How many of you earn a living from recording?

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Is recording music your primary source of income?

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How many of you earn a living from recording?

Post by LupineSound » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:31 am

Seems like a lot of you here really know your stuff. I've learned so much just from reading the forums. Makes me wonder if you're all pros or just hardcore hobbyists like me.

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Post by JGriffin » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:18 pm

Your thread title and poll questions don't agree. You ask "how many of you earn a living from recording" and then the yes/no question is about recording music specifically. You're leaving out a huge chunk of the "earn a living from recording" world there. I earn a living from recording, but the vast majority of what I do is sound design (for theatre and film), radio commercials and web content. I do some music recording, but that's not all of what I do and it's not the part that pays the bills.

So I'm not sure how to answer your poll question. Are you interested in who's successful as a recording engineer, or just who's successful as a music recording engineer?
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Post by Brett Siler » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:11 pm

At the current moment no, but work has been increasing and I have been diversifying my musical skills into other departments and getting some cash from that as well. I'm saving up a bunch of money right now and the goal is by middle of 2013 to have my vocation be a musician/recording engineer.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:06 pm

Yep, although the quality of that living can vary wildly from month to month.

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Post by joelpatterson » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:58 pm

He means "music" recording, obviously, like songs or concerts or video soundtracks. That's what we real engineers do. Everything else is just... how to say it... dilettantish scenester-ism!
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Post by kingtoad » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:06 pm

I'd also be unsure how to answer - my income is currently about 60-70% mastering and 30-40%% live sound.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:01 pm

And all I do is music & media stuff, but that includes a lot of other gigs, like teaching, live sound, video production, DJing, music journalism, and playing live music. I own a studio and I've produced indie records for three decades, but if I was trying to eat from that alone, and keep my wife and four kids at the mid to low standard of living that they have grown accustomed to, well, we'd starve, and they'd get used to ah, an even lower standard of living, I guess?


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Post by fossiltooth » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:28 pm

Yeah, I'm in the same boat as most of the repliers here. I'm not sure how to answer. I make more than a 1/3 of my income through music mixing, recording and mastering, 1/3 from writing about sound and music, and about a 1/3 from teaching the same to college students.

All 3 careers all put together seems to make for one livable income.

Before 2008/2009, it was all recording/mixing for me. But when the economy crashed, budgets started going down, and I found myself working more hours for less money. So I decided to diversify.

Now that the economy has been bouncing back, I find that the music recording/mixing/mastering end has been picking up without me really trying. I've also started accepting some other types of sound editing and design work for picture and podcasts and the like as well as mastering jobs.

But even when we're back to a more fully normal economy and music industry, I will probably keep on writing, and probably teaching as well. They're both very rewarding. I feel very fortunate, and I'm probably the happiest I've ever been.

So yeah, it would be good to qualify your question:

Do you want to restrict it to music engineering only? If yes, how do you feel about engineers who regularly work on music projects they don't love, which is probably the majority? And how about the independently wealthy, who are able to sustain a subsidized career in audio and music, even if it isn't strictly profitable, or doesn't keep them busy full time? There's a meaningful chunk of those as well.

It's a tough question to answer cleanly. The best I can say is that I make a full-time income doing audio stuff, mostly focused around music.

I'm very happy about that and I consider myself lucky enough to be working professionally in the field. But if I wasn't, I would find other things that make me happy.

It's far better to be a successful and balanced amateur than a miserable and jaded professional. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Post by LupineSound » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:17 pm

Shit, probably could have phrased that better. Was just wondering how many of you worked in music/recording/sound/etc professionally. Right now I'm a very serious hobbyist but I'm hoping to one day make some money from it. Though, even if I never do, I probably won't ever stop. Can't think of anything I enjoy more :)

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Post by Scodiddly » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:03 am

I said "no", because I'm making my living in the live sound business.

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Post by DCT3 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:36 am

It's a meager living but it's definitely worth it to be able to wake up every day and know that my job is just to do what I love doing anyway.

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Post by mwerden » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:35 pm

I said yes but I also fall into the "all of the above" kind of situation. I do record music, but I also do a lot of sound design and other audio related things.
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Post by goose134 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:32 pm

Finally! My signature line can answer a question with no extra effort!
I make a living as an electrician, not recording in the basement.

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Post by vvv » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:02 am

goose134 wrote:Finally! My signature line can answer a question with no extra effort!
Eh, lemme see if I can explain how you, eh ... :twisted:
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:13 am

Yeah, even Tape Op's editor and publisher don't make 100% of their income from recording, yet obviously run studios and record a lot. Dual income streams is probably a safer bet these days...
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