Your Budget: Paying for a $5000 Instrument with $50 Gigs

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For any musician there is always one more instrument you want, one more amp, one more plug-in. Yet, there is also a huge gap between what you get paid for gigs and the cost of this gear. Today we are going to look at some ways you can start putting together a budget to get on your way to buying that $5000 MiniMoog synth while playing $50 gigs around town. play music

1. Budget & Save. There is no denying that as musicians we frequently get by on rent or bills by the skin of our teeth — especially you college music students. But at the same time, with a little budgeting it is certainly possible to start putting away some money for that new piece of gear by your next gig. Put together a list of all of your expenses and factor in where you can subtract money to put away and save. Maybe you will forgo that Starbuck's one or two days a week. As long as you plan for it, you will surely be able to save at least a few dollars every week and before you know it, that will add up.

2. Crowd Funding. In the past few years, the rise of crowd funding on the internet has resulted in the successful funding of countless projects — lots of musically inclined projects included. Patronage has come back in full force with sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. The process can be extremely helpful in organizing your efforts to budget your potential funds, giving back to your friends/family/fans, and making a plan to accomplish your goals. Below are some stats on one of the most popular crowd funding sites, Kickstarter:

  • Once your project is 30% funded there is a tipping point and it succeeds 90% of the time
  • $25 = most common pledge
  • $71 = average pledge
  • 5-7 = reward tiers
  • 75% of backers will be people you know (so reach out to all of your networks)
  • 86% of all money pledged goes to a successful project (the rest goes to Kickstarter and other associated costs)

3. Budget Your Time. As musicians we all enjoy playing music naturally or else we wouldn't be doing this. As in life, some gigs pay well and others pay not so well. In this environment, it is important to understand your own worth, no matter what stage of your musical development you're at. If you value yourself at playing for nothing less than say $75 a gig, people will begin to respect you. Figure out your budget and don't go any less than that unless the gig is offering you some other reward such as increased exposure or an important audience. Know your wealth and don't water down your own image.

*What's your best advice for budgeting for a new piece of gear? Comment below with more great ideas!