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RE: Why SHOULDN'T musicians be paid?



Wow, Im loving this thread.
 
It took me a good while to pluck up the nerve to actually write my angle for fear of offending anyone and once posted I watched the mails continue rolling in for a little while before i decided to test the water of reaction.
Over all some massivly interesting points on all sides. I  will never stop being amazed at this lists ability to expand my horizons of thought.
I find the line of why shouldn't musicians be valued like plumbers etc very interesting, I think my way of creating the deviding line has nothing to do with the "opperator" end of the argument (startup costs/i needed X years practice/ my equipment cost úz) but instead focus's on the "user" end.. . stepping out of my theoretical "lets make music a free part of our  collected human cultural heritige" stance and back into the real world...I do agree with whoever said that if someone enjoyed a performance they morally could do something to  show gratitude but even this is USER generated and a canny musician will do everything they can to make this transaction easy ..if they loved you and would listen to you round the house...have a CD ready for them to buy, if they would come and see you again, have a gig list to hand if you have a cool image they would buy into have badges/tshirts etc but even at this stage of making yourself a product to some extent... you are still ENTERTAINMENT
 
ok I know this is a very severe thing to say, and believe me , i have paid, I got a 2:1 in fine art rather then a predicted 1st after I took on my fine art lecturer over the matter of art's value, I came at it from my "Its brilliant, its important TO US, it CAN change the feelings and moods of others...but its not ESSENTIAL, its not curing cancer" point of view. anyway long story short, I exhiled myself with my "attitude" from my teacher and some students, although others did side with me (we did a joint end of year show called The Realists hehe) 
 
Anyway, i digress, but I hope you see my point, music is the single most important thing in my life, I always have music on at work, as i travel, at home etc and I love sharing my music with others...however if it came to the line I could LIVE without it, in the litteral sense..if  money was tight and I had to get medical treatment or the basement was flooded or the car had been stolenor a member of my family needed to get out of debt etc...the music collection would go. no contest, so no matter how highly you prize you own work or value music in general, when the poop hits the rotors, we are an add-on that makes for a nicer more interesting life but...we wouldnt be the first animals on the boat in a storm.
 
Phill



Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 00:25:45 -0400
From: toddreyn@gmail.com
To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
Subject: Re: Why SHOULDN'T musicians be paid?

Replying specifically to Travis, with respect...

alright, then, following this reasoning, we shouldn't pay our ministers, our therapists, any artists, fine or otherwise?  wouldn't the world look a little bleak without them?  the elephant in the room is that musicians, actors, artists... ARE 'useful'  as you put it, just only paid well when they've found a way to fit into an already existing mold, creatively or not.  (I was thinking about actors the other day... they're STILL 'playing' house like children, just at an incredibly refined and elegant level, and as a result of their perfected craft,  pretend and real life blur for us voyeurs and we learn something about our shared condition)

I'm more like Rick.  I'm overtrained, I'm a pro, through and through, yet i chose 20 years ago to 'specialize' on the fringes of the avant-garde, both compositionally and improvisationally, therefore it's always a struggle financially, but I'm happy being an innovator on whatever level that might be.  I'm not the best at assessing that.  I just look for what's not there yet, and try to chase it...

and speaking of 'not terribly pleasant work', my dad had me up at 430 in the morning every morning.  not milking cows.  practicing.  and I gave my whole childhood and adolescence to that.  Not complaining, but I didn't REALLY own my musical identity til i was 23 and walked away from traditional classical music.  what's that say?  not sure.  But sometimes I think we who went to school for 4 hours a day trying desperately to master something DO have a unique story to tell, one worth respect and  worth paying for.  It's just always difficult to sell that.  and THAT is why this thread is so interesting to me.   but the janitor/plumber thing doesn't really hold that much for me.  Now SOUND men... you wouldn't ask THEM for a discount rate, they're day rate is what it is, and often, its more than MY day rate, lol. 

hope I'm not being too overzealous here, or offensive to anyone.

let's keep this one going, it's interesting!   and useful!

t.

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 10:31 PM, Travis Hartnett <travishartnett@gmail.com> wrote:
I'm not sure that anyone here is begrudging you the *desire* to devote all your time to music, just perhaps the money to do so.  People don't get paid to do something for a living because they chose to do something, they earn a living doing something that brings in enough money to live on.  If you want to be admired by some (but not all) people ("Oh how noble--look how devoted he is to his art, he's a...MUSICIAN!!!"), be a musician.  If you want a decent chance of getting people to pay you a working wage for something you do 8+ hours a day, consider doing something really useful--like plumbing. 

Musicians frequently compare themselves to plumbers, carpenters or janitors, saying "You wouldn't expect these people to work for nothing--why expect musicians to do so?"  And the answer is that no-one would fix your plumbing unless you paid them a good deal of money.  It's not terribly pleasant work.  Indeed, your chance of making a living at a given occupation increases greatly if it's unpleasant or very difficult.  And while being a musician requires skill, study, discipline and so on, people can obtain music easily and cheaply without ever dealing with a musician, thanks to a century's worth of recordings.  And even if musicians were paid in a manner similar to tradesmen (plumbers, etc.), you'd have a tough time finding eight hours of musical work each day to bill for.   A plumber works for two hours, he bills for your two hours, plus materials, plus perhaps a fixed service call charge.  If gigs worked like that, you'd get paid for an hour's set, plus (let's say) a fixed "gig charge", and so you might gross a hundred bucks for the evening.  Not much to live on.  And realistically, getting paid $60/hour (roughly what a plumber charges in my neck of the woods) to play music is a rarity for most of us.

TH


lker <looppool@cruzio.com> wrote:

Again:    I can't fathom why people on this , of all lists, would begrudge me the desire to devote all of my time to music that a professional
musical life affords me?




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