Indie Initiative Home Bands Articles Forum Resources Contact

The plight of workers in the entertainment business

Here is a sobering story in The Age today

As a grizzled professional in the game sometimes we say "It was better in the old days". We were a closeknit community (still are) but it was brutal. Playing 5 nights a week then travel to next state to do 5 nights of unloading 10 tonnes of gear, setting up, playing a show and then packing up, driving again, do it again. Repeat ad infinitum. Contrast it today to walking into venue, check the PA, soundcheck, play , then fly to next state. What took 6 weeks is done in 2, with no PA to lug around, band plus mixer/tour manager, maybe a roadie if you are big enough.
It can be fun but along the way we lost far too many people.

Exhaustion, boredom, the difficulty in maintaining relationships, has played a part.

In the past it was an escape from school, it seemed glamorous. It was and is easy to get into. But, much the same as musicians the business takes a toll. Partying and working takes a toll. And the change in the business means you aren't always as busy.
People are forced into changes, new jobs or lesser ones, and the loss of esteem can be challenging.

We know that the road crew are part of the glory, they witness it every night and part of the audiences adulation goes to them. To feel the applause and the love an audience radiates is a life changing experience. But as with other jobs you have to upskill to survive. Fortunately these days OHS applies and people are not asked to lift ridiculous weights in an unsafe environment.

Many people in the music business are underpaid. We complain that people won't pay enough, that crowds aren't what they used to be. That people steal music, that record companies rip people off, that promoters are greedy. That it was better in the old days.

We are not in the old days, we live in better times, where it is OK to say I'm having a problem. We don't have to suck it up and get on with it.

We need to support those who make things happen and are having a problem. Be they roadies, musicians, dancers, actors, stage hands. Support Entertainment Assist and Support Act.

The community is the key these days. So spread the word, get involved.

Join The Indie Initiative Mailing List