- It lowers the overall pricing of our industry: most people can't tell much of the difference between good players and great players, therefore between free players and paid players.
So many people ask musicians to play for free, disguising the offer by saying that it's in exchange of exposure or food. The more of us say yes to free gigs, the more the rest of us have to lower our prices to stay competitive.
By the time musicians are tired of doing free work, it's too late, the rates have already gone down, and employers don't even consider paying money for musicians anymore. Get paid when you play, period.
- It never brings up better opportunities as we hope it would: this links again to the fact that many places try to get you to play for free by telling you that you'll have exposure, whether through allowing you to put your business card near by, distribute flyers, or play for industry professionals.
Let's face it, people are not gonna grab your business card if you don't give it to them, and if important people are gonna be at the event, the event planners will want to make sure they get the best musicians, and they'll know that the best musicians come at a cost.
And who would ever think that you're worth anything if you play for free? No one.
- We get taken advantage of: sometimes we think we can say yes for a good cause, let's say a charity event with a not-for-profit event. The event is in a hall and they have food, which is served by waiters.
Well now let's think for a second: is the hall for free? Is the food for free? Are the waiters for free? No they're not, and so, why should the artists be for free? They shouldn't.
- We're already poor enough, thank you: Even when we do get paid, it's often not that much anyways. So we have to work tons of hours to make ends meet, if we even manage to make ends meet playing our instrument only.
So playing for free takes away three things we deserve big time: paid music gigs, paid non-music jobs, and free time.
Picture from http://cashtactics.net/02/09/free-ppc-mentoring-apply-now.html