Day Jobs (or what else you do apart from engineering)

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Day Jobs (or what else you do apart from engineering)

Post by iamthecosmos » Tue May 31, 2011 11:32 am

Apologies if this isn't the place for this but it seems like the closest fit of the forums.

Anyway, I was wondering what those of you who work day jobs do. Or to put it another way, if you're supplementing your engineering work with another job, how close is it to music and what you care about? Are you a musician? Do you work in A/V in some way? Live sound?

Basically I've been working in IT as it's safer and more secure than music (especially after being dropped, gah), and I'm getting pretty sick of it. I'd like to shift the balance closer to what makes me want to get up in the morning.

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Post by CurtZHP » Tue May 31, 2011 12:01 pm

My "day job" is broadcast engineering at a radio station. Basically keeping the place operating smoothly. Occasionally, I'm called upon to mix or record a live event. I also work part time at a local TV station, assisting with transmitter site maintenance.
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Post by jhharvest » Tue May 31, 2011 12:28 pm

I'm a TV sound engineer full time. As a part time job I do script writing. I'm chief script for a weekly children's TV segment about a funny gardener.

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Post by JGriffin » Tue May 31, 2011 12:29 pm

I'm fortunate enough to be employed in sound engineering full-time. The "day job" is main audio engineer at an in-house studio within an ad agency. I record (and mix! :wink: ) most of the agency's radio spots, as well as some TV, animatics, internal client videos, that sort of thing. Outside of that, as a "second job" I do music and sound design for theater and film, and create and sell sound effects.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue May 31, 2011 12:50 pm

The way of making a living in music/production at the "less than Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones" level is usually the way of diversification.

I have a band and play live gigs, and do other session work (as a sideman) and shows when that type of work is available; I've been in almost every conceivable type of group for almost 30 years. I have been a church music director and technical director. I used to work in radio. I was also in the US Army Band (199th, USARNG) for almost 10 years. I taught privately for many years, and I teach in the classroom now (Music, Social Studies, and Media courses), and have been for about 20 years. I used to do "out-source" teaching/coaching, like working with a local high school drumline during marching band season. I've done a lot of commissioned, "self-contained" music and a/v production (jingles, radio spots, music and sound design for theater, etc.), rather than relying on recording bands (because good bands that can write, sing, play, and _pay_ seem fairly hard to find). I have done, and still do, quite a bit of music journalism (currently writing for "Drum! Magazine," but lots of freelance over the years for various outlets)...

Some people supplement with music retail day-jobs (GC, that type of thing). I hear that Guitar Center in particular is very "musician friendly" (holding spots for folks for up to six months, maybe[?], so musicians that work there can tour and have a job to come back to). I worked in local music stores years ago, before things went south economically.

It's all music, but it's not all from one source. It can't be, for those of us living outside of major music centers or who haven't somehow managed to land full-time, union/symphony orchestra type gigs. Except for what seems to be a very special few, some of whom inhabit the forums here on the TOMB(!), it's pretty hard to do the engineering/production thing or play live music as a full-time specialty and sole source of income, complicated even more nowadays with the "everybody is a recordist" and karoake phenomena. It _is_ pretty easy to make (almost enough :wink: ) money in music, however, by developing lots of skills that "cross-over" and by being willing to think outside the box and diversify your opportunities.


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Post by kslight » Tue May 31, 2011 1:59 pm

Day job managing the digital end of a printing company. Not exactly glamorous but I've struggled to find a position in audio that pays comparably in my area.

As for audio though I cover a lot of bases, professional musician, remix engineer, freelance mixing and mastering engineer, and when I have time freelance recordist.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue May 31, 2011 2:08 pm

Gregg Juke wrote:The way of making a living in music/production at the "less than Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones" level is usually the way of diversification.

So, so true.
I'm in the same boat. I do a million and one things that all relate back to music in some way. Engineering and production are the biggest chunk but I also compose music for film, tv and commercials, I do occasional side man gigs, I do studio tech work (wiring, repairs etc), I do minor electronics repair at a friend's music store, and every now and then I'll pick up a live sound gig.

It's a pain in the ass at times but I think I'd get bored if I ever had to go back to just one job.

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Post by Jacob Bergson » Tue May 31, 2011 2:31 pm

I supplement my recording income by playing gigs, both with my own bands and as a hired gun.

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Day jobs

Post by alexdingley » Tue May 31, 2011 4:50 pm

My first career was actually full-time engineer. It paid pretty well for a small suburban Philadelphia recording studio, but the money ran out and one by one we all got cut loose... Then I worked for Sonic Reality / IK Multimedia for a year.. Tuning and tweaking samples. Made some Reason Refills and reworked the samples for the Miroslav Philharmonik plug-in. Since that gig, I've been working at this little tech company who makes popular computers, portable media devices, and they dabble in writing software. It's stable, and they're really flexible with schedules.. So I'm able to record bands, as well as run live sound for my local NFL team. So like most of us, the key is stay busy.
Last edited by alexdingley on Tue May 31, 2011 7:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by mjau » Tue May 31, 2011 7:18 pm

I run a small museum. I get a great deal when I need music for an exhibit.

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Post by TapeOpLarry » Tue May 31, 2011 8:10 pm

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Post by nick_a » Tue May 31, 2011 8:48 pm

I sling beers to folks two days a week at a really awesome bar here in arlington. It frees me up enough that i can pretty much say "yes" to any audio work that comes down the pike without having to lose (relatively) predictable income. Most of the people I work with are musicians.

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Post by Peterson Goodwyn » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:39 am

I build websites that each pay a couple dollars a day. It's not a living in itself (yet) but it does free me up to record as the websites make money whether I show up to the computer or not, so that's nice!
I like to build the stuff that I record with.

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Post by dave watkins » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:05 am


well... audio and video editing, restoration, midi orchestration, archiving, composition, projection design, voice over work, rinky dink touring madness, occasional scenic work and other random content creation and god knows what all else for a ballet company. it's my full time job, and it's really rad. it also allows me to do only the music recording projects i care about/want to. it also affords me a huge quirky building to record in off hours and use as a practice space for free. which is beyond anything i could have ever hoped for.

i also do live sound for small shows around town, but once again i only do the shows that i know are gonna be a blast, with amazing musicians, so it's more about fun and helping great shows happen than making a a few bucks. i'm super lucky to be doing what i'm doing but i've definitely busted my ass to get here.

being ridiculously passionate about what you do will always pay off in time.
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Post by Bro Shark » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:30 am

9-5. Software. 100% non-music/art-related. Usually that sucks, but at the same time, it gives freshness and perspective to my "hobby."

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