Music = Trabalho / Music is work?!

Music = Trabalho / Music is work?!

OK, for those non-lusophones: Panel 1: "Rock  show today! Half off with this flyer!"Panel 3: ("amp comes back broken") Panel 4: "And they say music isn't work?!"  

Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

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

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Fair Trade Music Logo

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Hospitality doesn't pay the rent

Hospitality doesn't pay the rent

It's pretty common to offer 'hospitality' as part of the compensation.  It's a nice gesture, but a) it doesn't actually cost them much, b) money paid at a gig can be used to purchase other goods and services and c) unless your landlord really, really likes corn dogs, HOSPITALITY DOESN'T PAY THE RENT!  (NB: Yes, I've been asked to play out-of-town festivals in exchange for snack bar credits) 

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.'  

For The Love, Brau!

For The Love, Brau!

There's nothing wrong with 'Doing it for the Love..."  when conditions are right.   If  absolutely everybody's donating their time, play your heart out.Otherwise, if you're doing it for the love and someone else is doing it for the money, that's not love.  You are getting screwed. Moreover, we're all in this same bathtub and it's not very big. So, like it or not, that gets us screwed, too! Stop it! Get a guarantee or say "no."

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.   

Exposure Kills #2

Exposure Kills #2

Remember folks, Exposure can kill or find you on the wrong side of the law!  From "Four things every musician's gotta know:"  #4: Exposure kills.It's no coincidence that the overused term 'Exposure' refers to what kills you in bad weather - it's generally used to get artists to work for low or no compensation, under the shady  premise that there's a chance someone might see them that might give them some real work, or, worse yet, "Make them famous."  Booking agents will freely tout their venue's excellent exposure opportunity, yet tell you (in the same breath even!) that there's no built-in draw.  They don't even realize they're suggesting you'll get new fans, plus famous, by performing to an audience that you bring. 

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. 

Should you quit your band?

Should you quit your band?

I have a different set of rules: 1) Are the other musicians similarly committed? 2) Does the band have a coherent vision and goals? 3) Do the other musicians insist on playing crappy, no-pay gigs?  if 1 or 2 are 'no' or 3 is yes, I leave.  Maybe that's 'cause I'm a decent drummer!  

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.  

NEANDERTALLICA!

NEANDERTALLICA!

Early hominid musicians didn't want or need to ask for guaranteed wages. They also didn't have bills to pay! To those musicians who continue to agree to perform for low and no wages, And to those content to complain about the state of things, yet unwilling to take action for positive change, I say:Quit with the knuckle-dragging and evolve!  

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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! 

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!"

Musicians:

Musicians:

What do you think you're doing? 

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