Friday, 2 August 2013

How Do You Make Money? Part II

“Charity is the fastest way to accumulate wealth.”

When I tell people I am a full-time musician, they make one of two faces:
            A sceptical arched eyebrow combined with pursed-lip doubt which says,
“So, you mean you’re on the dole and/or living with your parents, and/or teaching guitar part-time…?”
A wide-eyed, disbelieving stare, the kind children affect when they realise Bambi’s mother is really dead.  (Or Nemo’s mother, for younger readers, just in case there are any.)  This look asks: “Wow! Is that possible? Really? But, but I’ve never heard of you, and you don’t look like you’re in Coldplay or U2, or even Radiohead!”

Either of these can convey an irritable kind of confusion (“How dare you?” they seem to ask) or a cheerful wonder, depending on the disposition of the looker.

The financial professional I mentioned in a previous post (“How Do You Make Money?” 21/6), formed a hitherto-unseen amalgam of 1. and 2. above, with which he said: “Really?….Oh, OK, just for fun, I’ll suspend my professionally-mandated disbelief and assume that you really think you are a “professional” musician, but we both know, don’t we, that it’s either a front for all the money you make selling drugs or whatever, or else a supplement to your unhealthy, immature parentally-funded gap-year layabout bullshit.  Or possibly girlfriend-funded, given your age, looks and little-boy-lost-if-only-the-right-girl-could-save-me-from-obscurity-bullshit.”

Well, only 7% of communication is verbal, isn’t it? The rest is facial expression, body language, and my interminable inner monologue.

As for those within “the industry” (RIP), ie, those charged with making money and passing it on to those who create the product, there’s a general revulsion with the idea of making money from music.  People do pay me to play, and I have excellent working relationships with most people I have done anything for, but some who enquire seem to see it as arrogant to expect to be paid for work, citing the “terrific opportunity” of playing with their band or at their venue. 

Anyway, in the previous post about this, I forgot to mention another way of money coming in: charity.
Sometimes people give me money.  One person called it Guilt Money – she’d downloaded or copied an album, and wanted to pay for it.

Others have told me that they wanted to buy the album, but “couldn’t find it”, (which makes no sense, because the top answer on a google search of my name is my own webiste,, where albums are available to buy – my bandcamp page, which has downloads available, is also one of the top answers.  I have checked.)

Some people have given me more than the asking price for albums, both online and in person.  In case you’re wondering, I am slightly bemused by this but do not feel at all awkward about accepting the money (at least, not any more than the usual level of awkwardness).  For every person who over-pays, there are probably several who get it for free. 
If you can get the knowledge for free, that seems like the intelligent thing to do, but if you pay for it, that would really help out.  So, if you like, you can go and listen to this song about it, and then buy it, if you like (might as well get the while album, mind, it’s only a fiver – or more, if you like).

So Long, And Thanks For All The Money.

Clayton Blizzard

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