Thank goodness Covid has finally receded and bands are back to work.  But I saw an ad on a popular website proving some things never change. A club seeking bands posted:

“Our venue is looking for bands with large followings. If you can bring an audience, come out Sunday night and play! Invite your fans to support you by playing a showcase set. If you can pack em in, you will be encouraged to return. We have great food and drinks!”.

Based on this, I thought the following conversation might be what I would overhear when this club owner called a PLUMBER:

“Hello, is this John, the plumber? Good, I own a nightclub and I’m going to require a lot of work on some leaky bathroom pipes, plus several of my toilets are really jammed up. Here’s what I want you to do, John. If you can come over Monday and do an hour or two of work, that would be great, because on Tuesday and Wednesday  I’m going to call two other plumbers and have them also do a couple hours work.

Sort of think of it as an audition to be my main plumber. Then on Friday morning I’ll decide which one of you gets the job based on who did the best work, and of course who gives me the lowest price. The chosen one will get paid, but exactly how much will depend on a couple factors.

What factors, you ask? Well, the band who plays here gets paid based on the amount of people they bring, so if we’re having a good night, they do ok. And by the way, John, just like the band, you will be required to bring at least 10 friends. You can do that, right, John? John? Hello?…..”

Sound familiar? Ok, a bit silly, but not far from reality!  Why is it that musicians are sometimes not paid? Shouldn’t our labor laws demand that musicians be paid at least a minimum wage, just like dish washers?

Some musicians volunteer to perform for free, so since they are willing to do this, I guess no labor law is broken. Is THAT the difference? When is the last time you heard a dish washer say to an employer “Hey, let me wash your dishes for a few nights and if you like my work, maybe you can hire me later.”