Just Say No – to Playing for Free

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!

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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
  • Exposure

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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.

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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

If you don’t know about Jade, check her out! Follow her on twitter @jadesimmons and musicians? Spend $8 on her Emerge Already ebook! 

 

Thank us later.

i love to eat

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.