What are some techniques used by indie musician or band to make enough money for living?

Answer by Ken Daniels:

I don’t think there is any actual formula or method to achieve this goal but being part of a band, that has discussed this question multiple times, I feel the following may aid you.

  • Foundation: Have a strong foundation – This is in all aspects of music creation, gigs, videos, whatever. Make sure you have thing to show off at a moments notice. Nobody hires you for a job without experience, so why would they pay to hear your music / see you if they had only heard one song? See it as a portfolio that you always want to better.
  • Record: Get an albumn out, EP, something that you can say “This establishes what I do.” You can tell someone you’re part of a rock band, trip-hop tribute trio or a jazz quartet but untill they have the option of hearing a range of your stuff, they’ll assume you’re like every other band. – you dont want this.
  • Performance: Gig! If there’s anything that’s given us feedback from our music without any sugar coating, it’s gigging. People won’t think twice about telling you if your set was bad, or you singers off, and if they have the mind to not say, their face will tell you during the performance! This is not a negative, but for me to say my Mum loves every song ive made is not a joke. So sometimes you’ve got to hear it from someone who just doesn’t care to better yourself.
  • Consistancy: Consistently work on more material. Even when youve made a new video or new album, why stop? Of course you’re going to be tired but that break is never short and prevents you from being consistent. Most of the Musicians you follow, YouTubers you are subscribed to are producing double the amount the release. Its an lllusion that they just do once thing every week.
  • Online Presence: The fact you posted this question here indicates you understand the internet has a much broader audience and knowledgebase than a school or local community… However, the same rules apply on the net as they do in school. If you’re known for something good, people will expose that to all those who dont know. If you’re hardly at school, you’re hardly spoken about. Thus, if your online presence is strong – Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc – someone somewhere is bound to notice you!
  • PayDay:Earning money – This part is not so easy. If you follow the above, opportunities will arise for you to change favours into payment. Example being, you’ve gigged hard for months, more specifically at the pub near your home. You did this to better yourself / band / group… But that chapter is closed. You feel you should now be getting paid as the set is longer, the songs are better, the crowd is bigger, etc. If you ask the owner of the bar about the potential of being paid, the worst he can say is no. Even so, you can still ask the same question elsewhere. Somewhere along the line, someone will assume you always get paid and wont hesitaste to pay for your mad skills on with jazz Flute :).

If all of that fails, get a part time job and do it all again in tandem. That way you are earning money while trying to gain money.

All the above is from my own personal experience with my band (www.offbeatsouth.com). Like I said, there’s no official right or wrong, and we’re definitely not famous… But we’re beginning to earn some cash flow :).

Sorry about the long post…

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