How hard is it for a musician to earn a viable living in Australia? Two articles from the perspective of musicians.
Spare a dollar for the music Maker, Music doesn't play itself an article by Kim Salmon from the age and
A thoughtful response with some suggestions by James Annesley from The Naked Giraffe
"Should venues cop more of the responsibility?
Pubs with rock bands might be a different story, but for jazz venues, this is a tough one. I've never tried to run a jazz club, but I can imagine it would be quite a challenge. Jazz is a pretty esoteric and diverse genre, and hasn't been particularly popular since the 1960s.
It's true that these venues can't afford to pay the artists a guaranteed fee without going broke, but should the artists really have to cop everything? Like Kim Salmon alludes to in his article, musicians are skilled professionals who work hard for their art, and should be payed properly when hired to play by a venue who depends on them for survival.
I'm going out on a limb here, but would it not be possible for Melbourne jazz venues to invest a little more time and money into promotion, so the load is at least split more evenly between them and the artists? Just a thought.
The music better be good
Not to name names, but I've seen some pretty half-arsed performances by some Melbourne jazz groups over the years (as well as many incredible ones), I think it's important that we always present high quality music that has the potential to really engage the audience. You don't have to be a highly experienced virtuoso to play an energetic gig either, just put some soul and pep into it, for god's sake. Yes, I know I've already stated that I've seen some of the country's best jazz musicians play to an empty room, but this will happen a lot more when the music is crap."
Please do read the full article, it seems as good a time as any to explore the issues and perhaps have all elements of the sector work together.