Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Live Music - How Much?

I thought it was about time I got back to writing, as its been a month or so since my last post. There's been lots of stuff to write about but never enough time to do it in, or maybe I'm just a lazy so and so, probably the latter. One thing is, I've been busy settling into playing "Live" again with the band Big W, which I'm enjoying very much.

Something that did piss me off recently though, was how little value seems to be placed on Live Music by some people these days. A couple of weeks ago Big W were playing in a local venue and a pub manager I knew spotted me on stage and asked a friend to pass his number on to arrange a booking for us. I'd played the place quite often in the past with other bands and told the lads it was a good venue and decent money.

The next day I called him and he said he'd like to book us, but could only pay half as much as before, plus it was a Sunday night (bad news for working Monday mornings). Bear in mind this is a very busy club on Fri/Sat but he wanted to get Sundays moving. I thought about it the next day and spoke to the band - they were up for it in the main, but I just thought - bollocks, by the time we've paid petrol, had a couple of drinks and got home about 1pm, we'll be lucky to come out with minimum wage for the hours we'd worked. Plus, if we had brought in punters in their droves I'm damn sure he wouldn't have given us anymore money.

I understand there's a credit crunch, but band money in pubs/clubs hasn't gone up in 20 years - some of us have been playing for 30+ years, why shouldn't we get a decent wage for the time and effort we've put in, some pubs can do it. DJ's get paid 2 and 3 times what a band gets paid per man, don't they know they can teach monkeys to put records on, or should I say - click a mouse on a laptop, (sorry, showing my age).

Plumbers and Electricians are skilled individuals who get paid well, are musicians not the same? The trouble is we love what we do so much that its hard to say no, but sometimes it does you and your band good. Its about time there was a minimum fee that venues should pay before they engage a band. We have the Musicians Union, but its too much time and effort to get them involved, it could be incorporated when the venue applies for its music license which would make things a lot simpler.

I used to get paid very well for playing in a Rod Stewart Tribute Band, but when I was in Quecia, having written, recorded and produced our own music we'd be expected to play for nothing or expenses just to promote the band. This seems crazy to me as there are plenty of people out there willing to pay a fair price to see a good band (see my post on House Concerts).

The trouble is there is not enough pub and club owners with the business training or common sense to pay and put on a varied selection of whats out there, whether it be Original, Covers or Tribute Bands. Pubs are closing left, right and center these days and are turning to Live Music to save them, so come on - pay the bands what they deserve...

Rant over!
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Anonymous said...

interesting comments as you say generally you do it because you want to play but when you get to a standard where it costs you in transport thousands in equipment and the amazing ammount of cost involved in learning in the first place (if u said minimum wage to learn it would add to thousands) djs seem to be paiud daft ammounts and karaoke djs trhats evan easier im my opinion people ask u for songs.. but would you ever give it up and go 9 - 5 m8 thats the question..


Chris Picton said...

No I wouldn't give it up because I love it, but still have to work as well as I have a family. Luckily not 9-5. I was full time musician for many years and would like to be again. Hopefully.

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