Guest Blog: The Starving Artist in Toronto

This appears on Chris Hau’s Tumblr blog under the title “The Starving Artist in Toronto.”

Someone recently asked me, “Chris, What bothers you in the world of music?”

I was with a friend (who is also a musician) and after discussing it, this was our response:

“Great Question _________! Honestly the problem is the Stereotype of the Starving Musician.

That stereotype affects everything.

Either people think you make no money or lots of money.

It’s in everyone’s head from the beginning.

It’s the starting point from where people think when they think about musicians.

So if someone plans to pay you, or if they pay, they refer to the stereotype first.

This means they often don’t pay you enough. What I have been hearing from other musicians is that some clubs won’t pay because they are offering “exposure”. If the band refuses to play unless they are paid, the club will just find another band who will do it for free. This implies that the musicians aren’t worth anything.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Guest Blog: The Starving Artist in Toronto

  • February 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Perhaps the solution is to eliminate those who will do it for free. The city is flooded with (mostly awful) bands and only a few decent venues. If a coalition began an initiative to slay a portion of the performers, perhaps shitty singer-songwriters will begin to receive fair retribution for their crappy unlicensed covers of Jason Mraz songs.


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