Musicians:

Musicians:

What do you think you're doing? 

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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. 

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.

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. 

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! 

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. 

Can't pay rent with beer

Can't pay rent with beer

Even Canada Cat has to make rent. 

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."

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!  

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.  

"Supporting" Music

"Supporting" Music

Almost anyone you talk to will say they "support" music. To them, that usually means to go to a show, clap, and smile.However,   we live in an age where music is instantly produced by white plastic electronic devices for free. Why would any one pay for that? Musicans are just hobbysts who appear out of nowhere and 'have fun,' right?  It's getting more and more difficult to remind people that what musicians do is a service that has value, and they have bills to pay just like everybody else. Part of the campaign's goals is to educate the general public that music takes preparation: a poll we did a few years back indicated that on average, musicians spend four hours preparing for every hour that they're on stage.  Many do much, much more. 

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.   

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) 

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