacing me wasn't easy (although they did try!)

Yes, it was the right company at the right time, but it wasn't just luck - I personally balanced my day job with my music.

Bermuda
 
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