One of the hardest things you can struggle with as an artist is value. The value of what you do can seem to be solely based on others opinions of worth. Whether that value is from a listener or patron of the establishment, or perhaps the venue booker. Fighting for your value can be exhausting, tedious, and sometimes downright difficult. But I implore you to do it. With the adjustments made in the music scene here in 2020, there is no better time to start putting value on the entertainment and experience you provide.
But how do you put a value on what you do? As a musician, how do you determine what you should charge? How do you request a specific payment amount? What deals are worth striking, and what should you shy away from? They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what is that beauty worth? It can be difficult to put a price on an experience, but here are some things to consider when deciding a price.
1. How many hours have you put into honing your skills? There is something to be said about the time and experience you have as a performer. The amount of hours, days, weeks, and months spent performing. While performing is a passion for most, if not all artists, it is nice to know you are receiving a return on that investment of time.
2. How much of your own money have you invested into your gear? From stands, microphones, cables, pedals, amps, guitars, etc. that money adds up. Of course some of this gear is personal choice, maybe buying that tricked out Les Paul wasn’t necessary, but it looks so cool! Just remember, gear doesn’t make the performer, but it can help you perform more efficiently.
3. Do you provide other services beyond performing? Are you also promoting, making banners, helping to bring the venue more clients? Are you helping sling drinks or food by talking up the drinks or food from the establishment? Are you providing sound services, running a PA for yourself or other performers? Some venues provide a sound engineer and gear, but others expect you to have everything.
4. Finally, what kind of entertainment are you providing? Are you entertaining? Are you captivating the audience, drawing them in? Are you able to capture attention and hold it? this is a skill that takes time to hone, but is quite valuable. Sometimes putting on an “act” to be more entertaining and providing engagement with the crowd is so helpful. This is a great skill to have, providing a personal connection between you and the audience. But try not to be “fake”. Wearing your heart on your sleeve can leave you vulnerable, but that emotion is what draws us in. Just be genuine about it, most people can tell when you are not sincere.
When all said and done, putting value on your services is one of the hardest things to do. But is is essential as a performer. In the end, you are a providing professional services, just like an electrician, graphic designer, or woodworker. Your skills are learned over time, and as you hone them, you will get better and better. While you might not be able to get your asking price every time, fighting for your worth is… well worth it. Remember your worth, and know others will value you and Your worth too.