November is Small-Business month and it recognizes entrepreneurs and the important role that they play in our economy. Small businesses create jobs, encourage growth and innovation, and increase value in communities. When local small businesses thrive, the community thrives too. Many people love shopping small and local in order to celebrate and support a strong local economy. As we turn our attention towards small businesses this month, I wanted to share a few ways we can support working musicians and the business of music.
Most musicians are members of the ‘gig economy’. They have a variety of different short term jobs that they perform instead of working one permanent job. You may already understand musicians getting ‘gigs’ for work, but did you know that this style of business has grown so much that now over 34% of Americans are a member of the gig economy? This is how I make my living. I contract music therapy services, teach music lessons, perform and provide workshops on the topic of music and mindfulness. I am in the business of creating a variety of jobs that utilize my skills in music.
The gig economy isn’t solely for musicians, it is comprised of any freelancer, contractor or person who has multiple jobs, but it is interesting that a whole economic movement is named after something musicians have done for so long. There seems to be a trend for people to want more flexibility and creativity in their career and today’s workforce places value on experience and innovation as much as job security. And let’s face it, job security isn’t what it used to be. Times have changed, and the American workforce is changing to keep up with it. Maybe living in a time where job security, pensions, and benefits are fading away, is giving rise to more people creating a work life that utilizes their passion and skills all while supporting their diverse life. Being able to create new ideas and share them with different people in multiple ways is very satisfying work. Supporting members of the gig economy by contracting them to provide a job, helps people continue to do what they love in a way that fits into their life.
Not only do musicians have a unique way of doing business, they also create a whole ecosystem of jobs. Think about a big show that is put together at your local music venue. One night can give work to the venue owner, the staff at the venue, the musicians, the sound engineer, promoter, and even the person who made or sold all of the musical equipment used at the performance. Music has a big reach and can affect a lot of people. When everyone is recognizing each other’s part in the system and working together, so many people can benefit.
Music ultimately is a service job. Whether you are entertaining, educating, or providing therapy, you are using music to provide a service to community members. Communities need experiences that unite us, uplift us, and show us what we are. Art does this, and music is such a universal and well loved form of art. When we start to apply music to the needs of the community and to the needs of the ‘consumer’, we begin to see a niche for a music business.
Having local small businesses that are in the business of music is a great way to improve the value, diversity, and creativity of your community. If you would like to support your local musician or music business, here are a few ways.
- ★ Purchase music lessons for your child, grandchild or spouse
- ★ Book a live band or singer/songwriter for your holiday party
- ★ CDs make great Stocking stuffers and secret santa gifts…..you can usually find local musician’s ep’s or demo albums for $10 or less, sold from your local record store.
- ★ Pick restaurants that have live music playing, go out to eat while getting a show!
- ★ Donate an old instrument to your school band program (maybe find a local music repair shop to spruce it up a little first!!)
- ★ Keep your new year’s resolution of getting together more with your friends and family, by meeting up each month at a live music event in your community.
In celebration of small businesses and local musicians everywhere, keep doing what you are doing. Anything is possible with music!