danajade

Going Skint For A Living: Dana Jade tells us what it’s like to DIY!

In the latest of our series about the changing music world entitled ‘Going Skint For A Living’ we have fierce Trinidad born London based rock siren Dana Jade give us her opinion on how much it costs to do it DIY….


When I heard about this ongoing God Is In The TV blog from Facebook friend Bill Cummings I knew I wanted to contribute. As a DIY/Independent artist we know all too well the meaning of this phrase.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown of costs from my recent album launch at much loved club night Death 2 Disco at the Notting Hill Arts Club. One of my favourite club nights in all of London town, love these guys!

Rehearsals – for the room and back line for 3 hours – £45 x2 (We had 2 rehearsals before the gig) = £90

Session Musician Hire – As a solo act I have to pay my band. Hell I WANT to pay my band, my band should get paid they’re bloody awesome! Hell, I should get paid, WE should ALL get paid dammit. Sorry I’ll stop shouting now.

Session Musicians – £300

CD Production – £300

Transport to and from venue – You don’t expect me to get on the tube with my amp do you? = approximately £20 each way

Photographer for the night – £50 (mate rate)

Videographer – Thankfully my DIY sistren Laura Kidd (She Makes War) brought her fancy camera and set it up on stage and organised to have friend Michael East film from the audience. It cost me nothing! A freebie! Yay! Thank you Laura and Michael.

The lovely people at Death 2 Disco pay bands £50 now this is an amazingly good deal for London. Keep in mind this is a FREE Entry club. Have I mentioned that I love these guys?

Now I’m not great at Maths but that doesn’t quite make a dent in the expenditure does it?

To be exact it looks like this:

Rehearsals – £90

Musicians – £300

CDs – £300

Transport – £40

Photographer – £50

Video – FREE! Give thanks for talented friends

= £780

Knock off the £50 from the venue and we arrive at £730

That’s just the breakdown cost of ONE gig. A one off gig yes, I won’t normally have CD manufacturing and photographer costs every time I play but the rest will still be an issue.

So forgive me if say no to the typical offer of “Bring 25 people and I’ll chuck you a fiver gigs” that are almost standard around town.

The thing is, I don’t even mind playing gigs that don’t pay IF I am going to have the opportunity to play to an appropriate audience that will go on to build my fan base. It’s all about that in the end.

I now say no to those gigs because I know that it means playing only to people who already know my music. I’ve paid my dues… it’s time to move on. Like all artists I want to grow.

If I blogged about how much I have spent over the last 2 years releasing a single and the debut album, I’m afraid it would start to look ridiculous, and you would start to question my sanity. Music is a very powerful drug and we are all addicted. Well, that and it’s the only thing I’m good at.

Let’s get into that briefly…

PR for Single promotion and Album promotion – £1500 (this is very reasonable in PR terms)

Videos – £2400

Mastering – £75 per track plus VAT (10 track album) + 2 track single

Studio time –

Session Musicians –

Gear –

Travel –

ETC. ETC. I am purposely not checking my records for all the numbers because quite frankly it’s making me feel a bit queasy.

If you had no idea what kind of cash it takes just to be present and functioning in this music game, now you know. So the next time you go to a gig and it’s £5 entry spare a thought for the band who are living in the red.

“Dead Artists Don’t Eat”

P.S I will be looking for a job or 3 to subsidise my music addiction. Good luck to us all!

Dana Jade’s Self titled debut album is out now.


Next up Going Skint for a Living will delve into the costs surrounding live music and the difficulties surrounding promoting and running a venue, with the help of industry contributors. If you’d like to add your two pence worth email us [email protected]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.