[Dixielandjazz] Unions

Mike mike at railroadstjazzwest.com
Tue Nov 6 23:52:46 PST 2007

Hi Steve,

Wow, that is news because I thought the the northeast was the 
last stronghold for unions. I guess the only solution is to 
learn to manage ourselves. I wish I was around during the days 
when jazz & live music and live bands were king. For me there 
really isn't any other substitute. CDs and records are nice, but 
seeing that band up there playing hard and having fun is awesome.


P.S 4 to 5 shows a day? Now that's chops.

Steve Barbone wrote:
> Hi Mike:
> The Musician's Unions are not so strong in the Northeast US these days
> either.
> Basically, they control the Symphonies, and in NYC, most of the Broadway
> show bands, including the Rockerfeller Center Christmas show band which is
> one of the highest paying gigs around for the pros. A guy who doubles on say
> clarinet and sax can make over $50,000 in 2 and a half months if he is
> willing to play most of the Christmas Shows. (4 or 5 per day on some days)
> Basically because of over time and doubling rates.
> One of our trombone players is a first call sub there and  those shows are
> his lifeline. He is a professional musician, playing only, who nets over
> $75K per year at it. He tours also with Liza Minelli, Blood Sweat & Tears et
> al. Plays with us when he gets the chance. Works about 200 gigs a year, of
> which half are union.
> Hotels/Clubs etc., are almost all non-union gigs. Same with Philadelphia and
> the Atlantic City Casinos.
> Basically happened, IMO, over time because the audience for live music kept
> declining. Thus many venues eliminated live music and those that were left
> had their pick of bands forcing the prices down. A classic case of supply
> and demand. Lots of musicians; not a lot of live music gigs. All of the
> other reasons and/or excuses we give are just symptoms of the disease,
> nolivegigitis. 
> Is there a cure? Sure, for some of us, but most of us are not business
> oriented and so we do not get involved with it.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

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