Since the 2000’s it is very noticeable in today’s economy that there is a growth in performance and live music with live music making up 2/3 of a musicians income. Now there are at least 450 festivals in the UK alone but there has seen to be a decline in festivals because of the whole ‘been there done that ethos’, a decline in good line ups and essentially because of how expensive it now is.
As an unknown artist it is important to get as much live performance time as possible even if it is for free. Open mic nights are a good way to network with other musicians and venues owners. It is common for bars and live music to be kept as separate entities. It is common for small venues like cafe’s, bars, pubs and clubs where this live model where money made from the bar is separate from music sales. As, for the bar, the money is needed for stock. For the music side sound engineers must be paid as well as performing lisences, promoting and publicity, performing rights fees and even cleaners. In my experience payment maybe in a few free drinks. But these places are where disestablished or local musicians like me can play to gain an audience. But there has been a decline in small venues due to pub closures.
To make money from playing at live venues, for a four piece band to be paid an average of income of 25k a year each, means that they would have to be playing at venues with a capacity of 1000 people.
This combined with touring can help promote an album and a band. Although touring can generate some income the logistics behind it is expensive. Transport is the main money killer with petrol being expensive as well as paying fees for support staff and rehearsal time. On top of that food and accommodation.