HOBBY?!

HOBBY?!

from 'four things every musician's gotta know' #1: Hobby vs. Service.  A hobby is noncommercial. You can start and stop whenever you want, you don't have to work continuously to hone it, spend time and money advertising it, or carry equipment. However, when the time, place, duration, and high quality are all specified, that's not a hobby any more-- It's a service, especially in a business BASED on (making money from) that service.

We are all somebody

We are all somebody

We get this all the time: "Yeah, our band got screwed again last weekend.  Fair Trade Music?! Great idea brah. Let me know when you're done fixing things for me." Nope. Musicians are mired in a red sea of societal values.  We're not Moses... we're not even Chuck Heston. We're just the folks handing out buckets, and if we want to fix the current zero-minus-expenses, race to the bottom status quo, we all need to start bailing. In other words, we're all somebody.  Now do something!  You can start by signing up as an endorser here, and please be sure to check 'go to the next level.'  

Can't Afford Gas

Can't Afford Gas

Most music fans see musicians on stage "having a good time," but they don't see that being an entertainer isn't usually entertaining, hence the slogan "Music is a day job."  According to a poll we did a few years back, musicians spend about three hours in preparation (not to mention travel, load-in, load-out, setup, teardown, promotion, and marketing) for every hour they spend on stage.  Performing is a service that involves preparation and expenses. There's no reason those services should be free. 

Fair Trade Music Logo

Fair Trade Music Logo

Use this logo or our banner on your Website, Myspace, Facebook, Flyers and Posters to show your support for Fair Trade Music.

Bands are small businesses -- name your brand carefully!

Bands are small businesses -- name your brand carefully!

Look, Fair Trade Music is about helping musicians make better music by getting them at least a minimum wage. We're not here to save these miserable turds!  Raising the minimum to something above zero minus expenses does not preclude a meritocracy --  It's still up to venues to hire acts they think will make good business partners. Bands still have to do half of the promotion and entertain the crowd, keeping them there dancing, drinking, and wanting to come back.  If the band's good enough to hire, they're good enough to get a minmium wage. If they do their job well, they're worth more. 

FTM kitteh

FTM kitteh

Its one thing that the person checking ID's and charging cover at the door gets a better guarantee - and is often paid better  -- than the musicians.  It's insult to injury that the musicians, who have zero guarantee themselves, usually have to pay the sound and door people out of their own "gate," meaning money fans have paid to see THEM, not the door clerk.  The final insult to injury to injury to injury is that it is the musicians, not the sound or door staff, have done a lions share of the advertising, bringing in most of the income for the whole club, are the last to be paid, and may end up owing money at the end of the night.  Kitteh play house koncert next time.  

One Trip!

One Trip!

Unless you're a piccolo or triangle player, remember to figure something in for 'Portage' in your job estimates. At the end of a three hour gig with three additional hours of load in, load out, setup, and tear down, you'll be glad you did.   

Ba-dum.. flush!

Ba-dum.. flush!

Club musicians often work for zero guarantees, promote shows on their own time and their own dime,  and work other jobs as well. As a result, many musicians become expert in making the most of the limited time and space resources.   This guy even has his own budget definition for the term 'Drum throne!"

Money for New Instruments

Money for New Instruments

Fans tend to forget how expensive gear is, and musicians apparently like buying it so much that they forget to figure the cost of amps, strings, cables, repairs, drums, heads, cymbals, mics, cases, effects, stands, etc. etc. into their overhead costs.  

Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

Perhaps our first international/transatlantic mic salute - Playing at Pharaohs from Glasgow.

Talent Simulator Pedal

Talent Simulator Pedal

This pedal comes in handy if your practice time is compromised by having to do all the promotion plus work a day job! 

For The Birds

For The Birds

from 'four things every musician's gotta know' #4: “Exposure” kills.It’s no coincidence that this term refers to what kills you in bad weather. Although genuinely valuable exposure opportunities show up, they’re quite rare. “Exposure” is almost always offered as a feeble excuse to try to get naive performers to work for low or no compensation, based on the mere chance of an intangible commodity of dubious real value. The term is so common that booking agents will tout their venue’s excellent exposure opportunity, yet tell you (in the same breath!) that the place has no built in draw and you'll have to bring your own following. 

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