If you’re not gigging, are you a real musician? What’s better, gigging online or in the real world? How much effort should I put into being a live musician?
When you’re a kid dreaming of being a musician you want to be on stage. That’s where the magic happens, that’s what being a musician really is. Now I’m older and some of the more annoying bits of life get in the way, but that’s still part of what I want to be doing. If I could I’d perform every day. But… there’s always a but.
Over the last few weeks I’ve played a little online gig every Sunday morning on Facebook live, later posted on youtube. I haven’t given any warning or promoted them, they’ve just been experiments to find out how the system works. The Facebook figures tell me those three gigs have been watched about 200 times.
Contrast that with the last Tom Slatter band gig which had about ten people in the room. In fact, I can guarantee that more people listened to my little fan club only ‘bootleg’ recording of that gig than heard it live in person.
The Tom Slatter band gig before that had a bigger audience and was probably the most fun I’ve had on stage playing my own music. If I could make gigs like that happen on a consistent basis I would do so.
Playing live is fun. Rehearsing is fun. The travel and expenses are not, and at the level we’re playing at the gig fees do not cover all the costs.
Playing online is also fun. It is not as fun as playing with a band, but I still enjoy it.
So where do I put my efforts?
In the short term, I need to be practical. I have a full-time job that at certain times of the year can be very busy indeed (like now. July is mad for us. I am tiiiiiiiiired). I have time to make the occasional social media post on weekdays and find a few hours at the weekend to either record some music or sing a few songs online.
People tend not to come out to see a concert on a Sunday morning. But listening to some acoustic songs online on a Sunday morning? That’s maybe a thing.
So the regular Tom Slatter gigs will be those.
That is absolutely not to say I don’t intend for there to be more Tom Slatter Band gigs in the future, or more acoustic gigs come to that. All these things will happen.
I’m just saying there won’t be loads and loads of those gigs, and they won’t be the main focus for a while. At least until there’s a bit of a change in circumstance with the whole having-to-earn-a-living thing.
That… that still means I’m a proper musician though, right?
Here’s the third live video. This uses the camera on my laptop, which doesn’t look good, but that allows me to use my audio interface so it sounds better than the first two. I reckon I’m sticking with this set-up if and until I can afford a better camera. It is music after all, so sound probably matters.