Panel Discussion: How Music Makes Money

Join me on December 10th, at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC, for a panel discussion on the modern music business. I will be joined by professionals in entertainment and intellectual property law, music publishing and rights management, crowd funding, and marketing. The event is free and open to the public.

Here are the details:

The Parsons Institute for Intellectual Property (PiiP) announces an evening panel presentation of industry professionals discussing how music makes money now. Since the advent of digitized music, the methods of making, using, and delivering music have grown exponentially. As a result, many royalty revenue streams and creative ways of monetizing music have emerged. The ways in which music is now marketed, bundled, downloaded, streamed, and otherwise used has resulted in many opportunities and challenges, and have kept legislation and business practices moving at an accelerated pace to keep up. Payments have changed considerably since the heyday of record royalties, making it more important than ever to understand how the new licensing, !nancing, and payment models affect the income of music creators.

If you want to understand what’s happening in the music business today, join us:

On: December 10th, 6:00 to 9:00
At: Parsons The New School for Design, Teresa Lang Center, Mezzanine Level, 55 W. 13th Street.

Panelists include:

Barry Heyman, Esq., Heyman Law
Founder and principal attorney of this boutique law firm, Heyman has been practicing entertainment, intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks), and new media law for over a decade. He also has 10+ years experience working in the music and entertainment business. Heyman protects the legal interests and intellectual property rights of creative talent and businesses. Learn more at

Bill Stafford, Co-Founder, Missing Link Music
Missing Link Music is an independent music publishing company that specializes in the publishing and rights management of modern music ranging from urban, jazz, and gospel, to bluegrass. Founded in 1996, Missing Link represents its writer, artist, and producer clients on a worldwide basis through its sub-publisher affiliates abroad.

Kendel Ratley, Director, Marketing and Outreach, Kickstarter
Ratley focuses on implementing Kickstarter’s mission in the real world via events, community relations, and helping artists conceptualize projects. She has spent a decade marketing NYC music and tech start-ups. She previously served as Marketing Director of (Le) Poisson Rouge, a multimedia arts space in Greenwich Village, overseeing promotion and publicity for hundreds of creative events annually. She has toured with bands and consulted live event and digital music launches. She graduated from New School University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Cameron Mizell, Musician & Co-Founder,
Mizell is a Brooklyn based freelance musician and online musician’s advocate who knows how to straddle the divide between music and business. As an artist, Mizell leads his own jazz/funk trio and released Tributary, his third album, in 2010. He is also a busy sideman, playing guitar, mandolin, and bass in NYC clubs, restaurants and theatres. Before becoming a full-time musician, Mizell had a gig of a different sort as head of production at the Universal Music Group subsidiary Verve Music Group. In 2008, Mizell decided to combine his knowledge of the industry with his understanding of life as a musician and together with Dave Hahn, Mizell founded the website, which offers music industry advice speci!cally geared towards the working musician. Learn more at


Michelle Bogre, Esq. Associate Professor and Founder of the Parsons Institute for Intellectual Property (PiiP) at Parsons The New School for Design. Bogre is a documentary photographer, IP lawyer and author of Photography as Activism: Images for Social Change, published by Focal Press.

Cameron Mizell to Speak at CMJ Festival

Cameron Mizell, guitarist and co-founder of, is scheduled to speak at this week’s CMJ Music Marathon Festival being held October 16-20 in New York City.

Cameron’s panel, “I’ve Got You Covered” – moderated by Google’s Alex Holz, will discuss:

  • How cover songs have helped build careers and introduce artists to new audiences
  • Mechanical licensing issues related to recording and selling cover songs
  • New tools for artists and labels to obtain licensing
  • The future of copyright law in the digital age

Other panelists include singer/songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs, public relations agent Kim Gerlach, and copyright attorney Barry Heyman.

The panel will be held at the NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South. Use hashtag #CMJ and Twitter handle @cameronmizell to follow or join the discussion at CMJ this week.

An Update from Dave and Cameron

Over the last year, has experienced rapid growth in our readership–something for which both Dave and I are very grateful to all of you. With the increased traffic, however, comes an increased risk of hackers and security concerns.

Some of you may have seen a warning when visiting the site, or found the site to be loading too slow, or noticed the site was down all together. We received feedback from many of you and as always, have been addressing the issue.

This past week our site was down for several hours during which a complete security overhaul was performed. We can’t guarantee there will be no problems in the future, but we have a team constantly monitoring to help it run as securely as possible as we continue to grow.

Meanwhile, we’ve been continually adding valuable content to the site. You might have missed some of it during the outages, so here’s a recap:

The Working Musician Interview Series

We started interviewing musicians that we thought could offer some great advice and insight into the world of the working musician. So far we’ve interviewed these amazing musicians:

We’ll continue next Tuesday with an interview from touring guitarist Jesse Bond, and there will be more in the coming weeks.

Recent Articles

Dave recently changed his focus from music directing to songwriting, and wrote an article all about it, as only he could. Check out How I’m Building a Career As A Songwriter. He also wrote a great piece reflecting on one of his first songwriting projects: ringtones. Have a read at Half A Million Downloads and 500,000 Dilemmas.

We also received another great piece from SFC Joshua DiStefano, our expert Army musician. This time he focused on musicians that have recently joined the Army band. If that’s you, I highly suggest reading his Advice for New Army Musicians.

Finally, I’ve written a couple pieces as well. First I reflected on My Ever-Changing Career as a Musician and explored my changing streams of income over the last decade, and the effect it’s had on my approach to being a musician. I also wrote an editorial piece in response to some industry news, trying to answer the question: Why are there fewer working musicians in 2012 than 1999? Or 1989 for that matter.

Thanks again for reading, discussing, and sharing your experiences as musicians. Happy gigging!

Visit the new from Trombonist Mike Davis

My friend and co-worker Mike Davis is the trombone player at Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Broadway. We brag a lot about Mike over there because he’s a monster player and, when he’s not hanging out with us, the trombonist for the Rolling Stones.

Mike has completely re-designed and restructured his website, and he’s looking to get the word out. I told him that I would tell you about the site and recommend that you check it out.

Aside from the Stones, Mike has toured and recorded with a huge list of legends like Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Sting, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Sheryl Crow, Jay Z, Buddy Rich, Bob Dylan, Sarah Vaughn and Bob Mitzer. He’s also has his own signature trombone made by the S.E. Shires company.

I’m serious. They made a trombone and named it after Mike. He’s, like, totally famous.

Mike’s website is a great example of how modern musicians can use the power of the internet to connect with other musicians, create a brand and sustain a career. It’s also a great example of the transition that a lot of A-level recording-industry players have made in the past 20 years.

From Mike’s blog:

The New York free­lance music scene, like the rest of the world, has under­gone dra­matic change in the past 10 to 15 years. At first glance it can seem over­whelming and a bit scary, but on closer inspec­tion we come to realize that this change is our best oppor­tu­nity for growth. It may seem a bit harsh, but the expres­sion “change or die” has never been more applicable.

Some of the most enjoy­able work I do is recording music in a studio. These recording ses­sions can be for a cd, a motion pic­ture sound­track, a tele­vi­sion theme or com­mer­cial. Coming out of col­lege, my goal was to become what was then called a “studio musi­cian”. Everyday you were pre­sented with a new, fresh musical chal­lenge that you were seeing for the first time. A chal­lenge that you had to deliver on imme­di­ately. A pres­sure packed envi­ron­ment for sure, but also an extremely rewarding one at times. As the music busi­ness has evolved over the past decade, the role of the studio musi­cian has con­tracted. While I still get calls to record on a reg­ular basis, it’s def­i­nitely less.

For­tu­nately, New York has a thriving musical the­ater scene also known simply as “Broadway”. Most free­lance musi­cians in the com­mer­cial end of the busi­ness find them­selves playing in the pits of Broadway. You either have a full time posi­tion, which enables you to per­form 8 shows a week, or you are in the very tal­ented pool of sub­sti­tutes who fill in for the reg­u­lars when they take off to do other work.

Check out more at

Why We’ve Closed Our Jobs Board

We’ve decided to discontinue the jobs board here at I wanted to tell you why.

We’ve had the jobs board, in one form or another, on since the beginning. At first it was fed by RSS feeds from Craigslist and other jobs that listed musician jobs. But the quality of jobs varied greatly. Sometimes real gigs would pop up – but often the feeds listed crappy no-pay jobs that we would never recommend that our readers should ever seriously consider.

So last year we upgraded that portion of our site to a fancy new jobs board. We invited employers to post to the board and brought together all of the stakeholders that we could think of. For many months I personally hand-curated the jobs that we listed on the board – which was a lot of work and eventually I became too busy to continue.

We had some employers come to use the site, including Proship, who would often post available cruise ship musician jobs. Also, Geraldine Boyer-Cussac curated a list of music director jobs on the board for a long time (that list has moved to this link now). We also had some independent employers come to the site looking to hire musicians.

But with the exception of those outliers, the quality of the gigs that found their way to the jobs board has been remarkably low. We’ve often thought that the quality would improve as traffic grew – but traffic has grown and grown and the quality of jobs has never really changed.

We’ve decided that it’s time for us to throw in the towel and admit this truth to ourselves: the best musician jobs are not posted online.

I work on a Broadway show. The other musicians in my pit are incredible. We have the trombone player for the Rolling Stones, the trumpeter for Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra’s guitar player, our percussionist worked with Ron Carter, Bill Evans, k.d. lang, Luther Vandross – and dozens of others. It’s incredible to play with these guys – they are the absolute best of the best.

You know what? These guys don’t look for gigs on internet jobs boards. And neither did I when I got my gig.

So, then, I can’t in good conscience recommend that you do it either.

There are some gigs that you can find online. Church gigs, cover band gigs, military gigs. You can find those in pockets of the internet. And some of them are cool gigs. I’m not discounting that.

But the best jobs – the jobs that you can build a career out of – seem to reveal themselves in their own ways. As my wise friend Cameron says, “The hard part isn’t really finding the gig, the hard part is getting to the level where those gigs become available to you.”

Perhaps the truth is that you can’t find the best musician jobs. Maybe they find you.

So we’re dropping the jobs board. A traditional jobs board is just not how our industry works, and I suspect it never will. We want to bring the highest quality content to our readers, and the jobs board just wasn’t up to our standards.

So how to you get a gig? We have lots of advice about that. Just about everything we’re written on this site (400+ articles) is about how to find work. Click on the blog archives and take a look around, you are sure to find something.

Here’s a list of 10 articles that I recommend you could start with, and you’ll find many more like this:

  1. Getting Started As a Musician
  2. Getting Started As a Musician Part 2
  3. How to Find Work As a Gigging Musician
  4. How to Get a Musician Job at Disney World
  5. How to Get a Job as a Pianist
  6. How to Get a Cruise Ship Musician Job
  7. How Do I Get a Job After Music School?
  8. How I Became a Broadway Musician
  9. A Guide To Being a Successful Sideman
  10. How to Actually Make $50,000 a Year as a Musician

Thanks for reading!

Announcing co-founder David J. Hahn and contributor Geraldine Boyer-Cussac have partnered on a new resource at

The website is a central hub for news and career resources related to music directors in the theatre industry. The site includes a jobs board, blog, forums and events page.

Dave has often written about the music directing career here at In 2009 he started the Theatre Music Directors Facebook Group and Yahoo Group, which now include over 500+ active members. Geraldine founded the Theatre Music Directors LinkedIn Group, YouTube channel and Twitter handle. The new website is a project to bring together all of these online groups and continue the growth of this community. More about the creation of the website can be found at Dave’s article, Why We’ve Built This Site.

The site is launching in BETA mode today and we encourage everyone, especially music directors, to visit and give feedback.

A New York City meet-up for music directors is being organized by for May 27th. See the events page for more info.

The Cruise Line Entertainment Department Directory

The Cruise Ship Talent Agency Directory
$9.99, immediate download, PDF

A few months ago we released The Cruise Ship Talent Agency Directory, which lists 100+ talent agencies around the world that specialized in placing musicians and music acts on cruise ships.

Everyone knows about the big guys – Proship, Landau Entertainment, Oceanbound – but if you are looking for options in your career you’ll want to know more than just those three.

The response has been very exciting. Dozens of you have picked up the Talent Agency Directory in the past two months. In fact, I’ve received emails from old friends of mine that stumbled across the list, bought it, then realized they knew the guys who put it together. It seems like a lot of people have the idea of trying out ships this year.

And for good reason. When I was a guest performer on a ship in Hawaii I was paid $1,000 a week to perform just two 45-minute shows a week. The rest of the time I explored the islands, enjoyed the ship and lived in a passenger cabin. I stayed out there for three months. It wasn’t always paradise – it’s still a job – but how could I complain?

Why not?

If you are a performer with an interesting act – why not? Why not try for a sweet gig like I had? It can’t hurt to try, and in today’s difficult musician job market it might be a great opportunity for you.

These resources aren’t just for guest performers, though. There are a lot of different musician jobs on cruise ships. Michael Landau (yes, that Michael Landau) wrote a great article for us awhile back detailing all of the different opportunities for sidemen, party bands, string quartets, etc.

Applying Directly to Cruise Lines

The Cruise Ship Talent Agency Directory will help you find an agent, if that’s what you want. There is an alternative, though – contacting the cruise lines’ entertainment departments directly. You call them up, ask them if you can send in your promo materials, and give it a shot. Like I said, if you are interested in this gig – it can’t hurt to try.

The Cruise Line Entertainment Department Directory
$9.99, immediate download, PDF

So we’ve put together another list: The Cruise Line Entertainment Department Directory.

The Department Directory is $9.99 paid through PayPal (you don’t need a PayPal account to use PayPal). After you’ve paid you’ll receive an email with a download link and you’ll be able to download the PDF to your computer.

The Cruise Line Entertainment Department Directory contains the names and addresses of over 50 cruise lines from all over the world. The list includes information about how to apply and links to the jobs sections of there websites. It’s a really valuable resource if you are interested in getting a job directly through a cruise line.

Working as a musician on cruise ships is not a perfect job (there’s no such thing), and those that have worked on ships will tell you the same. But if you are serious about building a career as a working, performing musician I think that it is a gig you can’t afford to ignore.

I truly believe that these directories are an invaluable resource – otherwise we never would have taken all the time and expense to make them. They will give you a huge advantage in your job search, and I encourage you to download your copy right now.

The Cruise Ship Talent Agency DirectoryThe Cruise Line Entertainment Department Directory

Click here to buy both lists for $19.99

Get 100+ talent agencies and 50+ cruise lines – jump start your hustle and start finding your new gig right away.

Credits cards accepted through PayPal, after purchase you will be emailed a download link immediately.

Introducing Translated Articles!

Grabar, Lanzar e Interpretar Canciones Versionadas

MusicianWages is proud to introduce translations of our most read articles, beginning with the Spanish translation of “Recording, Releasing, and Performing Cover Songs,” or should we say, “Grabar, Lanzar e Interpretar Canciones Versionadas.”

As musicians ourselves, we’ve realized that many working musicians in NYC are bilingual, and English is their second language. We’d like them to be a part of the MusicianWages community.

If you’d like to see specific articles translated to another language, please let us know. Additionally, if you are a skilled translator, we could use your help in 2012. Contact us with your suggestions or to help.

Sandwich for

Is worth the price of a sandwich? What is worth?

$7 is the price of a sandwich. We’re asking all of our loyal fans and readers for a mere $7. If you can give more we won’t stop you! Help us reach our goal of $2,000.

If has ever helped you get a gig, network with other working musicians or given you a leg up in your career during the last 4 years, then we hope you’ll help us now.

Your generous gift will help us maintain and develop – the community for working musicians.

Click the “Give” button to donate today – and thank you in advance!

*You don’t need a PayPal account to donate!

Winners of the Scholarship for Music Director Training

As we posted earlier on our Facebook page, we’ve announced the winners of the Scholarship for Music Director Training.

We had so many wonderful candidates apply for the scholarship. Each was deserving in their own way, and in the end, we couldn’t pick just one. So we’re giving away two scholarships!

Our winners are:

Natalie Lovejoy and Colin Graebert

Natalie and Colin will be attending the The Weekend Intensive Music Director Training Program in New York City, offered by Singing Onstage Productions

Congratulations to Natalie and Colin – we hope you have a great time!

More Resources for Music Directors

Are you a music director in the theatre industry? Make sure to bookmark these important resources.

The Music Director Job Board hosts a job board for regional theatre companies seeking music directors. If you are interested in these kinds of jobs you should bookmark that page, visit often and subscribe to it’s RSS feed.

The page is moderated by Geraldine Boyer-Cussac (twitter: @MusicTheatreMD). Theatre companies are encouraged to use this resource.

Music Director Groups

Yahoo email list: Ask questions to MDs in this private email list where only MDs are allowed in

Twitter: Network in a fun way with other MDs @MusicTheatreMD

Facebook: Find and post articles, videos and jobs

Congrats to Mike Smith and Bodie Pfost

Congratulations to guitarist Mike Smith of San Francisco and trombonist Bodie Pfost of Salem, OR for winning our Wix giveaway this week. They join keyboardist Bart Kuebler to be our first three winners this week.

We’ll have two more winners before the week is up – see keep tweeting!

Here are the winning tweets so far:

@trombodie (Bodie Pfost)
@MusicianWages: #wixgiveaway -“I became a musician because…” … It’s better than working for a living. Oh wait.

@tweetybart Barton Kuebler
@MusicianWages I became a musician because there is no other way for me to be. @wix #wixgiveaway

@MikeSmith415 Mike Smith
@musicianwages I became a musician because I wanted to get up every day and love what I do. @wix #wixgiveaway

How to Win a Premium Wix Website

To enter to win a free Wix upgrade, send us a tweet that finishes the following sentence:

I became a musician because…

Your tweet must include @musicianwages, @wix and the hashtag #wixgiveaway.

For examples:

@musicianwages I became a musician because I love to play jazz! @wix #wixgiveaway

Winners will be announced every day on our Twitter account. You can tweet as many times as you want.

Congratulations to Bart Kuebler!

Congrats to Bart Kuebler, who won our first Wix giveaway yesterday. There will be another winner today, so get out there and start tweeting!

What Did Bart Win?

Have you checked out yet? They create great looking, search engine optimized, flash websites like this one and this one.

But not just that – you can also create an awesome Facebook page for your organization, band, or project. Read the Wix tutorial on how to use their Facebook templates.

Check out this quote from a news item on Business Wire:

Wix, a free web publishing platform that allows its base of over 11 million users to create websites, mobile sites and Facebook Fan Pages with ease, today released the FB eStore, an application that will allow any size company to accept payments directly on their Facebook page, which is increasingly becoming a destination to buy not just socialize.

Don’t you want to get in on that?

In order to use the really hip Wix features, like using your own domain (with free hosting), site stats and unlimited bandwidth, you’ll need a premium upgrade. That cost $130 a year – but Bart got his first year for free by winning our contest yesterday.

We’re giving away 4 more this week. There will be another winner today – you should enter the contest!

Enter To Win

To enter to win a free Wix upgrade, send us a tweet that finishes the following sentence:

I became a musician because…

Your tweet must include @musicianwages, @wix and the hashtag #wixgiveaway.

For examples:

@musicianwages I became a musician because I love to play jazz! @wix #wixgiveaway

So – a killer website or an awesome Facebook page – which one do you want?