By Kat Goldman
If you are thinking of working in the music industry as a singer-songwriter, you might want to keep your day job. Truth is I never made a dime in this business. In fact, I’ve lost more money on making albums than I’ve ever made back in CD sales.
As an independent singer-songwriter, you are expected to pay for your band, your producer, the mixing and mastering of your recording, your manufacturing, your album artwork, a publicist, your website, and, well, the list just goes on and on.
At this point, I don’t even view my CD’s as currency. I see them more like calling cards; they are something to give to people with my contact information and my face on them. Except that on my newest album cover I am wearing a “Cher” wig, so it might be hard to identify me.
Believe me, I do realize that maybe they will end up as coasters, or they will possibly be thrown out in the garbage. Sometimes I will use them to pick up men. This actually worked out once!
In fact, I give more of my CD’s away for free than I do sell them. I’ve given my CD’s to the plumber, the cleaning lady, the two women who work at the convenience store, the handyman, the waitress at Sunset Grill, and I even gave one away on Christmas Day to some woman who started speaking to me on Yonge St. She seemed pretty distraught because her mother was in the hospital.
At the very least, I figure, one of these people might play it, that is, if they even own a CD player anymore.
Maybe one of my songs will reach them, will speak to them, or will touch them on some level. At least this way I know I’m getting my music “out there,” and also, this way they won’t be accumulating in boxes in my parent’s basement.
Every two months I will get another check in the mail for $23.32. Sometimes I forget to cash the checks because I just find it so amusing to look at them! The money is mostly from single downloads of my songs, through iTunes and Spotify.
Four times a year I will get a royalty check that is a little bit bigger, for song placements in television shows, movies, and replays of my song “Annabel.” I was never good at math, but man, it is not enough to live on!
Every once in a while I will remind my friend Glen of our pact: if he ever finds me pushing a shopping cart with all of my belongings inside, wearing painted-on eyebrows and a smear of lipstick at the corner of Jarvis and Shuter (do those streets intersect?) while high on Listerine, he will take me in for a spaghetti dinner and we will talk about the ole’ times.
To avoid this, or a worse fate, here are just some ideas for day jobs I have tried, and some of which you might also consider, as you go along your path of developing your songwriting career:
Watering and cutting organic sunflower sprouts on an organic sprout farm
Washing bathrooms in a massage parlor
Internet porn agency (What? I was just the secretary!)
Scooping ice cream cones
Busking on a street corner wearing a Cher wig and American Flag overalls