Watch How Do You Start Getting Income For Your Music?
Visual artist KD Neeley asks Willie Oteri, "How do you start generating an income from your music?"
K. Neeley "So let's say, you're in a band, and you've got songs, and you can play together- and you're set- you can make the music, no problem. Where do you go from there to start generating an income?"
Where do you go to generate an income after you've formed a band? You've got songs, you've decided that you want to play out. That's really difficult. That's something I really haven't had to do that much of, somebody else has always handled that.
Finding someone that can do it, finding a booking agent that you trust is very important.
One of the main things is to live in a music city. In the United States you have New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin. That's pretty much the five cities that you can live in and find all the people you need like booking agents to work with, promoters, public relations people to promote your CD's, things like that. You have to really have a booking agent.
You can go to clubs and make friends, I've done that, make friends with the club owner over a few months and then say, "Hey I'd like to play here." and sometimes they go, "Sure, okay, great." But they'd rather work with a booking agent, in most cases. But, there's a lot of bands now, especially in Austin, a lot of younger bands don't use booking agents. They just go around and there's a lot of clubs that'll let them perform, but they're performing for free- in most cases- so they're not making money. They might make what comes in the door.
If you actually want a paid gig you need to go through an agent, and sort of already be established, have CD's out, etc. There's several ways to do it.
There's also session work. You can get paid if you're a good session musician, you can get paid to play on other people's records. A lot of people in Austin make a living mixing it up that way. Teach a little bit. They teach a little bit, they do session work. They play gigs out, you know, working for a percentage of the bar or what comes in the door, and they're willing to go. If you're willing to tour there's money in that too because you can tour with bigger names, especially if you're a horn player or a bass player. Everybody needs horn players and bass players. You have to mix it up nowadays. There's no one way to make it, it's everything mixed together, it blends together-and there's money.