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Do you play live because it's a fun pastime, or because you want to make money?


Always play for fun,I’m not ever going to become rich playing gigs and I know this.But i have made a lot of friends over the years,see girls in small dive bars sing along to the songs.Even if I make 50 dollars at the small gigs I’m happy.Better than sitting on your couch on a fri or sat night.


3) It’s a fun thing to do with good mates outside of my fulltime job and pays well for my addiction to music gear.


Silver Supporting Member
I’ve always done it for fun.

For a few periods in my life I made enough money doing it that it was relevant to my finances (in my 20s, for example, 2-3 gigs a month paid my rent and 4-6 gigs per month covered pretty much all my monthly expenses).

But now gigs pay even less than they did in the 90s and my mortgage payment alone is 25x what my rent was then, so even if I did gig for money it would be inconsequential.

Jazz Padd

Another funner here, mostly at jam sessions and open mic nights in local clubs, occasionally sitting in with friends at a hotel gig. Before corona it was up to three times a week, then none. Just had my first jam session last week after a long hiatus of working up solo guitar arrangements at home. Felt good to be out live again, even though my playing deteriotated without that incentive of live sessions weekly. Bittersweet: one regular club was a casuality of corona.


Back when I was gigging, we were doing it for the pure enjoyment of playing. What money we made covered expenses like gas, promotion, rehearsal spot rentals, and a few bucks in our pockets. At one time we decided to put all the money we made for a few months towards recording a demo, this was before recording became as easy as it is today with a laptop and DAW. Over the course of 8 or 9 shows, we made enough to record 3 songs in a studio. It was a lot of fun, and we made the money back in no time selling copies at shows.
Nobody has paid me to play yet. So I'm firmly in the fun camp right now. I'd like to gig for pay in the future, but I think fun will always be the priority and music will never be anything close to a main source of income


Silver Supporting Member
I don’t fall into either category. While I don’t care about the money (as long as I’m not being taken advantage of), my main goal is to play on stage live.


Silver Supporting Member
The money I make gigging is just extra spending cash and, truth be told, a lot of it goes back into the business/hobby/effort in the form of gas and travel expenses and food and gear and so on.
Ultimately, I play out because it's (mostly) fun and it's part of me being a musician.


Gold Supporting Member
About 50/50.
I always have fun but I wouldn't do it if I wasn't getting paid after each gig. The extra money comes in handy, if anything to cover expenses.


I do not legitimately think that playing gigs is a reasonable form of money unless:

1. You play multiple gigs per week
2. The pay is high
3. The overhead is low

And if "for money" is professional level playing, they don't have time to be reading this forum.

We had a drummer who said "I used to get paid $200..." Well, we are a five piece - so the minute he goes and gets that $1000 gig, after the sound etc....yeah. I'm there.

Welcome to 2021. More musicians, fighting for less gigs in less places. Supply > demand is a real thing.
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I'm frosting a cake with a paper knife
Double Platinum Member
I don't currently do it, but plan to start within the next year hopefully. I'd be doing it strictly for fun. Don't care about the money.


Both, this is basically my story:

I've always loved music as most of us had I imagined, as a kid my step-dad used to tell me I had a great voice and sounded good etc singing along to like.. Tom Jones, Creedance Clearwater Revival, that kinda thing.
By "as a kid" I'm talking like, 7 years old until about 13 or so.

At about 13, my mum swapped step-dads (she was and probably still is "quite fond of men") - anyway I ended up getting into some more punky, emo-y stuff as well as some random stuff that was on the radio so there was a mix of like, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Boyz II Men etc going on.. I loved singing along to this stuff, didn't really start playing guitar until I was about 18 when the Texan bought me my own guitar (I was messing around on other peoples guitars and I had a crappy keyboard/piano prior to this).

So I started learning guitar then. Like 16 years ago now which feels freaking ridiculous to say.

Eventually, I started up going to karaoke (first place I ever sung at publically because my sister put my name up without my knowledge, but I can't back down and look like a wimp.. so obviously, I get up and sing "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You" from N*Sync to prove my manliness)... open mics (first solo acoustic song I ever played was "Come On Eileen"..) and jam sessions (never used to play with others, always got up either on my own or with my band.

Did the band thing for a little while when I was idk, early 20s maybe, but this fell apart because my work hours were random and I couldn't make it to rehearsals regularly. The boiz I used to play with are still in a band now and they sound fantastic. I still feel to this day I 'click' the most with them.

Anyway, after this, I played on my own, did some.. rockabilly/blues act for a while that went nowhere (but did strengthen my guitar skills, which has always been less of a focus for me than vocals).. skip a few years and here we are where I'm playing solo acoustic again, gigging more than I think I ever have and loving every second of it.

Throughout all of the above, I've always had random crappy jobs, call centre stuff, worked in a law firm for a short time, more call centre crap, working from home stuff etc and right now I'm a freelance writer that's also got some voiceover work going on on the side for a little extra cash.

This whole time, my whole "purpose" on this planet, I feel, has been to play music. I love music.

I've had a few gigs where I've felt like it was work - these are usually gigs where there's not really anyone there and I'm playing to bar staff, and/or because I've had issues that make me paranoid like my Tanglewood being unreliable to gig with (remedied with my Takamine).

I write all of the above to get to the main point which is that my life is and always has been music.
I'm only at a point now, where I'm finally listening more intently to my "soul" and actually trying to make a more serious living from it.

So for me, now, I'm playing both for the love of music and to make money.
Prior to this, I was playing just for the love of music and wasn't making much money.

The money thing has never been important to me - it's only more important now that I want to actually get somewhere with music.

Voodoo Bob

Obviously one can do both - have fun AND make money, but what's your main motivation?

In all the time I've tried finding a band, the musicians I've encountered can roughly be placed in two groups:

1) Musicians that want to play tunes with other, mostly for the sake of having a hobby. Playing concerts would be a bonus, and there's little to no pressure of making a lot money.

2) Musicians that want to make a living off their musical endeavors. Music is a business, which includes turning down concerts which don't pay enough.

I'm a tweener. I don't "need" the money per se but I refuse to play for under a certain amount of money. My gig money takes care of utility bills and guitar toys now that I am retired and living off of pension.

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