No Reward In Being Good

Most working artists have already heard the phrase “good isn’t good enough” a few dozen times and then some.  I thought of the phrase when my musician friend complained about his lack of gigs and how inferior musicians were working more than he was.  My friend scoffed, “those guys aren’t even good”.  I smirked and said, “There’s no reward in being good.  The club owner doesn’t care that you’ve been studying your instrument since you were five years old or that you studied music through high school and college.  The club owner just cares about math.  Your value is determined by how many people you can get through the club’s doors and if you can keep them there drinking until closing time.”  No educated, well-rehearsed musician wants to hear that, but that’s the skinny.  “Good enough with a large audience” is the sales pitch of the day.  It’s not about sucking…it’s about drawing a crowd.

At the end of the day, you just have to get over yourself.  An educated artist requires an educated audience.  The harsh fact is that the more you dumb it down the more income you are likely to make.  Your awesome arpeggios are just going to have to wait for that grant money to come through.  Sometimes you can be too good for your own good.  It could be a simple case of making the right sales pitch to the wrong customer.  Stop complaining about the lowbrows not getting your act and figure out how to sell your act to the highbrows.


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