The strangest complaint we've seen this week

That the economics of the music business have changed in recent years is something that we all know and is also obvious. That it is generally the live show which feeds musicians these days rather than sales of recorded stuff has become the stuff of cliche. Yet we do think it odd, strange even, that this should become a matter for complaint.

As things stand, could people at least stop pretending that it’s tickety-boo that artists have been forced on to a gigging treadmill just to make money? Part of me wonders whether this Marie Antoinette-ish “they can make money playing live” public insouciance is because people don’t want to deal with the fact that they’ve colluded in this disaster, by either not paying for their music, or paying peanuts. These people need to realise that, for myriad reasons, musicians scrabbling together a living mainly from constant gigging can’t remain a viable long-term option. Also that if they’re not careful, before too long, they’re going to end up with the music scene they deserve.

That the country is absolutely jam packed with people who will turn up for free and play to an audience of the proverbial two men and a dog is one reason why music doesn't pay all that well - in that sense it's rather like other forms of showing off like acting. Or even writing journalism. But leave that aside. 

The underlying claim here is that musicians should be able to make a living by not playing music. Which strikes us as a most odd contention. Ditch diggers make their living by digging ditches. Journalists by putting words in order, think tankers by thinking. None of us or you expect to be paid for not doing our jobs, the ones we freely elected to do.

Quite why musicians should earn for not musicing is one of those mysteries. Should dancers be paid for not dancing? Pilots for not piloting?