If you've checked my schedule lately, you'll have noticed that I've got a lot of shows booked. You may be wondering why I'm playing out so much these days. You might assume that all these shows means things are going well financially. But I'll let you in on a little music biz secret. Most of the venues I play do not pay.
There was a time when coffeehouses would pay a small amount to their acts or give them a portion of sales, but that's not the environment we're playing in these days. Artists are playing for tips only. Every show is a gamble when it comes to whether or not it will even pay for the gas to get there or the promotional expenses, let alone the time to set up, perform, and tear down.
Even when venues do pay, it's a very small amount. The bottom line is, musicians have to have other means of income to pay the bills. Some can piece together a collection of music related jobs (teaching, gigging, CD sales, studio work, etc.), but most need a day job. The artists who can make a living at it in my genre spend their time on the road playing at "listening rooms" like Denver's Swallow Hill Music Association or house concerts.
Currently, performing and CD sales are my only income. While I hope to continue to perform and even expand beyond the Denver area to tour other regions this year, I'm in a dire situation financially at the moment. I've been an independent contractor for nine years, but am currently between jobs. It's been shocking to see how difficult the job market is right now. With over twelve years in admin support as an executive assistant, admin assistant, and office manager, I thought I'd surely be able to find something, even if only an entry level secretarial position, but so far that hasn't been the case.
So, I'm on my soapbox now to put the word out that I'm looking for work. If you have any leads on full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for the sake of my fellow musicians who were struggling even before the economy took a nose-dive, I'd like to invite to you read an educational hand-out that I wrote many years ago to educate audiences on what they can do to support independent musicians: http://trinitydemask.com/howhelp.html
One of the ways you can help artists is to hire them for private parties or house concerts. To learn more about house concerts, read my October 2010 blog entitled "Your Living Room Was Made For Live Music."