Tag: CMA


Case Study: Jazz Sideman-Bandleader

Posted on 15th March, by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 2 Comments

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.

We begin to explore the complex balance he maintains between financial risk, creative fulfillment, and available time.