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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Examining Equal pay for live musicians in SL and the effects on venues- Fan topic request.- Lanai Jarrico Reporting...


An SLE fan contacted us suggesting a topic about equal pay for all live musicians and high priced singers vs lower priced singers.

Her argument was, “I know so many live singers, some real stuck up, some down to earth and easy going...then those [musicians] that think they are so much better than everyone else, when in actuality they are equal or worse”

My first thought was, Geez straight from the gate lol, She does have an interesting point but playing devil’s advocate; Who are we to decide the worth of a music talent? It would be like, wow this outfit is 750 Lindens… Nah... I think it's worth way less…like 150L. But go and buy it anyway.

If we all negotiated prices, we would be a culture bartering our way around. Just keepin it real by saying musicians are worth what venue owners are willing to pay. Even the broke club owners would scrap change from the couch to pay for an hour of entertainment.

According to what average venues owners pay, in reality the market sets the price. If there are buyers then there is a market for it and if business owners are willing to pay... then they are the ones who actually set the price.

That got me thinking about the imbalance in the SL Musicians vs. the effects on Venues. I wonder if equal pay for all musicians would even solve the real problem.


If you figure a RL night out on the town solo or bringing someone along, a good time or cheap date could cost about $100.00 USD for food, $152.83 if you include drinks and whatever else you like to do. For example, going to the movies, bowling or underwater basket weaving, things can add up. (Not recommended due to COVID)


The beauty of Second Life is avies get to concert hop and have a good ol time for an average of 300L a concert if there is a musician/venue tipping budget without the risk of catchin’ the corons. That saves SL concert goers a whopping $151.50 per event they attend! Now imagine that when you get to party 24/7 in SL without going bankrupt.



Now if you threw in a real lif concert to let’s say…… Beyonce, one night could cost you about $325 for a good seat ticket plus that $152.83. A little cheaper if you don’t drink or mind the nosebleed section. SL obviously a cheaper option. *sets down the calculator*


Live music in Second Life made its debut on the grid as early as 2007. It is a major staple of the SL community. Hundreds of talents from around the global have followed suit for over a decade. This form of entertainment can be costly to venue owners who count on live talent to drive traffic to their sims, shops and events. Many resort to DJ sets because it can be too expensive. Oftentimes these events don’t bring in enough traffic of regular tippers to cover half their overhead.


The Musicians who actively perform across the grid range in talent but all collectively provide a service that venue owners want to book. They are a vital part of concert halls and clubs not to mention giving avies something fun to do. Like dance, socialize and even interact with DJs, singers and musicians. From the range of talents, how do venue owners put them on a pay scale? I guess it is up to them to figure it out.


The average fee for a musician in Second Life ranges between 3,000L to 5,000L respectively. ($12.30USD-$20.50USD)


Another point brought up by the fan about why musicians charge, “4k may not be alot to some but we did not ask him to build a recording studio in his basement. we did not ask him to buy all the fancy equipment..that's on him..”


There are a handful of entertainers who take it to a whole new level with one hour concerts that cost upwards of $15,000L-$25,000L ($61.48 USD-$102.46 USD). Maybe some musicians do have a massive Radio Shack debt to pay and really need the lindens or their cat needs surgery for a bum tail.. Who are we to judge?

With fees that outrageous for a linden based economy, it is a bit much if I say so myself. Those types of fees literally double the cost of what venue owners pay monthly to keep their club running. All I can say about that is don’t hate the player, hate the game because they are livin’ their best SL. The only problem I see is with musicians who have a bad case of SLebrity with no RL substance to back up their visions of grandeur. One background track on a commercial for Ritz crackers back in 1992 doesn’t make you a star.

To the musicians who tour in RL, sell their music, get residuals and actually make a living performing. Do you, boo boo... charge whatever you want but at least stick around for groupie photo ops and autographs.


OK! Let's talk about venues now. Did you know an average venue owner pays a monthly tier ranging from 1250L-3000L/ wk ($5.13 USD/wk- $12.30 USD/wk) or $20.52-$53.20 USD a month. With an overhead to cover, venue owners count on tips and sales of products and services they may offer. If they also pay for just one event a week at a fee of 5k ($20.52 USD) that is another $82.00 bucks slapped on the grand total of approximately $100 USD a month just to run a venue, pay staff and musicians.


Without tips and sales, many of these venue owners never make a return on their investment and keep their clubs afloat for the love of Second Life and the live entertainment. The same venue owners spend countless hours managing their clubs and scheduling events. The struggle is real and that is why many venues come and go.

Musicians on the other hand who perform at least two events a day for seven days can make about $287+ USD a week. Cashing out $1,148.00+ USD a month. That’s great supplemental income to afford you 1 Lexus car payment, 2 pairs of shoes and a nice budget for Ulta per month….if you aren’t into those things, it would help with rent, food, child support, a weed habit or those Jordans you always wanted.

Then there are those singers who do it for free or tips only at karaoke night. Bless their hearts...

Weighing the pros and cons and looking on each side of the fence. There does seem to be an imbalance between musicians, their fees and venues who ultimately pay the price. But who really is at fault here?


My question is how do we gauge what a musician is worth? Do we rely on SL talent shows to pick off the shower singers from the ones who made a career of it. One might argue everyone has their own taste in music and the right to decide what they are worth and or what venues are willing to pay. The first musician who created the $5k fee set the bar. I wish I knew who it was so I can ask how he came up with that figure.


Venue owners who continue to pay keep the bar where it is. Either have the budget to do so or they genuinely love what they do and don’t expect a 100% return. Musicians on the other hand perform in Second Life because they genuinely love what they do. Many are willing to work with venues and bend their fees and others… well, they think they are a real star while adding to the problem.



One musician who wished to remain anonymous commented when asked about equal pay for all musicians said,  "As a musician I don’t agree with equal pay. If a musician wants more money they should step up there game. If nothing else just be better than the others. It is obvious on SL who is really an artist and who is just average with a big ego".


As a venue owner or a musician, What is your take on this topic? Please share your comments and suggestions below.
Reactions:

1 comments:

  1. This is a tough one really because there is no set 'scale' as to what a performer should charge. It is an open market which really sets worth on how many people you bring in on average per show. Venue owners are trying to generate the traffic and based on this can give room to performers increasing their prices. On the other side of the spectrum there are performers struggling to get peaople at their shows that are being used as free gap fillers, without regard of worth. This article really highlights the complete drain, with little return, it is for a venue to run in Second Life, so this really needs to be understood by performers, when setting their fees. The solution would be to get venue owners and performers around a table to find a common ground and help each other grow the music community. This is not an easy task to even put together, but it must start somewhere to bridge the divide..

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