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Yeah, if your intent with a "side hustle" is to actually make money I'd try something else. As a longtime weekend warrior I can tell you that by the time you add up all the hours of practice it takes to get good enough to even play in a half decent cover band, buy solid gear, spend hours in rehearsals, drive miles round trip to gigs, and put in all the hours loading in-and-out and playing you don't net out anywhere near the money you'd make working some mediocre part-time job.
 

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"Side Hustle" is usually used to mean an occupation, other than one's main, that brings in a useful stream of income.

There are VERY FEW part time musicians who make a useful stream of income from it. Those who do, typically have extensive connections and/or lead bands that are well connected.

There are VERY MANY superbly talented musicians out there, with great personalities, thick Rolodexes, stage presence, and superb reliaiblity and work ethics, who play a lot and do not make a useful stream of income from it. Every year North Texas, Curtis, Indiana, Miami, etc., etc., graduate hundreds of well-qualified players who go into band directing, or other music-related fields, or non-music-related employment, and they're all out there hustling for gigs. Those are your competitors. Can you get gigs and play a lot? Yep. Can you make a useful stream of income from it? I wouldn't bet on it.
Exactly - it's shameful in a way that professional musicians like Dave and Merlin have to do a lot of stuff that sort of feels like a "side hustle" to make ends meet but if your a pro most of this stuff - private lessons, playing in multiple bands and multiple genres, having a social media presence, etc., is just par for the course.

Like turf, my definition of a side hustle includes the expectation of some sort of net economic gain. In this context music as a side hustle is not a good option. Very few of the part time musicians (read people with day jobs in other fields) I'm associated with play music with the expectation of making money. Almost all play because they just love to play. I tell people at gigs all the time that they aren't paying me to play, I love to play. They're paying me to schlep gear, help load-in/load-out the PA, drive 50 miles in miserable Friday evening traffic to get to the gig, get home at 2am, etc.. Before COVID I was averaging 25-35 gigs a year but only a few of them I made any real money on. In 20 years of playing part time as a weekend warrior I've never actually made money once travel expenses for both rehearsals and gigs are accounted for.
 
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