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?!"  

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 pay rent with beer

Can't pay rent with beer

Even Canada Cat has to make rent. 

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!"

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. 

Musicians:

Musicians:

What do you think you're doing? 

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!  

Eating Music

Eating Music

Since this isn't actually possible, make sure you are getting paid enough to put real food on your table. You - and the other musicians in your market - will be better off for it.  

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! 

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.  

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