How many of you go in the store to buy or subscribe to fashion magazines to keep up with the latest trends? You look through the pages and see a bunch of cute outfits you can picture yourself in, then you look at the outlandish prices, like $80 for a top made of rayon and polyester, or a pair of regular gladiator sandals for $200. Now I don’t know about you but for once I’d love to see clothing that’s affordable to the average New Yorker. With rent for a studio starting at $1300 in some places who has an expendable cash flow to pay that and then spend $80 on a shirt! The thing that gets me the most is when the magazine boost about having a plethora of “affordable” outfits. For once I’d love to see a magazine dedicated to the average woman who loves fashion but has an average budget. I want these fashion editors and stylists to pull looks together that the LPN or school teacher can afford on her salary. But alas I digress and until then I guess I’ll just post my amazeball finds!
Musicians! Something must be in the air. We said it last week twice: I love to eat & I love to eat but do I deserve my food and just saw that pianist & entrepreneur Jade Simmons said the same thing. Soooo glad to not be alone in this matter!
On March 15, Jade listed on her Emerge Already Blog some of the not-so-great reasons (but reasons musicians are often presented with) to play for free including
- The Free Meal
- Awesome Connections
She elaborates on each matter! As professionals, these reasons really need to be reassessed.
Jade then lists what to think about, should you consider playing for free.
- Designate (time or # of free work you’ll do per year)
- Ask Yourself Questions: Could this event really afford you? You know what she’s saying: it’s held at the Waldorf Astoria, catered by the top caterer and planned by the best planner in town, etc.
- Require a “Special and confidential” clause in your contract.
That third point there? That’s important. Your contract needs to state everything a paying gig would, including the price it would cost. When a client sees what the artist is worth, it helps them to further value the product (you).
“The point is don’t be mindless about your charitable performances. Make smart decisions that continue to establish your worth as an artist.” – Jade Simmons
Thank us later.
To look at “I love to eat” from the other side, are artists presenting themselves as a business, so that they are treated as such?
Are we branded well? Have a professional presentation both online & in person? Is the product we’re offering clear? In other words, are we valuing ourselves enough to invest in ourselves on the presentation side of things? Yes, we paid for the lessons, paid for the schooling, the summer programs, the groups/ensembles…but now that that’s over, are we WORKING for our work? Or, are we just expecting work to be given to us because of all the hours of work & sweat that were put in? What’s that word again? Entitlement? lol
What does your presentation say about you when people google you? What does your presentation say about you when people see you, meet you & have a conversation with you? How is your delivery?
Just some questions worth answering before WE – the artists – continue to rant about how we feel undervalued.
Don’t you? You go to work every day hopefully, in order to be fulfilled spiritually and satisfied financially. This way, you can have a place to live, eat the food you like and enjoy your time off, right?
I’ve been an artist just about my entire adult life and still can’t understand why there are so many people around that believe we are doing what we love, just because we love it and because it is fun. If a full time artist every tells you that, they’re lying.
Just like a teacher goes to work everyday to teach our youth, or the way a cop spends the day fighting crime, I bet you these jobs are fulfilling for many of them, but I’m not sure that many cops & teachers go to work and agree to not be paid for a couple of their work days. Do you?
So why are people constantly asking musicians to play for free or as the people say, ‘for exposure’? Why are so many writers asked to contribute to publications for resume building? Photographers, dancers, stylists, publicists…the list goes on. Maybe that’s cool at 18, 19, 20…as a student or just starting out, but where & when is the line drawn? When will ARTISTS VALUE THEMSELVES so that the PEOPLE VALUE THE ARTISTS?
After college, artists have bills just like the next 9-5er. They want to have a place to live, support a family, have good food to eat and enjoy their time off, too. General public: don’t gawk when you’re quoted a price for a service. Consider all the time, sweat & money that went into being able to provide it.
More to come.