Performing for free
@leomozi Feb 22
What are people's thoughts on performing for free? Is that a disservice to musicians even if the performer is an amateur? Does it make a difference if I'm performing a short opening act in a free concert series (although not entirely free because I think my property taxes and HOA fees help pay for it).
@pearlmanhattan Feb 22
I believe it's personal choice, first, and secondly, it depends on the venue. This could give you valuable exposure and gain fans who will become paying patrons. If it's a free concert series and no one is profiting monetarily from the event, and it costs you nothing but time and talent, I'd consider it an investment in your community as well as your career. We all have to start somewhere.
@tcelliott Feb 22
If you're cool with it then it's cool.
@standup Feb 22
I get paid often when my band plays in bars. But I've played for free plenty of times. I think for me it just boils down to if I feel like I'm being taken advantage of. If I'm participating in an event where people are happy to be there, and we're playing and contributing to the community, great. I don't mind that.
@njihe Feb 22
I often play for "bensat ja kaljaa" - the travel costs and some beer. It is nice to get paid, tho. Preferably bensat, kaljaa and some money, but for nice DIY venues, bensat ja kaljaa is fine.
@krayzie003 Feb 22
I think it depends where you are at in your career. For me personally I perform for a living. I play a couple benefits each year for free but otherwise I always make sure I get paid. After all exposure don't pay the bills.
Now that being said, there are those occasions when you might have a chance to open up for a touring act and those are a different story. The exposure you get from that could help you out in the long run. You just have to weigh your pros and cons.
@petemurphy Feb 23
It's dependent on the situation.
If everyone is getting paid, from the bar staff to the cleaner to the organiser, and they say "we have no budget for the music but it will be great exposure", they can stick their show. And I would most definitely challenge them - "so are you getting paid for organising the show, or are you doing it for the exposure?"
There are other situations where I'd be happy to play for free (helping friends out, charity gigs, etc), but playing live isn't something that I need to do enough that I would do it 'for the exposure'.
People who take advantage out artists in that way are ***** and ***** and ******* ********
@julesbf Feb 23
Such a tricky subject and we get it all the time on our local facebook forums, pros saying that the weekend warriors are under cutting them. i get the fact that if people go out for free then it makes it harder for everyone else. There is an increasing number of 'festival' type events in our area where a pub puts on a series of artists and bill it as a charity event, the musicians dont get paid and some money is raised for charity but the venue still makes a killing. I am torn whether to play these (but still end up doing some for the experience). My general approach is that if i am being paid then i play what the venue wants which is usually covers. If i am not being paid then i play what i want which will be mainly my own stuff.
@dasbinky Feb 23
Is there another option? 😉
My solo stuff I play for fun, and infrequently. Any money that enters into the equation is gravy.
When I play in my cover band and we haul $10k of gear an hour away and play all night, THEN I wanna get paid.
@leomozi Feb 23
Okay, cool. Thanks for your input, everybody. @julesbf, you hit the nail on the head. I wouldn’t worry about it if I hadn’t seen pros saying it hurts them. The idea of playing want you like for free, and paying what they want for money makes sense. I haven’t sung for money in a long time, but when I did it was as a closet atheist church cantor.