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  #1  
Old 07-16-2015, 10:57 PM
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Default Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Sure to raise hackles and get some people bent out of shape, but I read this and got quite a laugh from it. We've all read the same versions of the opposite view. This is the first counter argument I've seen.

Begin rant.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Brilliant! That was a great laugh! It also made me think of some uber-pretentious guys I know that this article truly portrays - spot on in some ways.

Thanks Mike, you made my day!
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Being a musician who plays out five or six nights a week, which only brings in a few hundred dollars a month, on top of having to work 40+ hours a week at a day job I hate, I would love to make good money playing drums. But you know what? Things are worth what people are willing to pay. Just like the people who argue on Pawn Stars about how their crap is worth a lot more than the experts are offering, musicians overvalue themselves in the grand scheme of life. There was a period in the latter half of the twentieth century when musicians made money. That was an anomaly. It was a convergence of culture and technology that came and went and will probably never happen again. People think that things should always stay the same as they were when they were young. The aging boomer musicians are bitter that they can't make money anymore. Younger musicians are jealous the the boomers were able to make money in the past. That period of history is over. Things are now going back to the way they were for most of history. You play music because you love it, and you figure out another way to eat.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

So true on so many levels! Loved it!
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2015, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Then he makes you a dish made of chocolate-covered sardines that have been marinating in duck blood for a week, garnished with Pizza Rolls that are frozen in the middle.
ROTFL.....

That really is an accurate description of too many bands.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

He's got some very valid points !!!
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2015, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by DrumDoug View Post
Things are worth what people are willing to pay.
According to that logic, breathable air and drinkable water aren't worth anything. Once they're so polluted we have to pay for them, then they'll have value. But until then, they're worth nothing.
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Old 07-17-2015, 02:37 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Just about everyone in my area is so inept at business that I doubt any enterprise they launch makes money. Musicians are no different.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2015, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
According to that logic, breathable air and drinkable water aren't worth anything. Once they're so polluted we have to pay for them, then they'll have value. But until then, they're worth nothing.
Why does that surprise?

"Having economic value" is not the same as "being essential for life". Having economic value means that the price mechanism is necessary to ration the available supply.
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Old 07-17-2015, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Another one who's not handling his lack of talent very gracefully. As clickbait, I give it a C+. Not the worst example of the genre I've seen, not good either. I was waiting for him to turn it around to make some kind of positive message about being better artists and businessmen, like a "tough love" thing, but no-- he obviously knows jack squat about either, and he just wants to beat up on people doing what he wants to be doing.
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

I don't really care about getting paid. Not because I feel like musicians don't deserve to make money with their music, but because I don't want my music to feel like a job. I'd rather feel like I can express myself without the limitations of being accessible in order to make as much money as possible. That being said, I wouldn't mind having a bit of additional income.
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by DrumDoug View Post
There was a period in the latter half of the twentieth century when musicians made money. That was an anomaly. It was a convergence of culture and technology that came and went and will probably never happen again. People think that things should always stay the same as they were when they were young. The aging boomer musicians are bitter that they can't make money anymore. Younger musicians are jealous the the boomers were able to make money in the past. That period of history is over. Things are now going back to the way they were for most of history. You play music because you love it, and you figure out another way to eat.
The music business is awash in money. Why are musicians the only part of it who should not expect to be paid?
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

His arguments don't account for the fact that some people are talented and make good music that people want to hear. Those people make money, and deservedly so. If there is an audience for your music then people will pay to hear it. I never understood musicians I used to play with complaining that the audience never got their music if a crowd wasn't into the band at a gig. They could never get past their own self centered view on things and consider the possibility that perhaps their performance wasn't as great as it seemed to them in their own mind.
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

That whole thing was entirely devoid of any rational thought. It's like a 12 year old ranting about something he thinks he knows, but is totally clueless about.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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That whole thing was entirely devoid of any rational thought. It's like a 12 year old ranting about something he thinks he knows, but is totally clueless about.
Isn't that the point? It's just a tease.

Turn back the clock a few million years ... a bored primate decides to flip a banana skin at another as a lark. More or less the same thing.
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  #16  
Old 07-17-2015, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

I'll say it again, I thought it was totally funny, and true on alot of levels. And seriously, sometimes, as Drumdoug just said, people overvalue themselves, and that's where the problem lies. We're so self-centered as a society that the common attitude is; "This can't suck because I've decided to do it" when in reality, deciding to do something doesn't make you great at it. I like playing ukulele, but I still suck at it, you know?
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Very funny, but he misses the point on a few issues. Music's value is purely it ability to entertain. If people pay to see a band or singer perform it is to be entertained, the critical quality of the music has nothing to do with it. Spice Girls anyone?

Good or bad music is personal choice, in escence there is no such thing. He is right about the so called dedicated muso. Just cos you spend 10 hours a day for 10 years practicing, it is no guarantee you will turn out a creative and inventive musician that people want to pay money to listen to.

There again, the public wants what the public gets, to paraphrase The Jam. Take X Factor (please) Because an act wins X Factor a large proportion of the music buying public percieve it to be good "It won X Factor so it must be good" and they buy it, guaranteeing a number one every Xmas.
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

[quote=Matt Bo Eder;1366292]I'll say it again, I thought it was totally funny, and true on alot of levels. And seriously, sometimes, as Drumdoug just said, people overvalue themselves, and that's where the problem lies. We're so self-centered as a society that the common attitude is; "This can't suck because I've decided to do it" when in reality, deciding to do something doesn't make you great at it. I like playing ukulele, but I still suck at it, you know? i'll pitch in for a Uke tune.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

So why is Kanye West so wealthy then?
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  #20  
Old 07-17-2015, 12:55 PM
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So why is Kanye West so wealthy then?
Who ever said he was a musician to begin with?
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  #21  
Old 07-17-2015, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Erberderber View Post
So why is Kanye West so wealthy then?
Because, as has already been said, its about percieved entertainment value not percieved quality. Some are entertained by Mr West, so they pay. Its like any work, you dont get what you deserve you get what you negotiate.
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  #22  
Old 07-17-2015, 03:46 PM
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Being a musician who plays out five or six nights a week, which only brings in a few hundred dollars a month...
Jesus! Where in god's name do you live that you can get that much work but no pay?!

I'm in the northeast, and there's plenty of work (I typically play 4-5 times a week), but most places here pay a decent wage, and many of the musicians up here don't need to work additional jobs. If you're playing 20 gigs a month and only making a couple hundred dollars, that means around $10 per gig?!!!
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  #23  
Old 07-17-2015, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

I won't pack the van for less than a Hundy.

I'm worth that. Thankfully, my band plays mostly decent gigs and pay is not an issue.

I love to play for free but I get paid to show up.
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  #24  
Old 07-17-2015, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Economics is all about supply and demand.

"Economic value" is the price of something. Despite how it sounds, it has nothing to do with actual "value". Air has extremely high demand but because the supply is virtually unlimited, the price is $0.00.

It's the same with music. There's a huge supply of good musicians, so the price is low. Only truly brilliant musicians can expect to make a living on their art alone.

Entertainers, on the other hand, are always in short supply. How many people can entertain a crowd of 10,000 people or more? That has little to do with how good a musician or dancer or actor they are. They can be quite mediocre as artists, and still be successful entertainers. Especially if their target audience is people who aren't really interested in art, but just want to be distracted. Being an entertainer is all about the ability to cultivate a cult of personality around oneself. That's how you get rich.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Many "musicians" out and out suck. Period.

Do you want a quality live band? You pay for quality or you plug an electronic device into a PA and listen to that.
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  #26  
Old 07-17-2015, 05:30 PM
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You pay for quality or you plug an electronic device into a PA and listen to that.
I don't get the argument. If anything, the people who plug in a karaoke machine and start yelling over top of it seem to be making more money than actual musicians. Even if they're lip syncing.
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
... a bored primate decides to flip a banana skin at another as a lark. More or less the same thing.
Totally Grea, I love it when you write sentences like that! I think that was the point of his article (and the point of me posting it here? lol), but I got the impression that he wasn't entirely swayed by the memes that have been making the rounds. And I haven't been entirely convinced by their logic either.

Thing is, is that it's all about revenue - as in, how much does your band generate revenue? Sure, you play to a bar full of 50 people, but how many of those people did your band bring in vs how many would have been there anyway? A bar owner is under no obligation to open his books to you so you can negotiate "what's fair". He's got his own bills to pay, and he's arguably taking on more risk than the bands.

It really has nothing to do with "how good you are"; it's about how much revenue your band generates. If you can demonstrate that your band has a loyal following that will consistently show up at your gigs, then you're in a position to negotiate. Until then ...

I'm a firm believer in fair-play and if my band's generating revenue, then yeah, I want what's due. But I've also been at this long enough to realize that the bands I've chosen to be in, and most of the bands my friends play in, don't generate much. I'm okay with that because for me, it's not about being a business nearly as much as it's about being part of a creative process.

It's also an entirely relevant point to mention that my experiences have only been with bands that write, record, and perform original material. If I was going the cover band or standards route, playing weddings and corporate functions, I'm sure I'd feel differently because that really is a different model, and one where business considerations are the primary driver. That is a job.

I think the writer of that article was conflating the different models used by original and cover bands, applying the cover band's expectation of getting paid to the original band's motive of producing new music.

But I have seen people go the original band route expecting to hit the big time and get rich only to get discouraged by the reality of it and quit. Those are the ones I think the writer was targeting and the ones I don't have much sympathy for either.

Play because you love it and accept whatever pay that comes your way - smartly sticking up for yourself based on a realistic interpretation of what's fair, and not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy about superstardom, mountains of cocaine, and a pack of hookers.

But whatever money you make, it's only about your ability to actually generate it to begin with, and nothing to do with society owing musicians a living.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:09 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
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But whatever money you make, it's only about your ability to actually generate it to begin with, and nothing to do with society owing musicians a living.
This is absolutely true, being a musician is pretty much the same as any job out there. Except instead of fixing a pipe, or building a house, you are entertaining an audience. That audience could be a function, or your own fans, or the patrons at a bar; you're hired to entertain them.

If you aren't entertaining the audience, or there is no audience, you're probably not going to get hired again. I know some places want you to bring fans, but most places just hire the entertainment for their own people and to grab people in off the street. Just like any other job, if you can't perform then you don't get hired again. No one owes you anything; you have to earn it. The same way that someone starting out as a plumber has to earn it. You start out at the bottom and work your way up (or don't).

In terms of money it doesn't matter if you are creative or not; it's all about the entertainment value. If people like the product you're selling then you get paid. If no one is interested or if it's too niche then you either need to charge niche prices or get a grant from the government. No one deserves to be paid, they have to earn it by perfoming their job, a musician's job is no different.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by GeoB View Post
Many "musicians" out and out suck. Period.
Doesn't f___n' matter. If you're doing a service, and someone wants to hire you, you get paid.

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Originally Posted by TMe View Post
Economics is all about supply and demand.

"Economic value" is the price of something. Despite how it sounds, it has nothing to do with actual "value". Air has extremely high demand but because the supply is virtually unlimited, the price is $0.00.

It's the same with music. There's a huge supply of good musicians, so the price is low. Only truly brilliant musicians can expect to make a living on their art alone.
Not true, doesn't f___n' matter even if it was. Working musicians are not necessarily the best musicians or best artists-- they're people who are reasonably well-presented, who know how to network, or who have gotten lucky with their connections. Some of them are great, some of them are special in some limited way, some of them are mediocre.

In re: supply and demand, it doesn't f___n' matter. If you're doing a service for a rich person, business, corporation, or organization, you get paid just like all the other businesses servicing them: appropriately for a skilled professional, according to what you negotiate given the budget of the event/enterprise. They don't want the rabble of musicians who value their time and labor at $0/hour, they want professionals. If there's a lot of competition, maybe it makes those gigs harder to get, and maybe it depresses pay slightly, but it doesn't drive the value of professional services to zero.

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Originally Posted by Blisco View Post
I won't pack the van for less than a Hundy.

I'm worth that. Thankfully, my band plays mostly decent gigs and pay is not an issue.

I love to play for free but I get paid to show up.
Yes. All you battered wives convinced of your lack of value need to tattoo this on your thigh, or something. Put it somewhere where you can see it every day.

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
Its like any work, you dont get what you deserve you get what you negotiate.
Yes.

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Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
And seriously, sometimes, as Drumdoug just said, people overvalue themselves, and that's where the problem lies. We're so self-centered as a society that the common attitude is; "This can't suck because I've decided to do it" when in reality, deciding to do something doesn't make you great at it. I like playing ukulele, but I still suck at it, you know?
Don't care, doesn't f___n' matter. Your house is full of mediocre, unnecessary products made by people who overvalue themselves-- half of the people selling you products and providing you services are trying to figure out how to make you pay them every month until you die, they are so self-centered. Dedicating yourself to music full time is an inherently an unrealistic, selfish, self-indulgent thing, so you really have a problem with the fact of being a musician. This is your personal moral hangup, and has nothing to do with business.

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His arguments don't account for the fact that some people are talented and make good music that people want to hear. Those people make money, and deservedly so. If there is an audience for your music then people will pay to hear it. I never understood musicians I used to play with complaining that the audience never got their music if a crowd wasn't into the band at a gig. They could never get past their own self centered view on things and consider the possibility that perhaps their performance wasn't as great as it seemed to them in their own mind.
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2015, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Within the first few sentences, I knew exactly why kind of person writing this must be like.

A Douche... and I mean that as a term of endearment.

Of late, I see all kinds of writings and comments like this. I think they are called trolls?

Nonetheless.... dismissed the author immediately. I don't have time for this nonsense.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:16 PM
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Within the first few sentences, I knew exactly why kind of person writing this must be like.

A Douche... and I mean that as a term of endearment.

Of late, I see all kinds of writings and comments like this. I think they are called trolls?

Nonetheless.... dismissed the author immediately. I don't have time for this nonsense.
As an accomplished troll myself, seeing whatever that was referred to as 'trolling' simply hurts physically. I'm sticking with my original assessment. The author is a 12 year old who is sure he knows how things work, but every word he writes or says is utter stupidity. It wasn't funny. It wasn't coherent enough to upset me, and it made so little sense that I couldn't even pay attention enough to read it all.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:36 PM
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Jesus! Where in god's name do you live that you can get that much work but no pay?!
If you count church, I'm in four bands. Two times a week at church. That's free. Two times a month at a venue that pays $40 plus free food and drinks. One to three gigs a weekend that pay between $50 and $80. Two nights rehearsing with two of the bands. Free. About half rehearsals for free and half gigging for pay. I make about $300 to $500 a month. But it's what I love doing so I put up with having to have a day job.
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Old 07-17-2015, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

I've seen this piece linked to by bar owners.

I wonder if it reflects how some bar owners view the world, or if they were just goofing.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:10 PM
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I've seen this piece linked to by bar owners.

I wonder if it reflects how some bar owners view the world, or if they were just goofing.
Man, it's a real shot to my ego when drug dealers tell me that I overvalue my services. Not! ;-)
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

Very happy to see so many on this forum agreeing with the premise of the article. And very entertained to see so many angered by it.

A note to those who are trying to compare playing music with 'other professional services' (plumbing, etc.): people make the call to plumbers (usually pleading with them to come as soon as they can). 99% of bands make the call to the clubs (usually pleading with them to find a 30-minute slot that they can wedge themselves into). Who's really in a position to negotiate here?

I've needed a plumber several times in my life, but for the life of me, I can't remember the last time I 'needed' a group of four musicians playing their original compositions. (I have, however, found myself often trying to ESCAPE four musicians playing their original compositions.) Demand = monetary value. End of story.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:35 PM
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I don't get the argument. If anything, the people who plug in a karaoke machine and start yelling over top of it seem to be making more money than actual musicians. Even if they're lip syncing.
I lived through Disco and the ensuing rise of the DJ's. To this day I don't go out to see DJ's - I go out to see live music.

DJ's/Bar owners put so many good cover bands out of business starting in the 70's it is incalculable. The unions didn't even help out, they just started unionizing DJ's! Thankfully copy write houses stepped up and assumed the role of royalty enforcement (to a degree). But... unscrupulous venue owners side step that process easily.

and furthermore... What is up with a band paying a club so your band can get on stage and play? That's insane!
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Last edited by GeoB; 07-17-2015 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:37 PM
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:44 PM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
ROTFL.....

That really is an accurate description of too many bands.
True, everybody thinks they're great! Just look at the Match dot com type of sites. They all claim to be "good-looking", when in fact, it just isn't the case. I'd venture to say most are very plain and average (whatever that is).
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Very happy to see so many on this forum agreeing with the premise of the article. And very entertained to see so many angered by it.
I can't speak for the others, but it takes a better writer than this guy to make me angry. But the things people have brought up here are legitimate. And I don't know why people being angry about putting food on their table would make you happy. That's kind of antisocial. Maybe join a men's group, or something.

Quote:
A note to those who are trying to compare playing music with 'other professional services' (plumbing, etc.): people make the call to plumbers (usually pleading with them to come as soon as they can). 99% of bands make the call to the clubs (usually pleading with them to find a 30-minute slot that they can wedge themselves into). Who's really in a position to negotiate here?
Right, doing business with people who refuse to pay anyone, and who don't care who they get, is stupid.

Quote:
I've needed a plumber several times in my life, but for the life of me, I can't remember the last time I 'needed' a group of four musicians playing their original compositions.
LOL, sure, you only take your entire online identity from the member of a band which, last time I checked, plays original compositions. Did you ever buy an AC/DC record, or do you just like the way the syllables of his name roll off the tongue, or do you like the way Phil Rudd looks, or what?

And of course, all music is original to somebody, whether it's played by them, or a cover band, whoever.

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Demand = monetary value. End of story.
No, a contract = monetary value. Macro issues like demand are not my problem.
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Last edited by toddbishop; 07-17-2015 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

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Originally Posted by GeoB View Post
Many "musicians" out and out suck. Period.

Are you referring to your every day "bedroom" musician, weekend warrior and the bands that think they're good or are you referring to professional musicians such as, say, Clapton, Vince Gill, James Burton, Joe Walsh and drummers like Tutt, Baker, Moon, or bands like The Eagles, Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc.

I say the pros deserve to get paid because they have done what it takes to get paid what they get paid - which is probably much more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. However, there are some "weekend warrior" musicians out there who do suck but they still wind up getting some good gigs that I would love to get.

All that being said, disregard what I just said because I think I do see what you're getting at. You're referring to musicians who actually do suck but think that what they play is so awesome and amazing that everybody wants to hear them. :)
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Why Musicians DON'T Deserve to Get Paid

This guy makes a living lampooning others. Looks like he pissed a few people off.

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rft...i_was_dead.php

I got a slight chuckle out of the article but skimmed more than I read. Thought is was a waste of time.

I make decent money per gig with a local cover band usually $100 and up per gig, sometimes less and next to nothing with my original band which is a labor of love for me.
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