Monthly Archives: November 2013

(Don’t) pay me my money down

If there’s one thing that musicians agree on, it’s that they want, in fact need, to be paid.  Spotify, illegal downloads, file-sharing, pay-to-play gigs and many more are all railed against.  If musicians aren’t paid music will die, they proclaim, and they are right.  And yet a significant minority – at least I hope it’s a minority – are not so much colluding as happily encouraging their own demise.

 Here’s an example.  A gig I went to recently featured four acts.  On the undercard were two no-name local singer-songwriters and one partial name local singer-songwriter.  Headlining was a four piece band from London, an Americana name (though not a major one) that possessed the usual large amounts of critical acclaim and is in fact very good.  The price of entry to this extravaganza?  £3.  Three pounds.  Less than the price of a pint.

 The paying attendance peaked at no more than 25, which seemed to disturb the promoter not at all.  The headliners were on a £100 guarantee (I asked) so I’d guess that the no-names got nothing and the partial name (who, incidentally, played with three friends) maybe £20 if he was lucky.

This is far from an isolated instance, even just thinking about my neck of the woods, and so long as musicians are prepared to accept deals like this then so long will people be conditioned to think that music should be free or next-to-free.


I listen to a lot of music but predominately Americana, folk and singer-songwriter-type stuff.  Lyrically this can and does range all over the place.  Musically, not so much.  There are always exceptions like Jim Moray or Wilco but by and large it’s one man and a guitar or a fairly conventional band set-up.  Nothing wrong with that but it can be a bit same-y, which is one of the reasons why going to a gig by Faroe Islander Teitur is such a delight.

He deployed two full-time cellists, a vibraphone player who also handled a bit of percussion and an electric guitarist (who on one occasion played with a bow) who doubled on banjo, as well as a drummer and his own keyboards and guitar.  And this wasn’t a case of stacking the stage for the sake of it.  Everything contributed to the sound, the arrangements were impressive and the songs good and also sometimes unusual.  It was a wonderful set and definitely the most interesting thing I’ve seen all year.  To top things off, on the merchandise front, apart from the normal albums and t-shirts he had packets of black tea, as he’s a serious tea drinker, made especially for this series of gigs.  So, yes, it was Teitur tour tea.