Freeloaders

July.19. 2014

For some odd reason, people do not want to pay musicians for their services.

They’ll go see a doctor and pay for a checkup. They’ll call the plumber and pay for whatever repairs they need. They’ll go to a restaurant and pay for their food, but when it comes to musicians, they refuse to pay.

Their usual modus operandi, when they want you to play for free, is to call whatever event they want to put on a ‘benefit.’

You see, benefit is a code word for ‘free music.’

When it’s a ‘benefit,’ you’re not supposed to charge a fee, otherwise you’re seen as being too mercenary.

I get calls all the time for my students to play at these so-called ‘benefit’ events.

These organizers have no problem paying the caterers for food and paying for the use of the venues, and for all the other expenses, but when it comes to music, they not only want free music, they want the musicians to drive at their own expense to the event to provide that ‘free’ music.

Freeloaders.

I admit, some of these benefits are real and legit, in which case I usually insist that they pay at least some gas money to my students.

And if they don’t want to pay even gas money, I tell them to take a hike (well, maybe not out loud).

I got a call once to play a benefit in Malaysia.

Now in years past, I was perfectly willing to play these events.

First, I wanted to play, second, I was going to see family anyway. And so I gave willingly of my service and I didn’t mind even paying my own way to play at these events.

But these days, lugging a huge guitar case around with me with all my concert paraphernalia is not exactly my idea of a fun vacation so I try to avoid these commitments.

Unless, of course, if they pay my way.

But this fellow balked at the idea of paying my airfare.

Like all other freeloaders, he not only wanted free music, he wanted the musician to pay his own way to provide him with the ‘free music.’

What kind of planet do these people live on?

For these people, it’s all about getting a free ride at somebody else’s expense.

And of course when you refuse to do these things, they’ll call you a mercenary and money face.

Which is perfectly fine for me.

I guess they don’t get paid either where they work.

Especially this particular character who works or used to work as a teacher and principal at his old school. I guess he must be working for free for his old school, out of the ‘goodness’ of his heart.

I may be wrong.

That’s one thing about freeloaders. They’re very good at getting others to work for free, but not so good at working for free themselves.

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