Professional Drummer Salary

If you have heard that it is impossible to make a sustainable living and go financially big, you are missing the reality. Just like many other musicians, drummers can flourish too. However, it is not wise to give one specific quote as the salary for professional drummers since you can earn money through drumming in several different manners. A drummer, even in a professional level, has several pathways of the career. It is possible to come up with an approximate of how each different style pays for a drummer, and what circumstances affect the professional drummer salary. 

You can also read: Best drum set for beginners- Top 10 reviews and buying guide in 2021

Different Levels of Professional Drumming

As you might have already guessed, the salary will differ based on what level you are in. However, even when doing the professional drumming, you can choose different career paths as drummer. Let us start talking about some of those paths.

Session Work

When it comes to drumming, studio drummers, called session musicians, who are usually involved in the studio, are the most versatile. These drummers are not part of the band. They are instead hired externally to record the music in the band’s album.

Of course, as you may already realize, the more famous you are, the higher the demand for your drumming will be and hence the higher will be the salary. However, when talking about the average salary of session drummers, according to the website called ‘Musician Wages’, it is known to be approximately $50,000.

Teaching Drumming

Many professional drummers choose teaching as their profession. Some are even professors of music at world-renowned universities. These professional drummers are likely to have a pay scale that matches to that a full professor, usually ending in six figures when considering the lowest.

Some famous drummers, who switch to the teaching career midway, after gaining a good reputation, end up charging $800 per lesson, with students from all around the world knocking their doors. The starting drummers usually charge something around $20 and $40 per hour.

Part of the Band

Though not very common, but sometimes, professional drummers can be part of a band or more like, employed by the band. Usually these bands are the ones which will record, as well as tour around the world for concerts.

In such cases, it is not difficult to find the estimate for the salary of the drummer. The money earned by the band in the concert, after deducting the charges of transportation, is divided among the band members.

On an average, a renowned band ends up making something between $50,000 and $100,000 per concert, and in that case, the drummer will be making approximately $15,000 per show.


From our extensive research, we have gathered a few more insights related to the salary of professional drummers. They make something approximated to $50,000 every year.

Almost half of this income will be coming usually from live performances. Professional drummers find invitations for concerts as well as festivals. However, how much a drummer makes after a live performance, will highly depend on where the performance of given and a number of other factors. 

It might be useful to take a look at these factors. 

The Promoter’s perspective

Depending on where the concert is taking place, which country is hosting it and how accessible is it, the band will make money. From the eyes of a promoter, the ease of access is imperative, given the costs associated with the logistics.

Furthermore, the total capacity of the festival as well as the price of the ticket plays an important role. Why so? Well, this gives your promoter an idea about where he or she can expect income from, and how much. 

Position of the Drummer

Of course the drummer earns money, but the amount depends on the role you play as a drummer. If, for instance, at a festival, you are the headline, you can be looking at big numbers.

However, if you are simply performing a supporting role as a drummer, your pay will be quite low. Another factor that plays a huge role in such festivals is the stage on which you are performing. If you play in the main stage, you can expect quite a high pay as to when you perform in other stages. 

Profile of the drummer

This is quite understandable- is it not? Your profile as a drummer will decide a lot regarding how much you can expect to be paid. If you have spots booked with success in your career profile, you cane expect to be in high demand and hence get a bigger number as your pay. Also, during festivals, if you are fully booked, you can charge higher pay.  

Sometimes, the promoter might even consider paying for your travel, alongside your whole crew or band, if your demand is high or profile is shining. Furthermore, if you have released a new album recently or are planning to, your fee will also be shooting up.

Last but not the least, you need to remember that the amount you have been paid earlier in the previous versions of the festival or similar festivals, will have a strong effect on what you get paid at present. 

Power of Negotiation

A good agent is essential to strike a dream deal between the drummer and the promoter, considering all the aforementioned factors as well as providing the promoter with a fee for the performance in the festival. This needs to be well discussed and further negotiated to increase your salary at the end of it.

Concluding Remarks

Now you know that you can easily start dreaming higher and earning more with your star performances if you are a professional drummer. Your annual salary is driven by your individual incomes in the different performances and hence it is important to put your best foot forward for each one of them.

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