Playing in a band can be fun, and it also can be profitable. Not everyone can be a rock star, of course, but you can turn a band – whether it be rock, jazz, classical, or other musical genre – into a money-making venture.
Here’s are some reasons why a band is actually a great business idea:
- Creativity: Starting and being part of a music group is a great opportunity to develop one or multiple creative skills including playing an instrument, writing music lyrics, and composing music.
- Teamwork: Playing in a music group helps you learn other important skills such as how to work with and get along with other people in order to achieve a larger goal.
- It’s fun! Being in a music group sounds cool. Musicians usually enjoy doing something they love (creating music) with people they like (friends and/or family members). There’s also the immediate reward of a cheering audience during live performances.
Here are some possible challenges of being in a band or music group:
- Bad gigs: Sometimes things go wrong with a performance, even with the best intentions and planning. Examples: A group member becomes suddenly sick, unexpected bad weather during an outdoor performance, etc.
- Creative differences (aka: Drama): Working with one or more people means that different personalities will be in your music group. Sometimes different styles can complement each other. But opposing personalities can clash, especially if a music group is already dealing with other problems.
How to Get Started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
Here are some tips for how to start your business.
Develop a set that you can play at whatever types of events you plan to play. It should be pieces that you can play well and have all the instruments and equipment to play at a public performance, and the set should be long enough to fit the event (e.g., a party set may be longer than a wedding set.) As you attend events, take notice of the sets successful bands play and use that as a guide.
An excellent option for developing your set is to play for free for whoever will listen – whether it’s playing in your garage or your basement for friends in the neighborhood or playing in the park or on a street corner. (NOTE: Be sure to follow all rules and regulations for public performance — see this article for tips.)
Talk with your parents or another trusted adult about your idea. If you are a minor, you will need at least one adult to handle the less glamorous business parts of managing a music group. This includes driving/traveling to gigs and negotiating payments with clients or entertainment venues. Of course, the perspective of an adult can help even if you are old enough to handle these responsibilities yourself.
Build an online presence. Set up a band page on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Also, consider creating a simple website for your band or music group. You can use your band’s social media pages and website to show photos, short video clips, and client testimonials from past performances.
You can also have a list of the type(s) of events your music group specializes in, such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and parties. You can get our band listed on sites such as Gig Salad. Even websites where you can advertise professional services for hire like thumbtack.com, NextDoor, or Craig’s List could work for you.
Network online (and in-person if possible). See what other young bands and music groups are doing. Follow on social media the same bands, events, and local venues. For example, if your band wants to perform at weddings, look for popular wedding venues in your area. Reach out to your local event/party venues. They might include your music group in their catalogs/promo material or suggest you to clients. Also, ask your family, friends, and other musicians about possible performances, such as upcoming parties or other events.
(NOTE: Be sure to research any age limits at the venues where your band might be performing. You don’t want to accept gigs at any establishment where members of your band are too young to enter.)
How much to charge:
Musicians usually charge anywhere from $30 – $200 per hour, per person. Some musicians charge a rate of $25 to $200 per song. In most cases musicians charge a flat fee for the first two hours and then an hourly rate. The wide range in payment amounts is based on different factors including: your band’s location, skill level, and performance experience, among other issues.
Similar to looking for places to perform, a few Google searches for phrases like “bands for hire near me” or “local bands in (your city’s name)” can give you an idea of what people in your area expect to pay when hiring a band. This article from Thumbtack provides some additional guidance.
Taking it to the next level:
- Branch out. Consider doing more general events or music competitions at local venues. Check local media (online newspapers, websites, Google) for listings of community showcases, contests, and “open mic” nights. Ask the venue if a certain event you’re interested in has any age limits. If the event sounds like a good fit for your band, email or call the venue to discuss booking a date for a performance.
- Organize your own event. You could ask a few other music groups or bands to get together to do an event such as a fundraiser for your favorite cause, or just a general music event. This event could be held at a local park or other public space. Even if the event is free (which it most likely will be in a public space), it can raise awareness about your group. Be sure to have fliers to pass out with info about your band.
- Go global. Create a YouTube channel that gets your band recognition around the world and start promoting it — who knows what could happen?