Everyone hates being ripped off...
There are some horror stories to be told about rip offs and acrimony between band mates, labels venues and everything from roadies to riders (anyone know the story about Keefs shepherds pie?) and there will no doubt be more to come. The people at the coal face who are dedicating their lives, health and sometimes their immortal soul to their craft or their artistry thoroughly resent even one crumb of what they consider to be their "dues" not reaching them. And rightly so, however sometimes this comes across as an exaggerated sense of entitlement, coupled with a lack of appreciation of others worth. It's a toxic mixture in any situation and it needs to be avoided.
Blurting out the phrase "Let's move before they raise the parking rate" by a session keyboard player in the studio probably doesn't constitute work for fee as they were paid to play a keyboard part so why feel disgruntled when you contribute to the hook of a famous song (allegedly) and not receive any royalties as your fee will not be affected if the song is a hit or not?
Ego, pride, call it what you will, the egocentric nature of some creative individuals and in general is unfortunate because its not productive, its certainly not sexy. Productivity and sexiness seemingly being high on the tick box list of attributes required to make it as a performing artist apparently, or at least I would have thought so.
The attitude that some artists have towards other music professionals, especially promoters and agents is often one of suspicion. The idea being that if they can see a good reason for having them play, there must be something in it for them (the promoter or agent) and then the subconscious keeping of score begins. The years of practice, the costs of rehearsals, the wear and tear on equipment starts to get bigger as more beer gets served over the bar and more wristbands get distributed at the door. The pissy smell in the dressing room, (which is a toilet anyway) starts to matter, as does the derisory fee and all the work you put in to sell your ticket allotment to your mates and anyone who you could. Starts to feel like a rip off. But you are there, ready to give your all for the unappreciating, who will probably talk all the way through your set, as the excitement of telling all your nearest and dearest that you've "got a gig" fades into the distance. Still, you are getting exposure, right?
Do your thing...
I somewhat approve of the DIY ethic, it has a good provenance. Nowadays it is quite possible to be your own publisher, producer, promoter and record label from the comfort of your own web enabled device. You can even put on your own events stream them on line, even have your latest creation mastered by a robot. However all of this takes time, and creative energy and of course money... My point? Keep to what you do, which is being a creative artist and allow yourself to trust those who aim only to assist your creativity. Just because you can do it, there is no reason why you should if it takes you away from your core business. We aren't all multi talented and some of us have only a little sliver of talent but have a certain something that makes us great at what we do so don't risk diluting what you have. Sure there are slim pickings to be made at the entry level of the music industry and it seems like everyone is out to exploit your dreams to make a fast buck for themselves but, in truth, people who have that formed that impression have likely been hanging with the wrong people.
Your inner state is what projects to the audience on stage. If you are gnarled, desperate and frustrated after a weekend of tagging Mp3s and writing individual submission emails or the disappointment of playing in some sticky carpet stank hole (again) for free or worse, it is going to show.
The next time someone approaches you at a gig and offers to promote you or sends an email offering a service please don't dismiss it out of hand, and assume that they are out to exploit you. They may be saving you from yourself.