Should bands pay-to-play at gigs? Should bands play free shows just for the exposure? Is it a viable business decision to play as many gigs as possible or is it a better solution to be selective? Where to place the fine line between seeing your music as a pure art-form or seeing it as revenue source?
It all depends on so many factors I’m not even going to pretend to have a concrete opinion. Well ok fine, I do have an opinion but it isn’t worth much. I for one am not an extremist on such matters, but that’s probably because I don’t depend upon my music to pay the rent. It wouldn’t bother me to write some cheesy pop song for a good pay check although I’m a musical elitist. I believe most pop trends are laughable and play a poor, vicious role for the young generation’s musical education, but I would still be able to play the game to ease up my bank account.
As mentioned, I don’t live off my music so I can’t compare with artists who do (even if I have done my share of voluntary work as a sound engineer and composer). And as for bands that alter their image and music to get a grip on larger audiences and increase sales, as long as it is not a blatant marketing move and the quality of the music isn’t baffled I’m ok with it.
But the real concern is that music is more often than not taken for granted, and the musicians are those who suffer the consequences by being cornered into playing for free or paying to play. We covered a topic on ‘Should bands pay to play at gigs‘ and got some interesting comments on whether it was a healthy practice or not. On another note, buzz terms like ‘free-music’ and ‘greater exposure’ that come from the online music revolution, are so incrusted in people’s minds that they even have negative effects for musicians in the offline world.
Irminsul (celtic harpist extraordinaire) put me on to this fresh new blog that does a great job expressing its opinions on such issues, and since I had a blast reading its articles I’ll pass it on to you.
You already got to love their motto that goes: “Advancing the radical idea that musicians should be paid“. Here’s their ‘About’ description just to get you going.
Pay The Band “is a core advocacy group made up of musicians, music lovers and people with a sense of fairness, who believe that performing and composing musicians have a right to earn a living. We believe that all too often, individuals and businesses seek to advantage themselves using live music, but do not want to pay for it. Therefore PAY THE BAND seeks to spread awareness, partner with sympathetic business institutions and gather information in order to advance fair and regular compensation for working musicians. “A ‘thank you’ doesn’t pay the fiddler” – Gaelic Proverb”.
Very good read. Enjoy.