10-15-2011 04:11 PM
10-15-2011 04:31 PM
10-15-2011 09:37 PM
10-15-2011 10:16 PM
:thu: and thats supply and demand!!!
If they are not chasing people out because they suck so bad then you have to be THAT MUCH BETTER to justify the clubs paying you more. We had kind of a loose going rate around the S. FL area where I used to live and never had anyone other than desperate shit bags try to undercut. When that happened, it didn't last long before the clubs wanted the tried and true good entertainers back at our rate. So, be better than the shit bag undercutters.
10-16-2011 04:12 AM
10-16-2011 04:28 AM
10-16-2011 07:14 AM
Your city doesn't have a real musician's union? At any rate, the lowballer, if he's not up-to-snuff, will either learn to play better and start expecting higher pay or will stop attracting customers and get dropped off the list. It's a high-turnover business, this music thing. And players who have exhausted one city will often move on to another and try the same there. The problem is that bars don't hire musicians to play great music; they're hired to complement the decor and help sell beer. The day-job/night-gig issue has always been there allowing bars to musicians pay less than a living wage (which is why so many of us are forced to have day jobs or teach or work in music retail). If you're hoping to live on playing out, you should maybe reconsider. Never mind the current situation in your city (sounds like Kingston but could be several others), playing popular music is a dead-end career unless you can break into the big(ish) leagues and you'll find yourself at 60 hoping you can feed yourself on PB sandwiches until 65 when the supplement kicks in. I'm not unsympathetic to your situation at all; I'd like nothing better myself than to be able to make a living at music. But it requires many skills and traits beyond good musicianship to sustain a career in music and a thick skin is certainly one of them.
and we consider ourselves almost to be a musical union of sorts.
10-16-2011 07:59 AM
10-16-2011 08:02 AM
10-16-2011 10:15 AM
Alright, here's the scoop. When is enough enough? I know that people undercut all the time and it's not uncommon but it's destroying my livelihood and seriously killing the amount of people who are going out to the live music venues. I've noticed a significant decrease in the last six months since he started playing and on a Thursday night, where I'll usually end up staying an extra hour on a gig because the bar is rammed to the ceiling, it's crickets chirping an hour before I'm supposed to end.
10-16-2011 12:41 PM
This is the part I don't understand. Why is your gig suffering less attendance just because some dude is lowballing at another club? If the guy is drawing your crowd to his gig, then you do have a problem. But if that's the case, he will soon learn his worth and charge more. I doubt that's the problem. No one can take over the market with sub par skills............maybe he's not as bad as you think.
What may need to happen is for you to expand your horizons. Gigs and scenes don't last forever. Maybe your catching a down trend in the downtown scene you've been working. If your going to make a living doing this, you need to really look under every stone. Are you doing private events? Weddings? Corporates? Have agents calling you? Any recordings? Write music? Have it recorded? Selling cd's at the gig? Have promo? If not, are you preparing for any of that? Because you may need to do all of that and more. How far from your home base have you hustled gigs?
Don't worry about the other guy and his fee. Just do what you do, and everyday work at making it better. That also means learning how to find out where the best gigs are, and how to secure them.There will always be new guys trying to break in. You will be the veteran, and you will know things they don't, which will enable you to earn more.
10-16-2011 12:59 PM
sologrrl, This has been an ongoing topic of discussion on the backstage with the band forum for the past several years. Probably the only thing more dismaying is the reaction you'll get from other musicians here-basically, Too bad, sucks to be you, get better and you'll get more money, etc. I've never met a bunch of people who are more self defeating and uninterested in raising the bar than musicians. Not in every area of the country, but in lots of them. I'm with you, and feel your frustration. I live in a resort area that attracts a lot of musicians who retire here to raise kids and enjoy all the recreational activities and relatively low cost of living ( we have the drummer for 3 Dog Night, Peter Rivera from Rare Earth, and a few others, as well as several actors). And I've watched musician band pay drop from 100-150 a night/guy in 1990 to 40-80 a night today. Some solos made 200 or more a night; now they're lucky to get 75 to 100. Why? Simply put, supply and demand. Most venues, especially solo venues, don't pay more because they don't have to. The one restaurant gig I play in town has live music 7 nights a week-and God bless them for it, but the pay is minimal-75 for solos, 125 for duos or more on weeknights, 300/night on weekends for bands. And the weekends are 4 hours. But even the liquor bars have followed suit, so now they're paying bands 300-400/night tops. This has led to a proliferation of mediocre trios trying to cover 80s and 90s stuff. If your band is larger, like mine, tough- same 300 dollars. Since most of these clubs in our town only seat 50 to 100 people, a mediocre band can fill them. Being 'better than the competition' is a moot point. A full club is a full club regardless of whether the band is Billy Bob and the Hackmasters or Lady Gaga. So the options for my 5 piece is play for 50 bucks a night a guy or stay home. I don't have anything on my calendar for the band after November. The local musicians union here is an utter joke, and any other attempts to get musicians to form a guild or agree to work for a minimum has been a flop. They just won't do it. Hate to say it, but this is the result of the full time music business collapsing and now being the endeavor of hobbyists who by and large really don't need the money and don't care about it as much as getting their jollies performing in front of people. I don't fault them for it. I used to, but it's a waste of time. It is what it is, another manifestation of the ongoing devaluing and collapse of the music business in general. It isn't much more complicated than that.
10-16-2011 01:00 PM
10-16-2011 01:07 PM
You're definitely not alone in this viewpoint - there are definitely people who feel this way, and there are similar opinions in other areas of music... the folks who are trying to make a living by selling their music are pissed at the musicians who are giving it away for free. But it's ultimately an unrealistic approach. I majored in Business (actually Music and Business) for one of my degrees and I look at it from a business point of view. And when you do that, these arguments fall apart. If you tried applying these same arguments to other businesses, they'd look silly. Imagine a burger joint deciding to give away a free burger to every customer on Thursdays for one month. It's not like all the other area restaurants are going to get together and do something about it. That's silly. Walmart comes to town and puts every single little mom and pop shop out of business. That's sad. But it's NOT Walmart that puts the little mom and pop shops out of business - it's the people who live in the town, who decide to shop at Walmart and pay lower prices. And that's capitalism. Musicians are hired to play in bars because the bar wants to offer something that will bring customers in and make them drink. If I invest in hiring band A and they cause me to sell X number of beers, that's plain and simple math. It has nothing to do with how much musicians love playing music or making a living at it. If they can hire a DJ and make more money you're out the door. That's one reason why most musicians don't try to make a living playing covers. It ain't called the music BUSINESS for nothing. Ask Kodak how it feels about no one wanting to buy film any more. They're on the verge of going out of business because they held onto the old ways too long. MartinC gave the best advice in the thread - weddings and corporate gigs, that's where the money is. That's what the market values. That's what you do if you want to make serious coin playing covers. We don't get to make our own rules - the market and demand make the rules. We decide how to proceed.
Thats exactly what it is. Devaluation. Thanks for agreeing with me, I realize it's a common problem. But would you let someone screw your wife? Music is my significant other right now and I don't want to see someone mess it up. I'm disappointed that there aren't more people willing to fight to fix this.
10-16-2011 01:26 PM
So... what? Been reading Marx lately or something? "Fair"? Why not just make your case to the people with the money? If they're overlooking something, and it wouldn't be the first time, it behooves you to sell your idea. That you should be booked at more than twice the rate as Undercutman. The bar owner doesn't care about art, or your electric bill. He cares about his electric bill. So make sure you can help him pay his bill and convince him of the fact. Fair? Fair is for a no merit system. If you have merit, sell... it... to... him.
Highdollar horse? The "going rate" for everyone else is 150. Not 80.
10-16-2011 01:53 PM
10-16-2011 02:10 PM
10-16-2011 02:13 PM
Highdollar horse? The "going rate" for everyone else is 150. Not 80. First time I was called in to cover for this person and was told I was being paid 80$ I told the owner that if he wanted me to play, he'd pay me what he pays everyone else and thats 150 plus a tab. I got fair pay. "Fair" is asking a venue what THEY pay. And you need to factor in the cost of performing. I break everything down like an invoice to the places I play. Cost for PA: 50$ Transportation: 20-30$ (depending on time of travel/cab etc) Time spent publicizing the event: 3 hours etc... When you put it that way to a prospective gig, it shows the bar that "Hey, I'm serious about this. I know my value, I know what I can do for your business, don't short change me." This guy just goes in, says "Hey, I want to play here. How does 80$ sound?" Doesn't ask the venue what they pay entertainment, doesn't even ask other musicians what they get paid. THAT is not fair. It would be the same as me opening up shop as a lawyer and charging 10$ an hour because I understand habeas corpus and mens rea. I was a beginner last year. I started out covering gigs for friends, and then booking my own. I never ONCE offered to play for less then what someone else made there. Everytime I booked a gig at a club someone I knew played, I asked them what to expect in terms of pay. If it was somewhere they never played, I asked "What do you pay entertainment?" So I could ballpark it and decide if it was worth it. No, we don't have a musicians union. We had one three years ago (before I started gigging) but hobbyists were cutting corners, going behind backs and lowballing because they didn't NEED the money to live. I do. 50% of my income is what I make in gigs. I am looking at trying to break big, cruiseline gig, studio musician stuff but that takes time and patience and unfortunately, doing the grunt work until someone picks up on the fact that you're good. I have a relatively thick skin I think. It's just, how do you approach someone who obviously doesn't care? Thats exactly what it is. Devaluation. Thanks for agreeing with me, I realize it's a common problem. But would you let someone screw your wife? Music is my significant other right now and I don't want to see someone mess it up. I'm disappointed that there aren't more people willing to fight to fix this. As a working professional you'd think more of us would be willing to maintain our business instead of let idiots drive the bus. He's not drawing my crowd. I think you may have hit the nail on the head, it could be downturn of crowd on the scene in general. It just looks bad when I know I can pack a place. I have on numerous occasions, including last night. However, it just seemed funny that it coincided with his gigs. My gigs haven't suffered because of him directly, except in pay. One venue we share right now as the house band on alternating weeknights and the owner (after hiring this guy 3months after he hires me) tells me my pay is going down I told him that no way. If he wanted me to keep playing, then he'd have to pay fair. I took a couple gigs off from playing there, and within a week he was calling me back to work. I know it's not entirely this new guys fault but it's frustrating that he won't listen to people. Yes, I've just started getting into the private scene. I've only been gigging since last summer as a professional do my reputation is starting to precede me. I am recording, and almost finished an EP, and I am working on press kits and promotional material so that's not an issue. I've gone as far an hour away to gig but not often. I've been looking into other cities for live music venues. I know it's a losing battle, was just hoping maybe someone had dealt with someone like this before face to face. I so badly want to tell him how much he's hurting the professionals. This is an interesting topic, thanks for being open and honest everyone, I wasn't expecting much but it's been interesting to read everyones opinions.
10-16-2011 02:56 PM
I don't know where you get your math. Most places here sell kegged microbrews that cost them a half a buck a pint and sell them for 4-5 dollars. at 3.50 profit per glass, that's only about 30, not 125. Add in that most places sell wine (a dollar an ounce for house wine) and liquor, and 100 bucks is made pretty fast, especially if I bring 6 or 8 people in to eat dinner who otherwise wouldn't.
What yu say is true , but you also have to look at the math. To pay a solo act 100 bucks , a venue down here has to sell 125 beers to pay him. Add in the overhead and its pretty clear why clubs are paying what they pay.
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