Art and Music Require Preparation

Art and Music Require Preparation

"Music is a day job."  According to a poll we did a few years back, musicians spend about three hours in preparation (not to mention travel, load-in, load-out, setup, teardown, promotion, and marketing) for every hour they spend on stage.  Performing is a service that involves preparation and expensesThere's no reason that service should be free. 

Fair Trade Music Logo

Fair Trade Music Logo

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Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

Playing at Pharaohs mic salute

Perhaps our first international/transatlantic mic salute - Playing at Pharaohs from Glasgow.

Can't pay rent with beer

Can't pay rent with beer

Even Canada Cat has to make rent. 

Metal Detector

Metal Detector

I'm not sure this requires explanation. 

FTM kitteh

FTM kitteh

Its one thing that the person checking ID's and charging cover at the door gets a better guarantee - and is often paid better  -- than the musicians.  It's insult to injury that the musicians, who have zero guarantee themselves, usually have to pay the sound and door people out of their own "gate," meaning money fans have paid to see THEM, not the door clerk.  The final insult to injury to injury to injury is that it is the musicians, not the sound or door staff, have done a lions share of the advertising, bringing in most of the income for the whole club, are the last to be paid, and may end up owing money at the end of the night.  Kitteh play house koncert next time.  

Should you quit your band?

Should you quit your band?

I have a different set of rules: 1) Are the other musicians similarly committed? 2) Does the band have a coherent vision and goals? 3) Do the other musicians insist on playing crappy, no-pay gigs?  if 1 or 2 are 'no' or 3 is yes, I leave.  Maybe that's 'cause I'm a decent drummer!  

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For The Birds

For The Birds

from 'four things every musician's gotta know' #4: “Exposure” kills.It’s no coincidence that this term refers to what kills you in bad weather. Although genuinely valuable exposure opportunities show up, they’re quite rare. “Exposure” is almost always offered as a feeble excuse to try to get naive performers to work for low or no compensation, based on the mere chance of an intangible commodity of dubious real value. The term is so common that booking agents will tout their venue’s excellent exposure opportunity, yet tell you (in the same breath!) that the place has no built in draw and you'll have to bring your own following. 

One Trip!

One Trip!

Unless you're a piccolo or triangle player, remember to figure something in for 'Portage' in your job estimates. At the end of a three hour gig with three additional hours of load in, load out, setup, and tear down, you'll be glad you did.   

Hospitality doesn't pay the rent

Hospitality doesn't pay the rent

It's pretty common to offer 'hospitality' as part of the compensation.  It's a nice gesture, but a) it doesn't actually cost them much, b) money paid at a gig can be used to purchase other goods and services and c) unless your landlord really, really likes corn dogs, HOSPITALITY DOESN'T PAY THE RENT!  (NB: Yes, I've been asked to play out-of-town festivals in exchange for snack bar credits) 

Bands are small businesses -- name your brand carefully!

Bands are small businesses -- name your brand carefully!

Look, Fair Trade Music is about helping musicians make better music by getting them at least a minimum wage. We're not here to save these miserable turds!  Raising the minimum to something above zero minus expenses does not preclude a meritocracy --  It's still up to venues to hire acts they think will make good business partners. Bands still have to do half of the promotion and entertain the crowd, keeping them there dancing, drinking, and wanting to come back.  If the band's good enough to hire, they're good enough to get a minmium wage. If they do their job well, they're worth more. 

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