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Does musician travel drive up cost?

*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,David E. 24 Feb 10 - 12:39 PM
mg 24 Feb 10 - 12:41 PM
Hamish 24 Feb 10 - 12:59 PM
Bert 24 Feb 10 - 01:04 PM
Leadfingers 24 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM
TheSnail 24 Feb 10 - 02:07 PM
Leadfingers 24 Feb 10 - 02:15 PM
TheSnail 24 Feb 10 - 02:40 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Feb 10 - 03:05 PM
Will Fly 24 Feb 10 - 03:07 PM
Leadfingers 24 Feb 10 - 03:53 PM
Fidjit 24 Feb 10 - 04:04 PM
Will Fly 24 Feb 10 - 04:21 PM
TheSnail 24 Feb 10 - 04:43 PM
Leadfingers 24 Feb 10 - 04:50 PM
TheSnail 24 Feb 10 - 05:02 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 05:10 PM
JedMarum 24 Feb 10 - 05:49 PM
Genie 24 Feb 10 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,999 24 Feb 10 - 06:13 PM
Deckman 24 Feb 10 - 06:36 PM
JedMarum 24 Feb 10 - 08:13 PM
Genie 24 Feb 10 - 08:20 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,999 24 Feb 10 - 10:29 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 10:33 PM
cptsnapper 24 Feb 10 - 10:37 PM
Melissa 24 Feb 10 - 10:41 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,999 24 Feb 10 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,999 24 Feb 10 - 10:56 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 11:00 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Feb 10 - 11:11 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 25 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM
Leadfingers 25 Feb 10 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 25 Feb 10 - 08:52 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 25 Feb 10 - 11:15 AM
DonMeixner 25 Feb 10 - 02:00 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Feb 10 - 03:30 PM
The Villan 25 Feb 10 - 04:23 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 25 Feb 10 - 05:27 PM
Leadfingers 25 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 25 Feb 10 - 07:15 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 25 Feb 10 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 25 Feb 10 - 08:22 PM
JohnInKansas 25 Feb 10 - 09:34 PM
Howard Jones 26 Feb 10 - 08:08 AM
Banjiman 26 Feb 10 - 09:01 AM
Tom - Swords & Songs 26 Feb 10 - 09:03 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 09:43 AM
Tom - Swords & Songs 26 Feb 10 - 09:55 AM
Maryrrf 26 Feb 10 - 10:03 AM
MikeL2 26 Feb 10 - 10:05 AM
DonMeixner 26 Feb 10 - 10:25 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 10:59 AM
Leadfingers 26 Feb 10 - 11:25 AM
Maryrrf 26 Feb 10 - 11:34 AM
DonMeixner 26 Feb 10 - 11:42 AM
Tom - Swords & Songs 26 Feb 10 - 11:47 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 12:00 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 12:21 PM
Girl Friday 26 Feb 10 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 26 Feb 10 - 12:49 PM
Leadfingers 26 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM
Leadfingers 26 Feb 10 - 02:01 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 02:18 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 26 Feb 10 - 02:37 PM
MikeL2 26 Feb 10 - 02:46 PM
Howard Jones 26 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM
MikeL2 26 Feb 10 - 02:52 PM
YorkshireYankee 26 Feb 10 - 03:08 PM
MikeL2 26 Feb 10 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,999 26 Feb 10 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM
Gorgeous Gary 26 Feb 10 - 08:52 PM
GUEST, *#1 PEASANT* 27 Feb 10 - 07:19 PM
Uncle Phil 27 Feb 10 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Conrad 27 Feb 10 - 10:13 PM
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*#1 PEASANT* 13 Mar 10 - 09:58 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:02 PM

I post this for thought. I dont have a problem with professional folk musicians. They are needed, need good wages and loads of support of all kinds.

However, recently I was looking into costs of folk music conventions.
3-400 dollars for a few days and that is advance registration. No room, no travel, no food.

I note that on face book musicians seem to regularly fly cross country.
Yes they need to follow the work and go places to make a living however....

Should a folk musician that travels more than the average person or can afford to attend expensive far away conferences, put out a tip jar?

Is this why - this added cost- why there are fewer venues and costs for those attending- the price of beer is getting prohibitive?

Just a quest for input. Ideas. Have any? Not picking on anyone just wondering.

I do realize that travel and conferencing have benefits - so do internet conferences and chat rooms and bulletin boards.

Don't know....just starting out on this quest for illumination.
Yes sora wish I could go to more conferences and attend more concerts but I can barely live with my cd purchase budget and can not afford travel and am stuck with cheap beer at retail prices.

Should folk musicians refuse to play where prices are ripping people off and keeping many locked out?

The world of wonder awaits your comment and creativity.
Remember- there is nothing wrong with Pro. folk musicians or for that matterr perhaps, bank executives.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,David E.
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:39 PM

As a traveling folk singer once told me: "You don't pay me to play, you pay me to travel."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: mg
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:41 PM

Let t he market decide. If you can afford to do these things and people pay for them, fine. If not, keep your day job, do it for fun and as supplementary income. mg


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Hamish
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 12:59 PM

My personal scales include how much I want to do the gig and how far is it. A local gig I don't much fancy has got to be well paid. If I really want to do the gig then I'm happy to cover expenses (or less - so long as I feel the organiser isn't taking the p1ss)


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:04 PM

Valid points #1. but just because I can only afford to go to local cheap venues doesn't mean that folk performers should limit their playing choices.

Folk performers should play anywhere and everywhere they can.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM

"The Labourer shall be worthy of his hire " As Hamish said , even if you have a Day Job , ESPECIALLY with the cost of petrol in UK , if you are travelling any distance you HAVE to put up your price !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:07 PM

Leadfingers

"if you are travelling any distance you HAVE to put up your price !

As I always say on these occasions, "Where do you think that money comes from?"


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:15 PM

Snail = You mean you would charge exactly the same for a local gig as for one Two hundred miles away ??


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:40 PM

Answer the question Leadfingers. Where does the money come from?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:05 PM

What is a "folk music convention"? Are they traditional?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:07 PM

The money comes from the paying audience at the club so, in the end, it's down to the desire of the club to have a particular performer, and the desire of the performer to get a gig at that particular club. Hopefully a compromise is reached.

If the band I play in does a gig outside a local radius of around 30 miles from base, we cram as many of us into as few cars as possible, work out the petrol costs for the drivers and add that to the basic fee. What the basic fee is varies from gig to gig. If it's a wedding for a complete stranger, for example, we would charge around £100 a performer - plus the petrol costs. If it's a "mates or good causes" gig, then we adjust the fee accordingly.

If we can't agree the cash (which is rare), we don't do the gig!


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 03:53 PM

We work on the same basis as Will ! Though IF I am asked to do a solo , I AM a lot cheaper IF I think I will enjoy myself I tend to be a lot cheaper than if I am going to have to 'work' hard !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Fidjit
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:04 PM

Bit like soliciting really. Guitar instead of handbag.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:21 PM

Absolutely - it probably was the oldest profession...


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:43 PM

Will Fly

The money comes from the paying audience at the club

That is the fundamental point I was hinting at. I don't think you can tell the paying public that artist A is pretty much on a par with artist B but artist A has travelled 200 miles so you've got to pay more to see them. I think they might stay at home in droves. We can only pay you out of the money that people pay to see you. As Will says, if that isn't enough, don't take the gig.

As someone who does more booking than being booked, if someone told me they wanted more because they weren't going to enjoy the gig, that gives me two reasons not to book them.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 04:50 PM

Snail - I get asked to do a lot of gigs that have NOTHING to do with Folk Clubs . Folk Club work is ALWAYS good fun !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:02 PM

Leadfingers, if you can persuade people to pay you on the basis of the distance you have travelled rather than what you do when you get there, then good luck to you, but I think folk club audiences are more inclined to pay for what they get.

That is all the money we have to pay you with.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:10 PM

Some great comments.

My main interest is access of audiences to music- the more access the more opportunity for transmission and inspiration of new works.

When venues hire people from far away, nothing wrong with it, expenses rightfully occur. It just costs.

What do you do with such expenses?

Seems to me that there are a few ways to deal with it.

-performer (who is generally making a profit from local gig costs lowers the inital fee to absorb some of the travel fee so that the gig does not cost entire local fee plus entire travel cost.

-venue operator- who is making significant profit lowers his or her profit on the out of town gig and perhaps a few subsequent local ones to absorb the cost of transportation making costs to patrons the same or only very slightly higher.

If these sort of things are not done one limits accessibility of the music via increasing costs and barring those without the means to pay.

One could go with what the market would stand however when one goes over that pricepoint the venue and the performer are out. While the venue may spring back they often just close and performers hang it up.

So going to the market's breaking point limits access as prices climb and soon no one can turn up.

Careful strategies it seems to me will help minimize limits of access to the music and traditions.

I don't think they are being utilized now.
But rather one fee is laid on the other and although a certain segment of the population is able to afford to attend a much larger segment is increassingly locked out- via economic discrimination.

This situation is very much like the Irish Potato Famine- its underlying cause was the reliance of a large population on a mono crop. The Potato. Once that crop failed there was nothing else.

This is happening now in the music biz. Especially Opera and classical music but I am seeing it in folk as well. Venues, cultural institutions have cultivate the wealthy elites at the expense of loosing middle class and lower income folks. Once the elites are hit by hard times there is no other group that can afford the artifically inflated costs that only the welthy elite could pay.

If more diverse populations could afford to attend there would be more stability. Venues would make up with volume that which they would loose in higher priced fees.

Another issue that I have seen in the artcar world is that importation of talent sucks the energy and motivation out of local talent and keeps the pool of locals growing. Over professionalization is making ordinary folk believe that they are unworthy so discourages participation.

Yes Folk conventions- one recent one in the USA costparticipants around $300 just to register not including travel, hotels, food....
As I said somewhere- If you tell me you can afford that I am not putting money in your tip jar. You should tip me for going into credit debt to attend and keep you at it.

I have nothing against professional musicians who are wonderful and probably under paid and under respected however, there are many players and dimensions of the market that also have to be considered.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 05:49 PM

I thought you were joking, at first. Then I read through the comments and see that you are serious!

You obviously haven't got a clue.

I make a living at folk music - a rather poor one, but it is my entire income. I live in a pretty big US city, yet there are very opportunities for me to work locally, on a regular basis. There are only so many venues and each of them is frequented by a pretty regular audience. As much as they like me, they don't want to see me over and over and over again. I even work in different types of venues in my home town just so I can stay home more often ... but at that, I still work in Dallas no more then twice in a month, and often not even that much.

On the other hand, there tens of thousands of venues within a plane ride or day's drive. So I can keep working several shows each work, if I am willing and able to travel. I don't travel because it's fun and exciting. Traveling sucks! I'd much rather be home - but if I'm going to make a living and if I'm going to get my music around, I have to travel. And yes, of course I have to recoup as much of my travel costs as possible from CD sales and performance fees. So when I work at home I can afford to do so for a bit less.

As for performance fees; that is a negotiated issue with every booking. The venues know what they expect to bring in and they know what their costs are. It's a pretty exact science. There is some guessing - but often the fees are set to attendance, and certainly overall profitability is affected by CD sales.

I find it hard to believe you resent this. If you think folk musicians are screwing the paying audience; you have a screw loose! Most of us are slowly going broke, just to support a way of life we love and wish to make work. I don't know any who are rich. You don't go into folk music to make money - that's for damn sure!


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Genie
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:07 PM

This may be a bit tangential to your initial points, Peasant, but I provide music, as entertainment and as therapeutic recreation, for a wide array of senior communities (from alzheimer's units to nursing and rehab centers to independent living residences and drop-in senior centers). There are a lot of facilities around, both in Portland and in Seattle, and I find I can earn a living at it by having frequent clients in both cities.    But while I travel to Seattle to "gig," I find Seattle musicians coming to Portland to play here.    Even within cities, I know that I may be driving 30 miles across town to do a program on the west side while a west side entertainer is driving to my neck of the woods to do the same.

I would GLADLY knock $5 to $15 off my fee for 1-hour gigs if I could get the activity directors to help me avoid a lot of the travel time.   This could mean trying to hire mostly people who lived fairly close, or it could mean coordinating with the ADs of nearby facilities so we providers could do 2 to 4 gigs in the same area the same day. Also, if more ADs would schedule programs in the morning or early afternoon or after 6 PM -- or on weekends -- I could also lower my fees because I wouldn't so often get stuck in horrendous Friday afternoon or rush hour traffic. But I find most of the ADs either have never thought of this or just aren't willing to bend that way, even while they are complaining about their budget cuts.

So, in my case, YES, my sometimes-extensive travel does drive up my costs and thus what I need to charge.   

I considered joining the local musicians' union at one time, but their policies were that I had to charge at least $60 for a gig (back in the early '90s) -- even if it was a 30-min. gig 1 block from my house with no need for amps, etc.   OTOH, their rules would have allowed me to drive to the Oregon Coast and back for a 4-hour gig and still charge only $60.
This never made sense to me, as travel can easily take more time than the gig itself and cost a good chunk of whatever I'm being paid.   
Musicians could charge less and still have the same bottom line if they could get as many good gigs locally as they do on the road.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:13 PM

To the OP:

Do stupid questions as thread titles piss you off?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Deckman
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 06:36 PM

I'll try to add some realistic numbers to this conversation. To make this relevent, you need to know that I live on the West coast of America, close to Seattle. Last Septmeber, "Bride Judy" and I did a 1,700 mile road trip ... many concerts, some TV and radio stuff, etc. One of the predictable venues we "set up" were public librarys.

It became clear to us that there is a "standard fee", if you will, that the major public librarys expect to pay for a presentation ... $200.

Now,in this time economic collapse, I can't predict if this expected "fee" will continue.

On our trip, we also set up several "private gigs" and we held to that $200 per performance.

Next comes the obvious question ... "how long is a gig?" I held that a "gig" was a concert, two hours, with an intermission. Any CD's I sold were my "profits."

No where on our trip did we run into any dispute about these prices.

I hope that my comments adds to this conversation and puts some numbers into the conversation.

By the way ... to Jed Marum ... I was the guy that collected the money for you at the house concert that Stew Hendrickson hosted for you a couple of years ago. I well remeber our conversation about your "life on the road." I don't know how you do it ... maybe you're younger than me? CHEERS, bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 08:13 PM

Yes, Bob - I remember you well! It is sometimes a grind - but I love the music! It keeps me going!


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Genie
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 08:20 PM

BTW, I'm probably not alone in NOT charging extra for gigs* that involve extra travel -- though I will sometimes offer price breaks to those who book my less-often-demanded spots, if it's a low-budget facility.    I basically charge what the traffic will bear (which isn't a lot in the case of nursing homes and senior centers) and average out the costs. But if I didn't have to travel as much or at horrible traffic times, I'd be able to charge less (or I'd have a better bottom line).



*I call them "gigs" usually, even though most are only 1 hour, because it's easier and less awkward/formal than saying "engagements" or "paid music program." YMMV


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:27 PM

Jed-

I appreciate your need to work and your profession.

So many people can not afford to go out in my city to hear good folk music that it is unbelievable.

Your work would be more profitable if you could reach them and bring them into the tent.

Travel is important at times and helpful- I understand fully, however there is the necessity to have the costs absorbed before they reach the consumer or you will minimize the number of consumers.

If so many of the potential audience find the cost of attendance excessive, prohibitive they are being screwed, shunned by someone.
The fact that the venue or performer is content with the numbers that make it past the cost is irrelevant.

The point is what is keeping our music from being as affordable as it could be>? You may not be entirely responsible but somehow it should be fixable in some way.

If McDonalds was content with selling burgers to a small segment of the population then there would not be a mcdonalds on every corner as there is now.

If folk artists and venues maybe even brewers and distributors managed costs as well as fast food places folk venues like hamburger places would be on every corner too and you as the provider of "the beef" of the operation would be making more as well. There would even have to be more of you!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:29 PM

Conrad, are you a working musician?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:33 PM

Genie-

Yes! Developing a local pool of musicians is of great importance. That is where making sure that costs do not drive down demand.

I believe that there is potential for unions to do great work however they do not always do great work- simply consult the automobile market mess to find out.

One of the problems might also be over professionalization of the craft. This discourages ordinary folks from entering it therefore it keeps the supply of potential talent down which in the short run helps existing musicians but in the long run will keep the business from expanding.

Back to mcdonalds- If they insisted that every burger flipper be a vetted professional then they would never be able to expand. By taking most every worker and training them, accepting them the expansion was possible.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: cptsnapper
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:37 PM

I remember years ago that there was a great debate in the British Folk Press about this very subject with passions running high on both sides. I suppose that it will always be a possible bone of contention.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Melissa
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:41 PM

Ordinary folk can't be musicians because we're thwarted by overprofessionalism of the craft?!


Wouldn't the mcdonald's comparison work better if you were talking about mainstream music?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:49 PM

Guest 999-

I am many things-What is a "working" musician>?
Some of them are-

1. Visionary Artcar Artist- I accept money when offered.

2. I design and play Visionary musical instruments- Horn Hats, horn coat, horn cars- I accept money when offered.

3. I play tin whistle and Bones and alto horn and trumpet and "rough music" and sing. I accept money when offered

4. I am a storyteller and accept money when offered.

5. As a folklorist I have mastered and conduct rituals of celebration and accept money when offered.

6. I provide seasonal celebration events open to the public at no charge periodically throughout the year but accept donations when offered.

I do lots of things. My favorite example- I grow wonderful finger nails I guess I would take money when offered but I would surely not call it work or demand payment.

Some say I do things very well- some believe and have said at a professional level. Whatever that means is in the eye of some beholder and not from the perspective of any tradition as traditions would not care how well it is done just that it is being done.

Is all of this working- well .....lets see I could not do it while sleeping.

Those who know me will know that I believe that the folk world is a spectrum of many valid dimensions with each dimension of equal value.
As for songs and music- doesnt matter how well a song is played or sung what matters is that it is sung. My mind can fill in the gaps quite well. Traditions are bigger than money making, individuals, politics. We owe traditions an independence from worldly concerns as traditions are mysteries bigger than our petty desires.

So a quick response forgive me if it is unclear as it is an infinite topic of wonder and amazement for the most part.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:54 PM

Nice tap dancing.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 10:56 PM

BTW, I expect you are in a small country. Not USA, Australia or Canada for instance. In any of those countries, you wouldn't even ask the question were you a working musician.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 11:00 PM

cptsnapper-

I listen to 3-4 BBC regional folk programs a week.
Religiously..... (you uk folk keep paying your taxes thanks! If the BBC wants to take over our local stations go for it!)

Anyway.....

I am impressed with the similarity of the issues in UK and USA
I am particularly interested in the observation that the folk club is giving way to the regional or national commercial festival.

This is what I see so often in my area and in USA. Big gatherings with the same professional circut riding musicians and a decline in local performers with few or no regular venues and of the venues available these are prohibitively expensive.

Places where once I could spend an evening I now find my money gone in an hour or so.

We do have local societies however there too costs of admission to events are high (I believe a ticket should cost slightly less than a CD high is twice the cost of a cd or more, this is not to deny that costs of production are high but just says that cost of attendence is higher than is easily affordable by a large number) Also I find that folk societies have sterilized the tradition with dance in particular seeming to be more of an athletic event (sweat bands, running shoes, towels, healthy foods) than anything that would be anything close to traditional.

Yes I do not see it all but I have gone out to experience quite a bit event to the point of spending much more money than I have to spend.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 11:11 PM

Its not who is at your performance but the hundreds that did not come or were kept from attending by economics that matters. What have you done lately to keep them out or let them in more easily?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM

What would it do to a cost of a hamburger if all the employees at a mcdonalds had to be flown in from several states away?

(well actually mcdonalds depends heavily upon mexicans and others from far away already however, they Lower costs unlike imported musicians which will drive costs up)

Why should we let this sort of thinking make the price of access to folk music impossible for so many?

Its sort of like art that is local is never as good as art that is far away where the grass is greener.

The problem self perpetuates. When venues put all their funds into outside far away super stars there is less money for the development and establishment of local talent.

Perhaps one way to do this is as in the baseball league system. They run teams at all levels not only the major league. If venues operated at several levels and perhaps even different locations a local folk scene would be nourished rather than the bank accounts of a few. This could be funded by contributions from the artist matched by the venue operators and by those who benefit via food and drink sales- breweries and the like.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:24 AM

Interesting that Conrad equates a Paid Folk Musician with an immigrant working in McDonalds . I never realised we were so well appreciated !!


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:52 AM

"What would it do to a cost of a hamburger if all the employees at a mcdonalds had to be flown in from several states away?"

If each burgerflipper had their individual and special variation on flipping a burger, and everything about the Big Mac they produced was predicated on their particular skills, style, taste and experience, the argument might have some validity.

As it is, you seem to be suggesting that all folk singers are essentially interchangable. Don't think you'll get many takers for this.

Talking to a friend who regularly used to book musicians to play live, lots of different factors come into play: the size of the proposed venue, what size of audience is likely, how much the organiser can afford, how much promotion and publicity they are able to do, how much the artist charges, what they themselves might do to promote the gig, the repuation of the organiser etc etc. In and amongst all these factors, a mutually acceptable fee would generally be agreed. If not, the gig didn't happen. He used to occasionally fly artists over from the States for one-off gigs who he knew would draw a big enough crowd to pay the performance fee and the air fare: in cases such as these transport costs did make a difference, but he was still able to make an informed decision based on likelihood of breaking even. Sometimes he did sometimes he didn't. The same outcomes applied to musicians coming a few miles down the road. What I do know is that if he hadn't been prepared to take a few risks with his money, I'd have missed a good few marvellous gigs... (Cheers, Nick!)


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 11:15 AM

Interesting that Conrad equates a Paid Folk Musician with an immigrant working in McDonalds . I never realised we were so well appreciated !!

so you think folk musicians are superior?
Don't think so you know that might be considered bigoted and intolerant. Maybe some of those immigrant workers are musicians?
The trouble is that they are inexpensive yet folk musicians are
more expensive. I can better afford to go to mcdonalds than to the Irish place downtown and listen to music and have dinner.

No I am not saying that folk musicians do not deserve a decent wage. They do. That said, there need to be more of them and the marketing arrangements need to be re-considered and some industry practices changed. Or its going to get worse and that means mcdonalds will still be in business and folk venues will be gone.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 02:00 PM

Why do you suppose there are not more working Professional Folk Musicians? My guess is the venues are few and far between that will or can pay a living wage to the musician. Those venues won't stay open unless they can get the best available artists for an affordable price. This is a thin line. Three people have to be able to afford that price. The venue, the artist, and the audience.

The venue and the artist have to make a cash profit on the deal or there is no point in either being in business. And this is a business. The venue charges too much at the door for the drawing power of the artist and both lose out and the artist doesn't come back. The artist charges too little to the venue and they don't make as much as they should for the work they do so well. The audience profits in other ways.

In the free market and in the US a performer gets paid based on his or her skills and on the markets ability to support his or her skills. A market (Pick your venue) isn't going to pay $ 100.00 for 2 1/2 hrs. for Erstwhile but possibly talent less Endeavour when they can pay near the same amount and get Jed Marum or Deb Cowan or Seamus Kennedy.

But there is a hitch in this get along. Deb and Jed and Seamus all live over 100 miles away from the venue wanting their talents. That's and hour and a half one way to get to the gig while Erstwhile Endeavor (Endeavour for the Brits) lives one town over. That three hours of travel time for Deb, Seamus, and Jed can mean another local job if they want to book that tight.   So these people might ask for $ 125.00 for the gig and miss the chance to earn even more. This brings us back to two people deciding what is best for themselves business wise.

It is unfair to expect them to play the low priced gig and miss the potential for a second job because they are folksingers and that's what folksingers do. I did say it was unfair to expect, I don't believe it is unfair to ask because they might be on their way to another job someplace and this would be a good stop off point.

Back to Erstwhile Endeavour. This band or performer may be pretty good so the venue really should give em the chance to play and offer $50.00 on an off night and see how they do. It is never unfair to offer less up front as long as it is Erstwhile's decision to take the gig. And people all start somewhere.

There is much more to the answer to this question than the question asks. And also people have to start thinking that the music business is a business. As Jed said he is willing to get paid what he gets paid because he love the work. It is work I love and do a lot of it but it is a business.

The IRS treats it as a business and taxes it as a business. And as a business artistic value has little value as far as the tax code of the US is concerned unless you are James Taylor or Celine Dion. For my jewelry business the most I can claim on any of the 23 bracelets I donated last year is half the cost of the material I used. For me to donate my time as a musician which I do an awful lot I have to charge a venue/charity for the gig and then give it back to the venue/charity and get a letter saying thank you for your cash donation. This is only good if the charity is registered with The IRS. 18 of those bracelets were for benefits for children with cancer, a fireman who was hurt at a fire, the village library, my Mom's church bazaar, and the Mudcat.

So when I add an additional $25.00 to cover the gas I used driving the 400 miles round trip to Buffalo from my house in Jordan, NY ( the same as driving from London to Glasgow one way) you'll understand the why of it.   The answer to the question is "Yes it does and it should".

Don


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 03:30 PM

Does the expression "market price" have any meaning for any of you?

My old economics professor used to explain about square wheels made of butter by an expensive process costing £1M per wheel - could they be sold at a commensurate price when car wheels and tyres were whatever price they were?


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: The Villan
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 04:23 PM

No

An organiser will pay what is possible. If the cost is too much, the organiser will not book said musician (travel or not). Likewise the musician has the right to not play, if the organiser can't meet their demands.

Supply and demand.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 05:27 PM

Don M...

A good description of what is happening.

Yes musicians are valid, good professionals who need to make a living.

I can't afford to fly anywhere.
Trouble is that a musician who can afford to fly in across country puts out a tip jar.

I tend to feel like I should put out the tip jar and they could help pay down the credit debt I get into when I go to their performances.

I beleive that there are ways to fix this without screwing either performer venue operator or customer.

Remember if not for audience there would be no venue.

As it is going now the numbers unable to afford to attend are growing.

Perhaps the answer is more performances, lower cost per audience member and with accessibility improved even greater profit will come through greater numbers.

Just because you get an adequate number of people attending who are wealthy enough to not feel the prices does not mean that you are getting all the audience you could by changing the paramaters.

I know how much I need to pay for a beer and it is dramatically less than I am bing ripped off for the same at a venue.

Yes what is happening is normal and understandable and not terrible. However even the best situations could use a wake up call.

That wake up call is - do something about the high costs for audience to attend or you will be all out of work.

Is it excessive perofit taking- not necessairly but look into that.
What is the profit of the venue you play at?
If it is excessive then demand that it be toned down a notch.
If no one is accumulating money then change something else. Situations will differ.

Essentially - Try something and dont think that the present situation is the best just because it seems to have been that way forever.

Remember- when you cultivate a mono crop and it fails yoiu loose totally. Never rely upon one income level of patron. Broaden the base eliminate economic descrimination even though it seems to pay well.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM

I DONT see musicians putting out a Tip Jar if they are getting paid and the audience is paying admission ! If its a Walk In and buy a drink / meal . Tip Jar is there ! IF there is an admission charge , NO Tip Jar !
Conrad - Have you EVER Done a BOOKED paid Gig ? I have , in UK and outside UK - as well as in USA !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 07:15 PM

Conrad Where are you? I know you are speaking English as am I but I'm hearing with American ears. How much money are these musicians you are talking about making in US dollars?

My band is a trio and we have in fact cut or prices by 25 %. For a small group that travel mostly NY state we giged 38 jobs last year We ask for $ 325.00 ( L 210.62) when close to home. Each man get $ 100.00 (L 64.81) and the $ 25.00 (L 16.2) goes for gas. If we break out to 50 to 100 miles from home we up the price to $ 350.00- $ 375.00.
(L 226.82- L 243.02) I don't think we are over charging anyone. Are you talking about the local talent or a regional act like Seamus or Jed?

Don


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:02 PM

Not bad. Perhaps the largest amount I ever got for exhibiting and talking about my artcar at a major event attended by thousands for which the artcar is a draw (is selected as the aspect of the festival photographed for promotional and coverage news stories) was around $325 and that was for ALL DAY plus three hours and that is the exception.
Artscape our largest festival one of the largest in the nation does not donate anything most places around $50. And yes I am a nationally known cartist having won top award at largest most important event. And yes I do not demand funding but accept it trying to work in whatever I can do for those who want me.
My costs are considerable- time, materials, transportation, gas, mechanical.....

Again note. I know that one has to make a living (I make debt but thats ok) and that is fine. You should make a living wage.

I am impressed that you were able to cut fees.

Wonderful-just so savings was past on to the audience not just to the venue.

I am also not saying that the musicians are the only problems as there are other parts of the food chain.

Drink distributors, venue operators, food producers and on it goes...
I would also blame the audience that does not shop around and pays too much just because they can.

Therefore I think the solution is to open the books. Is the audience getting the best deal possible? Are you playing at a venue where the greatest number of people given expenses can attend. If I played at a venue I would ask them to keep their prices down to reasonable and affordable then I would know that the audience would be as big as possible.

All is also not lost when you cut back. Other strategies can be employed to compensate. You could do more performances, do different styles of performance.

Human greed can mess up any food chain. But if it is located excessive profit taking can be fixed.

Also remember....you can stress out the market by keeping costs to what it can bear. When that happens everything stops.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 08:22 PM

Gosh Conrad, I am speechless.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Feb 10 - 09:34 PM

Not exactly to the original point; but to the alternate question: "Do scalpers drive up the price." - (?)

Eagles band pinches scalpers with Live Nation price increases
BY ADAM SATARIANO
Bloomberg News

The Eagles were the first band to charge $100 for a concert ticket '16 years ago. Now the group is raising prices on prime seats, making the cheap ones cheaper and squeezing scalpers. The band's April 27 show in Sacramento, Calif., uses live Nation's "dynamic" ticketing service that mimics airlines' approach; a . first for a major group.

By setting 10 prices based on anticipated demand, instead of the usual two to four, the Eagles are selling seats closer to what they fetch on resale sites such as EBay's StubHub. "The idea is to shift the economic value from the brokers, who get the difference between the face value and the resale value, to the primary market where it can go to the artists, promoters and venue' operators," said Brett Harriss, an analyst with Gabelli & Co. in Rye, N.Y., which owns the shares.

The Eagles test highlights ticketing changes made possible by live Nation's merger last month with Ticketmaster Entertainment, a deal opposed by consumer groups. As the world's largest concert promoter, venue operator, ticket seller and manager of artists, the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company has more leverage to make changes that drive revenue and profit.

Dynamic pricing has been tried by professional baseball teams including the San Francisco Giants. It uses technology to continually adjust ticket prices for some seats based on demand. At the 17,000-seatArco Arena, the Eagles are testing a limited version that set prices in advance. Aisle seats are worth more than those in the middle of a row, for example.

In some systems, changes can be made in real time. . The band and show organizers are keeping total ticket revenue comparable to other stops on the tour, which runs from April 16 to May 18, said Robbins. Eagles tickets priced as high as $250 are being used to reduce others to as little as $32, the lowest for the band since 1980.

[Apologies for a long post; but the article was in a print newspaper with a really crappy website that won't have it up for a week or so.]

John


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 08:08 AM

Conrad, you seem to be having trouble understanding some basic concepts.

A musician doesn't travel long distances to a gig because he is rich. He travels because he needs to do as many gigs as possible to earn a living. He needs to cover his travel costs out of the fee before he can begin to pay for food, rent, utilities, taxes and all the other costs of living. Once those costs are covered it would be nice to have a bit over as well. So he is entitled to charge a fee which makes the gig worth his while - if the practice is to put out a tip jar then that's part of it. The venue will only agree that fee if they believe the performer will attract a big enough audience at the right price. The audience will pay that price only if they believe the performer is worth it. You have to decide for yourself whether to pay that price (which may mean sacrificing something else). It all depends on how much you value that individual musician's music.

It's quite clear that you don't make a living as a cartist (if that's the right word). It's a hobby, so you can't compare it with people doing a professional job to earn a living.

You clearly manage to find money to spend on your artcar. So it's your own choice that you can't afford to go to gigs. It's up to you to decide your priorities, not up to musicians to sacrifice their standard of living so you can do both.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Banjiman
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 09:01 AM

Hmmmmm......A few observations.

I book 30 - 40 acts per year in a UK concert based folk club. I do bear in mind the distance that an artists is travelling when agreeing fees. I'll also take into account how big an audience they are likely to draw and how keen our regulars are to see them. If I think they are asking too much as a fixed fee I'll agree minimum v door %.

With us running in a village hall and running a couple of mini-fests a year we use the bar & food profits from these to account for the club nights that we lose money.

My wife is developing a career as a full time folk singer/ musician and I can say without a doubt that most (but not all) bookers work on the same principles - she usually agrees a bigger fee for more distant gigs. This seems a reasonable approach to me as travel costs are so high.

I must admit that I am struggling to grasp the points being made by the OP.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Tom - Swords & Songs
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 09:03 AM

It seems to me that most of these comments are approaching things from the wrong direction.
A venue/promotor may want someone to do a gig at their club but it comes down to maths before compassion about whether expenses should be met.

The following sum is applied first:
(How many people will that person draw to watch a gig x what price can you reasonably charge) - the venue/promoter costs = the amount you can offer the musician to break even

If including expenses, the fee the musician wants is higher than this, then the gig can't happen.

It's not a matter of venues trying to rip off artists, or needing to pay more to cover expenses, it comes down to how much money they can afford to throw at it. If more people come than expected, everyone's a winner (especially if you're on a %age split). If less people come, then the venue/promotor loses. It's all a risk to everyone.

Therefore it's not what you deserve as a fee, it's what amount of money you'll bring in. Some of the finest musicians around may deserve to be paid loads but will only draw in a small crowd, whereas if you slap a pair of tits on a hairy bloke doing a one man tribute show to Abba then you'll pack the house.

Ta
Tom


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 09:43 AM

I have been very clear above that I respect the right of professional musicians to make a living wage, obtain benefits.

Here I am exploring ways to keep that going and improving.
It will not continue or grow or improve if so many are not able to afford to attend performances.

Is travel standing in the way of growth of the folk music profession. Maybe. As you and others have noted you pass the cost along so therefore it contributes to bottom line cost.

How is the cost you are passing down to the consumer get handled?
Looks like the easy route is being taken- that is that the venue raises prices.

Now this seems proper, nothing wrong with it but there are other options.
Why pass the cost down to the consumer rather than spreading it out across other performances. Even the musician could do this spreading the burden thinner across multiple local and far away appearances.

At some venues prices of food and drink are increassed- this also impacts the audience and limits attendence. This should be avoided.
Food and drink should be at bargain prices to encourage attendence.

Another way to spread out costs is to do more performances.

yes maybe all these things are being done- congratulations.

If not try them out.

If you get to a venue and find profit taking way too high have a strict word with the management. If they are charging way too much to get in the door question that.

It does not matter if the venue operator is happy- of course when they are ripping people off they are happy.

yes enough people can pay to be there but what is enough? barely enough, just enough or as many as you can find.

Yes the market will bear higher prices than most people out there can afford.

so if you put the prices up to the higher level you will do fine but don't think you will maximize your profits.

The middle and low ends of the spectrum folks won't be there. The venue will not be totally packed, fewer beers and orders of food will be purchased......but yes you can run a venue if you have prices at the highest level the market will afford.

These days those willing to pay at the highest level are starting to become fewer in number. probably enough still to break even or make a slim profit so I guess it is still sort of logical to limit your market share and hold back.

another issue I have is with using prices to create economic discrimination. Venue operators don't want the working man to show up as the working man. so you get working mans music being presented to a bunch of elite wealthy folks. No folk musician should tolerate use of prices to keep ordinary folks out.

interesting too that discrimination takes the form of ways beer is sold. I tend to drink draught beer by the pitcher. probably about 5-6 pitchers a night over a few hours. buying beer by the pitcher keeps me from having to bother the wait staff or bartender or wait for a refill. it saves time and effort. yes people can charge more for individual beers but I would not mind paying the same rate for the convenience of having a pitcher supply. yet....some venues don't want peasants and their professional well trained and even well behaved drinking habits because they are considered socially incorrect at present.

so it is important to do what you can to eliminate economic discrimination and to tweek even traditional practices that still work.

If there is anything standing in the way of maximizing public access the entire folk music world will suffer and we will never get the expansion we drastically need.

yes I work as a cartist as part of my way of life- not a hobby at all-i have to do it- I do it daily not in spare time-a lifeway- the same way I play alto horn, tin whistle, horn hats, bones, horn coat and sing. I do all of these things at a professional level. Just ask the state troopers that I have convinced that I have glued the stuff on my truck professionally. Yes they asked and needed to be convinced.

yes it seems there is intolerance for "non professionals" even in the folk world here. that should not happen. Remember that you owe your folk music and traditions to ordinary people. The traditions sustained them when there was no money and little food and life was rough. pros were very few.

I also conduct public traditional calendar custom celebrations. I do this because this is as it should be. I do folklore therefore I must take it seriously enough to live it.

I accept the money that comes I do not demand it. I noticed a while back that my whistle playing started to make free drinks come from the bar so much so that I had to turn down free expensive drinks to get home. The most valuable payment is a smile, a drink, a thank you. I know many folk musicians feel this too and that is what keeps them on the road or should.

I will keep this up until all my credit cards are maxed out not just most of them.

Some day markets will open for what I do. Money does drip in from time to time in the cartist biz. If you are a folk musician that travels by all means go out and get a decent car with loads of miles left on it and make it into an artcar. You can not go wrong! Venues parades and festivals come up with honoraria that allow trips like to Louisville Ky, and Houston TX to break even. Cartists are given gas money and hotel rooms at wonderful places. When you bring your car to an event they wave the table charges and you can sell stuff. I offer the space around my cars at festivals to any musician who will turn up free! So go for it-a little surplus paint and you can be on your way. for events see the artcar calendar run by tim klein. plan your route to match your gigs.

but sometimes when you climb a mountain and get to the top as i have you dont find money there. I did not climb the mountain and achieve the highest recognition, appearance on local national and international television to make money I did it because I was called and it kept getting bigger and as my wife said ...worse...someday maybe a market will develop. when they come to me with money I will be thankful, play a tune maybe. i have donation slots in all of my cars. i take my handy car covered with hands down to the bar district. There used to be so much disposable income there that after drinking a coffee or two I would have around $60. the only way I can afford to go inside the bars and pubs and some say I should pay down my credit cards....but there is not just the art addiction but the music one. Costs seem to be climbing, folk music venues round here are declining and my credit is drying up....folk radio wont come from my ordinary radio its all digital...for those who can afford hundreds to replace their car radios.....

....I am thankful that health issues are forcing me to try to understand the meaning of moderation whatever that is so I am supposed to drink nothing but water, walk all day, and eat nothing but air.....(brewers have not been able to send their kids to college as a result...)

so i am out there doing what I can. just don't consider it not worthy because I am not making money 9-5. I am actually working several professions at once as well as living a folk and visionary life as best as possible.

if you walk by one of my cars or any artcar.....put that dollar bill that is getting in your way in your pocket in the slot or under the wiper blade. But more importantly, more valuable find the artist and smile.

Conrad


Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Tom - Swords & Songs
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 09:55 AM

I find that very often, you can't offset costs as you suggested because shows that do well have to cover the shos that flop. Absorbing a bit of money into a generic musicians' travel fund will prove very difficult not to spend it to ensure a higher quality of artist or to compensate for miscalculations in audience numbers.
Tom


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 10:03 AM

I just want to point out that even when no profit motive is involved (as in the case of a Folk Club or society) the equation of how much people will pay to see a particular artist vs how much the venue can offer to pay him/her still holds true - unless of course there is some wealthy person willing to subsidize gigs purely for their artistic merit. Also, it's impossible to judge whether or not a venue is making an "excessive" profit. You don't know what their costs are. The conditions of every gig are worked out according to the needs of the performer and the venue, and can depend on a lot of things. For example, a well known, well paid performer may agree to do a gig - house concert, or something of that sort, for much less that their usual fee if they are on the road and need to fill a vacant night. And the person/venue that provides this gig may not be 'ripping' the artist off at all. They know they can only attract/accommodate a small audience, therefore can only offer a modest fee.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 10:05 AM

hi

I used to run folk clubs featuring guests some years back.

I used to do my sums a bit like banjiman. I live in the North West of England so we don't have the distances that you have to travel in the US.

My pricing procedure for booking guest acts was a fairly simple one.

Call the guest or agent - agree a date/time - negotiate a fee. This could take some time with some guests but eventually we would agree.

My costings were done by knowing what my average attendance on guest nights has been. Factor in a price for things like past performances at your club; popularity of guest etc etc.

Some performers would negotiate a straight fee, others a % of the door or a mixture of the two. I have to say that most guests booked were very understanding about payments and I never really had any problems.

Here in the UK as far as I know we didn't operate a tips jar but I knew most of the guests well and would always buy them a drink.

Floor singers doing a spot could expect a couple of pints or so.

I don't remember having to take into consideation travel costs. Although on some occasions we have put up guests to save them having to pay for accommodation.

The venues I used didn't charge me for the rooms but were pleased to receive the extra custom on what would have been dead nights for them.

I am talking here solely about folk music.

Also before this I was semi-pro for many years playing rock & roll and jazz. This for us was different. In the early days we had problems with getting paid at all by some unscrupulous venues and so we joined the Musician's Union. So the negotionations were different. We asked Union rate and usually we got it. There were special gigs where we got more, others where we accepted less. As I remember it travel was factored in where appropriate.

Can I say that the fees were much much less for folk musicians than for Rock and Jazz.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 10:25 AM

Wow.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 10:59 AM

If you don't know the costs you should probably agree to share the books or open the books.

How else will you ever be able to make sure that the audience you are attracting- essentially your reputation- here is not being abused. As a performer you want to do everything possible to ensure that your audiencce gets a bargain- not just value for money, very good value for money. No other way seems to me to be practical.

Interesting to find that musicians may not in fact be looking into profit taking- It has to be managed and at all levels of the food chain. Even to the purchasing of suppliies. Is the person stocking the kitchen wasting money- is the food fresh....these are all environmental factors which impact the future. If you dont look into them the treatment of the people you attract will be out of control.

Yes some venue operators know what they are doing. But you may find some problems.

Not too crazy about the man but take a look at Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare series- I get it via BBC america.

He visits failing restruants and fixes them.
Some of the problems he finds to be ruining business and alienating customers are incredibly simple- price gouging is one, uneconomical selection of food sources another, the atmosphere in an establishment is a big one.

One of my pet peeves is going into a really good folk venue when folk music is not being played and finding rock music being played- displays a lack of commitment and wont attract interest. Additionally simple things like signage can be problematic. At one place in baltimore while there is a bulletin board one has to pry the performance schedule out of the manager or bar tender.

Yes you can just assume that the market makes people honest but you would be wrong! Businesses fail every day because they don't get things right. Simple things.

The performer can only make a difference when they look into these things - they must be advocates not only for themselves but for their customers- the audience.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 11:25 AM

I am afraid I do NOT understand the reference to 'The Working Man' and Working Man's Music being presenbted to the wealthy elite'


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 11:34 AM

I think if a musician insisted upon reviewing a venues' books before being hired he wouldn't get many gigs....


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 11:42 AM

Conrad,

From now on I am going to ask the people who hire me or my bands to pay us less. I am going to explain to them that it is better in the long run for us to be paid less because he will hire us more often.   Further more I am going to ask them to charge less for a beer and less for a sandwich. I am going to find out where they buy their supplies from and ask the supplier to charge less for the supplies that make the sandwiches. I am gonna go to the farmer and suggest to him to charge less for his milk butter and eggs.

So when the farmer losses his farm because he can't pay his bills.

And the supplier can't support a local economy so to stay in business he has to buy from third world economies who put glycol in baby formulae.

The saloon owner can't get people to come for his fine Beer and hot dogs because the brewer couldn't buy the grain from the farmer who has recently sold the family farm for condos. A sausage maker has been arrested for putting sawdust filler in his hot dogs because even he can't make both ends meat. The bar can't sell a sandwich. And with no reason to come to the bar except for music that no one can afford because some where along the line one person's work was under valued.

I will know I have done my bit for the expansion of poverty and personal fulfillment

Conrad, your argument should be taught in Economic classes through out the US. I think you have single handedly shown me the falsity of Socialism.

Thanks.

Don


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Tom - Swords & Songs
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 11:47 AM

Ha!
I also LOVE this pun:
'A sausage maker has been arrested for putting sawdust filler in his hot dogs because even he can't make both ends meat'
Tickled Tom


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 12:00 PM

Don-
Wonderful missing the point and supporting my theory-

-you think that everyone in the supply and food chain is honest! Or making good business decisions.

Again I direct you to the Kitchen nightmare programe BBC

These people running good big restruants are failing in business for these kinds of reasons. They are not following good business practices.
They are ripping off the customers in many way.

If people do not question busness practices they will be taken advantage of.

Yes- the venue you work at represents you and the music to others.
It should be value for money and good quality I would discard anyone who does not share their books with you and find someone willing to do right to your customers.

Yes at all parts of the food chain people get greedy and they will get away with it unless you ask.

Please do this- we are working our way up to the $50. beer as we speak. Customers are already being taken advantage of with beer prices we dont need it getting worse. You need a venue that presents the customers you bring in with quality and bargains not the reverse.

Amazing....I am right people are not caring how their venues treat their customers. Amazing!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 12:21 PM

Leadfingers

I am afraid I do NOT understand the reference to 'The Working Man' and Working Man's Music being presented to the wealthy elite'

________________
If you look into folk music creation over the past several thousand years most of the music we have has been created by working people, ordinary people, non professional people, people not making any wage or performing at any special quality level.

In our time such people most likely would not be able to afford a bottle of water and most likely would be discriminated against due to personal hygene.

We need to reverse the trends that exclude others.
Economic segregation is as bad as racial or life style segregation.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 12:38 PM

I have not read every posting on here,and many of them seem to come from the other side of the pond, so, forgive me if what I have to say has already been said. I run a small, but established folk club in the South East of England. We mostly have guest nights as that is what the people want. Fees for top artists have to be negotiable.I am happy to put them up overnight and provide breakfast. I find that they rarely want anything other than toast. I have found that food is creeping into contracts, so I say "breakfast". . I have found over the years that if performers have a tour set up they often cost less. Never have they or their agents wanted travel costs. I did have an approach from a performer (unknown name) from the North of England who wanted a considerable fee plus traveling money. We couldn't agree terms.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 12:49 PM

Conrad, only good manners keeps me from calling the nitwit you are.

Don


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 01:56 PM

Conrad - I am a Working (class) Man , and am out singing and playing three or four nights in a week , sometimes for a sensible fee . and sometimes because I enjoy doing it .
And MOST of the people I am singing With and To are also Working (class) men (And women) , NOT any Bloody Wealthy Elite !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:01 PM

Can we pair Conrad with W A V ? I feel they may have a lot in common !


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:18 PM

Leadfingers you are indeed lucky. Most of the people round here who can afford $6.00 beers are government employees not mcdonalds employees. A good number of performers maybe not professionals are also professional government emplyees. Often seen dressed in incredible expensive neo vectorian reenactment wardrobes.....whereas I only wear overalls generally covered with real enacted paint and glue.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM

For those interested in what people pay for beer. Downtown Washington DC pint of guinness was $6.00 one year and a half ago. It had gone up steeply since I had been there last so was rather surprised after finishing my third or fourth- shocked you might say.

Yes the place was full of people who knew what they cost. It was not filled with the thousands who could not pay that kind of price. And there was no live music just the drone of sports Television...

CB


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM

I agree that it would be nice to have the working man and woman at folk events, perhaps more. I think some libraries etc. fill this niche..and of course they do produce their own music for each other's enjoyment. But to ask a venue to open their books to anyone other than a government agency???? Not a good idea. Take the jobs you like that pay the most, and then do a bit of free or reduced stuff for people who can't afford the higher charges. mg


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:37 PM

Glad you do this MG. It takes necessary courage to be sure people are honest. Perhaps unions could do this task. If they cared they would. Then again if a person running a venue will not cooperate- it is in the intrest of both parties after all and all you could do is suggest change or go work elsewhere....I would suspect them immediaely.

I have found over the years that telling stories is best at festivals outside the womans rest room where there is a never ending, ever present line and people appreciate a good short traditional story. I am not like a parking meter and dont need coin to perform.

Grocery store lines are also wonderful.

At festivals to get on a stage you to do so much politics that it is unbelievable. One guy wanted to have me come once a week to his house to attend a meeting- I told him that instead he should just listen to about 20 stories on the spot and be done with it.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:46 PM

Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Maryrrf - PM
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 11:34 AM

< I think if a musician insisted upon reviewing a venues' books before being hired he wouldn't get many gigs.... >

Quite right Mary. I can't think why the guest performer would want to see them. But even if he had I wouldn't have done so. I just don't see any organiser would be willing to do so.

In my case I really didn't have any books in the sense of proper business acceptable accounts.

I just kept a tally of how much money I had in the pot for spending on the evenings I planned to run.

I didn't make any money. I had not planned to. I spent what we made on giving the audiences what I thought they wanted. Of course I made mistakes. I spent too much for acts that didn't warrant it and on other occasions I got great turnouts for very reasonable expenditure.
part of a learning process.

Swings and roundabouts.....that's how it worked.

regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:50 PM

"Yes the place was full of people who knew what they cost. "

If the place was full it looks as if the venue had accurately judged the price they could charge for beer.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 02:52 PM

hi conrad

< " Not too crazy about the man but take a look at Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare series- I get it via BBC america. He visits failing restruants and fixes them. ">

I think you perhaps didn't select the most suitable person for you example.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23793651-gordon-ramsays-pound-43m-nightmare-new-accounts-reveal-empires-losses.do

Sorry clicky thingy won't work for me.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 03:08 PM

See if this works: Gordon Ramsay's £4.3m nightmare


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 03:48 PM

hi yorkshire yankee.

Yes tha's the b****r - many thanks.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 03:52 PM

"Does musician travel drive up cost?"

Does the transportation of food goods to markets drive up costs? DOH! Gee, I don't know.   

Conrad, it amazes me that you breathe and think at the same time. You should fix that.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM

An artist has to clear £x per week in order to live. In simple terms x=y-z where y is their gross income (fees) and z is their costs. Travelling costs money (and that's not allowing for their time). The more the travelling then the more the fees have to be. Survival 101.

Now most artists will try and do tours so as to minimise their costs but the fact still remains that they have to live and travelling has to be paid for one way or another. I ain't going to travel to Glasgow and back for £50 when it costs me £60 to make the journey.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 26 Feb 10 - 08:52 PM

I'm confused. The original post talked about "folk conventions" and "folk conferences", which is something **much** different than your average folk club. It sounded to me like the OP is talking about something like Folk Alliance that might be in a hotel or retreat center.

At which point, you're dealing with a whole different set of costs. Hotel function space costs a lot -- it can be thousands of dollars a day just for the ballrooms and other breakout rooms. Add on hospitality suites, food functions (many hotels offer breaks on the function space if you schedule banquets), tech costs (stage & equipment rental), plus all of the travel, room, and per diem costs if you have headliners. It's a lot of money. And if you only have a couple of hundred people to spread it over -- yeah, the registration fee is going to be a few hundred.

(I've worked on science fiction conventions. So I know what costs go into them...)

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST, *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:19 PM

yes! things cost! Why do we need such things?
Yes Folk Alliance comes to mind- yes it is the folk BIZ. I respect the folk Biz. Must be great for networking and career development. Yes all important things for the professional musican. Valid, respectable. Most of America is going to some sort of convention.... a great industry (all be it raised up upon the backs of the underpriviledged and many of them immigrants who should be trained and found proper jobs but next to slavery I would say...yes I guess I am glad that they are kept employed they are good and respectible)
But attending such an event must say something a "folk Musician" I can hear them say "yes I have just spent the weekend at Folk aliance flying halfway across the country and back and it was great"....then...."I really am struggling financially and need your support".....

I am not talking here about people who are on business missionaries from government agencies etc....a good thing.

But you cant have it both ways.

So there your audience is struggling to pay the cover or the vastly over priced beer and gas money to get there maxing out their credit cards. Think of appearances as the politicos are saying however, think of what all of this adds to the overall bill of the art.

yes jet setters in the audience will not give it a second thought yes you can fill a room with them (maybe not for long) just think of the thousands near by who can not afford to get in. That is awesome.

I have long championed simple, cost free conventions. Camp, make your own bed, clean your own dishes gather in a field sing under a tree dig your own port o pots, just turn up in a national park at the same time....give the immigrant help time to go get training to obtain a living wage job- better yet take your convention bucks and give it to their cause. But simpler, cheaper can easily be done.

And yes I have long advocated these sorts of things with a number of festival organizers listening at times. I even organized in the dim past a virtually organized and run virtual tinwistle festival in Dunfannahe (Sp)

I think there is lots of thinking outside of the box to be done by everyone in the folk music food chain.

Again! yes these things cost money but, I don't drive a bently or a rolls and I get from place to place just fine. And these days if you want to network there is a thing called the t'nternet.

yes professional folkies are wondrous, legitimate, good and they need a decent wage and benefits....but we all benefit from the occasional hopeful, positive thinking of a wake up call.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 09:47 PM

Of course travel expenses drive cost for the musician and likely the venue. However, I never consider the musicians' travel costs when deciding whether to buy a ticket -- I consider the cost of the ticket, whether I like the venue, how badly I want to see the artist, whether I have to work the next morning, if I can get to the show on time, my travel cost, what else is going on that night, and a hundred other things, but never the musicians' travel costs. Not my problem, thanks anyway.

If an artist or venue wants to sell me a ticket I would point out that I am the only paying customer in the deal and ticket price is determined, in the end, by what I am willing to pay.

Do high prices keep people away from the music? If I don't buy a ticket there are plenty of musical alternatives available in bars, camp grounds, on back porches, in church halls, in song circles, etc without benefit of organizers or tickets. Some of that music is pretty average, but some of it is as good as anything you will hear from a stage. High ticket prices can keep folks out of a venue. High ticket prices can't shut them off from the music.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,Conrad
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 10:13 PM

Some are lucky to be in an environment with options
Remember a price you can pay is also a price several others can not pay
of course you can only do what you can afford
The question is does the artist wish to do without those who cannot and watch their numbers grow
If so many are excluded is that the best for the traditon
and not sayng music or venues should be free- just at a price point that is more a bargain than a luxury.
it will take re arrangement at all points in the food chain to do that
but it can be done. find the box and think outside of it.
compared to what is happening now the process will be a very positive revolution.

conrad


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: GUEST,oggie
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:17 PM

Bottom line, you want to organise free events "think outside the box" fine BUT if you make your living by playing music then someone, somewhere has to pay you.

TANSTAAFL* - nasty but true.

Steve

* There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Robert Heinlen)


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:06 AM

Conrad, you seem to have a peculiarly skewed outlook on how a business works (and being a professional folk musician is a business like any other). Because musicians have to invest large sums of money in their business, on travel and marketing (which is what conventions are about), not to mention the cost of buying and maintaining their instruments, you seem to believe this demonstrates that they are wealthy and should therefore agree to perform for less than their true value. Whereas the reality is that they have thousands of dollars of investment and expenses to recoup before they can even start to make an actual living.

Your gripe seems to be that musicians are charging more than you can afford. However they can only charge what the market can bear - if you can't afford the market price then that's too bad. However I suspect that it's not that you don't have the money, but that you don't have enough of it left after you've pursued your other interests. Car art must be an expensive hobby, and it's clearly not one which generates much income in return.

I'm still not clear what you do for your own living, but it appears from your earlier posts that you have made certain choices about what you do and how you spend what money you have. If that doesn't leave you with enough money to afford to go to concerts and buy beer, that seems to be the result (at least in part) of your own choices in life.


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Subject: RE: Does musician travel drive up cost?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 09:58 PM

So Howard Jones you believe that economic segregation is ok. Prices should stay high even though there is no reason for it- I suppose just to create that economic segregation feel of elitism.

Ah yes the old musicians need lots of money as they spend so much. Really. I grow fingernails- part of my life I dont expecte compensation for a part of my life.

Same with my music. I listened to music, purchased a tin whistle whilst studying at Durham University England and watched someone else play. That is why my fingers are mirror image of most folks.

I have played whistle professionally but more by accident than anything else. I don't think other than the usual expenses of life covered elsewhere in my multi dimensional self unemployment that learning to play cost me much at all.

So what expenses do folk musicians have that they have to have as opposed to the expenses they pass on to us all that they don't have to have?

Lets see....I could take my whistle and go halfway across the country to an expensive convention, hand out flyers have a great time market myself....ah yes....but then I would have to charge much more than I would otherwise and thats right.....costs would be passed right on to the consumer.

Or I could just stay at home, play at a few more venues keep prices low and expand my market slowly.....

Believe it or not there is break even money in art car work.

However, I drive them daily and not just to events. I don't own a plain car.

Conrad


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