Only issue I have with your post which is perfectly fair is the suggestion that the split here is between hobbyist cover bands and professional originals bands.I totally agree.
I think the nature of live music has changed so much since I started gigging that I don't recognise it anymore. Promotion, as you pointed to Bermuda, is easier now than it has ever been with social media etc, but a lot of venues still see us soley as beer tokens, and if I think about it, this is probably what gets my goat the most! When the manager comes up to us at the end of the gig and says "great band" what he means is "I took a load of cash tonight"! Why does this bother me?
Not all gigs are like this of course, in Europe it feels so different to play venues, bands are treated differently, the venues are set up for bands, they welcome them, bands are viewed as cultural, more important than just money makers and the venues are mostly run by musos, or certainly people who at least like music
As for charity gigs, whenever I reply to them and quote our fee they then remark how it is for charity and that they don't pay bands! This seems to trump any notion that if the event doesn't pay me then I will soon be in need of some charity myself. For some reason they take offense when I say no to working for free, like my band has become soley responsible for all suffering.
One of the organisers of a charitable event expressed that she was working for nothing, when I asked what she does for a day job she replied an accountant. Well I guess she could afford to work for nothing when she nets more in a day than I do in a week of my work, and more than a lifetime of playing charity gigs!
I earn my living from music and every band that plays for nothing makes it more difficult for those of us who rely on paid work. I guess this is good old market forces at work, but what will happen if all the people who try to make new music, disappear because there is no way to survive finacially? All the bands that play covers easily forget that someone had to write those foot tapping songs in order for them to be covered.
"Play something we know". well if you give us a chance and listen to our music, then you will know it. I hope no-one thinks I'm against cover bands, this is not the case at all, but I do believe that bands who play originals are losing places to play because live music is heading towards homogeneity.
There is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist musician, but if I started being a hobbyist accountant and working for free then that accountant would soon become concerned when her clients start leaving her and coming to me for free. You're right Squadleader most hobbyist musicians are pretty amazing and capable of out playing a lot of professionals. But I don't believe there is conflict with musicianship, it is just a matter of that's the way it is and I guess I will just have to adapt.
As I'm writing this it is making me think though!
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” -Bertrand Russell.
Problem with that statement is I seriously doubt that I am wise!
Please feel free to tell me where I'm wrong about my thoughts on this whole topic.
I'd say most originals bands are pretty acquainted with playing for free. It certainly the only real way to get your band out there. At least from the outset. The guys making money seem to me to be the cover bands. I've played in both types of bands. I'll never play in a cover band again. I'd rather just not play than do that.
We play originals. We started off doing almost all our gigs for free. Up until about a year back we'd moved onto to doing almost all paid gigs. And we're now in a position where we're pretty much not arsed either way. Even when we got paid it's not anything like significant sums of money.
There's pretty much zero money in live original music is my experience. Anyone wanting to create original music BETTER have a day job to.
Hats off to you if you're making a career with it. What kind of music do you play?