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Re: [ARSCLIST] Musican's compensation, wa CD versus Download was "All hail the analogue revolution..."

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Olhsson" <olh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Karl Miller wqrote:
> >Consider all of those young rock and roll musicians
> >who put their recordings up on the web and allow free downloads, just to
> >let people hear their music...and so they might be able to develop a
> >following and get gigs. Does the lack of payment for those free downloads
> >discourage them from playing and making those recordings available?
> This has been one of the most specious song sharking scams in history. It's
unheard of for free downloads to drive CD sales or sell tickets to see anybody
but a "name" performer. It has been around long enough that people are starting
to realize this form of "exposure" has been an utter failure.
> The working conditions for musicians today are dramatically worse than they
were when I started during the mid 1960s. Busking on the street provides more
useful exposure and pays better than most club gigs. Nobody can make a living in
the minor leagues. This is why there isn't a whole lot to choose from in today's
major leagues and a lot of the public is yawning at the idea of spending money
on music or music reproduction compared to the past.
Actually, the first paragraph isn't (well, maybe WASN'T?) quite correct.
I know bands that have made money (though not millions) and become
fairly well known by way of giving away one or two tracks off a CD
(which they sell via their web site). As well (at least in Toronto) "busking"
is generally considered an annoyance by passers-by, as well as having
the undesired result of a ticket to pay ("blocking a public walkway,
among other possibilities").

Most live-music rooms pay fairly poorly (some VERY poorly) for
a number if reasons. For example, the first is simple...there are
always young and naive (and all too often musically incompetent)
bands that will work for nothing (or less!) because they either
have hopelessly inaccurate dreams of future stardom, or they
simply enjoy the thrill of "being on a REAL stage!" However,
the simple truth is that clubs pay poorly because they are
barely breaking even...new club-owners are often as wildly
optimistic as the musicians they feature!

When I started in the music industry (or a tiny corner thereof)
back in 1986, I spent a year running a virtually-unattended
open-stage jam session for 10% of the bar receipts (usually
between $25 and $50 TOTAL!) and three beer tickets per
band member. The advantage? We had the use of a full-scale
PA and lighting system, operated by a professional (who was
also "moonlighting" and thus cheap)...were featured in local
listings and in all the large ads the club ran in entertainment
sections or periodicals...and the club owner was totally honest
(often NOT the case) and liked our music (he gave us a $100
bonus our last afternoon there!). I figured it was 1) valuable
learning experience (I'd never played on stage before!)...
2) fun (a great way to spend a boring Sunday afternoon!)
and 3) at least I was enjoying an "afternoon out" and
breaking a little better than even, rather than going to
see some other band and having to buy my beer!

However, when I finished that gig, I swore I'd never work for
that kind of pay again...which I haven't.

Never got famous, but I had a lot of fun...and who knows
what might lie ahead? I'm 16 years younger than B.B. King,
and he still works regularly...

Steven C. Barr

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