Exposure Kat 1

Exposure Kat 1

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.  

Metal Detector

Metal Detector

I'm not sure this requires explanation. 

Art and Music Require Preparation

Art and Music Require Preparation

"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 expensesThere's no reason that service should be free. 

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.  

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.  

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!  

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."

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.'  

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