There is something inherently absurd with complaining about your gigs that pay poorly.
Somewhere in the booking of a gig, there’s a buyer, and there’s a seller. Club owners, restaurant managers, wedding planners and concert promoters are all buyers that offer value (usually money) to performers (sellers) who offer their live music in return. When negotiating, buyers and sellers should be looking to establish a point of equal contribution where value-given is equal to value-received. Otherwise, the seller is undercutting himself or the buyer is throwing his money away. One side reaps the benefits of an unbalanced deal while the other side is left to respond to lost value. Because of it’s familiarity, I think this process is taken for granted.
If you agree to play a four-hour gig for $50, you are bound by the nature of that agreement and cannot claim to be worth more or less for that particular occasion. You are worth exactly $50. Otherwise, you’re undercutting yourself.
This is an ethical dilemma. You know you’re product is worth more, yet you accept less. You’ve spent a lifetime perfecting your craft only to throw it away. You’re undervaluing your work, your craft, your purpose, your love, your music, and your life! You’re now offering the skin off your back. That lost value is made up with the price of your soul!
Remember, there is never an obligation for you to accept gigs, and buyers are never obligated to hire you. Don’t let any buyers convince you you’re worth less (and don’t let other sellers convince you you’re worth more). Know yourown price, and if the price isn’t right, say no!
“In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone…Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.”
– Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead