PERFORMERS UNITE and LISTENERS PLEASE LISTEN UP and respond:
April 13, 2020
I would like all my musicians and performing arts friends and all my friends who LOVE music and performing arts to stop and think for a moment with me and share your thoughts on this subject:
As with many other professions, Corona has brought our work to a complete standstill. Performances are being cancelled deep into July…for now.
For all performers without a steady teaching job on the side, this means at least 4 to 5 months with no foreseeable income, which puts many into debt and financial hardship.
Lots of us have started offering free concerts here on FB or Instagram, which is a lovely gesture: It’s an uplifting and soothing sound in trying times, and also a way to pass the time and keep us busy. But I wonder…is this a smart idea? With $0 coming in to pay rent or shop for groceries, why should we give away, for free, the one thing we have that has been earning us a living?
Our music is already streamed virtually for free, but live performance is our last currency and still the most vital way to monetize our art. I urge you all to think about the upcoming months and what we are doing to each other – and ourselves – if we keep on offering our performances in this kind of unprecedented volume for free.
As we have seen with free streaming music, and all of the platforms where you can rip (such a good term- Rest In Peace, Monetized Music for Musicians 😉 )consumers have stopped thinking about what it costs to produce a recording , because the ability get it for free it from the internet has made it “normal” to just “get“ music whenever you want it.
Now, Corona is about to do the same to live performances, and it might make people’s perceptions shift about what those performances are worth, just as it did with recorded music . So where does that leave us ? We can’t live on air.
Also, by overexposing ourselves for free, we might take away the incentive for theatres and clubs to book us, as they are depending on people who will pay to fill their rooms and festivals down the line.
I am not discounting the value of a single free track going viral on YouTube or FB, but I am urging you to think about our last stronghold: live performance.
In my humble opinion we should collectively stop giving it away and, yes, make our music available on these platforms, since right now it is the only way, but start to make the audiences aware of the need to contribute in some way.
We should unite and collectively find a way to monetize on our FB and INSTA concerts, and not by ‘contribute whatever you like’, because experience has taught us that (more than) 90 % of viewers won’t, and we can’t pay our rent on 10%. There should be a minimum to be able to watch. The other upside to paying is that people will actually be more likely to continue to watch the experience because they paid, instead of scrolling past to the next thing.
We need a Performers Unite App – where people can view your show free for maybe 5 minutes, and then people can chip in – otherwise the music stops. Just as with some other pleasures consumers seek, quality music or performance should come at a price .
They can pay a little and listen for a little, or pay more and see the whole show .
I think with the exception of Conservatory students or people just starting out who don’t have an audience yet, this is the way to go for everyone who has been making a living as a professional performer.
Anyway, that’s my viewpoint, as I fear that even if restrictions are lifted, it might be a while before people start feeling comfortable to sit or stand in a room full of strangers for several hours to listen to music or other artforms, let alone allowing us to travel to different countries to perform.
We have to find a way to bridge the financial gap until we can actually go out and play for everyone again!
Please share this post, and please share all of your thoughts and ideas with me on this TOPIC.
Thanks in advance everyone! I miss you.
Love & Music,
PS: does anyone want to develop this App with me?