DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM   

Go Back   DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussion forum for all drum related topics. Use this forum to exchange ideas and information with your fellow drummers.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #121  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:02 PM
mikel mikel is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Midlands. England.
Posts: 2,266
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I am 100% in agreement with you and believe that it is exactly the same here in the UK generally speaking.

We choose to play originals. We are lucky to get paid. Fortunately some people now have us back and pay us. But ONLY because we played a first gig for free to show them what we can do.

I am sitting in for a covers band in 2016. The amounts I will be getting paid for tapping along to Teenage Kicks and songs of that ilk, is astonishing.

It's quite wrong really. But it is how it is.

You might not like it, but its not wrong, its market forces.

If there is a Soul covers band on at the local the punters pretty much know what they can expect and If they like Soul they will go. If the band is mediocre then they can still enjoy the songs, If the band is stunning then Its a big bonus.

If an originals band that the public have never heard of are on at the local do I want to go? Probably, cos I am a muso, but the average punter probably wont cos they have no idea what they will get. If its free or they know the band they may give it a punt.

There is a very good originals band where I live and I have paid to see them, but only cos I saw them at a free festival and the genre is one I like, they play superbly and have some great songs.

Its not how good the musicians are, its how good the songs are and how many people enjoy those particular songs. Personal choice and market forces.
Reply With Quote
  #122  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:07 PM
SquadLeader's Avatar
SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Near Manchester, Great Britain
Posts: 1,306
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
So it's MY fault when someone else practices predatory pricing practices (or clueless pricing that has the same effect)?

Bullshit.

We tried all of that. All. Of. It. The only response it got out of the consumer is "Why should I buy this handmade, museum-quality replica from you for $whatit'sworth when I can get it from CluelessInc for 20% of that?" We're not talking the difference between a Savile Row suit and one from Marks & Sparks. We're talking the exact same product, made the same way from the same materials, sold by clueless hobbyists for, in many cases, less than the cost of materials.

There's no advertising or marketing strategy that'll overcome that. If people can get a comparable product for less money, they will take it. Every time. If someone comes into the market who doesn't know how to effectively price a product - or doesn't have to set a real price, because it's a hobby "business" subsidized by other family income - it hurts the people who have already set sensible pricing in order to eat.



It becomes my business when his choice impacts my bottom line.



Thank you! :-)



It's not that simple. Artistic value can't be judged by price tag, in my opinion. Second, Miley Cyrus would be nowhere without having an already-famous parent. Third, music of negligible artistic value has always made more money than the cool, fulfilling stuff. Always. That's why cover bands make more than originals bands, and that's why original bands all too often sound the same: People don't want to be confronted with something new, and they don't want to be seen to be too far apart from the crowd. People don't want to be confronted with things that don't resemble what they've already experienced. People want tomorrow to look exactly like today, by and large. They don't want adventure.

Music is a business. Just as you'll sell far more plain vanilla than triple espresso cinnamon ripple, you'll sell far more saccharine pop than metal symphonic. Hell, even one band can experience that; look what happened to Yes when some members wanted to release songs like "Owner of a Lonely Heart."

Music is a business. Artistes forget that and forge on creating - which is wonderful! - but they need to remember that there are working artists who keep body and soul together through the same media. Artistes should have the courtesy to not get in the way of that.

By the way, when my wife gets annoyed with the rumble of my bass amp when I'm doing scales, I play "Love Will Tear Us Apart" to mollify her. :-P



Right there's the crucial difference. I don't judge my work's value solely on money, either. Everything is subject to the law of diminishing returns, and we all have different currency we find valuable. I don't look at gigs solely because of the money made. It has to be worthwhile musically and the people have to be cool.

To a point. If the gig paid really, really well, I'd play Miley Cyrus songs with jerks. At the same time, I'm not going to join a band trying to create the next thrash-metal symphonic rock opera, even if the creators are my best friends, because it's nothing more than mental masturbation.

Understanding that what provides satisfaction is a spectrum is key to understanding this issue. Understanding and acknowledging that you can't eat satisfaction and enjoyment helps a lot. Understanding and acknowledging the impact of letting venue owners exploit you and your work because you'll work for satisfaction and enjoyment on those who make their living by their art, well, that goes even farther.

Really, you and I are going after different gigs. We're not really competing, because we're playing different things. I'm part of a living, breathing jukebox. You're not; you're creating things that should go in the jukebox. Those are different products in different markets. What I'm bitching about is when another jukebox comes into my scene and undercuts me.

You dig?
I've asked a few times throughout but it's been buried in larger posts. So I'll ask again.

I'm a 19 year old kid. I have the talent, and professionalism, along with my friends, to be the next Beatles. But the market is being dominated by guys like you playing cover material for a living.

What do you want me to do? Just hang our stuff up and go home?

How do I get onto the music scene when you basically do not want my new, originals band, to showcase our music to people live ?

That part confuses me.

I know you're angry and I do actually understand why. I work in a competitive industry and I've lost clients over the years to brokers who come in and say they can do the same job for half the price (or indeed free...loss leader and all that). It's naff. I get that. But, guess what? They don't go and hang their boots up because I didn't like them taking my client from me.
__________________
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....
Reply With Quote
  #123  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:08 PM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,350
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
So it's MY fault when someone else practices predatory pricing practices (or clueless pricing that has the same effect)?

Bullshit.

We tried all of that. All. Of. It. The only response it got out of the consumer is "Why should I buy this handmade, museum-quality replica from you for $whatit'sworth when I can get it from CluelessInc for 20% of that?" We're not talking the difference between a Savile Row suit and one from Marks & Sparks. We're talking the exact same product, made the same way from the same materials, sold by clueless hobbyists for, in many cases, less than the cost of materials.

There's no advertising or marketing strategy that'll overcome that. If people can get a comparable product for less money, they will take it. Every time. If someone comes into the market who doesn't know how to effectively price a product - or doesn't have to set a real price, because it's a hobby "business" subsidized by other family income - it hurts the people who have already set sensible pricing in order to eat.
It's not your fault but you did the sensible thing and got out of the business.

Did you not know that was the case before you got into the business?

As nice as your analogy is (and I like you, Bob, I really do) music and clothing are not a like-for-like comparison. Originals bands, tribute bands and cover bands all exist in different markets and play (largely) different venues. It's not the same product, whereas a gambeson is. If somebody is in a covers band and playing for free then I'd definitely be questioning that, the same would go for a tribute band. They are different products appealing to (mostly) different sections of the market and (often) not at the same time - a band can't play the same set in two different places at once but a company can ship out two garments to two different customers at the same time. The market is very different. You know this, I know this.

In terms of sales of copy, bands can make more now from direct distribution than they ever did when they were signed with labels. Getting yourself into that position is the hard part.

I have no interest in taking 'free' gigs. I would at least want my transport covered. Been there, done that, got nowhere but had a blast. Don't intend to do it again and any gigs I do in the forseeable future will be as a solo artist.

On a similar note my mother makes jewellery as a hobby-business. She doesn't make any money but she does sell for a small profit on each item. The ridiculous thing about the market there is how much the high-street and mainstream jewellers overcharge for their product. She doesn't deliberately go to undercut them but she charges what she thinks is reasonable. She's started having a loyal following and takes commissions quite regularly for fairly complex work and repairs. I know how much particular gems cost and what others charge is absolutely unreasonable. Now, I'm not trying to compare her business to your business at all - but she's a hobbyist that could be seen as 'undercutting' larger businesses. This is in no way accusing you of overcharging, it's just an aside about the jewellery business.
__________________
PEWFLADCC

Last edited by BacteriumFendYoke; 11-11-2015 at 02:19 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #124  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:10 PM
SquadLeader's Avatar
SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Near Manchester, Great Britain
Posts: 1,306
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikel View Post
You might not like it, but its not wrong, its market forces.

If there is a Soul covers band on at the local the punters pretty much know what they can expect and If they like Soul they will go. If the band is mediocre then they can still enjoy the songs, If the band is stunning then Its a big bonus.

If an originals band that the public have never heard of are on at the local do I want to go? Probably, cos I am a muso, but the average punter probably wont cos they have no idea what they will get. If its free or they know the band they may give it a punt.

There is a very good originals band where I live and I have paid to see them, but only cos I saw them at a free festival and the genre is one I like, they play superbly and have some great songs.

Its not how good the musicians are, its how good the songs are and how many people enjoy those particular songs. Personal choice and market forces.
Agree. Good post.

I meant morally wrong of course. There's a part of me that will feel dirty for being paid well for playing really piss easy, punk, cover songs.

I suppose the overwhelming fact is, life's really sometimes not fair.
__________________
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....
Reply With Quote
  #125  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:12 PM
picodon's Avatar
picodon picodon is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: France
Posts: 669
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

@Stx Nono. "Predatory" and playing for free are mutually exclusive.

I understand that some people want to stop other people from playing for free.
It should be easily achievable for a professional musician's lobby in a socialist country like France to have a law that forbids bars to have groups play music and be paid less than a certain amount N. How will that change the economics of playing in a bar? Will bars now spend much more money on live music? No, why would they. The result will be that a few well-known groups get paid and most groups won't get any more stage time. I don't see how that would make the world a better place.

What you should be doing in reality is lobbby to decrease tax on alcohol. That WOULD have an impact on the economics of playing in bar and would leave more money for the band. Or open up your own venue.
Reply With Quote
  #126  
Old 11-11-2015, 02:19 PM
SquadLeader's Avatar
SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Near Manchester, Great Britain
Posts: 1,306
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picodon View Post
@Stx Nono. "Predatory" and playing for free are mutually exclusive.

I understand that some people want to stop other people from playing for free.
It should be easily achievable for a professional musician's lobby in a socialist country like France to have a law that forbids bars to have groups play music and be paid less than a certain amount N. How will that change the economics of playing in a bar? Will bars now spend much more money on live music? No, why would they. The result will be that a few well-known groups get paid and most groups won't get any more stage time. I don't see how that would make the world a better place.

What you should be doing in reality is lobbby to decrease tax on alcohol. That WOULD have an impact on the economics of playing in bar and would leave more money for the band. Or open up your own venue.
Or the bars would just get a laptop and put a playlist on ?
__________________
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....
Reply With Quote
  #127  
Old 11-11-2015, 03:03 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
However, I don't think you have a grasp on the reality of the situation certainly in the areas of the world I play.
I dig what you're saying. The market is different here. Your market is dismal. Anyone who makes money in it is someone to be applauded.

I have no glib answer for that, other than union platitudes about organizing and taking control of your musical destiny out of the hands of the venue owners and back into your own hands. Because...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
But if I see that the club owner is cashing in on my talent and I am getting nothing, then I won't play there for free any longer.
If I'm playing a venue, I am adding value to that venue. I am making the venue owner money. My work earns me a cut of that.

If your market, SquadLeader, doesn't work like that, it should. And you could make it change. But it'd be hard work, and musicians would need to present a united front. So I'm thinking pipe dream. ;-)

Quote:
On the other hand if I'm playing to an empty house, I would feel bad being paid; But I'd still take the money and expect the club owner to be smarter next time.
Me, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Yes - but not everybody is running their music is running it for business reasons. They're doing it because they want to. Not every person playing gigs wants to do it as a profession, so they work day jobs to run in the black and subsidise their music through other work.
I understand that. What I want - and what I haven't yet seen - is an admission that a hobbyist who doesn't care to see music as a business can have an adverse effect on a professional musician's income. I have made that effect abundantly clear. All I'm asking is that hobbyists admit that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I don't understand equating music to business. It makes sense when your business is music. But not when music is your hobby. I think you have to simply accept that for lots of people music is simply not a business and unsigned, hobbyist, originals, bands are not going to have the liquidator called in.......it's a preposterous premise when you think about it isn't it ??
I don't know what that last bit means, but I can't figure out a way to edit the above without destroying meaning, so I'll take the paragraph from the top. ;-)

When you gig, you participate in the music business, whether you care (or even know) or not. You don't get to make the determination of participation once you leave the rehearsal space; in fact, the only way you can make that decision is to decide to never play out at all. Once you take a gig, you're in the music business. Music becomes business once money gets involved. The thing is, even when you play for free - for the love of the music or whatever - someone is making money. That makes it a business.

If you ignore that you are ripe for exploitation. I hate being exploited. There is nothing I love so much that I'll allow myself to be exploited. I hate being exploited more than I love anything I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
But acts that don't bring in crowds can, do, and will play for free. Because if you aren't bringing a crowd, why should a venue pay you to be there?
Because it's not 100% incumbent on the act to bring the venue a crowd. Maybe it's an originals-vs-covers thing, but aside from putting up posters in the venue itself prior to the show date, my band doesn't lift a finger to bring in people. It's the venue owner's responsibility to attract the punters. We're the attraction.

Come to think of it, we could do more to advertise our shows. I'll have to talk that over with the boys. But I digress.

It sounds like your market, James, and Squadleader's, are markets in which the venue owners call all the shots. They sit there and rake the booze money out of the pockets of punters you bring them and pay you nothing in return for making them pots of dosh.

That's fucked UP. That's textbook exploitation. I'm getting all revolutionary up in here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron s View Post
My viewpoint comes from playing in a cover band. I do enjoy playing drums- but most of the songs we play are for the crowd- not us. I would not choose to listen to the music we play for enjoyment- I learn and play these songs because we determine what "goes over" with the typical crowd in the places we play regularly. If I played strictly for the love of it, the song selection would be much different. think of a painter who loved the art of painting- now hire him/her to paint your house- to me, that is the difference between covers and originals.
And I think that's a crucial distinction. It's also worth pointing out that you don't expect the lover of painting to paint your house for free. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I am sitting in for a covers band in 2016. The amounts I will be getting paid for tapping along to Teenage Kicks and songs of that ilk, is astonishing.

It's quite wrong really. But it is how it is.
THERE'S THE DISCONNECT.

We've been arguing at cross purposes. The situation I'm calling all messed up really isn't.
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #128  
Old 11-11-2015, 03:27 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I've asked a few times throughout but it's been buried in larger posts. So I'll ask again.

I'm a 19 year old kid. I have the talent, and professionalism, along with my friends, to be the next Beatles. But the market is being dominated by guys like you playing cover material for a living.

What do you want me to do? Just hang our stuff up and go home?

How do I get onto the music scene when you basically do not want my new, originals band, to showcase our music to people live ?

That part confuses me.

I know you're angry and I do actually understand why. I work in a competitive industry and I've lost clients over the years to brokers who come in and say they can do the same job for half the price (or indeed free...loss leader and all that). It's naff. I get that. But, guess what? They don't go and hang their boots up because I didn't like them taking my client from me.
This is the disconnect I finally identified above.

I'm not really talking about originals bands. I know originals bands struggle. It's the same here as it is there. That is what it is; that's how that business works. You paint the paintings, work the bottom-feeder galleries, make friends, laboriously build a following, etc.

However, in covers, in the equivalent of painting houses, playing for peanuts is a douche move. I'm not really an artist. I'm providing a value-added service.

Does that make more sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Did you not know that was the case before you got into the business?
We thought we could overcome it with brand reputation and product quality. We overestimated the customer's discernment. ;-)

Quote:
As nice as your analogy is (and I like you, Bob, I really do)
Backatcha. MWAH! ;-)

Quote:
music and clothing are not a like-for-like comparison. Originals bands, tribute bands and cover bands all exist in different markets and play (largely) different venues. It's not the same product, whereas a gambeson is. If somebody is in a covers band and playing for free then I'd definitely be questioning that, the same would go for a tribute band.
Yeah, I just figured out that we've been arguing from different perspectives. Clearly we agree on my perspective.

Quote:
On a similar note my mother makes jewellery as a hobby-business. She doesn't make any money but she does sell for a small profit on each item. The ridiculous thing about the market there is how much the high-street and mainstream jewellers overcharge for their product. She doesn't deliberately go to undercut them but she charges what she thinks is reasonable. She's started having a loyal following and takes commissions quite regularly for fairly complex work and repairs. I know how much particular gems cost and what others charge is absolutely unreasonable. Now, I'm not trying to compare her business to your business at all - but she's a hobbyist that could be seen as 'undercutting' larger businesses. This is in no way accusing you of overcharging, it's just an aside about the jewellery business.
No, man, I dig you absolutely. Jewelry was another hobby of mine (until the arthritis kicked in). Jewelry is WAAAAAY overpriced. Having peeked inside the industry, however, I know why - because you're supposed to negotiate. It's like car buying: If you pay full price for a car, or a diamond, URDOINITRONG.

The place where most hobbyists screw up - and inadvertently screw over professionals - is not in materials, but in how much they charge for their time. I don't know about you, but my time is not cheap. It's FERDANGSURE not free. A good rule of thumb is to look around at other craftsman professionals in your area and see what they get, averaging across fields. I bet you'll find the electrician and plumber and mechanic get about the same per hour. Why should your mom not be charging that? Especially for repair!

That's how you factor prices for craft-made items. The standard for making things on spec - which nobody seems to know, though it's all over the internet - is hours + [materials x 3]. Say it takes me two hours to make a beaded necklace, and it's ~$15 in materials. My bare minimum hourly rate is $30, which is in line with (actually a bit lower than) other craft professionals. So that's $60 plus $45, for a product price of $105. For a variety of complicated reasons, that formula is the minimum to keep the business going.

Now factor in someone who doesn't need to actually run a business and sells the exact same necklace for $25.

I don't care about the high street jewelers in this instance; as you note, their prices are ridiculously inflated. I care about the other craftspeople at the craft fair. That's your mom's competition, not the high street jewelers. Those are the people scraping by from commission to random sale, trying to keep body and soul together. To undercut them is Doucheius Maximus.

That's exactly parallel to music, at least popular/cover music. The Stones are the high-street chain jewelers. The craftspeople at the fair are the bands covering Stones tunes, often adding creative twists of their own to it, but still three chords and the truth. See where I'm going? ;-)
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #129  
Old 11-11-2015, 03:39 PM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,350
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

My Mum does charge for her time - she absolutely does but I think she should charge more. As it stands she's roughly on par with the others around her. What's particularly great is that other jewellers she's met are very supportive and send people over to her - she does the same thing for the others. She's not undercutting but she does charge what she thinks is fair.

I've had a lot of discussions with her about what she charges and discussed the exact formula you've described. I've even spoken about a materials percentage markup per item, e.g. total cost of gems + 50%, etc and to calculate it all on spreadsheets... but she's happy with how she does it. It's her business and it's her decision to make. I've also tried to help her with graphic design and the like...

It's funny. I went into the local music shop yesterday and it has just re-opened with a change of management. It was like night-and-day, a total refurbishment, helpful staff, reasonable prices... the complete flip of what it was, even though the stock is exactly the same! It turned out that the bloke running it was unwilling to set up a website (even though somebody offered it gratis) because he was jaded about competing the 'big boys'. Despite what everybody was saying, he shouldn't have been trying to. He should have been capitalising on local sales and walk-in trade and the only way to get that walk-in trade is brand awareness.

I used to look up music shops in Kent quite regularly on Google to find new places. All that ever came up for that place was a Yell page. No wonder he couldn't even get local trade and that's even looking past all the other shortcomings. In the short time I was in there, two or three other customers walked in and I have never seen other people in that shop other than me when I've been in there.

Somebody is doing it right. Finally I can go and buy guitar strings in my own town...
__________________
PEWFLADCC
Reply With Quote
  #130  
Old 11-11-2015, 04:05 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
My Mum does charge for her time - she absolutely does but I think she should charge more. As it stands she's roughly on par with the others around her. What's particularly great is that other jewellers she's met are very supportive and send people over to her - she does the same thing for the others. She's not undercutting but she does charge what she thinks is fair.
Craftspeople are great like that. It's great that she's on par. :-)

Quote:
It's funny. I went into the local music shop yesterday and it has just re-opened with a change of management. It was like night-and-day, a total refurbishment, helpful staff, reasonable prices... the complete flip of what it was, even though the stock is exactly the same!
Sounds like that would have went well even without the website.
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #131  
Old 11-11-2015, 04:17 PM
picodon's Avatar
picodon picodon is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: France
Posts: 669
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by STXBob View Post

I understand that. What I want - and what I haven't yet seen - is an admission that a hobbyist who doesn't care to see music as a business can have an adverse effect on a professional musician's income. I have made that effect abundantly clear. All I'm asking is that hobbyists admit that.
That is only true if the professional is no better than the hobbyist. But Stxbob you should be miles above hobbyists and above this discussion if you're a pro.
Reply With Quote
  #132  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:24 PM
mikel mikel is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Midlands. England.
Posts: 2,266
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
Agree. Good post.

I meant morally wrong of course. There's a part of me that will feel dirty for being paid well for playing really piss easy, punk, cover songs.

I suppose the overwhelming fact is, life's really sometimes not fair.
Again, its got nowt to do with how difficult the music is to play, I have heard loads of complex stuff that I wouldnt give a second listen to. How good is the music and do people want to listen to it? Thats the crux.
Reply With Quote
  #133  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:26 PM
crispycritters crispycritters is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 372
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

In the UK there are many small, one room bars, that will have live music occasionally, in most instances there is no cover charge and drink prices are not inflated to cover the extra cost of providing a band. Generally the bands that play these venues are hobbyists or starter bands, if they manage to attract a following then they will stand a reasonable chance of being booked for larger venues (semi-professional?) and receive a larger payment. These larger venues that attract more customers, and pay more, will only book bands with a proven track record so there is zero chance of a starter band getting their foot in the door by offering to play for free.

The fact is that someone playing for a living would not consider these small venues as the minimal payment would not make it viable for them. so the existence of these venues and hobbyist bands makes no impact whatsoever on a professional musicians earning potential in the UK.

If these bars were boycotted or bands insisted on receiving a minimal set payment then they would just provide a DJ and a venue for starter bands would be lost. It would be a nail in the coffin for starter bands here in the UK. In 20 years all live music would be provided by lumbering dinosaurs or manufactured boy bands. (Its ok for me to use the phrase lumbering dinosaur as I'm 58, fat and bald).

I'm not convinced that this would be a good thing for the future of live music.
Reply With Quote
  #134  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:36 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,061
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
Their point IS perfectly valid.

But it's fantasy.

I wish XFactor would stop putting karaoke singers at number 1...
I'm not even that concerned about my botomline; I'm doing well and I've seen wages go up (only slightly, but it's better than the other direction). I'm non union, so I don't advise waving union wage sheets, but it gives a good idea of what the service is worth.

I've played all over the UK, and have a sister that lives in Sunderland, so I'm fairly familiar with the music scenes in the UK, and I've always been paid a fair wage. I'm worried about the groups getting paid. When you start, you have to pick up scraps, we've all done it, but even scraps are better than "exposure". The idea is that people should realize that its a service and it's worth money. Music has value, it's not just something fun. Am I going to charge what Jamie Cullum charges for a gig? No. Is the first timer going to charge what I charge? of course not. My point is that everyone should get a fair wage, whatever that may be.

We're in a global society now where music is seen as a cheap commodity. Many parents don't even see it as a viable career, and will discourage their children from pursuing it as anything more than a hobby. My point is that we need to remind people that music is important. Maybe we're not disarming nukes, or saving Tibet, but we're providing a service that, for at least a moment, elevates people and brings them together. That sounds corny, but I'm trying to say that music is worth something, and as musicians we need to make sure we're getting a fair wage, so that people realize that it has value.
Reply With Quote
  #135  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:38 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,061
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crispycritters View Post

If these bars were boycotted or bands insisted on receiving a minimal set payment then they would just provide a DJ and a venue for starter bands would be lost. It would be a nail in the coffin for starter bands here in the UK. In 20 years all live music would be provided by lumbering dinosaurs or manufactured boy bands. (Its ok for me to use the phrase lumbering dinosaur as I'm 58, fat and bald).

I'm not convinced that this would be a good thing for the future of live music.
I don't know the DJ situation in the UK, but in the US, the DJs usually charge more than a band. One of my friends DJs in the local bar seen and gets $500 a night... granted he has more expensive equipment than me, but that's more than a 3 or 4 piece band would probably get...
Reply With Quote
  #136  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:45 PM
crispycritters crispycritters is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 372
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcspears View Post
I don't know the DJ situation in the UK, but in the US, the DJs usually charge more than a band. One of my friends DJs in the local bar seen and gets $500 a night... granted he has more expensive equipment than me, but that's more than a 3 or 4 piece band would probably get...
It depends on the venue! But for a small, one room bar that is bursting at the seams if it has 50 customers the DJ certainly won't get 500 - £50 maybe..
Reply With Quote
  #137  
Old 11-11-2015, 06:48 PM
MikeM's Avatar
MikeM MikeM is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,438
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Peering a little deeper down the old rabbit hole, there seems to be a distinction being drawn between the professional and the hobbyist. I think this deserves some honest scrutiny.

To me, a professional is someone who can make all their living expenses (rent/mortgage, car payment, food, etc) by doing what they do for a living without supplementing from elsewhere.

Obviously, you’re not going to make that happen on only $100/gig. Not in my corner of the world, anyway. If you find 5 or 6 gigs a week making that much, you’d be hard pressed to make that an actual living as $2k a month doesn’t go very far if you have a family and a mortgage. Maybe if you’re young and single, but even then.

SunDog projects that his band will make $40K in 2016, which sounds amazing, but split between 4 guys and before factoring in taxes or expenses, and that’s grossing maybe $10k each. I’m failing to see how that’s going to cover anyone’s living expenses for a year. Maybe I’m missing something here, but you can do much better working at the corner Quikie-Mart.

So if getting paid anything is what separates the pros from the hobbyists, then I guess I’m a pro with the $3 I worked so hard for the other weekend.
Obviously there’s a break point there somewhere. But I don’t have a clue where it is and it’s probably a matter of perspective anyway.

When I do a rough calc on my finances, I see that my portion of band rent is $90/mo and adding in sticks, one head change (batters only) and replacing one cymbal, that works out to about $1500 a year in expenses, which is what I’d personally have to make in a year just to break even. And that doesn’t take into account trips to the recording studio, which happens every other year or so and usually sets me back about a grand. I’m not too proud to admit that since 1990, I’ve always been in at least one band (with no breaks between bands lasting more than a week or two), and have never made that much in year.

Now add to that the fact that originals bands don’t typically play more that 2 or 3 times in a month because venues often won’t book you if you have a show 2 weeks on one side or the other of their show date (to ensure maximum draw), and it quickly becomes apparent how futile it is to dream of net numbers at the end of the year that aren’t fire engine red.

With that bit of full disclosure, I have a hard time seeing that what I do makes me a hobbyist in the context of this discussion. To me, a hobbyist is someone collecting stamps or putting together bird houses out in the garage on weekends. Garden variety tinkerers, basically.

Now’s the part where you bust out your Kleenex – whatever I may be, I’m no garden variety tinkerer. I’ve identified as a musician first and foremost since I was 12, and now at 48, I still play every. single. day. No kidding. Music has always been my mission in life (according to me). It’s what I do, what I’ve always done, and what I will continue to do until I’m physically no longer able. And I’ve sacrificed personal relationships over it, including my marriage. I’d say I’m a pretty good player and can easily hang with real pros, and have done so in the past – bona fide filthy rich pros. With continued effort and a little luck, I may again, though that isn’t my first goal.

Now, having blown hard on my own horn, I can also say that I know some guys that call themselves professionals because they play lots of gigs (never for free) and stay relatively busy, so in that respect I suppose they are, but all too often seem to lack conviction and identity.

One guy that comes to mind right away is a drummer that used to share a practice space with the band I was in at the time. He was reasonably well trained, had nice DW kit with expensive boutique quality cymbals - and a genuinely nice guy to boot. He didn’t need a day job, had several paying gigs, a few students, and could talk shop like a pro. But on a couple occasions, we got to hang out in the room and drummed together just goofing around. If I’m totally honest, I didn’t see that he had anything special to offer in terms of his playing or approach, and while he knew what odd times were, he had no ability to groove or stretch out on a simple 7/8 pattern. It almost makes me feel bad saying it, but creatively he was completely bland and didn’t seem to possess much innate curiosity or adventure.

But what he lacked in talent he made up for in ambition. I don’t mean to pick on this guy, but he’s a fairly typical example of how the drive to be pro can often compete with the drive to be something special and amazing. Like McDonald’s, the broad appeal to billions comes from not offending anyone with something substantial. Bland is the default formula for success? I dunno.

So now whenever I hear someone claiming to be a pro, I become skeptical. It’s a dubious distinction, really.

Back to my train of thought: if this guy’s a professional by virtue of getting paid, and I’m a hobbyist by virtue of not getting paid, then something is off, and there is absolutely no way in hell I will ever acknowledge that he, or anyone like him, has any claim to my deference.

For every assertion that amateurs need to stay out of the pros way, I’ll counter that the pros need to stop selling their souls by playing shit they have no personal stake in because it siphons off patrons who otherwise might have noticed those practicing the art of personal ownership and expression.

And I’ll also add that if you’re making $100 per gig, or $10k a year, you’re no pro either – you’re supplementing from somewhere else, just like every other hobbyist.
__________________
My kit: It's not just good, it's good enough.

My Band
Reply With Quote
  #138  
Old 11-11-2015, 07:10 PM
Odd-Arne Oseberg's Avatar
Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sykkylven, Møre og Romsdal, Norway
Posts: 3,843
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Odd-Arne that's a very disappointing post.

You've included religion and politics, but I'm appalled that you've left out sex.

Please fix it immediately, thank you.

Just a bit of self depricating nationalist humor. In regards to sex, there's plenty of insinuations around already.
__________________
So, kick drum...or...bass drum? I'll tell you what. If it's 18" or less, it's a FOOT TOM.
Reply With Quote
  #139  
Old 11-11-2015, 07:25 PM
crispycritters crispycritters is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 372
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

[quote=MikeM;1393647]Peering a little deeper down the old rabbit hole, there seems to be a distinction being drawn between the professional and the hobbyist. I think this deserves some honest scrutiny.

Perhaps its just a difference of interpretation of the labels 'pro' and 'hobbyist'

My interpretation is this:-

Pro - someone whose main source of income is from playing.

Semi-Pro (another category sneaked in!) - someone who supplements his income by playing regular paid gigs, but whose main source of income is from a regular job.

Hobbyist - Someone fresh out of the gate in a starter band/jamming with friends/playing at home

All of the above will attempt to play to the best of their abilities and perform in a (ahem) professional manner.

Not really hard and fast rules - just my personal interpretation. Labels are difficult to apply here - There are Pro musicians that seem mediocre and Semi-Pro musicians that are very talented. There have always been highly skilled professionals that struggle to make a living - in many instances the actual earnings of professional musicians are not an accurate indication of their technical musical abilities and skill. Perhaps that is why music is an art form - like most artists, many musicians are broke?

Last edited by crispycritters; 11-11-2015 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Typos/bad grammar etc.
Reply With Quote
  #140  
Old 11-11-2015, 07:32 PM
rustyfingers's Avatar
rustyfingers rustyfingers is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Under your bed.
Posts: 220
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

https://youtu.be/mj5IV23g-fE

Ask Harlan what he thinks.
Reply With Quote
  #141  
Old 11-11-2015, 07:33 PM
MikeM's Avatar
MikeM MikeM is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,438
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crispycritters View Post
Perhaps its just a difference of interpretation of the labels 'pro' and 'hobbyist'

My interpretation is this:-

Pro - someone whose main source of income is from playing.

Semi-Pro (another category sneaked in!) - someone who supplements his income by playing regular paid gigs, but whose main source of income is from a regular job.

Hobbyist - Someone fresh out of the gate in a starter band/jamming with friends/playing at home
Actually, I think this is exactly right.

Hobbyists stay home. Pros are few and far in-between. The vast majority of us who play any kind of gigs are, and will likely only ever be, semi-pro.
__________________
My kit: It's not just good, it's good enough.

My Band
Reply With Quote
  #142  
Old 11-11-2015, 08:03 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picodon View Post
That is only true if the professional is no better than the hobbyist. But Stxbob you should be miles above hobbyists and above this discussion if you're a pro.
First, don't think I don't see the thinly-veiled ad hominem. How is that "only true"?

Second, I'm far from "miles above" anyone. In fact, I pretty much suck when it comes to chops. Also in fact, I am not a professional, as I have said over and over in this thread. I do make a shekel or two playing out, but I do not make my living making music. Matter of fact, you don't have to be "miles above" hobbyists to make your living behind a drum kit.

Chops are only part of the professional package, and I argue a very small part. The guitarist with massive chops who stands stock still, hiding behind a wall of hair, never moving or showing emotion, will never get as much work as a guitarist who epitomizes rock-n-roll, even if he only knows four chords. That's an exaggeration, but it serves to prove the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Hobbyists stay home. Pros are few and far in-between. The vast majority of us who play any kind of gigs are, and will likely only ever be, semi-pro.
You know, this is an excellent point. Thanks to you and Crispycritters for going there.
It appears there's been a lot of RAWR in this thread because we're not using terminology very well. I was arguing with you and SquadLeader about pay, when we were talking about two completely different markets/contexts, we're confusing "pro" and "semi-pro" and "hobbyist"...

Maybe we should just stop and go back to watching Thundercats on Netflix. :-/
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #143  
Old 11-11-2015, 08:22 PM
BacteriumFendYoke's Avatar
BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canterbury. The One With the Cathedral.
Posts: 6,350
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Send Lion-O my regards!
__________________
PEWFLADCC
Reply With Quote
  #144  
Old 11-11-2015, 09:21 PM
picodon's Avatar
picodon picodon is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: France
Posts: 669
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
First, don't think I don't see the thinly-veiled ad hominem. How is that "only true"?

Second, I'm far from "miles above" anyone. In fact, I pretty much suck when it comes to chops. Also in fact, I am not a professional, as I have said over and over in this thread. I do make a shekel or two playing out, but I do not make my living making music. Matter of fact, you don't have to be "miles above" hobbyists to make your living behind a drum kit.

Chops are only part of the professional package, and I argue a very small part. The guitarist with massive chops who stands stock still, hiding behind a wall of hair, never moving or showing emotion, will never get as much work as a guitarist who epitomizes rock-n-roll, even if he only knows four chords. That's an exaggeration, but it serves to prove the point.



You know, this is an excellent point. Thanks to you and Crispycritters for going there.
It appears there's been a lot of RAWR in this thread because we're not using terminology very well. I was arguing with you and SquadLeader about pay, when we were talking about two completely different markets/contexts, we're confusing "pro" and "semi-pro" and "hobbyist"...

Maybe we should just stop and go back to watching Thundercats on Netflix. :-/
It wasn't meant to be ad hominem. All I want to say is, if I play for free, it obviously won't affect, say, Bermuda's income. Parallel universes. If the pro is no better than I am, then well of course it does and the pro should ask himself the question why he's trying to make a living out of something that a hobbyist will do just as well and just for fun.

If my kid wanted to become a professional musician, I'd make sure he's damn good or I'd pull the emergency brake on the project. Don't try to make 2+2 equal 5 because they don't.
Reply With Quote
  #145  
Old 11-11-2015, 09:42 PM
picodon's Avatar
picodon picodon is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: France
Posts: 669
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

In my town here there are 5000 inhabitants and 6 pizzerias. That's a few too many and every once in a while one will go bankrupt and someone else will open up another pizzeria. Their pizzas are all the same.

I sympathize and I feel sorry as much for these people as for the many bands that compete for a few bars in places like Manchester. At the same time I think they're not being very clever and even more so not very creative.

It may sound like a gratuitous comment for a hobbyist but I have to be clever and creative too to make a living during the rest of my day when I'm not drumming.
Reply With Quote
  #146  
Old 11-11-2015, 10:57 PM
MikeM's Avatar
MikeM MikeM is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,438
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
It appears there's been a lot of RAWR in this thread because we're not using terminology very well. I was arguing with you and SquadLeader about pay, when we were talking about two completely different markets/contexts, we're confusing "pro" and "semi-pro" and "hobbyist"...
You know, I'm not gonna lie; I've been massively enjoying this discussion. There aren't a lot of topics left on this forum that really make me stop and think, so I really treasure these threads when they come up.

As so often happens, people (me included) get fixated on different isolated elements from the same larger picture, and end up talking right past one another, so it's great when something simple like clarifying terminology can cause the relevant kernels to fall right out.

Cheers to crispycritters for identifying the missing Semi-Pro category in which most of us reside.
__________________
My kit: It's not just good, it's good enough.

My Band
Reply With Quote
  #147  
Old 11-12-2015, 01:37 AM
IDDrummer's Avatar
IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Mid-Atlantic
Posts: 5,188
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
You know, I'm not gonna lie; I've been massively enjoying this discussion. There aren't a lot of topics left on this forum that really make me stop and think, so I really treasure these threads when they come up.

As so often happens, people (me included) get fixated on different isolated elements from the same larger picture, and end up talking right past one another, so it's great when something simple like clarifying terminology can cause the relevant kernels to fall right out.

Cheers to crispycritters for identifying the missing Semi-Pro category in which most of us reside.
I agree. I have always had great respect for your opinion, Mike, as well as your playing, so when you presented a position that contained elements I wasn't at all sure I agreed with, it made me take some time to examine things. I like that.
Reply With Quote
  #148  
Old 11-12-2015, 06:02 AM
lsits's Avatar
lsits lsits is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Riverside, CA
Posts: 1,147
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

What is RAWR? It's a new one for me.
__________________
I started with nothing and still have most of it left.
Reply With Quote
  #149  
Old 11-12-2015, 11:01 AM
SquadLeader's Avatar
SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Near Manchester, Great Britain
Posts: 1,306
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
You know, I'm not gonna lie; I've been massively enjoying this discussion. There aren't a lot of topics left on this forum that really make me stop and think, so I really treasure these threads when they come up.

As so often happens, people (me included) get fixated on different isolated elements from the same larger picture, and end up talking right past one another, so it's great when something simple like clarifying terminology can cause the relevant kernels to fall right out.

Cheers to crispycritters for identifying the missing Semi-Pro category in which most of us reside.
It's a great subject and a great discussion.

Enjoyed it myself.
__________________
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....
Reply With Quote
  #150  
Old 11-12-2015, 01:39 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsits View Post
What is RAWR? It's a new one for me.
Like, RAWR, you know?

__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #151  
Old 11-12-2015, 01:40 PM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
You know, I'm not gonna lie; I've been massively enjoying this discussion. There aren't a lot of topics left on this forum that really make me stop and think, so I really treasure these threads when they come up.

As so often happens, people (me included) get fixated on different isolated elements from the same larger picture, and end up talking right past one another, so it's great when something simple like clarifying terminology can cause the relevant kernels to fall right out.

Cheers to crispycritters for identifying the missing Semi-Pro category in which most of us reside.
Right there with you, buddy. I'm kind of worn out on it, though I don't know if anything was fully resolved.
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #152  
Old 11-12-2015, 09:36 PM
picodon's Avatar
picodon picodon is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: France
Posts: 669
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

The topic will be resolved when musicians will get decent pay.
We agree on the basics Stxbob, we just have different points of view because we're not standing in the same shoes ;)
Reply With Quote
  #153  
Old 11-13-2015, 01:07 AM
STXBob's Avatar
STXBob STXBob is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 1,330
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picodon View Post
The topic will be resolved when musicians will get decent pay.
We agree on the basics Stxbob, we just have different points of view because we're not standing in the same shoes ;)
As is usually the case. :-D
__________________
Cheers,

Bob Davis

www.reconstructinghistory.com
Reply With Quote
  #154  
Old 11-13-2015, 01:56 AM
Midnite Zephyr's Avatar
Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Surf City, USA
Posts: 6,155
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

This topic will be resolved when you all finally see it the same way I do.
__________________
Drumming for fun.
Reply With Quote
  #155  
Old 11-13-2015, 11:05 AM
Erberderber's Avatar
Erberderber Erberderber is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Milan, Italy
Posts: 257
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Well, I must say that I have found this thread wholly intriguing to say the least. I would just like to throw in my take on one particular part of the argument.


Quote:
Originally Posted by STXBob View Post
That's why it's not the same: Because there are people who willingly drive down what the market will pay, because they clearly don't believe in basic economics. You're part of the problem. You are preventing people from making a living because you're doing the same job for free..
That isn't true, in the same way that cheap quality shoe manufacturers are not driving quality ones out of busines. People still buy shoes costing $300 when you can get a poor quality pair for $10. Craviotto is not going out of business because more people buy PDP or Pearl Export sets. It's about the quality.

I'm an English teacher living in Milan teaching English to Italians. The council here offers free English courses but there are still people here willing to pay over 30 Euros an hour for lessons with me, in fact I'm stupidly busy in this period. What I'm saying is that if you provide a quality service for a high price that others can't match at a lower price or for free, then you will get business. So if you professional drummers are that good and can provide something that hobbyists can't provide , which people are willing to pay extra for, then you have absolutely nothing to get upset about.
Reply With Quote
  #156  
Old 11-13-2015, 11:22 AM
mikel mikel is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Midlands. England.
Posts: 2,266
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

/\ Agree.

There is an old saying in business and it goes, something like..."There is nothing that someone wont make/play a bit cheaper and a bit crappier, so if you want quality you have to pay for it". Its a sweeping statement but in most instances true.
Reply With Quote
  #157  
Old 11-13-2015, 07:37 PM
MikeM's Avatar
MikeM MikeM is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 5,438
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Here's what was resolved in my mind:

First, there was this idea that musicians not getting paid were either hobbyists or behaving poorly, or both.

That ignored the distinction between originals bands, who either don't get paid or get paid very little, and the bands playing covers/standards/theater gigs as hired pros who do get paid, usually something close to what might be considered "scale".

Thing is, it's been the non-original gig players getting upset about the idea that any kind of gig player would do so for nothing and lashing out at those that do.

If you want to have an intelligent discussion about this, you simply can't ignore that what originals bands do and what non-originals bands do are fundamentally different, and furthermore, there is almost no overlap.

The fundamental differences are summarized as follows:

For Hire Pros:
The career trajectory is to take all the gigs that pay, whether they be covers, standards, show tunes, etc., with the ultimate goal of staying busy enough to make a living at it.

So yeah, taking free gigs here absolutely defeats the purpose, and having to compete with anyone taking free gigs drives down the market, which ultimately destroys it for everyone. Tragedy of the Commons, and all that.

In the ultimate scenario, you end up like Steve Gadd or Vinnie Colaiuta since there's isn't any style you can't do better than practically anyone else. But worth pointing out that these guys are getting hired by original artists who came up as originals players, like Eric Clapton or Sting, and they're playing those guys' original hits.


The Originals player:
This career trajectory really only has the ultimate scenario. You write, record, and release albums that people will hopefully want to buy.

But who buys music from bands they've never heard of? Nobody, that who. So you play out in little dive bars with a couple other bands who are doing the same thing. You get on social media to promote it, get all your friends to go, and try to sell them t-shirts and music. Typically, especially early on, you don't make anything, or very little.

But if your songs are compelling, played tight and with conviction, they'll tell their friends how amazing your band was. Then you buddy up with other bands you like, and play more shows. At some point, if you're lucky, you have 100 people paying full cover price, bar sells a lot of beer, and the bands split the door (minus the sound guy) and possibly a token amount from the bar.

So while the bar owner is happy, you can't stop there because you're already $5k in the hole with all that band rent you've been paying, and that trip to the studio to record all those songs you spent so much time writing and rehearsing.

The rub is that if you try to make it up by playing out too much, crowds will fall off because each show becomes less of an "event" and more routine. "I could go see Band X tonight, but I wanna watch TV instead, plus they'll be playing next weekend again anyway, so I think I'll stay home."

Think about it - when The Rolling Stones comes to your town, you buy tickets right away and clear your calendar. But if they moved to your town and started playing every weekend, after a very short time they'd get moved from the 50,000 seat venue, to the 15,000, to the 5,000 until everyone's seen them and doesn't want to see them anymore. It's that supply and demand thing again.

But I digress

Original band gets local following, catches the attention of local radio DJ who plays your music on the Sunday Late Nite Loud 'n Local show (as part of their required public service obligation), which nobody listens to, but it catches Mr. Moneybags' ear, and next thing you know he puts you in the studio to record your songs super pro-like, gets you on the Warped Tour, regular radio rotation, big tours, a few million YouTube views, more records, headlining stadium tours, big mansions, magazine covers, exotic drugs, hot groupies, yachts, and a foolishly early death.

But it doesn't matter at that point because the original music is now a part of the public awareness and professional musicians are now covering your hits in bars all across the land making 100 bucks per gig.

Originals bands are like that 99% thing, where 0.00001% of all the original bands have 99.99999% of the money (the real pros), so odds of making any kind of living at are about as good as hitting the lottery.

I really can't express how fun it is to play originals. I love going to band practice to work out new songs. The whole process of developing new parts, mapping out their arrangements, and rehearsing them until they're tight is very gratifying. Then you get to record them, burn CDs, and play them live? I mean, wow, of course that's what I want to do, regardless of whether or not I get to die a completely avoidable, but glamorous death - and despite that I'm probably at least $50k in the red after 25+ years.

Only point I'm trying to make here, and the issue that was resolved for me, is that basing any pro vs. hobbyist distinction solely on the money made is simply inadequate to capture the level of talent and professionalism that exists among so many peanut-fed originals players.

Calling us out as unethical hobbyists ruining the industry is an undeserved slap in the face, and comes across as boorish and incredibly self-serving coming from aspiring pros. But also bewildering when you consider that we're not each other's direct competition anyway since we don't play the same venues or to the same consumers of music.

If we could at least acknowledge that much, I'd be content to settle on a term like Semi-Pro for all of us gigging musicians.
__________________
My kit: It's not just good, it's good enough.

My Band

Last edited by MikeM; 11-13-2015 at 08:04 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #158  
Old 11-13-2015, 07:40 PM
SquadLeader's Avatar
SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Near Manchester, Great Britain
Posts: 1,306
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Here's what was resolved in my mind:

First, there was this idea that musicians not getting paid were either hobbyists or behaving poorly, or both.

That ignored the distinction between originals bands, who either don't get paid or get paid very little, and the bands playing covers/standards/theater gigs as hired pros who do get paid, usually something close to what might be considered "scale".

Thing is, it's been the non-original gig players getting upset about the idea that any kind of gig player would do so for nothing and lashing out at those that do.

If you want to have an intelligent discussion about this, you simply can't ignore that what originals bands do and what non-originals bands do are fundamentally different, and furthermore, there is almost no overlap.

The fundamental differences are summarized as follows:

For Hire Pros:
The career trajectory is to take all the gigs that pay, whether they be covers, standards, show tunes, etc., with the ultimate goal of staying busy enough to make a living at it.

So yeah, taking free gigs here absolutely defeats the purpose, and having to compete with anyone taking free gigs drives down the market, which ultimately destroys it for everyone. Tragedy of the Commons, and all that.

In the ultimate scenario, you end up like Steve Gadd or Vinnie Colaiuta since there's isn't any style you can't do better than practically anyone else. But worth pointing out that these guys are getting hired by original artists who came up as originals players, like Eric Clapton or Sting, and they're playing those guys' original hits.


The Originals player:
This career trajectory really only has the ultimate scenario. You write, record, and release albums that people will hopefully want to buy.

But who buys music from bands they've never heard of? Nobody, that who. So you play out in little dive bars with a couple other bands who are doing the same thing. You get on social media to promote it, get all your friends to go, and try to sell them t-shirts and music. Typically, especially early on, you don't make anything, or very little.

But if you're songs are compelling, played tight and with conviction, they'll tell their friends how amazing your band was. Then you buddy up with other bands you like, and play on more shows. At some point, if you're lucky, you have 100 people paying full cover price, bar sells a lot of beer, and the bands split the door (minus the sound guy) and possibly a token amount from the bar.

So while the bar owner is happy, you can't stop there because you're already $5k in the hole with all that band rent you've been paying, and that trip to the studio to record all those songs you spent so much time writing and rehearsing.

The rub is that if you try to make it up by playing out too much, crowds will fall off because each show becomes less of an "event" and more routine. "I could go see Band X tonight, but I wanna watch TV instead, plus they'll be playing next weekend again anyway, so I think I'll stay home."

Think about it - when The Rolling Stones comes to your town, you buy tickets right away and clear your calendar. But if they moved to your town and started playing every weekend, after a very short time they'd get moved from the 50,000 seat venue, to the 15,000, to the 5,000 until everyone's seen them and doesn't want to see them anymore. It's that supply and demand thing again.

But I digress

Original band gets local following, catches the attention of local radio DJ who plays your music on the Sunday Late Nite Loud 'n Local show (as part of their required public service obligation), which nobody listens to, but it catches Mr. Moneybags' ear, and next thing you know he puts you in the studio to record your songs super pro-like, gets you on the Warped Tour, regular radio rotation, big tours, a few million YouTube views, more records, headlining stadium tours, big mansions, magazine covers, exotic drugs, hot groupies, yachts, and a foolishly early death.

But it doesn't matter at that point because the original music is now a part of the public awareness and professional musicians are now covering your hits in bars all across the land making 100 bucks per gig.

Originals bands are like that 99% thing, where 0.00001% of all the original bands have 99.99999% of the money (the real pros), so odds of making any kind of living at are about as good as hitting the lottery.

I really can't express how fun it is to play originals. I love going to band practice to work out new songs. The whole process of developing new parts, mapping out their arrangements, and rehearsing them until they're tight is very gratifying. Then you get to record them, burn CDs, and play them live? I mean, wow, of course that's what I want to do, regardless of whether or not I get to die a completely avoidable, but glamorous death - and despite that I'm probably at least $50k in the red after 25+ years.

Only point I'm trying to make here, and the issue that was resolved for me, is that basing any pro vs. hobbyist distinction solely on the money made is simply inadequate to capture the level of talent and professionalism that exists among so many peanut-fed originals players.

Calling us out as unethical hobbyists ruining the industry is an undeserved slap in the face, and comes across as boorish and incredibly self-serving coming from aspiring pros. But also bewildering when you consider that we're not each other's direct competition anyway since we don't play the same venues or to the same consumers of music.

If we could at least acknowledge that much, I'd be content to settle on a term like Semi-Pro for all of us gigging musicians.
That's a great post.

My own summing up...originals bands are THE proper 'musicians'.

Professional musicians in covers bands are the ones not taking music forward.

Very personal opinion. No offence intended.
__________________
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....
Reply With Quote
  #159  
Old 11-13-2015, 07:46 PM
larryace's Avatar
larryace larryace is offline
"Uncle Larry"
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In beautiful Bucks County, PA
Posts: 21,124
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Damn MikeM...Epic post! A very nice global landscape type overview of quite the prickly subject. Nicely put too. It rings true, at least in me.
__________________
Levis/Hanes/Timberlands/Custom made socks
Reply With Quote
  #160  
Old 11-13-2015, 07:56 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,061
Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Peering a little deeper down the old rabbit hole, there seems to be a distinction being drawn between the professional and the hobbyist. I think this deserves some honest scrutiny.

To me, a professional is someone who can make all their living expenses (rent/mortgage, car payment, food, etc) by doing what they do for a living without supplementing from elsewhere.

Obviously, you’re not going to make that happen on only $100/gig. Not in my corner of the world, anyway. If you find 5 or 6 gigs a week making that much, you’d be hard pressed to make that an actual living as $2k a month doesn’t go very far if you have a family and a mortgage. Maybe if you’re young and single, but even then.

When I do a rough calc on my finances, I see that my portion of band rent is $90/mo and adding in sticks, one head change (batters only) and replacing one cymbal, that works out to about $1500 a year in expenses, which is what I’d personally have to make in a year just to break even. And that doesn’t take into account trips to the recording studio, which happens every other year or so and usually sets me back about a grand. I’m not too proud to admit that since 1990, I’ve always been in at least one band (with no breaks between bands lasting more than a week or two), and have never made that much in year.

One guy that comes to mind right away is a drummer that used to share a practice space with the band I was in at the time. He was reasonably well trained, had nice DW kit with expensive boutique quality cymbals - and a genuinely nice guy to boot. He didn’t need a day job, had several paying gigs, a few students, and could talk shop like a pro. But on a couple occasions, we got to hang out in the room and drummed together just goofing around. If I’m totally honest, I didn’t see that he had anything special to offer in terms of his playing or approach, and while he knew what odd times were, he had no ability to groove or stretch out on a simple 7/8 pattern. It almost makes me feel bad saying it, but creatively he was completely bland and didn’t seem to possess much innate curiosity or adventure.

But what he lacked in talent he made up for in ambition. I don’t mean to pick on this guy, but he’s a fairly typical example of how the drive to be pro can often compete with the drive to be something special and amazing.

For every assertion that amateurs need to stay out of the pros way, I’ll counter that the pros need to stop selling their souls by playing shit they have no personal stake in because it siphons off patrons who otherwise might have noticed those practicing the art of personal ownership and expression.
I have to say that I don't like the hobbyist qualifier either. I think we're all musicians, some are full time and some are part time. I cringe at hobbyists, or professional. I know that I'm by definition a professional, but I feel like a CL ad if I describe myself as a pro. I usually tell people I'm freelance. I play with a number of groups as their only drummer, I fill in as a sub with some groups, and I pick up a lot of work with touring singers.

Also, I agree with you that talent has very little to do with your ability to work, the same with any job. Just like ever other job, a lot has to do with your personality and your ability to make and maintain relationships. In other words, if you can schmooze, have work ethic, and aren't terrible: you're in!

As for finances, I think the PNW is similar to New England. A small single family house or condo within an hour of a city goes for about $600K-$800K (once you're in the city, you are looking at the $2-8M); most musicians I know around here, say that you need to make $1000-$1500 a week to live comfortably. If we only took gigs with original bands making $100 a night, we'd have to squeeze an awful lot of gigs in! Most of us blend the gigs.

My bread and butter is jazz/cabaret singers. I'll play with singers coming through town, or play with them in a few states then just go my merry way. These gigs allow me some artistic freedom, and are pretty fun, but pay very well. These are usually a mix of original tunes and standards that have been arranged as part of the show... not really covers, but not original tunes either...

The next tier down are what I call "niche" bands. I play with a modern jazz/latin band that plays almost all original tunes, but stay specific to the style. We're pretty unique for the area as we blend a couple of different style. We'll play at jazz clubs, bars, and special events. These gigs are super creative and fun, but only pay ok money. There's also a rockabilly group I'm in, which is all backbeat jump swing. Not super creative, but very fun and the pay is ok.

The next tier are more bar bands that i would just fill in with that play originals, standards, covers, or a blend. These bands are usually a lot of fun, and can be pretty creative depending on the material. These gigs pay the least for me, but they are local and help me to network.

This is how I get to support myself with music, and without having to play Mustang Sally every night. Although Fly me to the Moon comes up more often than i'd like... I see what you are saying about creativity though, and that's important to me as well, but sometimes you do have to take gigs that aren't the most fun/creative for financial reasons. Just like working in an office; you might like certain parts of your job, but you still have to perform other parts that aren't as fun. As you can tell, the second and third tier groups are all playing in bars and clubs; the same as everyone else. This was one of my points earlier; "pros" are most likely playing in the exact same places as you!

Anyways, this is a great thread, and I've enjoyed the discourse! This has been one of the first threads in a while that really grabbed my attention :-)
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com