Many successful musicians have made more money from their day job than the music thing. Many more have eked out a humble living while pursuing their dreams. Jack White was an upholsterer. Eddie Vader was a night watchman. Kurt Cobain: janitor. For the ladies…Cyndi Lauper cleaned out dog kennels and pierced ears. And Ozzy stumbled his way through trainee plumber, construction worker, car factory “horn tuner,” and slaughterhouse worker (ah, that explains a lot…).
Some of the best day jobs for musicians include:
Some of the worst day jobs?
At the Denver Music Summit last fall, a few of the speakers stressed the opportunities for musicians to get a job in the music industry while pursuing those dreams, such as:
Song writer(!); session musician; background singer; recording & sound techs; music teachers; instrument builder and/or repair; piano tuner/tech; record store manager; manufacturer’s rep for instrument sales; music librarian (need a degree); music therapist (maybe you can fake a degree here); voice therapist and/or speech pathologist (sound like more degrees…); website design & marketing & content; personal assistant; celebrity bodyguard; ethnomusicologist (sounds kinda snooty); concert hall manager; bar or club owner; night club manager; concert hall marketing; stage manager; churchy ones like cantor, organist or ensemble, or choir director; music store manager( or sales slave); floor show group (for casinos, hotels…think Disney trooper or Up With People!!!); cover band hell; Publicist; public relations guru (I haven’t met one of these yet); music journalist (whoo hoo!); Ad executive; radio program director; DJ or VJ; A&R coordinator; promotion manager; band manager; lighting crew; and don’t forget pyrotechnics.
Are you in the camp that still thinks you’d rather just make a living as a musician? Cheers! But a few fun facts for you: half of all Americans will live in poverty sometime before age 65. 1 in 2. What percentage of those are musicians? In New Orleans, the vast majority of musicians make between $12K-$15K (or less). So you might want to take another look at the employment options above…
So what’s your day job? Care to share?