*I hate math because I suck at it. But we're doing it anyways.
Okay ready go:
Say you're lucky, and you have 5 paying gigs a week, averaging $200/night, including tips. That's $1,000 per week, about $4,000 per month, and $52,000 per year. (Not too shab)
But on 2 of those nights you split the profit with a equally with a 4 piece band (it's the weekend and people want to dance). Now you're down to $700 per week, around $2,800 per month, and $36,400 per year. (Still...not shab)
Per night, you spend 4 hours playing (ok, you get 3 ten-minute breaks to pee or whatever), and 2 hours for set-up and breakdown, and an additional 3 hours selling CD's, social networking, texting, promotions, before & after your gig...
If you're serious, you practice 2 hours a day, including vocal warm ups on your way to the gig.
That's 11 hours of dedicated time to your craft per gig-day. If your gross average $140 per night (which it is), your gross hourly income per working day is about $12 an hour. (At least it's double digits).
But because you play venues that submit their 1099's (with your name and GE tax ID on it), you must give up 4.5% of your income, around $1,600. But wait, it gets better...as a legitimate independent contractor, you will also pay a Self-Employment tax to the of about $5,500 a year.
Now you're netting $29,300 a year. $2,400 a month. $10.90 an hour. That's after taxes, but before expenses. If you kept all your receipts you might have paid a little less. But it's still money from your pocket, out the door. That's why they're called expenses.
And forget about health insurance or retirement funds, saving for your kid's college tuition or your future mortgage. You'll have just enough for rent, a car, food, gas, and gear.
Oh, you want to make a record??
So you've come across some decent recording gear and plan to do some of the recording and all the producing yourself. Great. Fantastic. You only pay for 75 hours at the studio. At $50 an hour, you spend $3,750. That's almost 400 hours of gigging, and that's a good deal. Then you spend $1,500 on mastering and $3,000 on artwork and CD duplication, and $780 on copyright registration for your 12 original songs.
Assuming your studio musicians played for free (because the love you so much), your record cost around $9,000. Nearly a third of your net yearly income.
You now have 2,000 CD's to sell. If you can sell 20 CD's per week at $10 each all by yourself, you can start making a profit...IN ONE YEAR...
A favorite musician of mine said recently, "There is no longer a music business. Only MUSIC." I think she's right. CD sales and bar gigs are not to be trusted as your only major sources of income if you want to have a savings to speak of. Time to get creative. Time to branch out. Time to get a move on...