The Economics of Local Music (part 4): Making a Living in Your Local Music Market

Dick Weissman's "Making a Living in Your Local Music Market" published by Hal Leonard Books

I just bought a copy of the third edition of Dick Weissman’s “Making a Living in Your Local Music Market” published by Hal Leonard Books.  The description says:

This newly updated book is an invaluable resource for the musician or aspiring musician who lives outside the major music business markets. The author has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, and he details the differences in strategies that a musician can use to make a living outside the mainstream music marketplaces. This book shows you how to expand and develop your skills as a musician and composer right in your own backyard. It explores topics relevant to musicians on every level: Why should a band have an agreement? How can you determine whether a personal manager is right for you? Are contests worth entering? What trade publications are the most useful? Why copyright your songs?

Since I would wager a guess that there are possibly more musicians living outside of the big music markets, this could be a handy reference and supplement to, say, David Cutler’s The Savvy Musician.

I’ve only skimmed some sections of the book, but there are some solid statements about the realities of local band markets though peppered with what might be considered outdated commentary about such statements.  Take this, for example:

Sooner or later, your band will have to make an important choice.  Are you going to be a cover band, doing tunes that are already on the charts?  Or are you going to use your band as a vehicle for developing the writing skills of those in the group?  Sad to say but a cover band will have quicker access to work in most local markets, but if you dont write songs there is nothing that will set you apart from the hundreds of other bands performing in your region. (pg. 21)

With sections on composing, music unions and Artist residencies, including many others, this seems to be a book that hits on tons of areas of music-making that most musicians never consider as a way to generate income in their own backyards.  I’ll make sure to post a review of the book when I’ve had time to digest it.

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