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Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by RaistMagus, Jul 2, 2012.
no. plain and simple.
In general - in any profession - people who 'give away' their work, don't do very good work.
Yes I do & my band guys do but only if/when/where we want to. We don't do it where paid gigs are the norm but for friends, small joints...
That's sort of the point. People are showing up to see & support the athletes, nit the brass band playing in a park.
Good reply. I think it is silly to say you are stealing from someone else by giving away your services.
True enough, but I enjoy playing in front of crowds more than garage jamming. There are a couple guys I jam with now and then, but it's not my kind of music, sadly, just Old Timey Country. Still, it is nice just to play anything. Hopefully the band might get back together, because if it doesn't, I think it's time to have a Going Out of Business sale. Want to buy a bucket load of cheap pedals?
When you play for free, you are telling the owners of these establishments what your work is worth.
Free gigs are for charity events, the occasional mom and pop coffeehouse tip gig (public practice, these places barely make any money), and favors for friends.
Playing for free at establishments that do actually pay musicians screws the next guy, who might be gigging as a significant part of his income.
Musicians have to look out for each other, not unwittingly stab each other in the back.
This thread topic seems to come up every week. The responses are always the same and the OPs seem to always know the remedy to their individual situation before they ask the question and are only looking for justification and support to go play for free, as if they need the forums permission. Play for free if you want to. Play for pay if you want to. Pay to play if you want to. Spend all that money on gear and all those years learning to play and give your talent away if you want to. It's your choice. Just remember, when you give your work away, whether it be musical talent or carpentry or anything in between, you just make it harder for everyone else to earn a living.
Please don't play for free. Those of us that are trying to make a living out of this would appreciate it if you didn't.
Playing for What???
Would you rebuild somebody's engine for free? Put in a swimming pool? Sling hash at the local greasy spoon?
Work is work and deserves proper compensation.
It depends on where you are and what your audience is, etc.
Having said that...
If you are playing at a bar and the bar is making money and you aren't seeing a share of that there is a problem. Realize that the bar owner doesn't care about your music, what songs you play, etc. The bar owner just cares about if he makes money at the end of the night. How can you help that?
1. Bring people to the bar.
2. Keep people at the bar.
3. Keep people dancing (ie thirsty).
4. Plug the shot specials.
If you are making the bar money than you should be compensated.
Believe me, the Budwieser distributor doesn't wonder, "Should I give them my beer for free? I mean if people like it, they will come back and ask for more of it, and I can start building a following of people who like my beer!"
I am a hobby player at best but I am always in an organized band that will play out. I have played too many free gigs and now they have to at least give us drinks and food. It's not that this makes it worth all the work, but for a place to have you come play and then ask you to pay for their goods is really crummy.
Does it make a difference if we are talking about guys for whom playing in a band is a sideline or hobby, where any income is essentially bunce rather than their livelihood? I can see the argument that even in these circumstances playing for free can be detrimental to others who do rely on getting paid to play - the "stealing bread from their children's mouths" point. On the other hand, if "weekend warrior" bands are effectively getting paid to indulge their hobby, is that just as bad in depriving a full-time band from the opportunity to earn a living?
When you play out, you should strive to play at a professional level. I expect any band members to act professionally when on stage, and professional quality acts should be paid a professional fee.
There's plenty of coffee shops and vfw halls for the hacks and weekend warriors who "just want to have fun."
Then again, I've always thought putting on a good quality show where the audience has a good time and the band plays clean and entertains WAS fun.
Someone smarter than me was asked to play for the exposure and said:
"how about pay us and if we get a paying gig out of this, we'll give back the money."
This kind of hits a nerve with me. Some just don't know the value of creative work. Years ago, I did a couple of radio commercials for cheap, to get known. They were the talk of the town as they were funny. Everyone wanted me to write a commercial for them... until I told them how much money I wanted (which was the standard rate).
Years later I was in a comedy troupe performing original sketch comedy. Again, nobody wanted to pay anything. They only saw the end result, not the hours of work it took to make it look easy.
I had a video company and people expected me to work for peanuts. I even had someone try to negotiate after I did the work for a recording and editing a wedding video. Somehow, they thought it was worth something to me to have their video in my portfolio.
Playing in a band is often barely worth it if you consider the outlay of equipment (from guitars & amps to picks and capos), the hours of rehearsal and the cost and hours of instruction.
... And you want me to play for free because it would be good exposure? Please.
Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for FREE!
Folks, it's the law of supply and demand. There are more musicians than there are venues to play at, simple as that. And if we were all to get together and say "No! I will never play for less than X amount," guess what would happen? The bands that are already getting paid that amount would continue to get it, while those of us willing to play for less, or for free, would sit on our thumbs and never play again.
I hear the same complaints in the writing world. Established authors are constantly berating new writers that they should never give away their work for five or ten dollars, and that by doing so they only make it harder for working writers to earn a living. But, while this may be true, what they don't say is that if you do stand fast and refuse to settle for less you are damning yourself to never selling anything.
Comes down to this, those of us on the bottom don't owe a damned thing to those on the top, and if I want to play for less than the competition, that's just business.
Supply and demand.
And I would qualify that with "Financially worth it"