Schools Training

Music as a Small Business

17 JAN 2013
Career Path : Arts and Entertainment

If you’re a musician or music maker, such as a DJ, you’ve put a lot of effort into developing your talents. You’ve probably spent hours on your own practicing, even before you began coordinating your efforts with band mates or took your act public. If you’re trying to get paid for your efforts, you’ve probably also noticed that there’s a lot of similarities with running your own business and having a band or a DJ act. You’re in exactly the same boat as an electrician or other self-employed occupation. No matter how enamoured you are with creativity, be prepared to be practical if you want your venture to succeed.



Money is the decider if your act is ever going to be more than a hobby. Keep accurate records of everything you spend or invest. Unless you live in Ireland or another country with a bard friendly tax law, be prepared to turn over part of your revenue over as income.  Thus save your receipts. Even includes ghastly fast food gobbled down on the road is tax deductible. Similarly training can be knocked off your taxes, so don’t put off signing up for DJ training or sound engineering school, at least as long as you keep track of tuition costs for year-end declarations.



To get work you have to book gigs and co-ordinate setting up equipment. Some performers rely on an outside professional to do this. A one person operation, such as a DJ, is very unlikely to need it. Indeed DJ training will usually focus on developing the skills you need to get gigs on your own. But a band with more than two people stops being a partnership and starts being a large enough organization that you need to look into other things, like commitment, scheduling and how you share the band’s earnings. You will also have to make hard choices, like switching out members of your group the way a company sometimes has to decide to get rid of people. Advanced band managing mode might even take a tour in event management school because you’ll also be doing your own marketing and making your own gigs.


Gear and Instruments

Your gear and instruments are your tools. Nobody needs to tell you that you need to treat your instruments like they are precious; unless you are in a punk act; smashing your guitar would be sacrilege to you. On the other hand everything from amps to stage props needs to be transported, stored and set up correctly. If you’re lucky, set up is handled by someone with a degree from a sound engineering school. Many venues have one on hand, but at least take the time to hire good roadies if you can. It’s better to spend more than destroy valuable equipment of muff a gig with bad setups.



Visit Trebas Institute for more ideas on how you can profit from your act, including sound engineering school.