My hundreds of receipts for tax-deductible things from 2009.

So after putting together all my receipts from this year I found out that I spent a quarter of my total income before taxes this year on music-related stuff, which is about what I expected, but still, when you consider that most New Yorkers spend around a third to a half of their income on rent, then pay all the taxes we have to pay, the fact that I spent a quarter of my income on music stuff and still managed to save a bunch of money is pretty awesome. The expenses, from largest to smallest, were as follows:

Rent on my studio/office

Mixing and mastering my songs

Tech-related expenses (this was so high because I had to pay a tearjerkingly large amount of money to do data recovery and computer repair after my hard drive died this summer. Am I backing stuff up now? You bet your sweet ass I am. Holy shit!)

Deductible meals (networking, business relationship building, treating dancers and other favor-doing friends to meals in exchange for their help with my projects)

Site maintenance/hosting, songwriting contests, SonicBids submissions, payment for airplay on Jango.com

Transportation around NYC

Stage costumes/makeup

Business phone bill

Rehearsal space for my band

Show-related expenses (equipment purchases etc)

Deductible tickets to professionally enriching music shows/movies

Membership dues for Women in Music and Art for Progress

Music conference registration fees

Mailing CDs to fans and registration forms to music companies

The good news is, I expect many of these expenses to go down, but if I do end up doing shows in places I have to fly to, the overall amount of money I spend on my career might still go up this year. But it’s nice to know that I don’t expect to have my computer melt down again this year, and if it does, I still won’t need to do data recovery if I keep backing everything up, which will knock about $1000 off the bill for having my computer repaired. I am also being more frugal in general with how much I spend at restaurants, I don’t expect to enter any songwriting contests this year as they’ve largely been a waste of time, I’ll be drastically reducing my submissions through SonicBids since I find it better to just advance my career in free and productive ways, I’m being more frugal with my MTA and cab spending since monthly unlimited cards have gotten expensive enough that they don’t make sense for me anymore and I love walking anyway, I’ve got enough costume pieces and makeup that I won’t need that much more this year, and I won’t be performing as much with my band this year since I think it makes more sense to do solo shows/shows with a DJ playing my tracks. This should eliminate a lot of expense and hassle while making more room for more shows and promo that are actually effective in building my fanbase and getting my career off the ground. I’m excited!

So recently I signed up for Sonic Bids, a site where you can browse and submit yourself for worldwide gigs, solely because they’re the only way you can submit for CMJ. I hate that you have to pay for almost all submissions, but I do understand that if they don’t put some sort of filter on submissions, crazy idiots will submit themselves for the wrong kinds of shows and piss off promoters and ruin it for everyone.

(Sidebar: Hey idiots, will you please stop being so annoying and ruining things for others? You’re the ones who make it hard for smart people to do things because you put way too many of yourselves in the pool, and then the people in power don’t pay attention to unsolicited stuff because when they did in the past it was all crap or was totally misdirected and a total waste of their time. So if you’re an idiot, go ask a smart person whether you should do something BEFORE you do it, and if they say no, DON’T DO IT. Thanks!)

Anyway, I was a little skeptical about the whole operation, but I’m happy to say, I submitted myself for the M.E.A.N.Y. Fest music festival in NYC this fall, and I was accepted! So even if I don’t get anything else on there, I’ve already got a great gig lined up that I never would have known about if I weren’t on Sonic Bids. Seems like playing in that festival will be a lot of fun, a great social opportunity, and hopefully great promotion for my music. I’m really excited! It’ll take place the week of Sept 24-Oct 3, so keep your eyes peeled for dates. Also, the artists selected for the festival get 100 free spins on Jango.com, a new internet radio site that lets you connect with the people who listen to and like your music, so I’m really excited about that!