What Is Your Value As A Musician?

AA friend of mine posted this image on Facebook that got me thinking and as I read people’s comments and reactions I began to ask myself the question – What is my value as an artist?

You see, people will always demean what they do not value. People will never try to even understand or enjoy what does not add value to their lives.


Banjo Bill Wylie used to say, “They try to pay me with drinks. What do I do, take a Tequila Sunrise home to my kids?”

There are many venues that pay. The question you need to ask is… With all the bands they can pay, why should they pay you? What’s so good about your band that they should pay you.

Also appearances matter. You don’t have to wear a suit but an aura of dignity even when you wear rags goes a long way. Off course if you can invest in at least a basic neat wardrobe and work out, take care of your skin and take care of yourself, the jerk off the street would think twice before spitting on your face. Musicians need to act like they are providing a professional service and not the next Rolling Stones.

A comment on this post on Facebook from Michael Siller “These days in our saturated, digital, and unlimited music industry, if there is a demand in music you just click a button. 25-30 years ago I remember how people used to get so excited to hear their favorite song finally played on the radio, jukebox, or the tape mix. Back then, that’s the same way it was for live bands when they played a favorite tune (played well) at a nice live music venue (piss on the floors?, smelly?, ugly staff?, low quality customer service? = not a nice venue). Live bands need to step it up, be musically interesting, and keep the crowd in the show in order to survive. If your product is good, they will come (and pay). And if the venue is too cheap to pay, then the tips and private parties that come from the crowd will have to do. Have your networks set up at the crappy low paying gig and let the crowd know where else you are playing, so they can go to a venue that does pay! Short attention spans don’t help either.”


Image credit: Maurice on Flickr

While I agree with a bit of what he says, I insist that you can very much die from “exposure”.

Where is the responsibility of the venue to provide true exposure? Most venues these days, demand you draw X number of people to their club, or sell X amount of tickets to be considered a bankable act? Where is the responsibility of the venue to promote themselves, and create a place where bands can actually be introduced to new listeners? At best, in the current mindset, one can hope for a few potential listeners from the other bands’ pool of fans. Yet, truly, the venues accept no risk. It is all up to bands now to carry the load of bringing people into venues that do not promote themselves.

And now we are back to the beginning, the first and ultimate question: “What is your value as a musician?”

Knowing how to answer this question will open your eyes to the next direction you ought to take towards success.

This guest post comes from Christine Ben-Ameh, independent artist & songwriter, currently signed with JTV Digital, a digital distribution company allowing artists & labels to get their music to major digital retail stores and monetize their content online.