There is a world that exists at the opposite end of 'pay to play' and 70 hour weeks holding down two jobs, booking your own gigs and trying your best not to fuck up your latest promo material because you can't afford a designer. I ain't never seen it mind, I've just heard that a friend's friend knows a guy who's best friend's with the mate of some bejeweled pop star who bathes in Moet and sleeps on rose petals.
If you thought I was bitter from that curt description you may have a point. But don't get it twisted, it ain't because I want the same treatment. Far from it. I don't do fizzy wine and my allergies would be through the fucking roof resting my bonce on potpourri. Bitter probably ain't the best way to to describe my stance, it implies a sulky tone of entitlement. It's more a sense of frustration.
Frustrated with the ratio between effort and reward.
I don't mind managing my own career. In fact I've always looked at it positively. Why would I ask someone who can't care about my career as much as me to take over crucial parts of it? That seems illogical. That's the shit of bad news and missing money man, I'm telling ya. Don't get me wrong though, if I had a team of people helping me to navigate the treacherous waves of industry I'd probably see it from another angle.
But that's not what's getting my knickers in a twist. It's the money tree; It fucking don't like growing in grassroots man.
There's sparse fertile grounds round these ends son.
Kanye Believe It?
Earlier I came across an article which illustrated the inequality of the earnings between the upper echelons of pop stardom and the average US working man. I won't spoil it for you as you can see it in all its glory in the image, or you can read the full article here. But it's shocking. Fucking shit and fucking shocking.
Without trying to sound like a communist (cos I ain't - everyone deserves to be rewarded for extra effort or success). I just wish money was distributed more fairly within the music industry. In fact, more accurately I believe the problem is at the bottom, not at the top. Artists at a grassroots level need fairer recompense for the graft they put in. A plumber does, a window cleaner does, a shepherd does (I reckon).
I understand that this is the creative industries where you put out original works to public for judgement and consumption, and in there lies a measure of subjective value, but there is still a service element also. When I book a gig I want more than an offer of 'pay to play'. When I get a Spotify stream I want more than the 0.00429p per play I get currently. When someone says they like my music I want them to stream it or buy it, instead of torrenting it, and then fucking telling me! As Tony Sporano would say; "The brass balls on this fawking guy!"
But what you want and what you get are usually worlds apart. And I'm a realist. So I move with the times.
Cross My Palm With Silver
Look, I ain't a dick. I know money is tight and the grassroots scene is difficult. That's why I always do my best to work with others to push things forward and spread the word. I always turn up and do my best to deliver. And that is also why I still go against my better judgement at times and do things for nothing. But it stings. Each time it really stings.
We are all trying to make a penny and I don't like feeling like I'm out of order for wanting to earn whilst I work.
Myself, like the venue, the promoter, the designer, the photographer, the independent label, agent, etc... etc... are all trying to make bread. And more importantly, make enough of a loaf to break it with the rest. That's the goal. We just need to stop assuming or pretending that is not the aim of the other and have an open and honest conversation about service and payment.
Look, I knew this was a difficult career path when I made that conscious decision to pursue it. I spend a lot of time invested in gaining new skills and ideas to make the process easier, but that takes a lot of time and investment. Which again justifies the need to earn when you ply your trade.
I got speaking to a few people at a gig the other night after my set and we got chatting about Patreon.com and the benefits of employing such a model. To be honest this patronage/exclusivity shit is all new to me and I haven't really looked into it. I've heard it mentioned enough to recognise the name, but that's about it. But, any modern approaches to increased chances of sustainability are a welcoming sign! I support any platform that can help get the cash to the hand of the man who's earned it. Yes lad!
I do plan on setting some time aside to have a good look at all the benefits and more in depth shit at some point very soon. But before that - If you or anyone you know has had any experiences with similar approaches and wanna share them with me, that would be much appreciated! It's good to know as many of the pros, the cons and the do nots as possible.
Until I am of an elite status and my bidet spits goats milk up my pampered arse, I'm gonna push on.
It's Friday, it's sunny and I'm allowed to whinge.
You can catch me tonight at E Rooms Skelmersdale alongside Mega Ran, Sammus, The Surgeon, Profit, Marx and tomorrow night at The Bobbin Lancaster alongside Mega Ran, Sammus, Illerstate, Carpe, Marx, The Skint DJ x CKay and JackLow.