Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tip Jar by Jerry W. Henry

There is a big difference between artistic and financial success. Realizing that music is something that many need to do, whether professional or not, and that is a good, healthy thing. Music is cultural, not just a professional way to make money. Music is art. Music is an art, to be certain. Much like a painter, you get what someone is willing to pay. Ideally, the better you are at your craft and the more you appeal to what your clientele want, the more you'll sell and at higher values.
As far as live gigs go, the market will always drive the price point for bands - simply because the financial realities prevent any sensible businessman from paying more than the band is going to earn for him. Music artists are sub-contractors. They get paid based on what they bring to the table. Look at what value you can bring to the club/promoter/booker and learn how to sell it to them. The difference between successful music artists and unsuccessful ones is really more in their business skills. Think of your career as a small business and successfully run it that way.
Because there's no such thing as a musician middle class in our society, no one honors or respects those musicians who simply set out to make a decent living at what they love and are most skilled at. In other professions it's perfectly acceptable to aim for a median income in your field and still be considered successful.
Your music has to be great. Great artists will create great art no matter how they get their daily bread. Top of the line music, that’s a given.
While on the subject of finances, there was a survey done several years back about tip jars. They found that the larger the container (within reason), the better the tips were. They also found that clear containers brought more tips. People are hesitant about being the first to put money into an empty tip jar. Always put “seed” money in your tip jar. Jars that were not labeled got far less use. When most give someone a tip they want them to see them doing it. Put your tip jar in a place that gets noticed. If your tip jar is not filling up like you think it should, try passing it around. Some people are too shy to come up and put something in it. I knew a young lady in Texas that put pint sized tip jars on every table.

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