Hi, I’m John Taglieri. I’m an indie artist with 11 CDs out selling nearly 25,000 units, have been touring the world for years, own my own recording studio, record label and Publishing company. I’ve done pretty much all I ever set out to do in this business and things just keep getting better. There are a LOT of ways you can make money in music… so lets focus in on one… Live Shows.
I play about 220 shows a year all over the country and have been for many years now. My shows are a mixture of cover songs and Original songs. I know many artists shy away from the covers and want to be ‘true to themselves’…and that’s fine, but what I’m going to talk about is making a living…not serving your ego. I play a mix and what its allowed me to do is make a living, while still putting out 11 (working on 12) original Cds and sell 25k of them. When I started, I took a lot of gigs some others wouldn’t take, but to me it was building relationships. I connected this way with two booking agents that I’ve now been with for 8 years each and who have helped to ensure that my calendar was always full.
While I play a hybrid show, I never present myself as anything more than me…come to my show, you’re going to have a fun time and I’ll hope that you want to come back again. This view on things has given me the ability to do some amazing things in my career, but first and foremost, what it’s done is pay the bills. About 70% of my income is from live touring and it’s something I truly love doing. It’s not hard and for all the naysayers out there telling you otherwise, there are a LOT of gigs to be had for those who want them. I have 220 or so gigs a year and a lot more I could take if I had the time. There are hundreds of venues out there that are willing to book acts and pay…again, you’ll have to be willing to play some covers. This is where you have to ask yourself one very simple but hard question…’WHAT IS MY GOAL’? Is sitting behind a desk/working at the mall/insert job here while you struggle to get gigs that don’t pay and you have to do all the work the goal? Or is making a living doing what you love the goal? I wanted to make a living. And I also figured, being on stage playing anything beats a soulless day job working for someone else any day of the week, plus I get to work on my chops and play some songs I love to play alongside my originals. So it’s really about you…and what you decide…career for your ego or career for good business.
If you choose to make a living in music, there is a decent amount of money to be made. More than most any decent ‘day job’ you’ll ever get. Most cover/original club gigs pay in the $200-$300 range for a solo act. It goes up from there for a duo or band. Now, I know some folks cant be solo…cant sing, maybe cant play guitar, or in some way be solo, but if you play at all, you can connect with someone or others who have those abilities and form a duo or band that does the same thing.
Also, just to touch on it, diversify. There are plenty of ways to make money from music these days. I also make money on CD sales, T-Shirt sales, studio session work both in my studio and others, CD duplication work (I bought a CD/DVD duplicator/printer and do short run work for others), picking up gigs as a sideman for other bands/performers. So there are a lot of ways to make money, which is what the end game is.
I hope this perspective has helped you in some way and you can always reach out to me if you have any questions or a differing view. I’m always up for a great conversation.
Now get out, play some music, LIVE WITH INTENTION and BE AWESOME!!
12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.