Here it is Labor Day 2022. And you’d probably rather go get another beer and brât than hear me ramble on about a holiday or labor or whatever.
So, I’ll just share something another famous singer songwriter said about musicians and wages. This is an article I posted about eight years ago. But before I do…
Happy Labor Day 2022
OK, here’s the article.
The Bible talks about how we should understand a “laborer” or “worker worth his wages” should be paid those wages. But what about when the worker is doing work you believe is easy? Or not done by the sweat of the brow? Does that principle apply to musicians? Here’s what Sting said about it…
Of course, I’m a little biased…having been a professional musician for over a quarter of a century. But I’ve found in this digital download age that musicians are working for nothing. In fact, they’re oftentimes paying to play. And giving away tons of creative work just to be heard. Do you believe this is right?
A worker worth his wages is anyone you’d have work for you.
If you’re willing to hire a worker to do something you can’t or don’t want to do, then you should be willing to pay that worker. And work isn’t confined to trades or corporate jobs or cooking and cleaning services. Work takes many forms, and this includes creative work.
I certainly wish everyone held music work in higher regard than they do. But unfortunately it has become one of those things so many believe should be made available for free. This doesn’t take into consideration the relentless hours of practice, rehearsal, and self-denial necessary to hone the craft. It also trivializes the need for music.
It simply says: “gimme, gimme, gimme.”
I’ll never forget how many times I was told, back in my regular touring days, that I wasn’t really working. I didn’t have a “real job.” Sometimes I was even told I wasn’t actually singing and playing. I took that as a compliment because in order to make it look like I wasn’t working hard, it took me years of practice and hard work at my music.
But maybe I’m singing the blues to no one. Maybe you don’t have any sympathy for the musicians who don’t know what real work is. I hope you don’t think that. If so, tell me why. Just don’t have any music playing in the background as you do.
I don’t mean to say I have all the answers
And I don’t begin to say that I know it all.
I just wish that we could see through our illusions
But everyday we build a bigger wall.
(from my song “Freewheel”)
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