A Heartfelt Thank You!
As everyone knows; as everyone is reminded of practically everyday: this is a tough economy. Trying to survive as a full time musician is very difficult. Sadly, I know so many really wonderful musicians who are working for $30 to $50 a night. Club owners know they can get away with paying $100 to $150 a night for a full group. Still, they continue to complain that they’re losing money and that their commitment to live music is losing them money. They’re probably right. As I said: this is a tough economy.
And, so it is, that it is increasingly common to see a tip basket or jar or whatever placed in front of the performers. It is somewhat humiliating to musicians to have to place that basket there and even more humiliating to have to solicit tips. Yet, I see how very generous the patrons are. It seems they become ever more generous as the economy toughens. In my case, I have weeks where these (largely) unsolicited tips are the difference between making it and not making it.
I have lived in many different countries—many that are referred to as “baksheesh” countries. “Baksheesh” is a difficult to translate word that means a tip, charitable giving, sometimes a bribe—it is a way that things get done in a lot of countries, particularly in the Middle East. I am comfortable with this, in fact, I’ve always been fascinated by the inner-workings of this system. Well: the United States is increasingly becoming a baksheesh society.
My heartfelt thank you to those generous and caring souls that are reaching out to service and entertainment sector workers. We are all in this together. In the end, we all profit by helping each other out.