music professional 
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Re: “Fillmore Jazz Festival's "Cattle Call" Raises Concerns About Musician Pay

I think street festivals like the Union St Fair should be a separate issue from the Fillmore Jazz festival. I would expect that the level of talent and pay for something with the history/name of the Fillmore Jazz Festival should be taken seriously and professionally - if you want the heavy hitters, then yes, they should be paid their due.

However, something like the Union St fair is different to me. Folks aren't going there to listen to music - they're going to drink and eat and enjoy the sun (if we're lucky enough to get it in SF :). If there is good music discovered there - then yes, what a plus! That's what turned me off to this whole thing in the first place. I happen to have a band that is doing very well right now that was booked via our agent (not a cattle call) and we happily took the gig because the band wants to play in front of as many summer crowds as they possibly can (in fact they had two gigs that day). Was it the best guarantee we've received all summer? No. But this particular band is averaging about $500-$1K per show for most of the stuff they do - they are gigging constantly, getting press and radio play. As they grow, the guarantees grow. The implication that they were 'lesser' talent because they accepted the gig alienated me right away.

I have been working as an advocate for bands for over sixteen years and have seen the dramatic changes to the industry at large, yet all of my bands are all doing quite well. Bottom line is - your name and draw means everything in this business and I do think pay should be commensurate with that. However, I think in a case like Union St fair, the bands don't have to put in the kind of work they normally would because they know that it's a built-in crowd. It would be nice if you were paid based on your musical talent and years of study, but it's all about the numbers in this business just like any other. Many do not know how to promote themselves and do not realize how important this aspect of your career truly is. If you are bringing in the numbers, then absolutely you should and will get paid accordingly. But why would the Union St fair even bother with this when they know that folks are going to come out no matter what? Why would they opt to pay a band, let's say $1K when there are a bazillion other bands that will do it for half - and bands that are just as good? Simple economics - law of supply and demand.

Posted by music professional on 07/11/2010 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Fillmore Jazz Festival's "Cattle Call" Raises Concerns About Musician Pay

the reality is that to be a musician that feeds a family in this business means you have to work extremely hard and bust your ass for years. I don't know why everyone is making such a big deal out of this one particular person - get off his back. he's just trying to do his job and make a living like everyone else. I'm sure he answers to someone above him. please. the music business is in the toilet in every sense. to think that you should be paid the big bucks by a local street fair is just plain naive.

Posted by music professional on 07/08/2010 at 12:17 AM

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