Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Unexpected Expenses To Prepare For As A Musician | Music Think Tank

As a musician, you’re used to fending for yourself. Whether you’re picking up a side gig to pay the bills, researching the latest Gibson to see if it’ll improve your sound, or figuring out the logistics for your next tour, you know how to get things done. With that said, though, even the most responsible musically-inclined entrepreneur can overlook things from time to time.

Expecting the Unexpected

As you go about setting up personal and business budgets for the year ahead, here are a few unexpected expenses that you’re going to want to watch out for.

Instrument Repairs

Whether you’re repairing a homemade cajón, restringing your Les Paul, or having your baby grand professionally tuned, there are a lot of different costs that can add up when it comes to keeping your instruments in fine form. The repairs can become even more significant when you consider the wear and tear that a tour can have on your instruments.

Health Care Costs

If you’re a musician, there’s a good chance you don’t work a full-time job that provides good healthcare. Not having proper health coverage can come with a host of extremely expensive surprises, whether you’re heading to the doctors for a checkup or the hospital emergency room for something worse.

Replacing Equipment

Along with repairing your instruments, the costs associated with keeping your equipment up to date can be steep. New versions of recording software, upgrading amps, and generally keeping all of your equipment up to date can cost a small fortune.

Automotive Surprises

It’s easy to factor in gas and maintenance on your tour vehicle. However, you’re also going to want to keep in mind things like tolls and parking fees as you travel to each venue. In addition, no matter how well you take care of your vehicle, the occasional car repair is going to take place from time to time.

Music Lessons

Even the most accomplished musician can occasionally find themselves needing a lesson or two. This is especially true if you have truly pan-musical tastes that incessantly wander from one musical apparatus to the next. While you can predict the cost of purchasing a new instrument to play, don’t forget the added expense of any lessons you may need in order to increase your proficiency enough to perform.

Surprise Tour Costs

Along with obvious factors like your instruments, vehicle costs, and lodging, you’re also going to want to keep in mind things like late nights on the town, general entertainment, and even proper touring luggage for both yourself and your instruments.

Office Expenses

You run your own business. Everything from a desk and chairs to stationary is going to have to be paid for on your dime (even though you can write it off on taxes, later). Make sure to make an allowance for furnishing your office spaces.

Stage Clothing

You’re going to need to wear something while you’re performing (we’re looking at you, KISS). Whether it’s a full-blown costume or a simple, professional musician’s getup, purchasing stage clothing can add up if you’re not careful.

Union Dues

Every country has its own version of a musician’s union. If you’re part of yours, you’re going to want to factor in those union dues along with everything else.

Preparing for the Unexpected

It can feel overwhelming trying to account for so many added expenses. However, a little forethought and some extra effort are often all it takes to keep your costs down and your bank account in the black.

Practice Preventive Healthcare

If you’re trying to stay healthy — which is difficult while on tour — look for ways to practice preventative healthcare. This includes:


●     Getting plenty of rest.

●     Exercising regularly.

●     Watching what you eat — and what you drink, too!

●     Taking a daily vitamin.

Remote Work

If you find yourself hurting for some extra cash, consider picking up some remote work to keep you busy while you’re on the road. Anything from graphic design to writing, photography, and even music can be done on a freelance basis at this point. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.

Prep for the Road

If you’re going to be driving in strange places, make sure that you’re familiar with the local laws and regulations. These can come in handy if you find yourself dealing with an accident or a car repair, and can save you from spending money when it isn’t needed.

Limit Expenses

Look for ways to limit your current expenses. Purchasing a used vehicle, taking advantage of complimentary food at venues, and crashing with friends to avoid a hotel bill can free up money to save for that unexpected expense.

Look for Loans

This should always be an option of last resort, but if you’re truly stuck, it can be helpful to know where you can go for a personal loan with a reasonable interest rate, rather than falling back on maxing out your credit cards. There are auto repair financing programs, for instance, which can offer emergency loans to get you out of a jam.

Staying in the Black

There are numerous hidden expenses for a musician. However, if you lean on that entrepreneurial spirit a bit, it isn’t too hard to set yourself up for success even in the face of added expenses. Along with preparing for the worst, remember to regularly visit your budget, plan ahead whenever possible, and save every penny you can towards any future costs that might come your way.


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