Hobby or Career?

I see it happen all the time.

A musician or band records and produces a full length album on CD.

They bring a stack of 20 to the show.

They play the show.

They rarely mention the CD during the entire show.

Someone asks them if they have a CD (if they are lucky).

They say yes.

The person asks how much it is.

They say, “If you would like to make a donation of $10, that would be great, but whatever you can spare…”


What is wrong with this picture?

Musicians spend long hours creating their music and producing it and performing it.

Then they just want to give it away for nothing…or, whatever you can spare?

There is something to be said for getting your music out there.

But if people want it, then your music is worth the effort you put into making it. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t like it! They made the effort to come to your show and pay the price of admission. Now they are asking you if they can dish out even more money for your record? Don’t be shy!

At least set an asking price that covers the overhead of making the CD. Otherwise you are basically PAYING them to listen to your music. And that ain’t right. (But if you think it is, then music is your HOBBY, not your CHOSEN CAREER, and that’s OK).

My rule of thumb is to ask double the cost of production, at a minimum, to reward the long hours you put into writing, recording, and producing your record. Most retail products are marked up 50% to 150%. Don’t be afraid to profit from hard work.

Unless music is just a hobby.

But then why go through all the effort of producing a record? Just burn your songs onto a cheap blank CD and give them away to friends and family. They will appreciate it.

I hope you took something away from this post, but in case you need it spelled out…


Don’t be afraid to take pride in it.

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About Manwich B. Khakazzi

Joe is a songwriter, producer, performing musician, and free agent in Madison, WI. http://www.cactusjoeproductions.com

Posted on July 2, 2009, in Essentials. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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