Case Study: Jazz Sideman-Bandleader
The ARS project includes a series of anonymous financial case studies, being released throughout Spring 2012. These case studies are based on the real finances from real artists, anonymized to protect their privacy.
1999 – present
TIME SPENT ON MUSIC
INCOME DERIVED FROM MUSIC
This case study looks at the world of jazz sidemen through the finances of one Jazz Sideman-Bandleader. In addition to his sideman work, his income also comes from his work as a bandleader, composer, administrator, and teacher. Like many freelancers, his income fluctuates from year to year. Anecdotally, his gross income appears to roughly track with the growth of his reputation during this period.
We look at the income and expenses for this individual, where we learn that his teaching, admin work and sideman work makes up 70% of his income from 2004-2010, effectively subsidize his work as a bandleader as he establishes himself.
We look at his relationships as a sideman with different bandleaders over time and see 55% of his income and activity comes from two bandleaders, but he also takes on work with 81 different ensembles. He needs all of these gigs to survive. Not just from an economic perspective, but also because these other gigs help him network, keep his skills sharp, and to maintain his position in the competitive marketplace for sidemen.
We examine his per-gig sideman wages by territory and see that there is a marked difference between the income he receives outside the US and in the USA. On average over eight years, Jazz Sideman-Bandleader’s sideman rate when traveling outside the US is approximately three times greater than what he makes in the US.
We analyze his foundation grant income and see that while this money is a large chunk of his gross income, the net take home is very small – 1%. This appears to be typical for bandleaders, that the vast majority of income for recording and touring goes to pay for expenses.
The PDF/printable version of the Jazz Sideman-Bandleader case study is downloadable below.