The Bible says a “laborer is worthy of his wages.” But what about when the worker is doing work you believe is easy? You know, the kind of work you think isn’t done by the sweat of the brow? In other words, does that worthy laborer principle apply to musicians? Here’s something I watched Sting say about it a few years ago.
Of course, I’m a little biased. Because I was a professional musician for over 25 years. But, in this digital download age, most musicians are working for nothing. At least a lot of the time they are. And, in fact, they’re even paying to play. And giving away tons of creative work just to be heard.
Do you believe this is right?
Do you think it’s because they’re perceived as not working by the sweat of the brow?
If that’s the case, then why did guys like Einstein and Edison get paid? They were thinkers. Inventors. And they hired other guys to do the heavy lifting.
For that matter, why do any politicians get paid. The only sweat of the brow they ever put off is when they’re caught with their hands in the “cookie jar.”
I’m sure you can think of others who don’t sweat much who still get paid. Right?
So, it comes down to this.
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 those forms include 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.
But that doesn’t take into consideration the endless hours of practice, rehearsal, and self-denial. And those are all necessary to hone your musical craft. Plus, free also trivializes the need for music. And that leads to, well…exactly the lower quality of songs you hear on the radio these days.
But that’s what Free does. Basically. Every. Time.
I’ll never forget how many times I was told, back in my regular touring days, that I wasn’t really working. And that 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 it took me years of practice and hard work to make it look that easy.
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 while you write.
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