Voice in the Valley: Open Mic/Jams


By David Ion - Sterling Silver Band


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Yes, for a change, even the government agrees with me on this one:

What $200.00 bought the consumer in 1970 would cost $1,221.22 in the current year of 2016. That is an inflation rate of 510.6%.

I easily made $200.00 as a single act per performance night in 1970. Consistently, all I had to do was ask for it. And incidentally, travel expense, rooms, meals, even bonuses were graciously paid in addition to the agreed wage.

Now all I see everywhere, even on prime weekend nights, is "Open Mic Nights" and "Jams" whereby the club pays one person usually $100.00 to attract others, both amateurs and professionals alike. The club pays one person a sub-par rate of $100.00 to host these events. The musicians who support this farce make absolutely nothing. And resultantly the club has a full house and MAKES MONEY . . . (same as if they had fairly paid a whole band.)

All other professionals providing services in our walk of life charge us all equally the same at 510.6% inflation to cover their cost of living. I have spent 54 years at my craft and am now making HALF of what I was worth in 1970? Most of them providing services did not spend 54 years to get there, probably 4 to 8 years for a master's degree or a doctorate. This picture for me is quite upside down, making absolutely no sense at all. "We pay $100.00 per man no matter what." WTF?

I have to ask myself who is the greedy bastard in this scenario? Yes I am talking to club owners and managers. I also remind musicians, "We deserve exactly that which we tolerate."

In closing I feel this entire nation-wide epidemic of attitudes and disrespect towards musicians will become the entertainment industry's self-inflicted demise, fed by their own greed. Personally I for one am quite totally insulted. Think about it, we all pay the same price for that loaf of bread, that gallon of gas, that mixed drink, and yes the tools of our trade.

Not liking this at all,

David Lee Ion - one professional musician under financial duress.