17 Indie Artists on Their Oddest Odd Jobs That Pay the Bills When Music Doesn’t (not a poll)

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Interesting piece here:

https://www.vulture.com/2019/04/how-indie-artists-actually-make-money-in-2019.html#comments

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 17:50 (two months ago) Permalink

How far we've fallen since the '90s. You wouldn't see Justine Frischmann working at Burger King, would you?

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 9 April 2019 18:00 (two months ago) Permalink

since she was born into an extremely wealthy family and went to St Pauls then architectural school, no, you probably wouldn't

Neil S, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 18:07 (two months ago) Permalink

Missing from the piece, of course, is any mention of the circumstances that led to these dire predicaments

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 18:37 (two months ago) Permalink

We all know what happened. The idiots that accused Metallica of being rich, greedy bastards circa 2001 finally got their wish and the music industry died on its arse, and now anyone wanting to make a career out of being a full-tie musician is fucked. It's also caused a decline in the amount of music of real quality because no one can be arsed, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:09 (two months ago) Permalink

*full-time.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:09 (two months ago) Permalink

I was gonna just say "Spotify," but I like your answer better

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:14 (two months ago) Permalink

The music industry discovered a host of ways to hoard even more profits and pay artists even less, is mainly what happened.

Simon H., Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:22 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't buy nearly the number of CDs I used to so I blame myself for the industry downturn.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:43 (two months ago) Permalink

The big bad record companies share the blame but to let file sharing consumers off the hook is disingenuous.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:49 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm not letting them off the hook, I'm just affixing a significantly bigger one to the labels.

Simon H., Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:51 (two months ago) Permalink

I'd swap 'em around.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 9 April 2019 19:54 (two months ago) Permalink

The same process is happening with Netflix and TV actors. (Not sure if film actors have seen the same shift.) Studios and labels are using new delivery methods to vastly improve their bottom line. This is not controversial.

Simon H., Tuesday, 9 April 2019 20:01 (two months ago) Permalink

If the labels had cared about compensating artists to the extent that they can make a living when they were adjusting to the digitization of music we wouldn't have ended up with Spotify paying out .0007USD per stream or whatever. Instead they saw an opening to pay less and they ran with it.

Simon H., Tuesday, 9 April 2019 20:06 (two months ago) Permalink

I would guess that the record companies are also making less compared to what they were making in the 20th century. That it's a shit royalty rate goes without saying. It sure beats the £0.00 that anyone would have made from filesharing, though, which is the actual real reason it's all ended up in this sorry mess to begin with.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 00:58 (two months ago) Permalink

I've no trouble believing that it might be worse now but are we working from the premise that second-tier indie musicians did not need day jobs in the pre-Napster days?

Also lol @ "Side hustle: college professor"

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 02:13 (two months ago) Permalink

lol i was gonna say some of these are front and center hustles

you know who deserves sitewide mod privileges? (m bison), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 02:15 (two months ago) Permalink

I've no trouble believing that it might be worse now but are we working from the premise that second-tier indie musicians did not need day jobs in the pre-Napster days?

Precisely. Sometimes there's money to be made and sometimes there isn't. Blaming the current situation on filesharing is ludicrous.

Do you like 70s hard rock with a guitar hero? (Tom D.), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 06:59 (two months ago) Permalink

Holmes: “I’m a senior director of operations at ADP,

hahahahahahHAHAAHAHAHAHA -- most of these "side hustles" aren't all that odd, seriously, "senior director of operations at ADP is an unusual one, most of the rest are fairly typical for musicians who make enough to uh, have articles written about them.

sarahell, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:08 (two months ago) Permalink

what is ADP

blokes you can't rust (sic), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:25 (two months ago) Permalink

lisa germano used to work at Whole Foods in WeHo like 10 years ago maybe i saw her there but not being really a fan i wouldn't know. but it would be nice to think she sliced my bread or packaged up my scallops or something

velko, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:29 (two months ago) Permalink

rock stars who went back work.

velko, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:36 (two months ago) Permalink

this article is v American or at least non-British in its candidness about money. as much as my instincts go against it I find it weirdly kneejerk jarring knowing the income of members of the band Charly Bliss

Terry Major-Ball Will Tell You (DJ Mencap), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:42 (two months ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIvSxA56HP0

velko, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 07:47 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm not sure how much I imagined the members of Charly Bliss earned, but I guess I figured they had part-time jobs at the very least.

Sam Weller, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 08:04 (two months ago) Permalink

"The idiots that accused Metallica of being rich, greedy bastards circa 2001 finally got their wish and the music industry died on its arse"

by gad this must be the most astonishingly incisive thesis on the rise and fall of the music industry I've ever seen on ilm - gr8 post - glad we got it sorted etc..

calzino, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 08:07 (two months ago) Permalink

reports of music industry's death seem greatly exaggerated:

https://i.imgur.com/NukUX5s.png

what if bod was one of us (ledge), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 09:28 (two months ago) Permalink

idk guys if some lumpen mid-tier indie band that sounds like a hundred other lumpen mid-tier indie bands can't make a good living for life off of sales of lumpen mid-tier indie records then i think we can safely say that capitalism has failed

Boles to the Wolds (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 10:00 (two months ago) Permalink

plenty of lumpen mid-tier indie bands were given big advances by pseudo-indie labels in the 1990s before being unceremoniously dumped a couple of years later, this is still what some people expect to happen in 2019

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 10:05 (two months ago) Permalink

well quite, mistaking a bubble for the natural order of things

fortunately most working class people have easy access to a range of non-precarious jobs with great terms and conditions so the parlous state of popular music as a career in 2019 is obv some sort of anomaly

Boles to the Wolds (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 10:08 (two months ago) Permalink

It's also caused a decline in the amount of music of real quality because no one can be arsed, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

― Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, April 9, 2019 12:09 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this isn’t true

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:15 (two months ago) Permalink

simon otm

turrican a huge dumbass in this thread as always

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:18 (two months ago) Permalink

It's also caused a decline in the amount of music of real quality because no one can be arsed, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.

― Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, April 9, 2019 12:09 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this isn’t true

― jolene club remix (BradNelson)

i think that's just textbook trolling... that statement is so cliche that I find it impossible that he didn't make that comment with some degree of self-awareness.

enochroot, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:25 (two months ago) Permalink

who are we talking about here

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:26 (two months ago) Permalink

The music industry discovered a host of ways to hoard even more profits and pay artists even less, is mainly what happened.

David Arditi's iTake-Over: The Recording Industry in the Digital Era takes exactly this position, and argues it fairly convincingly: that the industry's owners haven't suffered much at all by virtually eliminating their overhead and distributing music through platforms that pay royalties to labels instead of songwriters, unlike radio, and are compensating artists even less than before. In his view, the narrative of the 'crash of the music industry' has been used to push for even more regulatory protection to favour capital over labour in this industry.

This article doesn't necessarily make a compelling case for the troubles of artists, though.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:35 (two months ago) Permalink

An interesting enough article, but – and I'm not having a go at any of them – I've never heard of any of those people in my life apart from Cass McCombs. So while it's possible I just don't have my ear pressed to the ground hard enough, it s equally possible that most of them are obscure types who are never going to sell enough records to e.g. buy a house.

McCombs himself: "This is a shitty thing to say, but maybe musicians don’t deserve to make a living. Maybe it should be a hobby. But if that’s true, I don’t want to see some talentless pop stars making what they make, while quality living museums of folk-music knowledge get paid nothing. That’s not cool."

does it look like i'm here (jon123), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:40 (two months ago) Permalink

In the UK the dole and the art college grant are to thank for a huge chunk of the arts & culture we produced between the 60s and the 80s, some would say our only real success as a nation at that time, or since.
Can't imagine trying to persuade Americans that that's the way to go, though, and hard disagree with McCombs, hobbies are only for the already comfortably off.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 11:49 (two months ago) Permalink

I might be able to agree with McCombs in situations where no one is making a profit from the music.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:09 (two months ago) Permalink

(Emphasis on "might" btw. I'm not even sure I'd agree in those cases, esp when waiting to hear back about a grant application.)

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:12 (two months ago) Permalink

McCombs himself: "This is a shitty thing to say, but maybe musicians don’t deserve to make a living. Maybe it should be a hobby. But if that’s true, I don’t want to see some talentless pop stars making what they make, while quality living museums of folk-music knowledge get paid nothing. That’s not cool."

what

Sam Weller, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Cass McCombs (born 1977 in Concord, California) is an American musician, best known for releasing 9 albums since 2002.

i don't know who wrote this wiki lede but it made me lol and i tip my hat to them

Boles to the Wolds (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 12:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Oh yeah, that's the guy who put out 9 albums since 2002.

jmm, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:02 (two months ago) Permalink

a pub quiz classic

Boles to the Wolds (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:08 (two months ago) Permalink

not to be confused with gaz mccoombes

kolarov spring (NickB), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:15 (two months ago) Permalink

Gaz McCoombes also has strong opinions about talentless pop stars

Boles to the Wolds (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:17 (two months ago) Permalink

Hold on, Cass McCombs is a man? Who was I confusing him with then?

Do you like 70s hard rock with a guitar hero? (Tom D.), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:22 (two months ago) Permalink

Mamma Cass ?

calzino, Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:22 (two months ago) Permalink

mama cass, obv

he once took my hand and poked Neil Armstrong in the butt (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:23 (two months ago) Permalink

fuck, beaten to it

he once took my hand and poked Neil Armstrong in the butt (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:23 (two months ago) Permalink

No, Mama Cass never put out 9 albums.

Do you like 70s hard rock with a guitar hero? (Tom D.), Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:23 (two months ago) Permalink

Seth Horvitz's "Eight Studies for Automatic Piano" too

mh, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 18:40 (two months ago) Permalink

thanks to everyone helping to contribute to my thread tangent I pushed to get away from a more irritating thread tangent

on the good on-topic material: good post, sarahell!

mh, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 18:42 (two months ago) Permalink

^ Agreed!

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 18:57 (two months ago) Permalink

Yes that was very informative, thank you!

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 21:16 (two months ago) Permalink

Are there any examples of American bands paying for recording or other costs with grants?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 21:24 (two months ago) Permalink

There are several organizations - the Robert Bielecki Foundation and Giant Step Arts, among others - that give jazz artists money specifically to make albums. (Giant Step also pays for manufacturing.)

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Tuesday, 16 April 2019 21:29 (two months ago) Permalink

it's been a while since I read the original piece, so sorry if this has been mentioned, but one common side stream of income I hear about is wedding and/or corporate gigs

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 00:35 (two months ago) Permalink

IME musicians who get grants seem to be more aligned with experimental or otherwise artworld adjacent music scenes. Feel like stateside it’s more normal for visual artists to get grants

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 13:52 (two months ago) Permalink

one common side stream of income I hear about is wedding and/or corporate gigs

Almost as odd as teaching music

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 14:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Weddings did wonders for Omar Souleyman.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 14:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Jazz is an institutionalized form though.

Also most of the musicians I know who play wedding gigs and teach lessons are jazz musicians (because they can read, play any style, etc).

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 14:46 (two months ago) Permalink

Classical musicians = chopped liver, clearly :P

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 14:52 (two months ago) Permalink

its always amusing to see Echolyn videos on YouTube because there's always a comment like "that's my music teacher's band!!"

frogbs, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:03 (two months ago) Permalink

I thought it was interesting that the band who did "Cool Kids" were music teachers for a second.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:12 (two months ago) Permalink

I have several music teacher friends who play in proggy bands.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:17 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm not sure I really think of rock as less institutionalized than jazz, although I'm not really clear on what is meant by "institutionalized". Certainly not when it comes to Suicidal Tendencies.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:44 (two months ago) Permalink

I mean taught in schools & universities, accepted on a mainstream level as a cultural good, available support from grants, organizations, local government, etc.

Suicidal Tendencies??? :)

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:51 (two months ago) Permalink

Sorry, just a weak joke about a song titled "Institutionalized".

I spent a lot of the last three years supervising college-level rock and EDM recording/production projects and currently make a living mostly teaching kids stuff like AC/DC, Green Day, and Weezer songs (sometimes in Catholic schools) so I'm less convinced wrt what is being taught. Wrt grants, it seems like a tautology since that was the topic of discussion: pop/rock artists get loads of grants and public support in this country.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:57 (two months ago) Permalink

That's Canada though, right? In the U.S. only energy drinks give EDM scholarships.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:02 (two months ago) Permalink

I was teaching at a US college the last three years but a coastal elite one tbf. Obv jazz has had a few more decades of academic institutionalization than rock so yeah if we're talking strictly about academic institutionalization. I guess I was thinking of "institutionalization" as something that could also refer to the institutions of major record labels, the broadcast industry, etc.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:04 (two months ago) Permalink

playlists of mainstream politicians

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:05 (two months ago) Permalink

I regret to inform that energy drinks will no longer be giving EDM scholarships soon :(

mh, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:20 (two months ago) Permalink

I’m finally watching “The Good Place”; an ep. in S1 has one of the best EDM jokes evah

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:33 (two months ago) Permalink

I have several music teacher friends who play in proggy bands.

― All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:17 AM (one hour ago)

i know a lot of musicians who teach, and they are either strictly classical people (including traditional folk genres), or they play in proggy bands

sarahell, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 16:57 (two months ago) Permalink

IME musicians who get grants seem to be more aligned with experimental or otherwise artworld adjacent music scenes. Feel like stateside it’s more normal for visual artists to get grants

― Vapor waif (uptown churl), Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:52 AM (three hours ago)

Not really. There is more grant money available to the performing arts vs. visual art in the U.S. ... and it is often built on the following ideas/assumptions: visual art is more commercial -- in that the work is more easily saleable for significant sums of music; and performing arts are more public, in that they provide more of a "service" to the public, that is, audiences. It depends on the genre/sub-genre of both disciplines however.

sarahell, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 17:02 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm not sure I really think of rock as less institutionalized than jazz, although I'm not really clear on what is meant by "institutionalized". Certainly not when it comes to Suicidal Tendencies.

― All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:44 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I mean taught in schools & universities, accepted on a mainstream level as a cultural good, available support from grants, organizations, local government, etc.

Suicidal Tendencies??? :)

― change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:51 AM (one hour ago)

There are also political issues involved in the institutionalization of jazz, in that it stands in for "artistic accomplishment by African-Americans" at a socially-acceptable "high culture" level. ... which has led to a lot of problematic arguments and discussions re the evolution of jazz and the role of white ppl in it, and class differences among African-Americans, and whether jazz is still "radical" because it has a presence at lincoln center as opposed to rap ... and way too many thinkpieces involving Wynton Marsalis and Kamasi Washington

sarahell, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 17:07 (two months ago) Permalink

but then Rat Bastard got a huge ass Knight Foundation grant for like putting on the International Noise Conference, but that's an outlier in terms of the conventions of music/arts funding

sarahell, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 17:08 (two months ago) Permalink

also i would like to thank ilx for expressing interest in the generally boring rarefied things I know/deal with as part of my job (or rather, many past jobs). ... feeling lots of <3 rn

sarahell, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 17:12 (two months ago) Permalink

This is honestly so interesting!

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:49 (two months ago) Permalink

I have some imaginary comedy sketch in my head where a group of musicians from different parts of north america are talking about funding and grants and one ends up pointing a finger and exclaiming "but you're subsidized.. BY CANCON!!"

mh, Wednesday, 17 April 2019 20:51 (two months ago) Permalink

Sarahell, def otm about the jazz stuff.

At one point I got really sick of doing jazz gigs because it felt irrelevant, was often musical wallpaper, etc. Now I love doing them because you get paid and it doesn't matter if anyone comes or if they listen, and the free food and drinks are way better than playing original music in a diy space.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 17 April 2019 22:03 (two months ago) Permalink

I can see the transition from the paying for a copy business model to the paying for usage business model reaching a climax
when they finally get the chips planted in our heads. Music lovers, who have songs floating in and out of their consciousness
all day, will have a hefty bill to pay at the end of the month.

nicky lo-fi, Thursday, 18 April 2019 13:57 (one month ago) Permalink

a chilling vision of the future

After Cease to Brexist (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:23 (one month ago) Permalink

https://www.riaa.com/u-s-sales-database/

this is through 2018. Adjusted for inflation, the 1999 peak is $21+ Bil., with 2018 revenues at $9.5 Bil.

campreverb, Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:51 (one month ago) Permalink

people must've been downloading like crazy in the 1970s

After Cease to Brexist (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:52 (one month ago) Permalink

i think it was due to the changes in British currency?

sarahell, Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:54 (one month ago) Permalink

lmao

Boris Bronfentrinker of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:55 (one month ago) Permalink

lol

pomenitul, Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:58 (one month ago) Permalink

the real winter of discontent: huge threepenny-bitBerg of '71 causes greatest threat to sterling since some numpt bought too many tulips and ended up eating them.

calzino, Thursday, 18 April 2019 15:40 (one month ago) Permalink

https://www.riaa.com/u-s-sales-database/

this is through 2018. Adjusted for inflation, the 1999 peak is $21+ Bil., with 2018 revenues at $9.5 Bil.

That's helpful, thanks. It seems that the industry is back to about inflation-adjusted 1985 profit levels, which is not disastrous by any stretch, and if artists are being compensated or treated worse than they were at that time, that would be a shame. The CD boom of the 90s was something of a bubble.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 19 April 2019 13:29 (one month ago) Permalink

Ringtones still raking in a cool 25 mil.

bendy, Friday, 19 April 2019 14:35 (one month ago) Permalink

Karlheinz Stockhausen working as an *accompanist to a stage magician has to be up there in the oddest odd jobs department.

(*not assistant, sadly)

Freddie Starr (Hitler in shorts) (Tom D.), Saturday, 27 April 2019 19:32 (one month ago) Permalink

When I heard that Philip Glass and Steve Reich both worked as movers before they were able to make a living off their music, I invented a "joke". I pictured them moving a heavy wardrobe up a flight of stairs. Philip says, "Steve, you're always moving slightly faster than me and we're getting out of sync." Steve said, "Phil, that's the twentieth time you've said that and it's getting tiresome."

flamboyant goon tie included, Saturday, 27 April 2019 20:17 (one month ago) Permalink

wow lol !

budo jeru, Saturday, 27 April 2019 20:32 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah, that's a really good joke! I may steal that one

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 27 April 2019 20:35 (one month ago) Permalink

i laughed irl

maura, Saturday, 27 April 2019 20:39 (one month ago) Permalink

spectacular
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tacularspec
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cularspecta
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larspectacu
arspectacul
rspectacula

be the 2 chainz you want 2 see in the world (m bison), Saturday, 27 April 2019 21:13 (one month ago) Permalink

lol

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Saturday, 27 April 2019 23:43 (one month ago) Permalink

LOL!!!

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 28 April 2019 21:59 (one month ago) Permalink

:)

flamboyant goon tie included, Sunday, 28 April 2019 22:33 (one month ago) Permalink


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