The idea of being a starving artist for the sake of your art might seem romantic; however, the reality of being a struggling musician can definitely be stressful.
For those who want to gig full time or make the dream of becoming a professional musician a reality, a tight budget is most definitely the norm. This is especially true if you’re just starting out.
Thankfully, there are smart ways that musicians can keep more money in their pockets without sacrificing their sounds or their well-beings. With the following five tips in mind, you can make your rockstar aspirations a reality without blowing out your budget.
Harness the Power of “Free”
Despite popular belief, you don’t need to constantly buy new gear and effects in pursuit of new sounds. Sure, there might be a particular pedal or synth that you want to add to your arsenal; however, don’t neglect the free files and plugins out there. Especially when recordings, libraries and effects packs like the ultimate list of free Foley sound effects are out there specifically for musicians looking to save few bucks.
Hitch Rides with Fellow Musicians
Getting from Point A to Point B can be rough when you’re gigging with a bunch of gear that can weigh down your vehicle and ruin your gas mileage. As a result, carpooling with other musicians whether you’re going across town or across the country is a brilliant move where everyone wins. Not only do you save money by having everyone chip in for gas, but you also guarantee that everyone gets to the gig on time.
Be Willing to Part with Your Old Gear
Many musicians tend to hoard their gear due to sentimental value. But ask yourself: do you really need three or four synths that achieve the same function? Is the guitar gathering dust in your closet really necessary? Parting with old instruments is easy given the various places you can sell old gear and score quick cash as a result.
Beg and Borrow
Finally, consider one of the benefits of having good relationships with other musicians in your area: being able to exchange gear. Perhaps there’s a particular amp that you need for a bigger gig or there’s someone in your network that needs to borrow one of your mics for a recording session. If you have friends that are musicians, such exchanges are no big deal.
Positive relationships can help you save as you don’t have to splurge on new gear. As long as there’s a mutual sense of trust and respect for your gear, you’re golden.
Take Advantage of Word of Mouth
Oftentimes the best advertising you can do for yourself as a musician is totally free. Take advantage of unique music marketing strategies and the power of social media to score more gigs and put yourself in front of a bigger audience. If you aren’t serially sharing and “liking” fellow musicians’ work on Soundcloud and YouTube to get new eyes on your work, for example, what are you waiting for?
Just because you’re a full-time musician doesn’t mean that you need to make a ton of sacrifices to make ends meet. Instead, consider these tips as must-do’s to ensure that you’re being smart about where your money goes and that none of your hard-earned cash from gigging is wasted.