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  1. #1

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    Posts about money seem to come up often. I contemplate the ideas discussed often. In my town, low gigs pay about $20/hr, high about $1000/hr. I've seen quite a few people play for free. And I've seen others get mad about that. The puzzling thing for me is that there is no analogy to this in other fields. Engineers don't build bridges for free. Therapists don't therap for free. Teachers don't teach for free. Custodians don't clean for free.
    I think the difference is that playing music is fun. More fun than the vast majority of jobs. So much fun that most musicians will train for that job for decades without ever having an expectation of making money from it. They will actually pay other people to train them for that job that they will never make money from.
    This problem will never go away unless playing guitar becomes no fun anymore.

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  3. #2

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    Well, people who actually make a living from playing music ain't playing for free. That's the hobbyists.

    Like you said, playing music in front of people can be fun. It's actually a little less fun sometimes when it's your sole source of income, it can be pretty stressful in that context. But it still beats say, plumbing, as a hobby.

  4. #3

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    Professionals like architects many times "audition" for free. Requests for proposals usually involve an overhead marketing budget. I have worked on them and they can go into the tens (and not just two) of thousands of dollars. If we get the work it ain't going to get done for free though. If the stars align our fees end up covering the previous expenditures to get the work. The stars don't always align with either getting the work or paying for the effort though.

    I don't think that the issue of "fun" has much to do with getting paid. Getting paid is about competition and the devaluation of the service. If someone can play better than me (a lot of people can) then they probably deserve to be paid more than what I would get. If someone who plays decently plays for free then they devalue the service. Everyone will expect someone decent to play for free. Then none of us get paid what we deserve.

  5. #4

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    We have a musician in our area that recruits other musicians to perform at a fundraiser. That in itself is not an issue I do fundraisers all the time.

    The issue for me is it is a fundraiser for a summer concert series where he hires and pays musicians from out of the area.

    Am I missing something in finding this insulting to local musicians?

  6. #5

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    Every service provider competes on price, except, presumably, for a few who are so highly valued that they can name their own price.

    Managed care beat down the prices of therapists, doctors and other health care providers. A similar dynamic applied -- some took the lower rates and others were irritated by that.

    Custodial services complete on price and quality, same as many musicians. But, as the OP stated, there aren't custodians working for free. Then again, playing music for an audience is more fun than cleaning an office building at night - which is the explanation.

    It seems to me that the only solution for the individual musician is to be worth the money. In most situations that means attracting paying customers.

  7. #6

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    People teach for free. A lot of people provide free educational content on youtube, forums, personal websites etc. only small percentage of them have some long term business expectations.

    Technically any educational content posted on this forum is undercutting professional musicians who rely on publishing teaching material and selling enough copies to earn income. But again they have to be able to favorably compete with the quality of the free material to justify the price of the paid content. No different than musicians who rely on gig income competing with musicians who are willing to play for free.

    Free online material is probably is even more harmful as some amateur musicians are lead to believe that they can just learn music on youtube without having to take private lessons.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-29-2020 at 09:10 PM.

  8. #7

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    All professionals (even lawyers) offer/donate free services (also known as "pro bono"). Some of them even "retire" and then continue working in the community without reimbursement. Obviously, it's not common otherwise we would not be having this discussion.

  9. #8

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    Some musicians (like myself) do free gigs only transitionally until (hopefully one day) they have sufficient experience playing with higher level players that they feel they can charge for jazz gigs. Much like volunteers in many professional industries.

    Programmers do free work too. There is an enormous body of open source software available for free that are arguably more essential to most people than catching live music at the local bar.

    If a fresh graduate applying for a programming gig at my company says they have no experience with large scale code yet. They are asked why they didn't try contributing to a significant open source project to gain that experience. Needless to say they don't get a second interview.

  10. #9

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    Hi, Mittens,
    Everytime a musician plays for free, he diminishes, if not eliminates the potential income for a pro. The reasons are multi-varied and really not important. The issue is: don't play for free. I had a very well paying job in a very upscale bistro in the 2000's playing mostly Classical. For a 3 hour tuxedo gig(45 on/15 off) including tips I made between $275-$350. a night cash. I played two nights a week. When I moved out of state, I heard from a friend that a piano player had the gig. He was new to the area and when he heard I left, he asked for the job. When the owners asked him how much he wanted an hour, he said $10.00. If he was popular, he could make $50. to $100. in tips. That job, although not free, was ruined forever. Don't play for free. Don't play for peanuts unless you're an elephant.
    Good playing . . .Marinero

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mittens
    Posts about money seem to come up often. I contemplate the ideas discussed often. In my town, low gigs pay about $20/hr, high about $1000/hr. I've seen quite a few people play for free. And I've seen others get mad about that. The puzzling thing for me is that there is no analogy to this in other fields. Engineers don't build bridges for free. Therapists don't therap for free. Teachers don't teach for free. Custodians don't clean for free.
    I've been a software engineer or manager of software engineers for 23 years (I'm 43). I go through phases of coding outside of work, but in general, I find coding fun, and often have coded for "fun" outside my day job, for no pay at all. There are lots of open source contributors in my field that do the same thing. People often code on the weekend for fun.

    The other big job in my industry is selling software. no one sells software on the weekend for fun, ever.

    I can't explain it other than some occupations are more well suited than others for doing things for fun, and music, thankfully, happens to be fun.

    To me, these days, I'm more surprised by the attitude that music needs to be a profession wherein "pros" are somehow entitled to make a living playing gigs, and the rest of us should just, I dunno, stay home? there's a post further down the thread that appeals to people to not play for free or cheap. The longer I am on the internet, the less I understand this kind of sentiment. People are gonna do whatever they find enjoyable, and that's gonna include playing jazz for free or very cheaply. If that "undercuts the market", well, maybe it wasn't such a good market to begin with.

    My experience, in playing gigs for more than 25 years, is that for most places that have live music, the quality of that music matters very little, and thus, there will always be lots of gigs that pay little to nothing and there will always be lots of musicians that will play these gigs for little to nothing. Your local jazz club does not need to have Herbie Hancock on piano every night for people to enjoy their evening and buy some drinks.

    Obviously, a post like this is the equivalent of trying to fight the sea with a sword, but somehow I feel better after typing this . I play gigs for relatively cheap and occasionally for free (if I'm leading the band I'll take no pay to pay other members the max I can) and I'm fine with that. I certainly play on a "professional" level and I haven't found a lot of correlation between musical skill and willingness to take a bad gig. The other week, my friend, who hosts a jam session had one of the best tenor sax players in the world guest the session, a name everyone here would know, and, it was lightly attended and no one made any money. The tenor player had a free night, likes to play, and didn't seem to care about the money, either.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, Mittens,
    Everytime a musician plays for free, he diminishes, if not eliminates the potential income for a pro. The reasons are multi-varied and really not important. The issue is: don't play for free. I had a very well paying job in a very upscale bistro in the 2000's playing mostly Classical. For a 3 hour tuxedo gig(45 on/15 off) including tips I made between $275-$350. a night cash. I played two nights a week. When I moved out of state, I heard from a friend that a piano player had the gig. He was new to the area and when he heard I left, he asked for the job. When the owners asked him how much he wanted an hour, he said $10.00. If he was popular, he could make $50. to $100. in tips. That job, although not free, was ruined forever. Don't play for free. Don't play for peanuts unless you're an elephant.
    Good playing . . .Marinero
    Paying gigs aren't that fragile. They don't disappear because someone came along and was willing to work for less. Venue owners who pay for musicians aren't that dumb. They get musicians contact them all the time. Some ask to play for free, some for peanuts. It's not like they don't know that they can find musicians who would play for less or nothing. All well paid gigs would have been gone by now if there was no real value for paying well for the more accomplished musicians.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-30-2020 at 10:51 AM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mittens
    This problem will never go away unless playing guitar becomes no fun anymore.


    Seriously, ladies and germs:

    I want to get paid. If I'm not having fun---and I usually do---at least there's that.

    We must view ourselves as professionals---even those here for whom music is a sideline. What you said about all the other professions and their practitioners is 100% on the, er, money. I always tell people: doctors get paid---and well. What I do is as healing, possibly more. Pay me a fair rate so I can pay my bills. Getting paid and being creative are not mutually exclusive. So don't let's fall into that trap.

    There are exceptions, of course: I don't really want to do door gigs anymore, but if we're talking about a creative project, especially my own---that will expose my compositions especially in a worthwhile venue---of course I'll take a hit. Ex: I'm paying a singer to come learn my tunes for an upcoming gig----it's the decent thing to do.

    But for the quotidian, everyday gig---pay me. And I hope everyone here is getting paid...

  14. #13

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    seeing the title, "The Value of a Musician" I thought it was his artistic value, that of his work. I was wrong, it had nothing to do with it. A bit like talking about a painter's work and the price of his paintings on the art market

    I have on the question a philosophy of art, and I distinguish on the one hand the fact that an artist has to earn a living and on the other hand the quality of his work or possibly his genius. In other words, a work of art as such has no commercial value, and its commercial value is not rationally related to its artistic value, but to demand in the art market. The most in-demand musicians are the highest paid, which depends on the music they make and its success at any given time, the sales of records, the number of tickets to his concerts, and we know that it has only a distant connection with the quality of his music , it is the entertainment and cultural industry market. In Japan different words are used to talk about real artists

    as a manufactured object, a painting is worth only the price of brushes, canvas, paint tubes, and time spent. From this point of view, a bad painting of a Sunday painter is as expensive as Mona Lisa. That's a bit of what we're talking about in the Gear section

    for me, the work of art is priceless, it is not 'free', it is a work-subject, a performative relationship between the work and the one who listens to it, looks at it, reads it. My reference is poetry, because at least we know one thing, poetry books are almost unread, and do not bring money to poets. Poetry is unsellable, that's what makes it strong in this world where everything sells. As a poet, I have no value, I am only a worker in the service of my work

    but I'm off topic, as usual

  15. #14

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    " All well paid gigs would have been gone by now if there was no real value for paying well for the more accomplished musicians." Tal


    Hi, Tal,
    Most of the well paid gigs ARE gone now with the exception of a handful of names with box office appeal. In the 60's and 70's, my hometown of Chicago had nightclubs, neighborhood bars, theaters and concert venues that paid at least unioin minimum wage for all musicians and the talent was good and the performance opportunities were considerable. Perhaps in NY and Cali this still exists but in Chicago(population 2.7 mil), there are today ,at best, 3 Jazz clubs and none of them are setting attendance records. Most clubs and bars play canned music. So, it is true there are some well paid gigs but it's the number of them that tells the story. The best paying gigs today are weddings. If you can play during the dinner or ceremony(usually Classical), it's worth your while but don't expect to compete with the DJ unless you can play "Proud Mary," "The Chicken Dance," "Bunny Hop," and other deplorable wedding classics guaranteed to dislodge your lunch/dinner. And, if you're a serious musician and are always playing music you hate, it's a rough road to travel. I left full-time playing in the 70's when Disco killed just about everything of value and steady gigs were infrequent at best. However, for the last 50 years, I've been fortunate to pick and chose my jobs and play music I enjoy playing and being paid a respectable fee for my services. The reality is that it is easier to find a Classical gig than a Jazz gig and they pay much better. So, it's another hurdle to leap. In conclusion, if your house was worth 300K in a good market, would you sell it for half? Why give away your talents garnered over a lifetime and study for pennies? No one wins but the buyer. Good playing . . .Marinero

  16. #15

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    Venue owners don't want to pay more than the gig is worth to them financially. If they're paying you $400 for two sets and you bring in an extra $150 in business, that's not worth their while. That's why there is a tendency to have musicians playing for tips only. The purpose of having a musician play in the venue is not to support the art of the music; it's to attract customers and increase revenue. You need to increase their revenue more than they're paying you to make it worth their while. Are you going to be able to do that?

    In addition to hiring you to play in their place of business, they are also paying ASCAP, BMI, etc. licensing fees which are not cheap. They're paying to provide power, possibly a PA, possibly backline in some cases, as well as giving up table space for a stage, etc. We tend to think of them as a******s ripping off the musicians, but for them it is very much a dollars and cents equation. The majority of restaurants don't last a year before going out of business because they're not making enough money to pay their bills and their staff.

  17. #16

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    I know a few - and I know of a lot - of musicians, photographers, writers, and artists who do give away their work for free. I'm of the opinion that the very first valuation of your work is the valuation you assign it yourself - if you think your work is worth nothing, then fine, give it away. But then don't expect anyone else to value it any higher.

    However, most of the people I know who do this, produce pretty good work and I end up arguing with them that it's indeed worth something. But they tell me they "just want to get their stuff out there". It's a hobby, they tell me, they enjoy it, they enjoy sharing their work, and if they want to do that in their spare time / retirement then why shouldn't they? Hard to argue with that, and in my experience the fact they do this - and generally do it for free - hasn't impacted on the professional scene at all. What it has impacted on is the semi-professional scene where a lot of previously paying gigs have turned into open-mics where pubs / bars / cafes now "offer the opportunity" for such people to get their music out to people. An opportunity that is grasped happily by many many people.

    To get around this lack of paying gigs, my band (not jazz) has put on our own shows for a few years now. We hire a theatre, do the promo, etc. and generally have a fun gig, give people a good night out, and - to get back on thread - usually make some money. Doing this is always an option for anyone who wants to get paid for playing their own music and is confident there's a market for what they're doing (if there isn't a market for what you're doing, then sorry, why would you expect to get paid?). You can set the ticket price at whatever level you believe will bring in enough people to cover the theatre / promo / stewards / bar-staff / ticket-office / sound man / light man etc. It's a lot of work to organise, though, and with every passing year, I must confess it gets harder to find the enthusiasm to do all the non-music elements.

    Derek

  18. #17

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    I have started playing jazz gigs in New York in 1989.
    Then I moved to my home town Istanbul in 2006. Now I perform here.
    As far as the value goes, nothing has changed.
    I have changed my perspective though.
    I think it helps so I will share my approach on the subject.

    During 90's we used to play a gig in NYC at place called 1st Street Cafe cor ner of 1st & 1st.
    I think it was Mondays. No pay just tips. Then we lost the gig We heard Nicholas Payton was playing it
    Then I thought it is getting rough here if we are loosing tip gigs to Payton .

    Anyways, in time I have realized that I wanted to be respected for what I have been doing.
    I wanted respect more than anything. It is a hard job to be a jazz musician.
    All this practice and time. Nobody respects this and they see as a cheap entertainer or at least you think they do.
    This is not a good thought. It drains your energy pretty quickly.
    People do this to you because they do not understand what you have to do to play jazz.
    Or, they are not really interested in the amount of work you put in since they do not really like jazz music.
    A lot of people go to place where jazz is played to feel more sophisticated.
    They do not really like jazz.

    I am 53 years old now and I have been doing this since 1984.
    The only solution I can come up with was this.
    I am trying to take jazz, life and myself less seriously.
    Instead of expecting respect and value from other people, I am just thinking about the job I am doing.

    What am I here to do?
    My first job as a musician is to heal the people who come out and listen to me.
    Those people should be able to go home with better feelings than they arrived to my concert.
    This is really important to me.
    This is how I feel most valuable.
    This I take seriously.
    I am trying to find a common ground with what I like and the audience.
    If I play a hard to listen tune, the next song I try to play something more understandable.
    Jazz can get out of hand pretty easy.
    I like "Kind Of Blue" as much as I like "Bitches Brew".

    I think it is very important to clarify personal motivation points ( expectations ) and check them against reality.
    Some club owners will always see you as less valuable than you are.
    If you cannot deal with that, don't play there.
    Or, play if you can manage..

    I am just saying, thinking that you are the center of the world and performing the most important art form in the universe will probably make things worse for you. On the other hand, If you can see yourself as a spiritual healer, and set your priorities to help you, you might be happier.

    This ( jazz ) is not a plan to get rich.
    However, do you really need to get rich?
    Rich people buy new cars and feel good about it for a few days then they need another dose of high.
    We can play a great gig and elevate our spirits along with the audience ( does not matter if there are 2, 5 or 500 people )
    That also last 3-4 days.

    I am trying to play gigs with less pay ( never free ), If I believe the owners mean well and they are doing the best they could.
    I focus on the audience and my playing. In time, audience gets better and the owners reflect that in pay.

    If I am teaching, my first priority is to find a way to teach as well as I can.
    Sometimes 1hr class become 1hr30 min. I do not care.
    That's why I won't teach in a store.
    I do it at my home.
    I also do not book students back to back.
    I always leave room in between.
    Now I have a reputation here and I have a certain demand for my teaching.
    I always have 1 talented pro bono student.
    I try to give since my teachers helped me back in NYC.
    Vic Juris, Cary De Nigris, Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Buster Williams, Doug Weiss.
    All of my teachers helped me as much as they can.
    I am returning the favor to the next generations.
    Teaching minutes pass by really fast when I am looking at it this way.
    Otherwise, I keep counting minutes and it is really tough for me.

    Just my 2c..

  19. #18

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    I knew a painter once. I went to his place one day and the walls were stacked with all his canvases. He was really good too. So I said why don't you exhibit them? They'd sell, no question. He just said he couldn't be bothered, didn't like that kind of thing.

    You hire a plumber, you pay them. You hire a musician, you pay them. Takes longer to become a good musician than it does most professions. But music is entertainment rather than a necessity like plumbing.

    Also music is something to share, unlike plumbing or accountancy. There's a whole different thing round music. Plumbing isn't cultural

    It's hard in the arts.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Plumbing isn't cultural
    Never mind. If you know a good cheap plumber, please let me know*. Not the You-tube kind, please

    * New York City by Lenny Breau

    Is anybody going, to New York City
    If anybody is going, please let me know.
    It seems that lately
    I'm, Missing Toronto
    Where bass is strong and drums are full of fire.

    When Those Days are all gone
    I'm coming to see you, New York city
    If anybody is going, please let me know.

  21. #20

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    If you know a good cheap plumber
    I wouldn't trust a cheap plumber. There are lots of good cheap musicians

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    People teach for free. A lot of people provide free educational content on youtube, forums, personal websites etc. only small percentage of them have some long term business expectations.

    Technically any educational content posted on this forum is undercutting professional musicians who rely on publishing teaching material and selling enough copies to earn income. But again they have to be able to favorably compete with the quality of the free material to justify the price of the paid content. No different than musicians who rely on gig income competing with musicians who are willing to play for free.

    Free online material is probably is even more harmful as some amateur musicians are lead to believe that they can just learn music on youtube without having to take private lessons.
    Getting back to the plumber analogy, by this argument one would also say that free youtube videos is harmful and undercutting to (among others) appliance repair people and auto mechanics. Using a data set of one consumer of DIY videos (me), this is certainly true. But I seriously doubt that this has made a significant dent in the need for such professionals.

    I think the bigger issue is that - except for those relatively rare few at the top - musicians (and other artists) are just not that valued.

  23. #22

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    Where many musicians make a mistake is to NOT keep track of their patrons who give tips or comment on your music. When I play, a tip glass is on my amp, my business cards and a list for patrons to provide their e-mails to be notified for upcoming performances. It takes awhile, but once your established, you can sell yourself to a prospective employer with the guarantee that you WILL bring new customers(not including loyal family members/friends) to their business. And, when they see their bottom line improve that night, you'll be locked in for a job--at least for awhile-- if not long-term. Before leaving Chicago, I could guarantee an owner between 10-15 people on the night I played. Sometimes, many more showed up. And, when an owner sees increased revenue and something that separates his business from his competitors, he's sold. I only play very upscale restaurants, hotels and always play in tuxedo pants/shirt. I play a mix of Classical, Jazz, Bossa, and yes, some old school R&B if the mood is right. I usually offer a 2-3 hour gig: $75.00 cash per hour(45/15) with a minimum 2 hours. If I play a one hour gig--$125.00. NEVER TAKE CHECKS FROM AN INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT OWNER. Always sign a contract with a deposit before the gig. Hotels are never a concern. Good playing . . . Marinero

  24. #23

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    One thing is, music is not as popular as it once was. Especially as a going out to hear music thing. It's the era of the internet and the online thing, gaming, social media etc. This along with everything being more expensive and regulated nowdays are the two main reasons live gigs are less common and less well paid. So less gigging, along with practically no income from recordings these days makes the financial aspect of music much more difficult. Free lessons on the internet also, as inadequate as they usually are..

    There has always been an amateur and a semi pro scene, always will be also. There are cities where today, with music colleges nearby etc, many medium level gigs are done for next to nothing. You have to put in the work, organize, promote, record, network, adapt, etc.. etc.. It ain't easy. But that's what you have to do if you want to play out. Players that are successful have done all that, plus all the wood shedding musical work.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Also music is something to share, unlike plumbing or accountancy. There's a whole different thing round music. Plumbing isn't cultural
    I’m thinking of opening a plumbing club. It’s got to have more chance of success than running a jazz club.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    All professionals (even lawyers) offer/donate free services (also known as "pro bono"). Some of them even "retire" and then continue working in the community without reimbursement. Obviously, it's not common otherwise we would not be having this discussion.
    if I’m working for Bono I’m gonna want a fee. Typical.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    One thing is, music is not as popular as it once was. Especially as a going out to hear music thing. It's the era of the internet and the online thing, gaming, social media etc.
    I have not found this to be true at all. In NY, where I lived most of my life, there was and is a viable live music scene. The venues are doing business, people are coming out. Maybe they're coming not to listen, but to drink, gab w/friends, pick someone up, stare into digital toys, etc.---but they're coming. Philadelphia, where I now live, same thing. Maybe some gigs pay $75, and some $100 or better. But live music (to tie in to your point re the digital world hurting us) will be our salvation. In a live situation, where, unlike in a video, the audience can feel the electricity in the room when the band's into it, and read the body language, etc. you have a chance to make your case---win over a few who came for other reasons and could've cared less about you or your music. That part is on us. And if you're hired to be wallpaper, accept that and act the part---or refuse the job.

    I can think of several places in Philly and NY that have live music of all kinds every night and do business.

    I am troubled about the digital world you allude to. It has just about killed the recording industry. I have a whole other life as a composer, and now have to figure ways to stay ahead of the curve and earn from my songs. Looking into films, commercials, etc. And there has to be a way to use the net, and not just cry about the theft---believe me, I hate it, too.

    There's always a way. We just have to get up a little earlier and work on finding it...

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    if I’m working for Bono I’m gonna want a fee. Typical.
    Or at least a night with Cher.

  29. #28

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    If your playing is so valuable, keep all the money yourself. Rent a place, or even your home, advertise, and charge admission. You should be able to make money that way. We used to do exactly that back in the '60s - rent the VFW or American Legion hall, charge admission at the door, and while we didn't get rich, we made money. But this was in a very small town with no other entertainment, and word of mouth was sufficient advertisement. If you insist on being paid handsomely, that's fine, you take whatever jobs you can get at your rates. But getting angry at others who are willing to take less is wrong, IMO, because if the venue isn't willing to pay your price, then nobody will make any money at all. Music is art, not a product, and comparing musicians and plumbers is like comparing apples and broccoli. They are not even similar, much less the same. In order to get paid for performing, the person who pays you has to make a profit on the deal, at least a little bit. If you're not making money for him, your worth is zero, no matter how well you play. A place that lets musicians play for tips and perhaps a meal isn't going to pay anyone hundreds of dollars per night to play, no matter how good they are. Most just hope to make a few hundred in profit each night, and often don't even make that much. There is a lot of overhead in restaurants, etc, and profit is almost always a shaky risk. So if you're such a great musician that you deserve to be paid well to play, do it yourself and cut out the middle-man and everyone else, and make the money on your own. But it ain't that easy, as I'm sure everyone knows. And bitching about people playing for less is not a productive remedy.

  30. #29

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    GIUSEPPE LOGAN, Tompkins Square Park, New-York

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    GIUSEPPE LOGAN, Tompkins Square Park, New-York
    I bet he is in the 99th percentile of jazz musician income earned strictly from performance.

  32. #31
    There have been a lot of insightful posts here.
    I suppose the angle I am trying to get at is that 'years honing your craft' is fun. That's the problem. Because it's fun, a ton of people do it. Thus, there is an overabundance of supply for the amount of demand. Trying to 'price-fix' the market isn't going to work.
    In his autobiography, Buddy Guy mentions that he always kept a second income - even at his most popular. . .

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by mittens
    Buddy Guy mentions that he always kept a second income - even at his most popular
    That's bad. He took the money from the really "professional" bluesmen

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    That's bad. He took the money from the really "professional" bluesmen
    well at least it gave them something to sing about.

  35. #34

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    there's the classic story of the rolling stones...after making it with satisfaction..they went into chess studios in chicago to cut some tracks...and they look around and see a guy painting the ceiling of the studio..muddy waters!!!

    this tale has been debated...but the point is there..and entirely possible!!

    buddy guy was about as professional a bluesman as ever lived.despite what else he had to to for money...moreso probably!!

    cheers

    ps- great, but bittersweet, to see the pic of giuseppe logan ^...he went from playing in town hall nyc..leading his own band...to playing in tompkins sq for loose change...(i remember that story)...he was highly regarded amongst his peers

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    GIUSEPPE LOGAN, Tompkins Square Park, New-York
    Hopefully that's about a convenient place to practice. And, why not get paid while you practice... I hope that's what's happening in that picture. Otherwise, forget about being a professional jazz musician.

  37. #36

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    This party of the story had to do with drugs mostly, something the younger generation hopefully mostly stays away from.

  38. #37

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    depends if you view poverty as the result of drug use, or drug use the result of poverty!

    having grown up in that time and around that area..tompkins sq park lower east side nyc...

    cheers

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I’m thinking of opening a plumbing club. It’s got to have more chance of success than running a jazz club.
    The pipes, the pipes are cal-ling

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    depends if you view poverty as the result of drug use, or drug use the result of poverty!
    Some truth in both of these I reckon, especially in the ghettos of the era.. He was a musician that hurt himself and his career a lot with the whole drug thing. Always a sad thing to see happening, whether the person is famous or not..

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    This party of the story had to do with drugs mostly, something the younger generation hopefully mostly stays away from.
    I was quite serious in saying elsewhere that I was going to play on a bench in the parks near my home. It's a great situation to play with a random audience, preferably acoustic without amp, without looper, etc. There we are able to do what we are capable of, alone with a guitar. It's not a problem of professionalism, but of competence
    Last edited by Patlotch; 01-31-2020 at 03:21 AM.

  42. #41

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    Musicians were never valued really much in average.

    In Renaissance or Baroque or Classical periods they often depended on particular patron and after he was gone (through death or political changes) the artists often fell into poverty had to travel an dto apply for a jb at the churches or courts.
    'Job market' was often overcrowded with high levele professionals. On had to be really exceptional at his skills plus had to be good in society.
    In many cases position of 'choire master' or 'music director' at the court was considered to be a secondary one. Even prominant musicans and composers like Haydn had to combine it with another administrative or political role that was considered to be more substantial.
    Monteverdi got more or less stable income only in Venice but those days Venice was more an exception.

    Later in baroque period the opera became probably the first showbusiness enterprise that couled have been covered completed by direct income (in Italy and Ebgland at least, a bit different it was in France and Germany)... that put leading composers and musicns and teachers in actual business competition: one day stars and authoritive masters like Alessandro Scarlatti could end their lives in total poverty brrowing money from their succesful operatic singers students.

    Romantic period brought forward the idea of an artist per se. But it did not bring much money for some exceptions like Liszt for example.
    In Italy opera vera continued to be kind 'hollywood' of its days (which does not exclude greatness of music of Verdi and Pusccini) - it dedpended not only on rich people but also on the audience, they were pupular among people too who could visit theaters.

    But in general it always depended on the rich educated minority (bourgoisie or aristocracy).


    Jazz came up later as a music from mass culture, and it came to life in a country whwere business and economic efficience was considered as estremely important - it music of the majority on relatively open market.

    But it evolved into elitist music which was accepted in the other coutries oveseas where the attitude to art was not so much commercially stipulated.

    I am sure that art should be supported, it cannot exist today as business in the open market.


    People just should admit and accept that not everything should be sold and bought.
    Not everything is valued by its market value in money.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, Mittens,
    Everytime a musician plays for free, he diminishes, if not eliminates the potential income for a pro.

    Why should an amatuer that gets pleasure from playing for free give a shit about the pro?



    It's a free market. If you can't get paid doing what you're doing then it's not the fault of the amateur, but due to the fact that you don't bring enough to the table that would warrent a pay. Simple as that.

    If I with my shitty chops can take a gig away from you then it might say more about you than me.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Why should an amatuer that gets pleasure from playing for free give a shit about the pro? It's a free market...
    between professional musicians, they compete with each other to find a job, just like the proletarians opposite the boss, and the bosses between them, a remark Karl Marx made. There is a priori no class solidarity between professional musicians, except to obtain common benefits. Example in France, the status of "intermittent du spectacle". With a certain number of hours of work reported, artists receive unemployment benefits. When we played my compositions, deposited at SACEM, my professional friend counted hours. This earned him more than the salary for the gig
    Last edited by Patlotch; 01-31-2020 at 05:23 AM.

  45. #44

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    Unless you are buying a ticket for a seat to see a favorite musician, people have no value for musicians. They don't care if some hack is playing lousy shit for free in some bar or restaurant. Just don't play louder than the ballgame they're watching on TV.

  46. #45

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    Music and performance is my hobby. I don't expect to make back the 10's of thousands I've spent on gear. Nor do I think all of those hundreds of hours (thousands?) I've spent learning will be financially rewarded. That has never been an expectation. So while some of us with an amateur standing have become good enough to perform, there's no real money in it. Jazz performance won't pay for a decent apartment and bills in a big US city much less what it takes for a family. Not hard to figure out so I'm not sympathetic. We all have to work for a living and that means a real job.

    I'll volunteer if I feel like it. A Sunday market with friends. The public art gallery or library. The coffee shop when I'm in the mood to get out. Am I taking $25 an hour from some poor musician? Dunno. But if I am, good. They will be a whole lot better off becoming a plumber.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Unless you are buying a ticket for a seat to see a favorite musician, people have no value for musicians. They don't care if some hack is playing lousy shit for free in some bar or restaurant. Just don't play louder than the ballgame they're watching on TV.
    Yes, that's why I'm dubious about the videos of Ted Greene or Ron Eschete in a coffee room, and the pleasure of ChristianM to hear the sound of conversations. Certainly on a recording, it gives the atmosphere, the realism of the situation for the worse and the best, but finally me, when I was playing in these conditions, it did not amuse me at all that the audience does not listen to us. That's one of the reasons I just stopped clowning for people who don't care completely music. Beyond a certain lack of elementary respect from the part of the audience, continuing was a lack of respect by myself of my requirements. It's a matter of principle, not to think of yourself as someone who deserves silence as Keith Jarrett demands

    the boppers had sort of pulled jazz out of its mire in American commercial music, making bebop concert music. This did not mean annoying the audience, but being at the level of classical music. So, of course, today Charlie Parker is heard as ambient music in supermarkets. There is no reason to accept the reverse movement and make concessions, unless you absolutely need money

  48. #47

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    But I'd expect people to talk in a bar, coffee house or restaurant. Live music is background music, it's supposed to enhance their evening, especially soft jazz. It's not a silent concert hall.

    To expect a restaurant or coffee room to go silent, stunned by the sheer genius of the performance, would be arrogance, in my view. Also, it's not what the music is there for; it's not its purpose.

    If by chance a room full of diners or coffee bar customers did stop talking to each other and listen enraptured to your music you can count yourself very, very lucky. And very good :-)

  49. #48

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    I remember once there was a concert by Jan Garbarek to a large audience of students. No one there could question the authenticity of the music. But no one there will forget the fact that they just came on, totally ignored the audience, never once looked at them or acknowledged their presence, played, then walked off again. And ignored calls for an encore.

    It wasn't cool, it wasn't hip, it was just rude. A lot of the talk afterwards was about that, I seem to recall, rather than the music. So I guess it works both ways.

    However, by 2013 he seems to have learnt his lesson!


  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I’m thinking of opening a plumbing club. It’s got to have more chance of success than running a jazz club.
    Do plumbers on plumbing forums mostly talk about gear or about how to fix leaky pipes?

    "I just bought a 1954 Ridgid pipe threader. All original. I'm going to mod it with titanium dies for better tone."

    The value of a musician-s-l1000-jpg

  51. #50

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    The reason many of us bailed from full-time music at some point was that ,even in the good times, it was very difficult to make a GOOD(decent) living. If a musician wanted a family, house and life in a safe neighborhood, he had to have a full-time gig(or a wealthy wife). In general, the majority of people don't need music to live. They don't appreciate quality music. And, as many have mentioned, for most, it's a backdrop to a night on the town. The angst comes when we see the 3-chord guitarists making millions with trash can music and serious Classical and Jazzers are just looking to get paid. Well, that's a market economy--give the people what they want. I think Jonah gave a great and accurate historical perspective on Music and we know this can equally be shared by artists and writers. And, although I agree when he says "
    "People just should admit and accept that not everything should be sold and bought.
    Not everything is valued by its market value in money," (Jonah)-- this doesn't help the plight of serious artists/performers who are trying to find a way to play and be fairly paid. Sadly, the reality for most is Music is an avocation or part-time gig. I have mentioned many times on this Forum that I will not play unless I'm paid a fair price. It's not easy, but there are venues that WILL pay for the right performer. And, contrary to what others have said, even small restaurant owners can benefit from live music if it is promoted properly. I have played in many small boutique restaurants over the years and THEY always made more when I performed than on an average night but I have always had a following and promote my gigs with e-mails and flyers. You can buy a ream of paper under $10.00 US and have 500 sheets of printed material from your computer ready for any gig(s) with your pix, the venue and the date. And, of course, admission is listed as free. I have also made deals with owners that if they mentioned my name when customers booked a reservation, they got a free drink, desert, etc. to show them where there business is coming from before the gig. My point is that there are ways to make a fair/decent wage for your performance without playing for peanuts/free but you must approach it from a marketing perspective and provide a quality product. I hope this helps some of you. Good playing . . . Marinero