Brad's Notebook

The 30 jobs of an independent musician 

Ideally, as a performing singer-songwriter, the majority of my time and effort should be focused on (1) writing the best songs possible, (2) continuing to develop my musical abilities, (3) leading productive rehearsals with my band and (4) giving memorable live performances. But recently I started thinking about all the additional jobs I've had to learn, over the past 20 years, in my effort to maintain and build my music career. 

For artists at the top of the food chain, these other jobs are often filled by outside professionals, each facet of their career carefully managed to its fullest potential. Even regionally successful musicians will often outsource a few of these jobs to specialized companies. So what are the 30 jobs that an independent musician has to work? I've put together a list along with a short description of the goals for a job well done. 

1. Songwriter - write good songs 
2. Musician - improve at your instrument(s) 
3. Band Leader - lead productive rehearsals, nurture bandmate relationships 
4. Performer / Entertainer - connect with audience, deliver memorable visual and audio presentation 
5. Booking Agent - book the right venues on the right nights with the right supporting acts, negotiate fair terms 
6. Tour Manager - create tour budget and itinerary, arrange lodging and travel, oversee all concert operations, collect payment 
7. Concert Promoter - obtain venue, set ticket pricing, advertise the show 
8. Street Team - spread word about artist through posters and flyers 
9. Live Sound Engineer & Lighting Engineer - operate lighting and sound at concert 
10. Stage Designer - design and build visual presentation of concert stage 
11. Instrument Tech / Repairs - keep instruments in working order, troubleshoot problems 
12. Merchandise Manager & Merch Seller - order and maintain inventory, setup displays, interact with customers 
13. Roadie - load in/load out all equipment and merchandise 
14. Record Label - advance funds for recording, market album, get songs on radio and streaming playlists 
15. Record Producer - find best arrangements for the songs, coax best performances from musicians 
16. Recording Engineer - capture desired sound of instruments 
17. Mixing Engineer - mix all recorded elements together 
18. Mastering Engineer - make overall sound quality of recording match other professional recordings 
19. Manufacturer - manufacture merchandise and recordings 
20. Distributor - make recordings available for purchase in stores and online 
21. Web Developer - design the visual look and functionality of the website 
22. Graphic Designer - design posters, flyers, web graphics, album artwork, etc. 
23. Videographer - capture live concert footage, create music videos and promotional videos 
24. Photographer - capture energy of live concerts, shoot promotional photos 
25. Music Publisher - pitch songs to tv and movies 
26. Accountant - advise on financial matters and investments, verify income and expenses, file taxes 
27. Attorney - manage all legal matters including contractual agreements and copyrights 
28. Publicist - compose press releases, gain positive media coverage 
29. Manager - look at the big picture to find the best path toward goals 
30. "Real Job" - Oh yeah, and you probably have a day job to pay the bills while you're pursuing your dream 

I'm sure you know a local artist that remains under-the-radar despite their obvious talent. It's possible that either by choice or necessity they are only paying attention to a few of the jobs listed above. It seems that no matter how determined and hardworking an artist is, expecting anyone to handle 30 jobs, and do them all well, is a bit unrealistic. What do you think? What roles should be outsourced to external help and what roles should remain DIY? Are there any jobs that can be completely dismissed from this list? I'd love to hear your comments below.

Video: Brad Hoshaw - Nothing to Lose (Album Version) 

"Nothing to Lose" from the CD "Four New Songs" (2017). Available exclusively at live performances on my 2017 Summer House Tour.

Check the calendar for a show near you!

Lyrics: 
You're never lost till you get stoned 
Then it's touch and go from friend to friend then home 
When you think that you'll fail you take your knife to the sail 
Now you lost your job 
Your car won't start 
You've fallen out of love but tell me at the bar 

I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
and replace 

So heel to toe to my front door 
Where we'll stack them up and pray for the wind to blow 
When you squint into morning you stare straight at the sun 
Now I'm on the bus 
Sublet's up 
I've been making love like a temp-work slut 

I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
and replace...and replace...and replace 

I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
I've got nothing to lose that I can't replace 
and replace...and replace...and replace 

written by Brad Hoshaw, Jeremiah Nelson and Brianna Lane 
Brad Hoshaw Music [ASCAP]

2017 Summer House Tour Promo Video 

This summer I'll be performing in living rooms and backyards around the Midwest. I'd love to meet you and share some songs with you.

Overland Park, KS St Paul, MN Des Moines, IA
Sioux Falls, SD Minneapolis, MN Beatrice, NE
Woodbury, MN Sheboygan, WI Lincoln, NE

Check out the full schedule here. If you're interested in attending one of these shows, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the host.

 

Summary

A place for my news and thoughts, music related or otherwise.

Thanks for voting!

What is your favorite Singer-Songwriter venue in Omaha?

Slowdown (Front Room) 1
Reverb Lounge 1
The Down Under Lounge 0
Barley Street Tavern 2
O'Leaver's Pub 1
Harney Street Tavern 1
Pageturner's Lounge 1
Other 0
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