Working music : an investigation of popular, non-sponsored, original music performance as a career.
Boake, Robert Ian.
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This dissertation investigates the working experiences of musicians who play original music as a form of employment. The study describes the venues and locations of music performance, including music clubs, concerts and festivals. This is done from the point of view of a concert-goer who is aware of the labour processes occurring at these shows, as well as the infrastructure and support necessary to make such events occur. The music investigated is original popular music which does not afford the artists any other forms of sponsorship apart from the earnings received from performances. The musicians interviewed are thus people who play music as their sole form of income, or aspire to be this position. The experiences of these musicians, as gleaned from loosely structured interviews utilising open ended questions, allow the study to make some generalisations about what it takes to play music as a fulltime form of employment. This is the focus of the study, particularly the fact that music is not only a skill and talent to be developed, but also that music is a unique job which has it's own stresses, strains and rewards. Problems experienced by the musicians, as described by the musicians themselves, cast a clearer understanding of the way in which this form of work is run. The actual mechanics of music performance, such as the prohibitive costs of equipment, and the dealings with club-owners, are discussed. Technology is evaluated in terms of its impact on music performance as a career. Some record companies were also approached in an attempt to understand the constraints and problems faced by these commercial enterprises. The perceptions that these companies have of local original music artists is contrasted with the perceptions that the artists seemed to have of the companies. This makes for interesting comparative material, and allows the study to identify some obstacles between artist and industry. The study concludes with a description of the local music industry and a discussion of some of the reasons why it has developed in this way, as well as a look at some suggestions for change.
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