Musician Mihir Joshi makes a point that more independent creators, regardless of their specific fields, should. By agreeing to work for free, you are significantly reducing chances of others making a living off their creative work. Below is his entire comment, pasted as it is from his Facebook status message.
I’ve got to say this. For all the musicians and singers and performers out there or are following me in here.
DO NOT accept doing gigs for free. Irrespective of what the “PR” value of the gig is…or if the client tells you that their budget is “tight”.
Seriously! EVERYONE at a gig gets paid. The sound guy, the lights guy, the caterers, the transport guys, the freaking people working in the company or club you’re playing at. Why then should only the artists be stiffed?!
I’ll tell you why. It’s because there’s someone out there who’s willing to play for free and these guys know it. They think if not this band, we’ll get another band. There’s bound to be some young schmuck who’ll come and entertain us for free.
So yeah…in a big way, the fault is ours. As artists…all we want to do is perform. We feel grateful if someone just wants to hear us or see us play. We think “Shit! Such a big brand…and they want US to play. Let’s do it for free man.”
This is it! This is why artists get a shit deal. Also…if you sing in hindi…you get more money and an english artist never will make as much as a Bollywood artist. That too is our fault but that will take a major mindset change. We can start that change right now.
Stand up for your talent. Get taken seriously. Tell people what you think you’re genuinely worth and at most make a small adjustment when needed. But don’t give in and do a gig for free.
If enough of us…the good ones, start refusing no one will dare ask bands to play for free. Also, if a big brand or someone representing a big brand says that they don’t have a budget, let people all over facebook and twitter know about them Let’s see how the brand feels about that.
Think about this. Would you go to McDonalds and say “Acha boss…aaj thoda budget tight hai. Give me like 4 burgers for free. I’ll give you good publicity. I’ll carry a balloon that has McDonald’s written on it all day today and say to everyone I meet “GO EAT AT McDONALD’S”. Let’s see how many burgers you get for that.”
Start today. Don’t expect a free meal… and don’t give out one either. Get paid!
If you agree with me… write back and pass this message around. Stand up for your rights. Like I said… Start TODAY!