While playing in Danjuma Adamu's african funk band, Onola,(2008-2011)
I managed the bookings. When I joined the group we were earning a dismal $25 per man per night on average and playing out about 7 times per month! I guess you could say- I really love African music. :) But, I also really love artists and I believe we have inherent value that must be articulated and defended if it is ever to be recognized and compensated.
For these reasons, I took on the booking responsibility for Onola. The band agreed to a minimum income standard to which we would all make ourselves available as a top priority. Anything beneath this standard required me to get buy in from band members before committing. But, if the gig met or beat the standard, I was free to book and presume flexible availability of all band members. With this agreement in place, we began saying no to gigs that were beneath the standard. Where labor of love factors
prevailed, we had a process by which to make exceptions.. and we certainly did so when it was good for the art, the band, or the community--but we I did not allow this to replace the standard valuation for our band.
With this approach, our band compensation increased to >$100 per man /gig on average in less than 3 months. In addition to this, our band leader began earning a band leaders cut above and beyond the base line comp for the band members. And, we were able to shave ten percent off of every gig for the band fund which facilitated future bookings and promotions of a similar caliber.
Of course, the approach did reduce the number of times we played out each month-- to about once a week. But, we made more money on the whole, worked less, and enjoyed higher quality gigs-- many in the very same venues (DXs, Fernwood, Moes, etc).
In order to make it all work, we had to take more out of town gigs (Big Sur, Monterey, San Fran, etc.) and, most importantly we had to hew closely to what our clients wanted (accessible Reggae and Funk .. Less african diaspora percussion jamming. ) But without a doubt, when we started saying no, we stopped getting calls for low ball gigs and got more calls for reasonably compensated gigs. We even had success getting venues to increase our compensation by negotiating a commitment to increase compensation as we increased attendance / bar sales. One venue in the tiny community of Big Sur doubled our pay over the course of two months under such a negotiation! Though Onola is no more, that particular venue still calls me looking for "another act of similar caliber."
You are worthy of compensation and the credibility that goes with it! The price of Artistry need not be suffering.
with genuine appreciation for the many great minds and artists on this list.