Everybody’s selling something. Some sell fear. Some sell hope. Some promise success. What are the people who hire you trying to sell?
Musicians are some of the most lied to and preyed upon people around. When you consider the time it takes to become a good player and performer, and measure that against pay… well, don’t do it or you could get depressed.
It’s alright to work for cheap when you get started. Research every successful band and there was a time they had to do it too. They weren’t very good at first. But, they got better and the pay got better.
A record label executive told me bands go a long time working for very little and are always surprised when the pay goes from hundreds a show to thousands. They get so used to working for cheap they almost don’t feel like they deserve the increase. But you do.
Watch the door and watch the bar. You’ll know when the venue makes money. If it’s corporate work, you already know they’re doing well enough to hire you. Bottom line; you are worth your asking price… probably a lot more.
So, be aware of what they’re trying to sell you. Know when to give something and know when to stand your ground. A negotiation doesn’t have to be confrontational. Know your worth and you can get paid accordingly.