As discussed in previous articles (https://recorddrumsonline.com/blog/being-a-musician-in-2018/), the musician of 2019 needs to be quite versatile if wanting to survive in this industry. Most importantly though, today’s musician needs to be an actual entrepreneur since he/she is his/her own employer. Of course, some months the bank account will look like the one of Scrooge McDuck and others where it feels like the debt is never ending. But accepting these ups and downs is the rule of the game for all full-time musicians. Then, how can we keep our finances steady without having to fear for the worst?
These are 3 crucial factors to evaluate when it comes to money:
-KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WORTH-
No matter if you are a musician or not, before applying for any job, it’s important that you know how much you are worth. Unlike many other occupations though, when you are a professional musician, you have been spending countless hours learning and perfecting your craft. The amount of experience you’ve built over years of practicing and performing is a result of who you are today. Therefore, you need to take that into account.
Experience is only the first step to know how much you are worth. Next, you need to do a little research on what your fellow “colleague” musicians are earning. For example, if most musicians charge £100 for a gig then you probably want to earn around these same figures. Make sure you don’t ask way more, because you probably won’t get the gig. But neither ask way less, because you don’t want people to think you are an amateur musician.
-WHAT DO I HAVE THAT OTHERS DON’T?-
When applying for a particular position there is a factor that you can leverage more than anything. Let’s say you are a music producer who runs his own studio. You don’t own the best gear in the business, but for some reason one day you get the call from a famous artist, asking you to produce her new record. You frantically accept and her album is a success. All of a sudden this one event has “changed the game”. You can now charge a bit more to produce artists thanks to that one particular circumstance. A similar example would be The Beatles recording at Abbey Road Studios. Before 1970 the studio was simply called EMI Recording Studios and it wasn’t that famous. After The Beatles recorded there and released the famous album “Abbey Road” in 1969 then the name changed to “Abbey Road Studios” and it became the Mecca of recording studios.
In other words it’s important to find that one aspect of your job that makes you unique and leverage that as much as possible. It can be a skill, a piece of gear, or even your attitude. Anything unique will find its way in!
-STAND YOUR GROUND-
It happens every so often to face proposals for gigs that are absolutely below our financial standards. Going back to the previous example, you always get paid £100 for gigs, but this time they can only pay £80. What’s the right thing to do then? Should I accept knowing that it will never happen again? Or should I refuse because that price is way too low for me?
Obviously both answers are correct depending on the situation. However, after having considered how much you’re worth and the hours spent learning your craft it’s quite essential to stand your ground when you’re faced by these kind of circumstances. Being able to say “NO” to work is not a sign of weakness. If that low paid gig is not your main priority, then there is no guilt or selfishness on your part when you refuse it. Focusing on what really matters the most to you should never be at risk. Especially when it’s your work.
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” A. Lincoln