"Hey, can you come play my party for free beer?!"
"If you come play guitar for me for $50 this time there will be more gigs to follow!"
"Do you have some unlicensed or royalty free music I can use for my video?"
"I can pay you in (insert social media platform) more followers if you do this for me."
Knowing one's value or worth is the best advice I could ever give anybody wanting to jump in this crazy music industry...OK, the end!! Whew, thank goodness you don't have to read anymore! Seems so simple, right? Monetarily speaking, knowing your worth can be an incredible advantage to your career, or not knowing what your "product's" value is can be a horrible disservice to you and your fellow colleagues. This is what I mean.
What we do in the music industry whether it be a song writer, jingle composer, player, artist, manager, booking agent, etc. is entirely different than any corporate structure set in any other genre of business.
"If you use logic to understand this (music) business, your logic will soon be illogical."-Brent Lane *Oil Industrialist/Entrepreneur and Artist Patron
There is no infrastructure to evaluate how much you should be making on a global scale. There isn't a chart on the internet to tell you how much you should be making. That certainly would make it a lot easier. From what I've learned, culture and the city you live in seem to set a standard. Granted I can only speak as an American understanding the evaluation process in music. Los Angles, New York, and Nashville are what I call the big 3. From there I would say the next tier cities could be an Austin, Texas or a New Orleans, Louisiana for example. But the big three usually set the trends in the largest commercialized music markets (Pop, Rock, and Country). They also have more opportunities in all areas of music as well.
How much should I charge for my services? It all depends on your culture, city, and what will you gain out of it. In Nashville, a guitar player hired to play some songs have a pretty standard base rate of a local show getting paid $150 and if there is travel involved no less than $200. But I've excepted gigs for a lot less. Even $50! In corporate business suit and tie world they would ridicule you for taking a 75% cut. I don't blame them. Let that percentage sink in. I didn't know what I was doing was undermining a system that would devalue and under appreciate a player that would be well deserved of a base pay of $150. Integrity in the market place is a concept that , in monetary terms, people will know what to expect. Consistency if you will and it even sets a bar predicated to a system that can establish tiers. For example, do those local shows for $150 and when you have the street credit eventually you can make the jump up to $200, then $225, and then so on, and so on!!! Your culture may have something set in place. Maybe? Maybe not?
Isn't it funny? Do you ever wonder if somebody slapped a sign on your back that says "will work for free" instead of "kick me!" Know your worth. Set a standard. Educate yourself from other musicians/writers/engineers/blah/blah/ bah. Let those that have walked that path mentor you. Help your community by establishing that your vocation as a creative is important to be worth given money.
I had a coffee with a friend when I first started traveling to Nashville. I expressed that I didn't know my value or even when should I take a gig. I still use this rule to this day and I absolutely love it, and I think it applies here. After he mentioned base rates in Nashville he ended the subject by saying, "Two out of three ain't bad."
1. Is the money good?
2. Do you like the music?
3. Are they good people or are they fun to hang out with?
"If you can say yes to at least two of those...two out of three ain't bad."