How much money does a session guitarist make?
So you want to be a session guitarist, and of course you want to know...how much am I going to earn?
Will it be enough to live comfortably? Will you be scraping by and fighting for work? There are a lot of factors to consider before taking the plunge into becoming a full time session musician, and we will look at a few of them here.
Firstly, if you have made the decision to become a full time session guitarist...kudos to you!
If there's one thing we need its more musicians who are confident enough to commit to making a good living out of their passion. There are lots of tactics you can employ to maximise your chances of earning a good living as a session guitarist, but that is not what this article is about. Here, we are going to look at some examples figures that you can expect to earn. Incidentally, search our blog if you are looking for some advice on how to make sure you are doing everything you can to succeed, we have a lot of good tips from existing session musicians that you can start utilising today.
For the purpose of this article, we are looking at the average sessions guitarist salary in the UK. Why? Because we are UK based, that's why! Besides, with a platform like Kollab, musicians now have access to clients globally, so bear in mind that the figures below are likely to greatly increase in the next 5-10 years with the inevitable rise of remote recording. (We refer to our Kollab family as 'virtual musicians', and predict this will be an actual job description in years to come.
Average salary for session guitarist in the UK
A quick Google search on this topic will likely reveal mostly US based figures, so if you are UK based it is best to disregard these. There is little published data on confirmed salaries for session guitarists only, but a recent article from the Daily Mail revealed the average salary of a musician is £21,410 PA. Although this may be a humbling figure, in my experience as a musician it seems more realistic than the grand figures thrown about on the US based search results we talked about, and is a realistic starting point for any up and coming session guitarist.
The geographical divide
It's important to remember that this is an average salary, so it is likely to fluctuate up or down in most cases and should be taken as a guide. It's also important to remember that this is averaged out across the UK - for example a musician working in London could expect this figure to be closer to the 30k mark, whereas musicians who are based in the North (Kollab HQ is included here) this, unfortunately could be more around the 17k-20k mark.
That doesn't seem like much - I'm worried about how I will survive or afford a comfortable lifestyle?
Let's get one thing straight - contrary to what society, your parents and everybody else may tell you...just because you want to be a full time musician does not mean you should expect a meagre lifestyle!
Read that part above again and make sure it sticks, because it took a few years for it to sink in for me...
Yes, you can be a musician and still have a big house, a fast car, three holidays a year -if that's what you want. The idea that a musician can only make an average living is rapidly becoming antiquated, thanks to the world of opportunities the digital age is bringing us.
Working on platforms like our own, musicians can now access opportunities across the globe to work, connect and make a good living - all done remotely from your home or place of your choosing!
The point we are making here? The average figures we have just revealed do not take into account the massive opportunities that remote recording can bring. This is a new market, and we are right on the cusp of a big movement. The best thing any aspiring session guitarist (or musician of any kind) can do is embrace this wave now and start riding it early. This is a market that is only going to flourish over the coming years.