Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Self Promotion"

The following is an email I sent to a "new coffee shop" posting on craigslist, wanting to bands to provide music and play only for tips, for the sake of self-promotion.

I am writing to you as I have just read your posting on craigslist. As a professional and gigging musician, it is unfair to boast a performance venue for "self promotion" sake. Musicians need to make money to live and survive, just like any profession. There would be no difference between that and for me to host a private party, and have your employees at the coffee shop come by and provide food and drink for "self promotion," for your business, while not paying you, but letting you put out a tip jar. Musicians have to take lessons, pay for their equipment, and spend countless hours practicing and rehearsing to hone a craft. It is dishonest and condescending to play up "self promotion" when all you are doing is hoping that the band brings in clientele, at little to no charge for your own business, to make money off of them. You need to pay your musicians if you are going to have live music, otherwise you are undercutting the rest of us out there who are trying to make a career out of music. The more this happens, the more the product of music suffers as younger and more amateur players are providing less than satisfactory music for free to venues around town, and professional musicians are out of work. I hope you read this note and think about the bigger picture, as Fort Collins and Colorado is a beautiful and thriving area to make music, and there is nothing positive that you are doing by providing "self promotion" opportunities to these musicians, unless you are paying them.

-Matt Smiley"

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