Is It Ever Acceptable To Gig For Free?

UnknownExposure, every musician’s least favorite word in the english dictionary. For those of you that don’t know what this means, allow me to explain: Exposure is the supposed “polite” way for venues and potential clients to tell you that they can’t pay you for a gig or performance – it’s more commonly used in the original music scene rather than the covers circuit because most original bands “just want to get their name out there.”

This word that venues seem to think is a currency does not pay the bills and is a nightmare for those people who have music as their sole source of income and if you ever post a gig listing in a “musician’s wanted” Facebook group with the line “THIS IS NOT PAID BUT”, prepare to get lynched for the foreseeable future.

However, I’ve always wondered something:  Is it every acceptable or beneficial to gig for free?

This is the part where every musician in the entire world is screaming at their screens, calling me deluded and  stupid whilst mixing the two with various combinations of expletives – but I implore you all to stop and think for a moment and allow me to list a few examples that many people miss:

  1. Wedding Fair’s

Pretty much every friend of mine who is gigging professionally appear at a few of these every year and nearly always come out with a few bookings a year which will amount to a substantial amount of their yearly earnings. Weddings pay extremely well and can also lead to more bookings from the wedding guests for other events, if you haven’t given a try, I’d recommend it – one of my friends has been performing at weddings all over the world all year round for the last few years!

2. Open mic’s / Jam Nights

I admit, the chances of getting work from events like this is very rare compared to wedding fair’s and showcases but you do never know who’s watching! I personally have picked up both performance and teaching work through these sorts of nights and had great fun whilst doing them so it was a win-win.

3. Doing a mate a favor

Again, I’ve done this a fair few times and it’s not only led to other work but it’s also helped me build relationships with fellow members of the industry both on and off stage. The way I see it we do this for a living primarily because we love it, the money is an added bonus and there is nothing wrong with doing the odd free stint for your mate! Clients are obviously different though, so make sure not to get the two confused!

There are three reasons as to why gigging for three isn’t too bad. It isn’t something I’d make a habit of but it also isn’t something I’m completely against. For those that are struggling to decide wether to take a free gig, always ask yourself what this person is doing for you – are they lining up future paid gigs that are set in stone and certain? Are there people in the audience that could get you paid work? and lastly, have they done you a favor in the past and simply deserve to be repaid?

It’s a complex and never-ending debate but there are positives to working for free sometimes, just don’t make it a habit, you’re going to want to earn a sustainable living!

 

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Does Jess Glynne need her hand holding after Isle Of Wight Festival ban?

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Glynne on stage

Pop star Jess Glynne has been sparking a lot of bad press lately after pulling out of her Isle Of Wight Performance just hours before her stage slot. She attributed her unprofessional conduct to “anxiety and exhaustion” but has been accused of partying until 7am with the Spice Girls the night before her show.

 

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Jess Glynne with Adele and The Spice Girls the night before her planned gig

Her team reportedly had already set the stage but fans were left disappointed after festival organiser John Giddings came to the stage and announced the last minute cancellation, as a consequence to this, Glynne has been given a lifetime ban with Giddings saying “She will never be booked to play the Isle Of Wight again.”

When I first heard this story on the radio I was absolutely appalled. Pulling out of a booked performance or press engagement is something you don’t do at any level but when you’re meant to be working at the top of the industry, it’s even more disgraceful. Of course, the anxiety and exhaustion claim could be legitimate, especially as this isn’t the first time she has cancelled a gig, the last time being the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekender.  On the flip side though, she could just be losing her touch.

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The Isle Of Wight Festival 2019 was a success despite Glynne’s refusal to perform

A friend of mine and I were discussing wether Isle Of Wight made the right decision in handing her the lifetime ban with him making the point that they have missed the opportunity to “leverage one of the top charting artists of today”. When I asked what was meant by “leverage” he suggested that he would’ve negotiated a situation for 2020 in which Glynne performs for a much reduced fee and explained that this would benefit both parties as “they would’ve saved themselves quite a bit of money and fans still would’ve been able to see their favourite performer on stage, albeit a year later.

Now, I could see how the suggestion could work very well but I make the argument that Giddings did the right thing to send a message to other stars that a cancellation this late for a festival of this magnitude would be met with extreme consequences and I can predict that no other artist will pull a stunt like Glynne has.

It does seem to me that the once well respected singer is starting to create a bad name for herself with top level players and if I were her management I’d get a grip on the situation quickly and seriously assess Jess’ ability to keep a handle on her career. We of course, can only speculate as to the circumstances of Glynne’s actions and hope that nothing like this happens again.

One thing is certain, the star has some bridges to rebuild if she wants to continue making a name for herself in an already cut-throat business. She’s already issued a public apology stating  it was ‘not her intention to let fans down but she had to do ‘what was right for her physical and mental health’, but will this be enough to keep her name in lights?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track Review: Nielsen Reaveley – Milk Train

unnamedNielsen Reaveley is a singer songwriter born in Brighton and living in London. This Pop up and comer has already played stages such as Latitude Festival and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and recieved airplay from BBC Radio 6.

His latest release “Milk Train” graced our airwaves on 14th June and since then I have been infatuated with this soon to be anthem. The main vocal is subtle yet passionate and is set on telling the story of the song, a story that many people of the younger generations will be able to relate to:  “a certain type of night out – the kind that, inevitably, ends on the 4am train home as a hangover begins to kick in.”

This latest work was in collaboration with award-nominated producer Matthew Parisi, who was songwriter Mike Stock’s principle sound engineer for over four years. Parisi has previously worked with artists such as Chris Martin and Kylie Minogue. Parisi discovered Nielsen through one of his videos on Youtube and the magic happened from there.

I can predict that this track will be the perfect start to anybodys night out or party for years to come, I’m certainly going to add it to my party playlist and already find myself listening to it over and over again. I’d like to round this off by saying how refreshing it is to hear great songwriting still coming to the forefront of todays music industry.

You can stream “Milk Train” HERE

Does Listening To Music Increase or Hinder Productivity?

This is a debate that’s been going on for as long as I can remember, especially in schools and in the workplace. Everybody has their own way of working of course, some prefer complete silence whereas others want a full on rock concert going on in their office.

There has been test after test to determine what the “right answer” is and it seems like there is never going to be anything completely definitive – the correct answer purely depends on the person and the situation.

For exmaple, I find that listening to music whilst I work helps me focus on the task at hand (like writing this post) and block out everything else around me – l’ve also used music to help my memory when it comes to subjects that I’m rubbish at like Maths. My Maths tutor at college was amazed at the affects music had on me, suddenly something  I couldn’t do 10 minutes ago was as simple as 1 2 3 (no pun intended but feel free to laugh.)

Now seems like the right time to introduce you to an infographic created by WebPageFx, an internet marketing company. I discovered it from an article on the Linkedin Business blog and was both pleased and blown away by the numbers, have a look:

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As you can see from the above, the overall concensus is that listening to music whilst you work is the best thing for you to do. Lately I’ve been making the effort to read up on music and the brain and am putting a lot of time into showcasing the importance of music therapy for those with mental illnesses. Music has incredibly positive affects on the human mind – the infographic shows that increased concentration and productivity is one of them.

Of couse there are people that can’t work with music in the background which is fine. Sometimes I have to turn it off because I’ll find my musician’s brain taking over and I’ll start analysing the song, it’s a habit of the job I suppose – but 9 times out of 10, I can’t survive those 2000 word Music Education essays without rocking out to my favourite aritsts!

What does your experience with music and productivity look like? Leave your thoughts and lets discuss!

Track Review: Dream On My Baby – Dom Louis

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Dom Louis is a singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. Having recently signed to Cartoon Records in London, he has released his debut single titled “Dream On My Baby.”

I am absolultely in love with this track, I can tell just from that one released that Dom has a really interetsing story to tell and a bright future ahead of him in this industry. He is like a new wave in the country-folk genre, mashing together the sounds of his influences whilst keeping the essence of what he is about as a songwriter and musician.

I honestly don’t think I have gushed about a track this much since I discovered Maggie Rogers three years ago and she went on to sign to a major label and shoot to the top of the music industry – I really hope the same happens to Dom!

“Dream On My Baby” tells brings so many images into my brain, I can imagine going on a summer roadtrip having this play out through the speakers, taking a long journey to happiness and peace. Dom’s voice coupled with the serenic sounds of acoustic guitar and violins brings me complete sollitude and I can imagine  it will do the same to the people that hear it.

Dom Louis may not be a wordwide sensation yet, but I can put money on the fact that he will be. Hopefully I’ll get to meet this fututre chart topper and see him live someday, I’ll definitely be looking out for more of his music.

Links to Dom:

E.P Review: Drakmah – Storyteller

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Drakmah are an Indie Alternative Electronic band, formed in 2016 in Naples, by Stefano “Learning Panda” Mattozzi (keyboard/lead vocals), David Rapicano (guitars/keyboards/backing vocals), Mario Manzoni (drums) and Gianmarco Angelone (bass). The band is now, partly, based in London.
Their debut single “Storyteller” was released in May 2017 so I’m a bit late to the Drakmah party but I figured I’d check them out either way and I was immediately drawn in by their whacky electronic, keys driven sound.
9.jpgLike a lot of unsigned bands I get asked to review on the site, these guys seem determined to stand out from the crowd. The vocals aren’t completely perfect and it did throw me off a little because it didn’t match the almost perfect instrumental production but it’s clear that Drakmah are wanting success and willing to work hard for it in the long term.
The second track “Ithaca” is filled with this infectious guitar riff that sits perfectly within the vocals smothered in reverb and various samples embedded in the track. Overall, the Napels natives seem to have created a unique world for the listener of their music, whilst at the same time keeping their work “normal” enough to be enjoyed by the average Joe.
Although this EP sounds slightly less polished than I was expecting, it’s clear that Drakmah are aiming for greatness within their music and I think if they work hard enough, they’ll get it.
“Storyteller” is definitely on my playlist, who else?
You can listen to “Storyteller” here: https://drakmah.hearnow.com

Album Review: Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life

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The album artwork for “Heard It In A Past Life”

Maggie Rogers came to fame after gaining the chance to have her  track “Alaska”  critiqued by Pharell Williams. He was so impressed he got emotional and declared “I don’t think there’s anything I can say about that to make it better.”

The video of their masterclass went viral and Maggie became  an accidental star, through the ranks of the industry and eventually getting signed by Capitol Records. Since her life changed forever, she has released her debut album titled “Heard It In The Past Life.”

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Maggie with “Happy” singer Pharrell Williams

 

The first thing I noticed about the album is that it is incredibly production heavy, although this wasn’t a surprise to me as this follows the trend of her previous releases. The opening track “Give A Little” sets the tone of the entire album with a really catchy chorus, great vocal production and solid instrumentation.

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Rogers at Capitol Records 75th Anniversary

Having not listened to Maggie for a while before this album, it took me a second to get used to her sound but I immediately fell in love with her music all over again. She is so unique and she’s never been scared to push the boundaries of the norm and express her creativity as she sees fit.

“Heard It In A Past Life” is the perfect blend of “over-produced” Pop and honest, emotive and grab-you-by-the-balls songwriting. Rogers has got a 50/50 balance of the innocence of your typical young, uncorrupted artist and the business sense of an industry yes girl, everything a label could ask for.

This album was long awaited and I was thinking that Maggie been one of the unfortunate cases that fell through the corporate cracks, how wrong I was! She has timed  this release just right, hopefully the first of many!

The debut release of student turned viral sensation screams one thing to me “I’m Maggie Rogers and I’m coming for stardom with everything I’ve got!” She doesn’t have to brag about how amazing she is, her music and work ethic speak for themselves.

I feel like I know Maggie personally after watching her shoot to the top and I couldn’t be prouder of who she is and the work she is putting out.

If you want something fresh but comfortable, go and listen to “Heard It In A Past Life.”