1. #1

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    There is a trend in our area of having music at grand openings, farmers markets and so on. Usually the lowest budget bands and solo acts get the tip jar gig. Most of the time they are just plain awful.

    A few days ago there was a one year celebration for a restaurant. The leader of the band couldn't sing, play chords in the right places, and had no feeling for rhythm. Hard to listen to. This person is featured all the time at a lot of functions.

    Is far as I am concerned he can have all those free gigs, I don't want them. BUT it gives a bad impression of live local musicians.

    I blame the person in charge of hiring those wanna be musicians for first of all not paying much, if anything, and not putting in some sort of quality control. It boils down to you get what you pay for.

    I sometimes get asked to do these tip jar gigs. When I say the jar must start out with $100 they say they have no budget for that. I then give them the name of the above mentioned person.

    Grumpy old man rant over, for now.

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  3. #2

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    The missus and I have a pop duo that does the free farmer's market gigs. We used to get paid $100 until the little town we live in stopped hosting the farmers market. Farmers still wanted to do the market but had no budget. At that point it was either stop playing at all or play for free. And we're not terrible at all. Live music is in decline everywhere. We hustle, reach out to clubs, follow up, and still can't get paying gigs. And I know lots of working musicians who are in the same position.

    I think this relates to Jazz as well. As a novice Jazzer, everyone says it's very important to play with others. But not only is there very little live music in this very rural setting, there is almost no live Jazz to speak of. And there are definitely no Jazz jams to play. Maybe things are different in urban centers, but us rural folks get no love and have a very difficult time watching and participating in live Jazz.

    I also play in metal band. On our last gig we drove 3-and-a-half hours one way. We got paid $40 and sold $30 in merch. We lose money just agreeing to take a gig. That's the reality of live music for some folks.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBGuitar View Post
    There is a trend in our area of having music at grand openings, farmers markets and so on. Usually the lowest budget bands and solo acts get the tip jar gig. Most of the time they are just plain awful.

    A few days ago there was a one year celebration for a restaurant. The leader of the band couldn't sing, play chords in the right places, and had no feeling for rhythm. Hard to listen to. This person is featured all the time at a lot of functions.

    Is far as I am concerned he can have all those free gigs, I don't want them. BUT it gives a bad impression of live local musicians.

    I blame the person in charge of hiring those wanna be musicians for first of all not paying much, if anything, and not putting in some sort of quality control. It boils down to you get what you pay for.

    I sometimes get asked to do these tip jar gigs. When I say the jar must start out with $100 they say they have no budget for that. I then give them the name of the above mentioned person.

    Grumpy old man rant over, for now.
    That farmers' market example is sad....And the only people in that entire grand scheme of a farmers market who aren't getting paid are the musicians. Go ask the municipal workers to donate their time cleaning up,etc,or ask the paramedics or police to work for free etc etc, and see what you get told.......

    And tell the farmers that they'll no longer be compensated for * not* growing a crop because there's too much of it, and watch what happens.

    .......Another grumpy old man rant.

  5. #4
    Not all farmers market players are awful.

    As long as there are "musicians" that put no value on their playing and do those gigs for free the quality will continue to go down.

    No more tip jar gigs should be the mantra of all musicians.

    Grumpy old man at it again.

  6. #5

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    My jazz trio performed 13 shows just for this last month...
    Perhaps an improved mantra for jazz musicians should be,
    "Wear a tie and perform where older audiences dress up"?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  7. #6

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    When my wife (the real talent) and I have wanted regular paying gigs, we haven’t had any trouble playing out 3-4 nights a week. A lot of places look for ways to not pay or pay less than agreed upon though. One place in particular had us as the house “band” for several months. The guy was clearly mismanaging the place, but somehow kept getting investors to keep the place open. One of his ideas was to give us a percentage of the nights sales. We tried it. On a good night we could easily take $500 plus tips, but a slow night could have us playing for $100 or so total. It was worth the gamble until he started writing us bad checks and closing bank accounts and opening other ones. It only took a couple of issues with that before we quit that gig with him owing us about $250 that we will never see.

    Anyway, more back to the point, I’ve noticed that it’s even gotten harder to find gigs just asking for pay for two musicians (although my wife is crunchy about “two musicians” since she sings, plays piano, and handles the bass lines on the piano also). It seems many places that have “live music” anymore just have one person playing along with loops or backing tracks or one guy with a guitar, so they only have to pay one person.

  8. #7

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    When the market has become so saturated with free music that it just oozes out of the ground like raw sewage, it has no value.

  9. #8

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    So here in the Twin Cities, there is a local Seafood restaurant that's located in one of the city parks. It's run by a private owner that hires younger millenials to work for them cooking and serving,etc. They always have long lines of people waiting.
    They also have live music on their patio.

    I asked the manager what they pay? And he said they are free and we give them a tip jar a meal and a beer. I asked do you pay for the piped in radio music to ASCAP & AMI. He replied Oh Yes!
    I said how do you get away with not paying the musicians . He says the Park Board agent books them for free. I said, "They are playing on your restaurant patio"
    He could care less!