If we take as a reference a spiderweb and we jumped in the center or at either end of it, our movements and actions would be reflected in all of it as a shock wave that comes and goes from their point of origin till the energy spreads and dissipates. Similarly if one of our movements were very abrupt, it could lead to one of the many threads of this network breaks, weakening it and as a reflection of this action the wave return having been reflected at the ends it would be affected by the lack of this wire and besides change the course of the energy the net had maintained, it could weaken it further.
Hypothetically if we continued with that sort of sudden movements during a certain amount of time, would generate a kind of catastrophe that would lead to ruin the spiderweb, leaving few threads that hold and finally, after an immense effort, the network would fall due.
Now go back to reality and try, after having imagined the whole situation in our mind, to draw the connection between the life of the musicians and its community work with the web of beginning.
Whenever a musician, both professional and amateur, accepted a deal of work that is not only not fair, if not degrading and abusive, giving away their work, are cutting a thread of our network who never again will be, or will take many years to re-woven.
Whenever a musician accepts play for the tip, pay to play, play in exchange for food and drink with the excuse of promoting, lowers its price to unrealistic limits to take that job, pirates an album of a musician which could buy it, ask for free tickets to the concert of a musician friend, among countless situations that can occur more often, it is cutting a thread.
Now, let’s be realistic. The musicians need to play live as a means of expression and means of financial support, but being even more realistic and perhaps even a bit pessimistic, nobody cares (neither a bar owner) if one plays live 1 gig,1000 or any time for month, and it is something musicians do for the reasons cited above, and also to satisfy our insatiable ego that would have us believe that we are more important than they really are.
Following in the realistic range, in Argentina (the country where I live) most music schools, if not all, do not teach the music business and how to a musician must operate in the environment. Unfortunately we learn to blows.
At some point and because of this lack of learning, musicians (maybe) we make the mistake of end up thinking that by being artists, society “owe us” and we demand the possibility to express, when in fact this is fictitious, since the space occupied by a musician, socially can be replaced by which to comes later; or at least that makes us believe the capitalist era in which we live, in which we are all a disposable product.
With this hypothesis I have returned to believe that there is a part of the profession (music business) that is truly a business and as artists we should at least try to learn the rules, if we want to at some point be in that place.
A very basic: When playing live the public attending to the show depends utopically of both parts; the venue and / the musicians. Although further the musician is the one that ends up generating the largest number of audience with invitations, fans and all the work that has been arguing for years, months, etc … A musician does not work for the promotion of its own art, is a musician who does not understands (yet) how the music business works.
In this way we end up back on the idea that I develop at the beginning and annex that music as a profession, its business and environment in itself is difficult to deal with (never impossible) and demand too much effort and work, so that above all that we have to carry on our backs every day, we sabotage ourselves.
In music the rules are constantly developing and changing. At present we work with many tools that help our art not depend on: whether a Journal / Magazine published our concert; or if a Label publishes our Album; or if a venue gives us the “chance” of playing.
Internet is the mass medium more strongly to communicate and work.
A brief comment to be closing the intention of this post; playing with the “Pablo Elorza Orchestra” is not an easy thing to accomplish. There are many people involved in the project and always I try to generate the best artistic / economic treatment possible so that everyone is happy.
During the four years I’ve been holding this project I have had many offers to play live from renowned Jazz Festival to usually venues; offering me the most abusive deal that ranged from play for free to promote myself, to 50/50 on the door (tickets), to pay to play.
In all these “opportunities” I said no, preferring not to touch before letting it abused. However, despite having said no to these situations, I have not stopped playing live, and I have not passed hungry, nor have I stopped doing what I love and I have chosen as a profession.
The change is generated by every musician / artist from his actions and that is a valid way of infecting to the others to that eventually generate a stronger spiderweb may not be a utopia, but a reality.