This is the second entry in our new limited series, Musings of an Anonymous Musician, chronicling the struggles and satisfactions experienced by a working musician who’s life making music reflects many of his working peers, united both by their mutual love of creating music — and the consequences that brings, both good and bad. No, we won’t tell you who he is.
My main competition is music-from-a-box. Often it’s watered down garbage — though not all of it. But music from a box can never even begin to compare to the energy, satisfaction, and happiness real music, played live, has on an audience. That feeling that people get is a reason for them to come to your bar or shop, not someone else’s. That comes with a price. Realistically, it’s never a high price. It’s more than fair. In fact, it’s often so much more than fair that I have trouble paying rent; forget saving for a nonexistent retirement or “luxuries” like health insurance.
I don’t have health insurance. Yes that scares me. No, there’s not much I can do about it. Support for musicians is essentially given during the time they’re playing their instrument in front of people, and no other time. And when other stuff like bad karaoke and DJs are competig for space, gigs are even harder for a musician to get. There’s a lot of love for the music, but there’s usually not a lot of love for the musicians. We’re nearly expendable in people’s eyes. “Oh it’s just music.” But music is valuable. It’s part of who we are. It’s our culture.
So next time you see some live music, whether is up on a stage in a bar or in front of a coffee shop on the street… if you like what you hear, drop a buck or two in the bucket. It may not mean a lot to you — candy bar money — but it means a lot to us. People gotta have live music, for the health of their souls.
We need to hear from you! Musicians, what do you have to add about this? Avid music fans, what do you have to say? Let us know in the comments below!