Monday, March 04, 2013

Musicians and Money

I book a small concert series - Cambridge Drive Concerts - and we've been blessed to present scores of amazing musicians, both touring folk and locals.  I'd be hard pressed to pick favorites.  We do our money more or less like a house concert, have no guarantee, and frankly the musicians don't walk away with very much.  We have a small but very appreciative listening audience, excellent equipment, and the sound is as good as you'll hear anywhere.  And I try to be as hospitable as I can.  All that said, I've had musicians with reputations who should never play a venue that small and others who simply could not afford to book our venue given the above parameters.  I certainly understand their position.  They are out there on the road sharing their music and trying to make a living.

On the other hand, I do struggle philosophically with the idea of being a "professional artist" or even owning one's "product" as a musician or painter or whatever.

Here's a TED talk by Amanda Palmer that addresses some of my struggles in an interesting way... What do you all think of what she has to say?


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Since my divorce a few years ago, I have started connecting with two distinct local arts communities: Landscape painters and songwriters. This as become a very large part of how I see myself now. Even though I have no talent in either of those areas, I have a discovered that I have a role there too: As an appreciative audience, willing to make the contributions that allow the artists to do their part. And I am always amazed at how generously they allow me into their circle on that basis. Last month, I hosted a campfire in my backyard, and about 10 musicians showed up to take turns performing for a couple of hours, until it was too cold for us to sit outside. And at the end THEY thanked ME for the opportunity.
Amanda has it exactly right: By allowing us to make these connections up close and personally, we are all enriched, and most of us understand that just as the artists contribute their art, we in the audience need to contribute enough money to allow them to take (or give!) the time to make it happen. I never leave a small venue concert without buying one of each of the CDs that are offered (unless I have it already from the last time I heard them).
The interchange between artists and audience is not unlike a love relationship: It is most satisfying if you allow yourself to be vulnerable, and then feel rewarded because your trust was justified.

Roy, thank you so much for the work you do with this music. Sorry to miss the show this week, I will be in Houston for my daughter's wedding.