Food for thought.
Note: I don’t know if this a parody or not but let’s make sure we don’t behave in any of these manners.
Why I Love Jazz Musicians
(From the perspective of a club owner)
... love to play, and love to talk about their art, but thank
goodness, like most artists are very independent thinkers and never
talk to each other about worldly things, like what we pay them.
Somehow they think that this is demeaning to the music - the music
being a high art and all. What they fail to understand is that we
don't care a rats ass about their art.
... are afraid to turn down ANY job.
Jazz Musicians think that union scale is a MAXIMUM.
... invest thousands of dollars of their own money in CDs and other
learning materials and in instruments, and the maintenance of these
... invest thousands of dollars paying for an education in their art
...invest thousands of of hours learning how to play.
... spend hundreds of hours applying for government grants to pay for
travel expenses to go work for local pay thereby subsidizing us, the
club owners. This also has the benefit of undercutting the local
scene, making jobs even more scarce for local players.
... continue to practice hours a day to maintain their skills and
improve, and have no sense that this is valuable to us.
... spend no time and no money on learning anything about business.
For or all their investments of time and money, expect very little in
Jazz Musicians invest thousands of dollars to put out recordings that
they know will not earn them any money, unless they sell them off the
stage. Therefore, they are happy to play for less money than they
should, with the hope that they'll sell a few of the CDs that are
taking up room in the small hovels they live in. It then becomes
rational for them to beg a room to give them a 'job' that really
doesn't pay, (they play for the door!) As a result, we get free music!
With no risk.
Not only that, but the musician will often pay for the cost of any
publicity, and for the rental of a piano, maybe even paying for a
sound man! THEY'RE KNOCKING DOWN THE DOORS! I love jazz musicians.
Media outlets are struggling to find good content, yet jazz musicians
will provide content to media outlets for no wages just for
'exposure', and seem to have no concept that media need content.
...have no sense of their own worth, and how their experience makes
them more valuable as players and performers.
...have no sense that as they improve they may even have a following
and and fan base and that their value (to us) has increased.
Here's why. In large part, the fact that musicians are always
struggling to be better, demands that they must maintain a modest self-
critical mindset. They must convince themselves that they are just not
good enough. They measure the difference from where they want to be
and where they're at, and conclude they're deficient. This colors
they're self value in the 'real' world. The modesty that improvement
demands, makes musicians weak negotiators.
... are in the moment! That's they're musical modus operandi. However,
this same improvisational approach means that
they have little sense of their place in the community of musicians,
and how their actions and attitudes affect their fellow musicians, the
future of the music and their own prospects and playing conditions and
life. Hell, they're just trying to remember where the bridge goes!
Often musicians never demand a fee, and even more amazing (but not
surprising due to their lack of business intelligence) don't even ask
what we intend to pay them! (This is to our advantage). Also,
Musicians often accept jobs from other musicians without even asking
what the job pays. No other business is like this.
Musicians will play for a wage that will not increase for 10-15 years,
a wage that seems to have no relationship to their level of
When Business is bad they're our partners, when Business is good
they're our employees.
In spite of their own experience to the contrary, Jazz Musicians
believe us, when we start a new venue or music policy, and tell them
that the initial low wage we intend to pay is merely introductory, but
if things go well the wage will increase. How gullible! They buy the
concept that when business is bad we need them as our 'partners', and
must work for reduced fees. They have no expectation that when
business is good we will share our good fortune with them, and are
happy to be treated as employees, not partners. Even if they expect to
be more fairly compensated they don't get to see our "books"! Perfect.
As a result, Musicians allow us to build a business on their backs,
allow us to keep it running for years using their cheap labour with
this illusory 'partnership' arrangement. But when we sell our
business, we do not have to share any of the capital that we've built
with our musical 'partners'.
OUR FUTURE IS IN GOOD HANDS
Experienced jazz musicians are thrilled to pass the art of playing
jazz on to younger players, but at same time play for the same wages
as a kid who just came to them for a lesson!
Because of their terrible earning power as musicians, jazz musicians
need to teach to make a living. This provides us with an infinite
talent pool of motivated, energetic, youthful, hip, cheap
labo,rec.musicr. Only the best of these students will be the ones who
survive the inevitable cull, and if history is any indication, will
continue to play for hardly any money and follow in the fine tradition
that has been passed down to them by their elders.
The future is rosy for us because even though most parents know that
if they tell their kids not to do something they inevitably will; jazz
musicians strongly discourage their children from pursuing a living in
"The first time I saw the cover of Dirty Mind in the early 80s I thought, 'Is this some drag queen ripping on Freddie Prinze?'" - Some guy on The Gear Page
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