As a group, musicians don’t elicit much sympathy.
I’m a big proponent of treating our teachers better. Their job is important yet they get paid terribly, the benefits are awful and they work long hours. It’s a job so thankless, you have to be passionate to the point of deranged to survive.
Musicians put up with working conditions far less favorable than teachers, yet musicians get a bad wrap. There are far less tears shed for bands.
As someone who’s worked in the music industry, I’ve seen what a tough job being a musician can be. Sure, they can drink beer on the job. That’s a plus. But many of these folks are tirelessly touring the country, crashing on couches, eating crappy road food that will kill them quicker, and there are exactly zero benefits. Even bands signed to labels are living in far more poverty than we are aware.
We just accept this as part of our society, because we value the arts 0.0%. But if they all disappeared tomorrow, we would be miserable. We tell ourselves it’s okay because they get to follow their passions, while many of us are in day jobs. But many people in day jobs are also pursuing their passions, and they are also being adequately compensated.
For years now, I’ve wanted to start a touring musician’s hostel. In fact, I might have blabbed to the local papers about my idea years ago, long before I actually knew how to make it a reality. I still don’t know how to make it a reality. Will someone gift me a mansion?
It’s easy, really: you take a mansion or at least a boarding house, and charge a sliding scale rate for bands to stay there. Perhaps the rooms are large, large enough to sleep a whole band. There are lockers for their instruments and lots of roomy parking. You can even offer rides to the gig and/or partner with local businesses to give them secret specials on their meals, like Illegal Pete’s Starving Artists program (which I currently run the day-to-day).
This would be an incubator, a place where culture and ideas mix. Supergroups could be formed at impromptu jam sessions. We could have webcams everywhere to capture the madness, a reality show or at the very least record live sessions. It would be, for lack of a more soulful term, a content machine.
Since I had this dream years ago, many things like it have popped up. The Music District in Fort Collins is this idea and then some. They have practice spaces, recording studios for all types of music, media rooms, conference rooms, and a packed schedule of workshops for burgeoning musicians. There is a retail space, a radio station and a music industry coworking area. They even have a couple of suites for either bands or workshop speakers to stay in.
But I still dream of personally running my own rock and roll bed and breakfast. People tell me I’m crazy, that the rockstars would trash my hotel. But I put my faith in them to be good people. Or at the very least, I’ll buy cheap thrift store furniture just in case.