Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Musician vs. the Restauranteur

I know, I know.  It has been far too long since I managed to pound out a blog.  Life is what’s happening while you make other plans, or something of that ilk.  But I saw a post on Facebook today that made me want to stand up and scream YES! YES! YES!

A fellow musician and friend, Jim Snively, posted an image of a Craigslist ad and a response that I believe epitomizes one of the biggest cultural issues that exists today.
There is no value placed on the arts. 

Everyone has some God-given talent.  A gifted surgeon makes his living saving lives.  He gets paid handsomely to do his work.  A gifted architect makes his living designing structures.  He gets paid handsomely to do his work.  A gifted lawyer, a gifted financier, a gifted accountant, a gifted teacher, a gifted janitor…well you get the drift.  But gifted writers, artists, and musicians are expected to entertain others simply for the love of doing so? 

Unfortunately, that is the case.  Not all, but many establishments want you to entertain their customers and bring in more money for their coffers but want you to work only for tips.  Of course the customers are busy spending their money for food and drink and paying tips to waitresses and bartenders with the mistaken idea that the musicians are being PAID by the establishment to provide entertainment.

In the writing world, many magazines generously offer to “publish” your work for 10 copies of the publication.  In some cases, they want a 500-word article for $3.00.  You, the writer should be ever so grateful for the opportunity to have your work seen by the magazine’s readership…the readership that is paying for the magazine while assuming that the writers of the content are being PAID for their work.

Here’s a clue for all the clueless audiences out there.  Musicians, writers, and artists have bills to pay; they have to eat; they incur expenses creating, transporting, and providing such entertainment.  So when you enjoy that guy playing music at the restaurant, or bar, or coffee shop, please show your appreciation by tipping them.  What you put in that jar may be all they have to show for a night of commuting to and from home and then spending 2-3 hours sharing their talents with you.

And for all the clueless establishments, reread the Craigslist response above.  It applies to you.