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Being a Musician in London in 2018

I love what I do, and I love what others do...but does everyone really love us?

By Harry BakerPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

First of all, I'd like to say I have 0 regrets about becoming a musician. I love my life and there's no career path I'd rather be in. I do shows with my band, and as a solo project often, and the response is (usually...) pretty decent and I leave the venue feeling buzzed. However after the adrenaline wears off, the 20 people we've been nagging to come to the show head home and our wallets are empty...after the sixth or seventh show in 2 weeks after a long summer, it all comes flooding back. That feeling of knowing you're just about breaking even, and you're going to need to find a job, probably not even to do with music. I feel there's a few things that can be done just to help us out!

Lets put this into context, we headline a show with a capacity of 200 people. As headline band we sell 100 tickets in advance, 30 on the door and the remaining 70 from the support bands. If every person bought 1 drink from the bar that night, assuming it's 5 pounds being London. Thats 1,000 pounds. 99 percent of the time, this goes everywhere BUT the people who bring the fans, entertain for hours, put blood, sweat, and tears into their rehearsals, take the time to make genuine nice music for people to hear and watch live. Would it kill to give us something? Especially when these venues are putting on these events 4-5 times a week...I'm trying to tread very carefully, because i know people have to make a living, I know this is not always the case but for me and without trying to sound arrogant, I have been doing shows for a while and very rarely are we paid for what we do, people take us for granted and I have witnesses!

I've done some long days in studios, and some very tight long and late night rehearsals, which is incredibly draining when you're dealing with music that's a little more heavy on the brain than a 12 bar blues, so performing too can be draining; even after just 40 minutes. I feel artists should be respected more economically, we're not just all potheads...or whatever the stereotype has become these days...the most amount of income in the UK goes to the arts, media, why are we shunned for not studying something academic, that'll only leave us with a sore ass from an office chair. I learn to love the struggle when I think of sitting in a chair all day...

Some told me my education was over when I told them I was doing music at college for christ sake! For me, it was only the beginning. Studying music has also shown me the importance of it not just on stage or in the headphones, it affects everything...mood, looks, our mentality and even our appetite. Something so powerful should be looked after, and without sounding like Ghandi, the children are the future!

The generations now are taking music into new directions, new dimensions...right in front of you in a tiny pub or you're local cocktail bar, being given a tener and one free beer (but it can only be grolsch).

An all time favourite venue of mine in Guildford have just shut down for reasons that are totally beyond me, we need to keep music alive and beating!

To conclude, I want to say again that I have no regrets of being a musician, I mean no disrespect to any of the pubs, clubs or venues I have played at in the past, I rarely walk away unsatisfied and a lot will agree we don't do this for the money—there's a lot more to it than that. BUT, it does help us fund our studio time, strings, train fares actually getting to the gigs, buy a beer after the show, and maybe even get a taxi home with ya lovely girlfriend, or gran.

If you see a musician playing, go and say something, smile, or even tip them. You have no idea how much it can do to receive the smallest recognition, especially when in some cases music is all some people have left, it makes it worth holding out. But regardless of the audiences response, or how little you get paid, I still do know some who'll find a way to make it—and they have already, perseverance—and they deserve it. But not all of us are that good/lucky! Something to think about.


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