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Tips To Becoming A Self Sustaining Band

March 23, 2009

– An excerpt from The New Rockstar Philosophy Book out very very soon –

“Check Cheddar like a food inspector”


In order to make music your life, you need to make money with it. Gear, recording time, and mech all cost money. You also need to pay for all of life’s expenses. So after taking care of the music, taking care of your band finances is of the utmost importance.

Therefore, your first major money goal should be to make the band self-sustaining. That means no one in the band is paying out of their own pockets for any band stuff any more. You’re not necessarily making a ton of money off the band, but more importantly, you aren’t losing any.

Tips to Becoming A Self-Sustaining Band

  • Get a Fooking Job!

Everyone should have a way of financially contributing to the band and not depend on the band for money. Treat the band as a serious part-time job, but a full time love. You can build your live show, educate yourself on the music business, fine-tune your songs, promote online, do mini-tours, and build a fan-base before you take the plunge into being a full time musician.

  • Save Your Money

Shows, merch, and CD/iTunes sales are all forms of band income that should go into a band fund. The more cash in the band fund, the less everyone is putting in.

  • Band Tax

Set up a monthly band tax that will help fund band activities. Set an amount which is affordable for everyone, yet shows a serious enough commitment to the band. Start out with a tenner ($10/month) and move up from there.

  • Bank Account

Make this a personal account that everyone has access to until you’re making enough cash to upgrade. Shop around for the best one. Internet banks usually offer better savings accounts and lower fees than traditional banks. Do your research and find the best one for you.

  • Set Money Goals

If everyone in the band knows you need $200 for new microphones or $3000 for recording, then the goal is clear. Everyone is focused and knows what they are striving for. Keep your money goals simple and focus on one thing at a time. Decide what’s important for the band to get and what can wait. You can take this even further by printing off a picture of what you want and putting it up in the practice area. It will become a focus point.

  • Fund Raise

People want to support bands they like. They will support your beer nights, pub-crawls, 50/50 draws, keg parties and whatever else you can think of that involves booze, money and people.

If you have a goal of being able to go on tour or to record a new 3P, people will be more willing to donate their money. When there’s purpose to raising money, you’ll get more response.

  • Track your cash

Keeping track of your money is crucial as you start making and spending more. It can start to get overwhelming when there’s merch to order, recording time to pay for, van payments, jam space fees, CDs to press, etc. You can set up a monthly income/expenses spreadsheet in Excel or if you have a Google account, use Google Docs’ free spreadsheet.

Take Control of Your Music


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