Six Reasons Most Musicians Don't Deserve to Get Paid
You've seen those memes: the ones about how musicians spend thousands of dollars on gear, hours rehearsing and loading/unloading, and drive 40 minutes to just play a show for $100. How noble and brave our poor musicians are, selflessly sacrificing themselves at every turn for a chance to do what they love while constantly griping and whining about every aspect of it. So of course they deserve to get paid -- they're performing a vital service to our lives, just like an ambulance driver.
Although musicians are indeed shafted by entire industries that are built purely around their creative output, truthfully, they don't deserve to get paid anything. Now tremble with indignant rage as I explain precisely why.
6. Most Music Sucks
Robin Czn / Flickr Whatever this guy is playing probably sounds really good, and it should cost money, right?
Honestly, most of everything sucks. Most architecture sucks. Most visual art sucks. Most writing sucks. Falling in line with this noble, sacred truth, your music also probably sucks. Do you really think you deserve to get paid for sucking, just because you took the time to suck?
Here's a parallel for you: Your friend decides to go to culinary school in Paris. He trains for a year with some of the most prestigious and proficient chefs in the entire world. When he comes home, he offers to cook you a meal for the modest price of just the ingredients required for the meal. Then he makes you a dish made of chocolate-covered sardines that have been marinating in duck blood for a week, garnished with Pizza Rolls that are frozen in the middle.
Should you pay him for this rancid mess? Because that's what 99 percent of all bands are -- indigestible garbage, meticulously crafted with clueless pride.
5. Art Has Never Made Money
via Wikipedia Mozart: Lived broke, died broke. What, do you think you're better than Mozart?
Have you ever thought about artists throughout history and how many of them lived in poverty and contracted diseases like syphilis? How famous painters and sculptors who're still revered today made most of their money making insincere crap for a relatively modest paycheck from a religious figurehead or nobleman? Being an artist has always sucked, save for a few select individuals in the 20th century who have managed to avoid getting devoured by parasitic labels and managers. So why do you think that somehow the established paradigm should suddenly shift just because you have to pay for a practice space? Part of being an artist is being a loser. Accept it as people irrationally offer to have sex with you despite you having next to nothing to give in return.
4. You Are Already Rich
Travis / Flickr For the price of just one guitar, you could feed a starving village for a year, probably.
If you have money to spend on lessons, on amplifiers, on pianos, on a vehicle to transport all of these goods, you are already wealthy by a global standard. I'm sorry that you aren't able to buy the brand of organic cookie dough your partner loves because the bar owner decided his coke habit was more important than paying you fairly, but guess what? If you are reading this sentence, I'm willing to wager that despite this grave injustice you're still going to be eating at least two meals a day in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
See also: Six Legitimate Reasons to Make Art
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