Jan 27, 2012

The Economics of the Music Business at Street Level

Tackling the economics of any business is a task beyond my abilities but I am not going to address or resolve the industry here. This is merely an essay/observational on some strange things I have seen from my little corners of the world.

Actually it is less an essay and more a random thought generator. Some of these things I'm currently, or have been, guilty of and some are things I have observed. Not all of them are financial in nature but also included are the economy of time, resources, logic etc.
  • Using a $1,000 - $7,000 instrument on a $50 gig
  • Using your $30,000 music education on a $50 gig
  • Thinking that what you have done is indicative of what you are now
  • Thinking that what you have done entitles you to anything
  • Playing a commercial establishment for free
  • Promoting your gigs to other gigging musicians
  • Not playing charity gigs when you are willing to play commercial establishments for free
  • Thinking you can still 'make it' in popular music when you are either over 35, bald, fat or all of the above
  • Spending more on music than music makes for you
  • Making  an EP at a big studio with a leather couch when you could make a full CD at a smaller music studio
  • Playing any gig for less than the gas to get you there, back, eat and drink there
  • Thinking that a big record deal is still a viable career path
  • Undercutting your fellow musicians by putting in a 5 piece for duo money
  • Undercutting your fellow musicians by doing the same gigs for less
  • Thinking that now that you have a music degree you know all you need
  • Subbing out of a $100 night of teaching music lessons that ends at 9pm for a $20 gig that starts at 10pm
  • Calling yourself a professional musician when most or all of your income is from non musical sources
  • Not realizing that being a professional musician means being in business for yourself
  • Not running your business like a business should be
  • Playing places that pay the bus boy more for their time that they do for your time
  • Rehearsing once a week for gigs that come once a month...or less
  • Thinking that giving away your music will lead to people paying for your music when there is no evidence that it has worked for anyone ever.
  • Joining a co-op band where you have no say or pay
  • Starting a co-op band where where everyone takes equal risk and spends equal time but you still want to be in charge
  • Expecting people to pay for your music while you steal other music via downloading
  • Paying money to play music
  • Not realizing that your time, experience and education is worth something
  • Thinking that playing clubs is the only way to make money in music
Like I said, some of these things are items I have done or will do and some are things I have seen done. So what does it mean?

I'll use the phrase I use a lot. "Music; you don't do it for the money but you don't (or shouldn't) do it for free"

I won't tell which are mine and which are others but if you are a non musician if some of these things seem insane... well that's because they probably are

    Jan 13, 2012

    How to Buy That 1st or 2nd Guitar

    Whether people, or their kids, are just starting out in music lessons or have attended music classes for a while, a common question we receive at our Winnipeg Music School  is "how do I buy a musical instrument?".

    Now the first person you should ask is probably your music teacher. They know you or your child's needs and abilities. The last person you should ask is the sales person at the retail store who knows none of your particulars and is more likely to sell you what they have and not what you need.

    One of the most common instruments to ask about is, of course, the guitar.

    One thing I can tell you about guitars is that in the last 30 years student/budget model guitars have gone from being literally unplayable to being good quality instruments while staying at, relatively, the same price!. My $100 "Conservator" guitar was unplayable to me or even my teacher while our guitar students "Denvers" and Montanas" are still only $100 30 years later, but play and sound very nice.

    For more on buying a guitar go to http://riverheightsmusicschool.com/How_to_Buy_a_Guitar.php

    Music Lessons Winnipeg