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Would you trade your job in music?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kmetal, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I love mine, built a studio to the owners specs (independent frames, tons,tons of drywall), and landed a job as a staff engineer, i also seem to be the one (unofficially) heading the marketing.
    I've noticed how much $ it costs, and the pressures he faces, paying back the construction loan, and depending on the studio for a living. (owner's a 20yr. vet, this place was built to target a new area, as he has one regularly booked studio running already.)
    So would, anyone out there trade their musical job, for the carreer of a banker, or i'll use the term loosely, 'regular' job? Or why not?
  2. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Heck no... I've already done the "regular job" thing. Discovered in the late '80's that I was trying to be a square peg in a round hole. I gave up the 9-5 & business suit and began pursuing recording, a passion of mine since the mid '60's. Now, over 20 years later, I wouldn't trade it for anything, this is what I was meant to do!

  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Good for you guys. I love hearing stuff like this.

    I have been a full time musician and engineers most of my life (53 now). I stopped traveling 13 years ago except for one splash concert in 2000 to play at the Aboriginal Music Awards at the Sky Dome in Toronto. I co wrote recorded and produced a bunch of songs for an aboriginal artist here and he did pretty good so he asked me to join him.
    I'm so longing to get back into it but I have 3 children and a lovely wife that need me so I'm a full time Dad for a few more years.
    RO has been my global connection to the music world since they were born.

    I'm shifting my skills toward remote recording and more writing. Pop music has been my thing all these years so I'm going to produce my kids music soon. Its all rekindling again and I couldn't be happier. My fingers aren't as nimble though, but... its not how many notes you play... :)

    My day starts @ 7 am with a coffee and go I through RO until about 9 AM. I'm also a high end painter, have my own business so this helps me out more than music these days. Its what keeps RO and the familiy alive. I love painting because its creative and an art, plus I get to listen to music all day as I paint so it helps me keep in touch with current music. I never take my head away from current pop.
    I learned to paint in order to buy my first guitar @ 17 years old. I've tried to keep a balance all my life. This has been how I've managed to stay alive and well so far. I have performed and run sound for at least 20 thousand hours. My hearing is still very good and I'm just starting to get the hang of all this.

    I feel for people that are stuck in a rut. If they love the 9 to 5, wonderful, but if they are hating it... follow your heart, life is short.

    Like Remy, my mother was a Metropolitan opera singer and I think all that singing inside her womb effected me. Man, I love music. It is definitely what I was born to do.
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i have spent about 1/5 of my labor time painting, music is soo essential while doing so! ya know, studio style construction has been a help too... although competing w/ the 7am guys has left me w/ some sleepless nights. Sky Dome...WOW!!!!
    When i decided to pursue music professionally (2yrs.ago) i had no idea about the demand for sound system fixes, design, general trouble-fixing. My time behind the boards has been quite a bit less than expected. I have reasonable skills there. Even though i've worked w/ some national touring acts, my $ seems to mostly come from problem solving. Still NOT complaining, and loving it!
  5. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have a 5:30am-4pm 4 day a week day job. I do design and music recording as a side gig. The day job pays the bills, and keeps food and clothes on my family.

    To me it does really matter what I do for a day job, I will always be the sameā€¦.obsessed with audio. I will do what it takes just as long as I can continue making gear and using it.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    After many years of "scraping by" and never seemingly getting ahead, I gave up expecting to support myself and a family with the income from music. By the same token, I really don't like sitting at a computer all day, either. I find that I get the best of both worlds by working the 40-hour desk job (with the benefits and steady paycheck that that provides, along with the security that the college education for the kids is taken care of), and then using the recording work as a hobby that (hopefully!) pays for itself. A hobby that is rewarding and keeps me out of trouble...!
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Its not a job, its an adventure.

    I have been to the mountain, climbed up a few yards and decided that raising my kids in a family environment was the thing to do. So whatever 'thing' I had going for me during those great days of youth and creativity reside mostly in memory or old tapes languishing on the shelf.

    I did play on the 'road' with various acts for five years in the late seventies and early eighties. I loved the travel, the hours, and the bar being raised every week on my chops. Nothing gets you in practice more than five hours a night 6 days a week.

    I always recorded and had a hankering and a talent for it way before I got my own gear. The level of this has changed according to how much I needed cash at various times, some great some very barebones, some not at all.

    I am an electrician and have been one since I got out of diapers.....It has paid the bills and has frustrated me on more than two occasions with the work being good and bad and then good again and then real bad (like now for instance)...

    Seems in retrospect that all I've ever done is manipulate electricity to suit my means.

    I have a decent little studio setup now.....I play almost every weekend with the classic rock band, I record people I want to help, I jam as much as I can with all sorts of musicians, and I spend a lot of time on here hoping to give back what I have learned throughout the time I have spent learning myself....which, amazingly, has never stopped.
  8. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    My story isn't too different from the others, excepting that I'm a bit younger and have a less solid job.
    Both of these factors allowed me to ignore security and dive in deep, as you'll see.

    I deliver pizzas 25-35hrs a week. It's an easy job that pays well, but the bulk of my income is dependent on business @ the restaurant. It covers the necessary expenses, only.
    About a year ago, I decided to leap (again) and make running a studio a bigger part of my life.
    I have some limited partners that help w/ all sorts of things, but I shoulder the bulk of the load - it's my business, and mine alone.

    In a sense, I am your studio boss, but much younger, less experienced, and w/ far less expendable income.
    Two months ago, I finally found a new home for my business and decided to get serious.

    Since, I've dropped almost $5k on rent, deposit, building materials, furniture, dehumidifier, gear, etc.
    With about $800 return so far... (c'mon partners - help me out!)
    I've been fortunate enough to work w/ a lot of local bands/artists that have either won or been nominated for local entertainment awards. I've had some nice mentions in the local music press.
    I'm still losing money, driving my girlfriend (in name only - we're essentially married) insane, and spending hours late at night researching materials, methods, pricing materials, pricing gear, promoting the business, building the website, and oh yeah, the occasional session.

    In short (which is hard for me), this has been the stupidest, craziest two years of my life. Not that I haven't been stupid or crazy before, but this is real life stuff now. Not kid stuff.

    And I love it. I just keep hoping it pays dividends around the corner.
  9. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    My story is pretty standard. Im 55 and qualify for the senior's specials at restaurants now.lol My money also comes from my own 20 year old painting business.
    My home studio/reheasal space is the bottom floor of my house with some pretty nice sounding equipment.
    I've been playing in bands since i was 14.My first gig was as a drummer for a stag/wedding band for 15/20 bucks a night.I played all through the 70's and 80's with numerous bands, never had a job till the late 80's.
    I only seldom play for charity events and non profit things like that now.I just write songs and record them now.
    I now play drums/guitar/bass/keys/writer/vocals...engeneer/producer/mostly troubleshooter.lol
    My first recording rig was a yamaha mt44 4 track cassete back in 81 and have never been a commercial studio though i do record people i know,sometimes for money.
    I have tried before to give up music but could never do it, it will always be a part of my life and now i appriciate it more than ever.
    Although its not my job..no i would never trade it for anything else.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Great stories guys! i didn't realize how many of the RO members do the day gig too. Anybody out there doing music-related jobs full time?
    I only know a couple of people in my area who do it full time. One's a pro musician, the other a tech, the other an engineer. Only one has a wife/kids.
    Soap, i wouldn't call a loan levy'd against my boss's house 'expendable' income. lol. Man do i remember my days driving pizzas. How essential is your vehicles' radio!!!! I moved into bartending at a busy nightclub, about 3 years ago, and like you, it covers the basics. It's led me to (make $) doing sound for some national touring rappers there. (jada kiss, ghost face, jim jones) It's one of the fringe benifits of the gig.
    I like it better than pizza delivery because you get your 1's/3's/5's at a faster rate, i like pizza runnin better cuz driving is kinda fun, and your not stuck in one building.
    Seems like there's alot of angles to macking a livable income from music related fields, recording, electronics, playing, ect!
    One thing thats not lacking among everyone is a general love for music! Is there anyone who has been just 'burnt out' by music work????
    When did you guys 'decide' it was time to get a 'real' job, and go get it? as a 26 yr. old, i'm giving myself 4-6 years to get going w/ my sound buisiness, before i end up at a bank (college grad, finance major). I dunno if this is backwards, but i feel that i need to be 'readily available' to the gigs that come up, or they will find someone else. I'm calling this 'reputation building', and hope to be the 'go to guy' around my area. Been playin guitar since age 12, recording since 14 (tascam 4-track)
    LOL, i doubt i'll be paid much to play guitar, so 'behind the scenes' is opportune, as i enjoy it, and can deliver professional resluts. I play/write for fun and a chance of 'that song'.
    Boxcar, what happend after the late 80's (besides grunge)?
    Dave, any regrets about your choices? I feel guilty when i see how many hours my dad put's in (60+ per week), while i'm deciding if there's too much 16k on the vocals. ya know?
    Moonbaby, any luck w/ it paying for itself? or is your obsession stronger than wacha make from it? lol. mine is so far.
    Link555, man,10.5 hrs a day, your a strong person, glad that someone who works hard hasn't lost their obsession, or had their passion put down by "the man".
    Keep 'em coming people! my questions are for everyone, they are just phrased as responses to individuals' posts. Rock on!!!!!
    Seems like studio work is 24/7, got a call a couple hours ago that i needed to open up the studio @ 9am (it's 1:30 a.m now), and make sure the painters have they're supplies-which merits an (am) trip to 'big box'. Still not complaining and lovin (most of) it! Thanks all!
  11. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    Hey man, if it's your passion then don't put a 4 year time limit on it, just do it till its done to your satisfaction. Life's too short to make artistic plans,family plans sure but artistic plans?There's no way of knowing how you'll feel about it tomorrow.imo
    I havn't ruled out another go at it, Willy Nelson did it at a later age than i and im writing what i think is my best stuff lately.Im just getting started.
    It could still be my job...
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I tell all my students and any students around me to get a degree and job in something else. It's too hard to make a living in music and the kinds of sacrifices one often has to make are not well understood by spouses and family. All they want is mommy and daddy to be around them. Someone who is obsessed enough to make a go of it isn't going to listen anyway. And it will take that kind of extreme focus to make a success of it.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Exactly. To give you an idea of my focus. I practiced for 10 hours a day until I was good enough to get a job playing. Then, I played all day until I performed at night, plus the 3 more hours I got paid. If I wasn't playing, I was programming music. If I wasn't programming, I was mixing. If I wasn't doing any of the above, I was eating, sleeping or traveling to the next gig. I did this for 18 years until I met a girl who supported me as an artist. But then we had a baby and it all stopped. Two weeks after the baby was born, my life never returned back to pro. I have three children now who are all into music, so my skills are now becoming theirs and the circle begins again.

    I had to make a choice. I was so close to a record contract but becoming lonely and needing support to be able to focus 100% on writing and not worried about paying bills. Its really tough to do both. Its so hard to write with commitments hanging over you back.

    As John mentioned. I have a trade. Thank god I do. Who ever reads this thread. Makes sure you have a backup. Keep your passion close to your heart but don't be so blind to think that its all or nothing. If you have a good job, you can buy gear. If you have gear, its still hard to make money.

    As much as I want to go 100% back into music, and have now built a pretty kick ass studio, I don't have much faith in the business the way I once knew it. I used to make a lot of money in music. I always had 1000 bucks on hand to drop on anything I wanted. My credit score was in the mid 800's.
    But now... Everyone can do music to some degree. Where is the music business headed? I don't see it as a big money maker just yet ( unless of course you hit it big). Maybe it will return once the majority finds out its a lot harder and bloody expensive to do it high end. And, you have to do it high end if you want to make any money at it. How much is real money. Well, enough to eat well, support a family, buy current gear and own a home and....

    Someone tell me I'm wrong please? Music is my gift and my burden.
  14. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Man, David Guilmore is puttin out some cool tunes. He smoked the show on 'julez asner'. A good tune is a good tune. What do you teach JackAttack? Know anyone that makes a living/supports from music related jobs?
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I was a professional freelance horn player and symphony horn player for 16 years. Then I joined the Corps. I was so obsessed with horn playing. Perhaps because it was easy until my car accident. Perhaps because of all the things I'm good at, I excel at music and weaponry. Through that obsession I obtained a level of detail in playing that was valued enough that I was a goto player in Chicago and KC etc. Everything dealing with performance no matter how tangential was fair game for study-philosophy, art, science. At the same time I studied with the goal of becoming a scholar warrior. Ultimately I became a Marine. I stopped all of the above to have a family and like Chris, I haven't gone back to the biz full time yet. As much as the Corps was a part of my life, being a father has been a treasure difficult to express. Unfortunately, though I have quite a few skills, none of them come with diplomas or certificates other than the musical and military ones. I was too stubborn to get them which was one of the few decisions I would change.

    As to my friends and colleagues, about half of my class of horn majors at Northwestern have made it in the symphony world. I have several friends that are successful composers and many friends that make their living as session players in NYC and LA. As to teaching, I have taught theory and music history and clap for credit as well as of course applied horn lessons. It's a matter of focus, desire, and study.
  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Your right audiokid. The music biz from, what i know of it, is designed to pay everyone else, then take the artists $ for the next step. I think that's why publishing is such a HUGE issue w/ independent musicians. The consensus i got from 'behind the glass', was either music, or family. The only full time engineer compromise i know is my boss, who works late hours, and maintains family. His mentor (contrast) mixed platinum albums, and wears the same jeans daily... He got some new jeans the other day, but, it's a scary music world.
    I've worked for a couple 'millionares' that are pathetic. Counting on underpaid laborers to do dirty work. They would be happy, i think, if money, wasn't there obsession.
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Jack, my 1st cousins' ex-husband is in the national guard's band, plays bass. One of my best friends is at the 'beach' right now, patroling the desert. They both support children. Getting a 'good take', must seem 'unimportant' to guys doing that, although My buddy was able to watch a provided 'Hinder' show as a privalage, before he left.
    I feel like a solid background in something + music helps. As a 'jerk of most trades' i wonder if spending too much time doing other things, besides recording/mixing, will leave me in the dust. I got no prob sendin my recordings out.
    Interesting u know some working musicians. Plus a ton of music stuff i don't know.
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The divorce rate in the Corps is higher than the other services. The last survey I saw gave it something like 86%. I already lost one marriage to the Corps, they can't have the second one. Also, there is a huge difference between a NG band and an active duty unit. In the Corps all Marines are Riflemen first. Any other job is secondary. The 1st MarDiv band went into Bagdad in the first push as a machine gun platoon with the infantry and then performed convoy security for nine months after that. Deploying isn't a possibility, it's a sure thing. Additionally, all Marines change duty stations every 2-4 years. That kind of life is hard on families. I wouldn't trade it for the world but I also wouldn't subject a family that wasn't brought up in it either. The DC bands of all the Services and the Academy bands are SWEET gigs to have however and are non deployable. It's not the music I trained for but it supports a family and plenty of time to freelance. Things are very different when you don't have a family to account for and the spouses career to be careful of.
  19. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    my boss is happily married the 2nd time around.
  20. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    There's a guy who bounces (protects) for me when i bartend. he's a marine, man, he is a serious person. sure, sense of humor. Makes me glad he's on my side.

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