Tackling the economics of any business is a task beyond my abilities but I am not going to address or resolve the industry here. This is merely an essay/observational on some strange things I have seen from my little corners of the world.
Actually it is less an essay and more a random thought generator. Some of these things I’m currently, or have been, guilty of and some are things I have observed. Not all of them are financial in nature but also included are the economy of time, resources, logic etc.
- Using a $1,000 – $7,000 instrument on a $50 gig
- Using your $30,000 music education on a $50 gig
- Thinking that what you have done is indicative of what you are now
- Thinking that what you have done entitles you to anything
- Playing a commercial establishment for free
- Promoting your gigs to other gigging musicians
- Not playing charity gigs when you are willing to play commercial establishments for free
- Thinking you can still ‘make it’ in popular music when you are either over 35, bald, fat or all of the above
- Spending more on music than music makes for you
- Making an EP at a big studio with a leather couch when you could make a full CD at a smaller music studio
- Playing any gig for less than the gas to get you there, back, eat and drink there
- Thinking that a big record deal is still a viable career path
- Undercutting your fellow musicians by putting in a 5 piece for duo money
- Undercutting your fellow musicians by doing the same gigs for less
- Thinking that now that you have a music degree you know all you need
- Subbing out of a $100 night of teaching music lessons that ends at 9pm for a $20 gig that starts at 10pm
- Calling yourself a professional musician when most or all of your income is from non musical sources
- Not realizing that being a professional musician means being in business for yourself
- Not running your business like a business should be
- Playing places that pay the bus boy more for their time that they do for your time
- Rehearsing once a week for gigs that come once a month…or less
- Thinking that giving away your music will lead to people paying for your music when there is no evidence that it has worked for anyone ever.
- Joining a co-op band where you have no say or pay
- Starting a co-op band where where everyone takes equal risk and spends equal time but you still want to be in charge
- Expecting people to pay for your music while you steal other music via downloading
- Paying money to play music
- Not realizing that your time, experience and education is worth something
- Thinking that playing clubs is the only way to make money in music
Like I said, some of these things are items I have done or will do and some are things I have seen done. So what does it mean?
I’ll use the phrase I use a lot. “Music; you don’t do it for the money but you don’t (or shouldn’t) do it for free”
I won’t tell which are mine and which are others but if you are a non musician if some of these things seem insane… well that’s because they probably are