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Playing for tips

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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:57 am

Mandoliniment wrote:Live music was never really a career, especially in a market this size, but it can be part of a portfolio that supports a career in music in general.


This what I'm saying. Musicians with portfolios of gigs don't need to spend too much time worrying about the economics of any one club booking. There's always another gig.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:00 am

As far as playing for tips in clubs, it's a sales job, and musicians who agree to do it need to work the hustle. Some musicians are better at that than others.

And they need to manage the tip jar. Otherwise, for the first time in history, someone might steal from an unsupervised pile of money. :wink:
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby kimm » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:57 am

As a non-musician, I've always been a little iritated by non-paying bars. The Mason, though I love it, is one whose policy has always bugged me a bit. I fall on the "it devalues the music" side. In my ideal world, Wednesdays-Saturdays bars can generally count on live music adding a few bodies to the bar if promoted decently on Facebook, etc., and should pay musicians accordingly. I don't mean mucho bucks necessarily. The bar still takes a risk and might end up losing money.

The bar should take the risk and pay the people a few bucks. Even if it's $25 for a solo artist and allowing them to put out a tip jar (not share tips with the bartender). A musician should be able to afford dinner and drinks at the very least for the few hours of work.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby ColumbiaCounty » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:28 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Mandoliniment wrote:But I think as a small-pond band there is something we have to sell, which is a sense of connection and community - something no national touring act can compete with.



A couple of thoughts...Firstly, to respond to the above, there are plenty of national touring acts that provide a sense of community and connection. The first example that comes to mind is the Grateful Dead. The jam bands that followed in their footsteps have inspired and maintain similar kinds of kinship among their fans.
As to the tip issue, I played full time for a number of years and felt pretty frustrated at bands playing for free or for gratuities. After awhile though, I got less uptight when I came to realize that those bands were not really competing with my ability to get a good payday for the outfit I was booking and playing with. For better or worse, the bands that were playing for free or for tips were not skilled enough to offer competition for the good paying jobs.
As to Madison itself, I rarely had first class paying jobs there but they are out there. Was also fun to play the occasional gig in town purely for fun.
As an aside, Ken mentioned world class players picking for tips on Lower Broadway in Nashville. That is true to a certain extent but the popular clubs with the best musicians do offer base pay and tips. The tips can be good but the work is pretty brutal. Those bands play loooooooooong sets.
There are a fair number of musicians who make a significant portion of their income playing "for tips" at places like Robert's. It can be tough to land a steady gig playing on Lower Broad. There is lots of competition.
Anyhoo...good luck out there mandoliniment. Write if you find work!
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:14 am

Noted, thank you.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby swimmingupstream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:58 pm

It takes a special kind of entitlement to expect to be paid for pursuing your hobby.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Kyle Motor » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:39 am

swimmingupstream wrote:It takes a special kind of entitlement to expect to be paid for pursuing your hobby.

It's a fine line. When your "hobby" costs you money, but it's bringing a lot of business to a bar that would otherwise have a dead night, compensation is not unreasonable.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:47 am

swimmingupstream wrote:It takes a special kind of entitlement to expect to be paid for pursuing your hobby.


Unless your "hobby" becomes something of a second career. Many people make money off of their hobbies.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:53 am

swimmingupstream wrote:It takes a special kind of entitlement to expect to be paid for pursuing your hobby.


Mine is a hobby, a part-time job and an extension of my full time job. I expect to be paid for it. We bring good business to the places we play. We have to buy and maintain gear, practice, travel to and from gigs, promote gigs etc. I'll play a set for a good cause for free but if it's a whole nights worth of entertainment there's a minimum cost of entry. Don't get it much in Madison even though that cost of entry is lower in this market and ya know what? I don't care. There's plenty of other places to play. The Madison clubs are only partly at fault. There's too much competition for a fan base that really isn't all that great. And plenty of other non-music related events.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby wack wack » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:58 am

Stebben84 wrote:
swimmingupstream wrote:It takes a special kind of entitlement to expect to be paid for pursuing your hobby.


Unless your "hobby" becomes something of a second career. Many people make money off of their hobbies.


I don't have a problem with some trying to get paid for their hobby, as long as part of their plan isn't that I stop enjoying my hobby for free. Unfortunately, these discussions often end up being a criticism of those who play for the love of it.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Kyle Motor » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:06 am

fisticuffs wrote:There's too much competition for a fan base that really isn't all that great.

This, at least regarding original music.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby swimmingupstream » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:53 pm

I had some really good responses on this thread and now they have disappeared. Luckily, this is not a hobby for me, like all of you Bruce-wannabes, and I get paid for my hard work here.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:59 pm

Just to demonstrate Madison's unique shittiness.. I got a phone call last night to book the band. We hashed out the details and I told him what we needed money wise to do the gig. He offered me $100 more. 2 messages through Facebook this morning from bars we've never played looking to book us for fall. None of it Madison but all within 45 minutes.
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:03 pm

fisticuffs wrote:None of it Madison but all within 45 minutes.


Could it be that there are TOO many bands in Madison and the supply is so high that bars can find someone to play for cheap to free. Does Milwaukee have similar issues?
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Re: Playing for tips

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:07 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
fisticuffs wrote:None of it Madison but all within 45 minutes.


Could it be that there are TOO many bands in Madison and the supply is so high that bars can find someone to play for cheap to free. Does Milwaukee have similar issues?


Partly too many bads but I think just as much too many other options for entertainment. bands don't just compete with each other they compete with Mallards games, bachelor parties, camping trips, cook outs, DJ's, frat parties, etc. etc.

There's nothing better to do in Janesville than see live music. At least I hope that's the case otherwise it must be that Madisonians just aren't that into bands.
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