Professional Musicians Struggling with Debt

The music industry is booming throughout the world, with budding musicians being discovered every day on YouTube, Soundcloud, and through various other channels. With new technological developments, there have been increasing opportunities for talented individuals to get their voices and instruments heard. The music industry is attracting thousands of Canadians.

Unfortunately, however, this means that not very many people can make it big as a professional musician. Even more so will have to deal with debt, work multiple jobs, and struggle to pay the bills.

With a growing demand for musicians in every setting, from local cafés to big-time hotels and clubs, many artists are getting full-time employment. However, this is not often enough to pay the bills, and certainly not enough to pay off the debt incurred by student loans for that music degree!

Moreover, because these musicians are paid in fees, they are not able to collect any employment insurance benefits. The lifestyle that most musicians live means that there is also a tendency to think in the short term. This means that it can be extremely difficult to meet long-term goals such as paying off a twenty-year mortgage.

There are professionals who have managed to get rid of their debt, however, even those who did not go into the mainstream limelight. There are various tried and true methods that have worked for many in the past. They can work for you too, if you are a musician struggling with major debt.

Lifestyle Changes

The first thing that you should do, no matter what other advice you choose to take from this article, is curb your spending. You cannot possibly expect to save up enough money if you spend on frivolous things. Purchase only what you need and save what is left towards paying off the debt.

Stop borrowing as well. You don’t need credit cards, just spend wisely. If you really need assistance, have one credit card. If possible, borrow only from family members and friends, as this will be interest-free. The important thing to do here is create a repayment plan with the person you are borrowing from, and make sure you stick to it. You don’t need to pay back in high amounts, but you should agree on something that works for both parties.

Start thinking long-term, whether it is about your household spending, or your career. One way that you can do this is to start an emergency fund. You only need to put in a few dollars every day, or a specific amount each week. Small amounts on a regular basis will add up before you know it. Then, should you ever have a problem getting together enough money for your bills or debts, this emergency fund will save the day.

Another thing you can do if you have multiple sources of loans is to see if you can consolidate your debt. You may be able to consolidate and then pay off an overall sum at a single interest rate. Find out what your options are and remember to think about your long-term ability to pay off what you owe.

Career Changes

No, you don’t have to stop gigging or get a different job. You can, however, make a few changes with how you go about certain aspects of your career to cut down your costs. For starters, you can put basic needs into the deals that you make with employers, such as your meals. Include travel costs and other basic expenses in your fees, or specify that you would like them covered.

Check local organizations or governing bodies for possible grants and subsidiaries that you may be eligible for as a singer or songwriter. There may be tax incentives or benefits that you can apply for as well, depending on the criteria. Check with bodies such as the Canada Music Fund, MUSICACTION, and FACTOR.

Making Money

You can also look at your alternatives for extra income to help you make your payments. Many musicians get a significant portion of their income from merchandise. The next time you have a gig, sell a few t-shirts with your band logo or name. Consider starting a crowdsourcing campaign on a website like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, which many big-name artists have successfully done for their albums, gigs, and merchandising.

If you start thinking long term, plan out how to pay off your debts, and make new efforts for increasing your income, your struggles with loans will significantly ease up. Soon enough, you will no longer be that clichéd, broke musician.

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