The Songwriters Revolution: We Want Work and a Fair Payout Too

My anarchist friend turned down a possible double bill with me because he didn’t want to sell his talents at the rate we could have expected to make that night. I was really proud of him for knowing his worth to the bar scene of his city despite wanting to do a show with me.

This is juxtaposed to the way I’ve been criticized by radicals a few times over the years when I stopped doing all their free shows for them. They said ‘we can’t pay you, but you’ll get exposure’ so I replied back ‘I’m dying from exposure.’

I found until I demanded a bottom line price I didn’t get respect from promoters, the kinds of opportunities I got never seemed to improve and I wasn’t being taken seriously enough. It was depressing because I was busy as hell but going nowhere while I got to hear people say I was selling out. They are wrong, in order to sell out you have to have success and I’ve never even been offered a chance to be on a record label of any kind. I didn’t sell out, I just refused to sell cheap anymore. I just got tired of getting poorer to keep playing music while knowing I put on a professional show.

To quote Brandon Isaak:

Calling all musicians for equal rights revolution. Stand up and fight ! We can not play for less than $100.00 per person. If we all stand together and stop delivering music to these cheap f*#K$ we might even be able to do this for a living. I have been honing my craft for more than 25 years. I’m still practising 2 to 3 hours a day. I have a family to feed and bills to pay. I demand better treatment and higher pay scale for these folks who work as hard as doctors and lawyers. If you call a plumber, what will you pay him an hour? NO MORE CHEEP ASS GIGS FOLKS, PLEASE ! If you will join this new revolution click the LIKE button to confirm your pledge of no less than a $100.00 for your musical services, otherwise, walk. I have not played for that little money in a long time, so you can count on me.

My only fear is that if we stand up for ourselves we will be replaced by IPods everywhere.  I say, turn off your computer, put on your boots, spend a few dollars to get into a show and keep good live bands playing!  Support your local songwriters!!



About joeyonly

Dr.Joey Only will knock you out...and do it with country music!!! HIYAAAAAA!! View all posts by joeyonly

5 responses to “The Songwriters Revolution: We Want Work and a Fair Payout Too

  • Jeremiah Walton

    I can dig supporting the music community, but free shows, or donation based, are awesome because not everyone has the money to go.

    I’m a performance poet. I’ve performed at a good number of venues, and I’ve been paid once. Try focusing on selling merch, so people who have the extra cash can throw it at you, and people who are shit broke can see the show.

    Or is there something I’m missing that dismisses my suggestion?

    Interesting post. Cheers!

    • joeyonly

      Even if the show is free if a venue that profits off of your work (ie the beer/food sales) owes it to you to not reduce your effort to volunteerism. They pay their dishwasher better than their talent even though anyone could wash dishes. Even a small venue should give you a meal, some beers and a percentage of their sales…otherwise you would be better off at a house show drinking your own liqour for cheap and allowing your friends to bring theirs.

      Nonetheless, people have money for cellphones, internet, cable tv, movies and more. Why are performance artists not valued on the same lines? I was a performance poet too, but I did it by busking and generally did well. I also don’t see performance poets as driving the market for live bands down, your motive is to sell your books and you’re not really taking up the space a live band would generally be taking. What I mean to say is I doubt I’d ever be playing in the same venue that you do your performances at.

      I also don’t understand why I get five times the money to play an average show in Prince George than I would on my best nights in Vancouver. I play in the low to middle tier professional range, if I accepted every offer I got I wouldn’t have time for my family. When I get a really good pay out I even take a day off work and spend that time with them.

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