Paying your dues in the music biz is a bit like being a clown or juggler entertaining the king and queen in medieval courts.
Today, most club and venue owners are taking that same medieval approach toward music. They hire bands, based not on the quality of the music, but on the amount of money offered and the fan base the band is expected to draw along with any other promotional efforts the band spends time and money to produce.
Several articles are emerging about this situation illustrating clearly the expectation is a one way street in favor of the club or venue. The first post I found was in a daily email I receive from Michael Brandvold.
A few days later, professional jazz musician, Dave Goldberg outlined a similar situation addressing club owners in Los Angeles: http://www.scribd.com/doc/78468650/La-Club-Owners
Right when we were talking, a group of people interrupted us and said “you guys sound great, when is the next time you’re playing here again?” The club owner, said “they aren’t, they didn’t bring anyone.”
If you’re a working class musician, I’m sure you understand this situation all too well. Musicians need great clubs as much as clubs need great musicians. They are few and far between on both counts I suspect.
After thinking about this and discussing it with a few musician friends, I can tell you none of us has a definitive answer. We come up with strategies we think might work, but someone has to convince the club owner to go along with the idea. Something tells me that might be easier said than done.
Everyone involved has much to gain by coming up with solutions that benefit both the club and the band. Please pass this on to your musician friends and club owners. By all means, leave your comments.
Thought leaders prevail in tough times, and I’m here to tell you, these are tough times for everyone. Without some well-thought out strategies, our only choice may be to go back to something like the disco era, and I don’t think anyone wants that to happen.