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silb on 06/25/2019 at 11:06AM

Handling Your Finances as a Musician

The list of things that musicians need to keep on top of seems always to be growing: training, health, booking gigs, management… the list goes on. One of the most important things for a musician to get on top of, though, is their financial planning and unfortunately, very few are.

So, here are a few ways you can keep on top of your finances.

 

Budget

Creating a budget when you’re a musician is key to keeping on top of your money. Gigs and paid work are by no means a guarantee in this line of work, and even when there is money coming in, you can’t sit back and relax.

Start by separating your music income from your personal income as keeping the two together will only get confusing, and this is how you end up muddying the waters of what you’re making, and spending, on the business. Account for every penny as you go. With income not being stable, this can be difficult to do but still, do it. If you know you need x,y and z for voice lessons, venue travel and equipment maintenance, then note that down and make sure you keep that amount aside.

 

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a fun that is there for emergencies. Usually, it’s a stash of money that has been put aside so that you have money there for a rainy day or to cover unexpected expenses. Such expenses might include last minute car breakdowns, job loss and unemployment, medical expenses, home repairs, or emergency instrument repairs or replacement.

The most common method of starting and maintaining an emergency fund is a savings account since with most banks you can start saving with just £1 and access your money at any time. However, if that method isn’t for you, some people also use investments, a retirement plan, or simply withdrawing their cash and storing it in a safe place.

 

Taxes

There are two types of tax that are relevant to musicians: earnings from employment and trading income.

Earnings from employment refer to musicians who are employed on a full-time on contracted basis as a musician. These types of musicians are, for example, musicians who are employed by the BBC in an orchestra.

Trading income and includes income from trades, professions and vocations. This type of income usually refers to self-employed musicians who work for themselves on single, or recurring, sought music ventures.

HMRC offers a host of advice specifically on tax-related matters, so if you’re not sure which category you fall under, or if you need any kind of tax-related advice you can contact them for more information.

 

Expenses

It is important to know what tax-deductible expenses you are entitled to when working as a musician. Musicians are entitled to the following expenses (subject to each person).

  • Travel expenses, including the cost of travelling to concerts or performances
  • Costs of hiring premises (including teaching premises)
  • Fees paid by you to other musicians
  • Costs of books, sheet music and recordings needed
  • Repairs/tuning/parts and insurance costs for instruments used in business
  • General administrative expenses
  • Costs of work-related phone calls and broadband
  • Advertising
  • Subscriptions to professional journals and magazines
  • Business proportion of loan interest for the purchase of a capital asset
  • Bad debts written off
  • Accountant’s fees and other professional fees (e.g. legal fees)
  • Subscriptions to the ISM and a few other HMRC-approved professional bodies
  • Cost of tickets to concerts you attend for work
  • Continuing professional development
  • Professional indemnity and other business insurances
  • Costs of clothing, costumes and props bought for your work
  • costs of grooming for making ‘professional appearances.’
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silb on 06/20/2019 at 11:49AM

A Guide to Getting Wedding Gigs

A wedding is a very special occasion and music is an important part of it. There’s big money to be made in the wedding business, and bands are in high demand. So how can you get grooms and brides-to-be to pop the question that you’ll be part of their big day? These tips will be music to your ears.

Make demos

Let your musical skills speak for themselves. Record demos of you performing the music you love to play, with plenty of love songs and dancefloor filling classics. Hand out physical copies and stream it on your website. Then they’ll know if you’re a match made in heaven.

Advertise locally

Place ads in your local newspapers and on community noticeboards. Good old-fashioned paper adverts have a certain charm to them. Stick some flyers in your local bridal shop to reach the right people at the right time, and they just might give you a ring!

Social media

Create social media profiles for your band and use them to promote for free. Share demos, photos and videos of you doing your thing, and join wedding pages and groups. Show your musical style and personality, and use Facebook to get real reviews from the happy couples you’ve performed for.

Wedding fairs

Reach the people who are looking for you and have money to spend. Love is in the air and it’s the place to impress the engaged. Wedding fairs are full of people hunting for the soundtrack to their big day, so it’s worth taking the plunge and securing a spot to serenade them.

Network

Word of mouth travels far, so get yourself out there and learn how to network. Talk to others in the industry, share contacts and experiences, and you’ll be building up your very own network. These groups are an important source of support and inspiration, and you’re more likely to hear of opportunities from those in the same circles.

Get an agent

Let an entertainment agent do a lot of the hard work for you. They’re experienced, well connected and often have betrothed bookers lined up and looking for you. There are agencies to suit all levels and genres, so find the right one for you and let them start making you money. They will charge you a fee for their services, but they tend to be commission based, so it’s in their interest to get you gigs!

Wedding band showcases are popular events where wedding planners get to experience all the fun of the reception without any of the stress of planning it just yet. A line-up of wedding bands perform so the engaged attendees can see, hear and meet the acts eager to entertain them on their wedding day. So help them tick something off their to-do list by putting on a great live show of what you can bring to their big day. There should be showcases happening in your area that you can get involved in – if not, set up your own!

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