Are Musicians Really Willing To Put Up With Shit Like This?

Funny Musicians - Unveilmusic
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The majority of musicians have it hard. We have to handle all or nearly all business aspects such as managing finances, booking gigs, selling merchandise, etc…. All the while we still have to invest time in honing our craft, writing and learning songs, and buying and maintaining our equipment. So why do musicians get treated so poorly by venues, managers, and the like? Today’s post isn’t so much an informative post as it is a rant and call of awareness. Why do musicians put up with such poor treatment at times?

Free gigs. We’ve all done them for one reason or another. Maybe it was a charity event or an opportunity to play with a well-known band and gain some good exposure. There are numerous reasons why you may choose to play a free gig here and there. What reasons would there be for you to pay to play a gig though? I might pay within reason for the chance to open for an internationally known act, but I will never pay to play a bar on a street corner. Yet not too long ago that is exactly what I found posted on a local city Craigslist. A bar asked for local musicians and bands interested in playing their Wednesday nights. Instead of saying it’s a non-paying gig or we only pay a flat rate of $100, the bar actually asked the artists to pay $200 up front in exchange for collecting the door. Now from the bar’s standpoint this is a great situation because they don’t lose any money. But for the band, they pretty much have to have a guaranteed crowd in order to have a chance at making any money.

Bars have done this for years where they may offer to pay certain amounts based on how many people an act can bring in. Or it may be that they require the act to “guarantee” a certain number of people in attendance to get a gig. Sure the venue is a business, and like all business must make money to survive. What musicians in their right mind would pay that much to play a low capacity venue on a weekend night by themselves though? Well luckily it turns out pretty much none in this area. Numerous posts were made in response calling out this bar for their “unprofessional” request.

Seriously though, we constantly hear about how bad the music industry is doing with music sales and concert attendance. That doesn’t just affect nationally touring musicians. It affects all of the musicians out there. So why is it that some of the venues now feel like they can screw musicians over even worse than before. I know it’s only some venues doing this. I know of several venues in this area alone that still pay their performers quite well. Sorry but I had to get this out of my system. Hopefully no too many of you out there are seeing this sort of thing happen in your areas.

James Higgins (295 Posts)

Professional guitarist and instructor based in Alabama; performance, songwriting, and recording. Atlanta Institute of Music graduate. Part-time blogger.

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