June 18, 2024

Will Sing for FoodMusicians are wondering what’s up when the tip jar gets passed and people who’ve been enjoying the show give nothing, or worse, a dollar.  In 2017, there’s really no such thing as a free show, fives are the new ones, and as of today Hicks with Sticks will start listing shows without cover charges as “Tip Jar” rather than “Free.”

As for that dollar, yep, it works out to $0.33 each for a trio, $0.25 per for a quartet, and $0.20 each for a party of five. No wonder bands can’t afford keyboard players or horns. One dollar?  Is that a tip or an insult?

The shift to digital music has led to lowering music appreciation and music’s value as art.  People have come to value songs as commodities, much like wheat or barley, rather than individual works of an artist’s creation.  Consider first, styles like electronica and others that are generated on computers.  If the person who made that music did so without touching a musical instrument, does that make him or her a musician or is it just tweaking an app?  Enter “music making apps” into Google and you’ll find all the software an individual needs to become a musician, or a whole band, once the download is complete.  Fie and begone to owning an instrument or, Heaven forbid, practicing!

Tip Jar 401KConsider too, how once upon a time, not that long ago, having a record collection of 5000 songs would have been impressive, and expensive. Now people can carry 50,000 MP3s — none of which they might have purchased — in a pocket or purse.  No wonder music has come to be valued as a commodity rather than an art form.

Back at the venue, the musicians are performing their art which took considerable time to bring to the stage.  So slip ’em a fiver or a ten. They really are worth more than what they used to earn back in 1967, but paying them at least what they made back then will be a start.



1 thought on “Tip Jar Ethos — “You Can Take that $1.00 and… ”

  1. This article is SO TRUE. Music and live entertainment have been devalued. Maybe due to the amount of entertainment/music avail at your fingertips, or by the sheer volume of bands willing to work for nothing, the lack of gatekeepers (anyone can have a band now and get on the internet), less people going out / aging out, younger generation just not into live music, etc. I’ve been playing music part time then full time then part time for the past 25+ years – the gigs all pay around the same $150 – $300 – but it seems nowadays more and more “tips only gigs” and I’m competing against jam nights. The best I can do is take as few of the tip only gigs so I can keep the value and sound of my band as best as I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *