Western Australian music stalwart Kim Salmon recently wrote an article for The Age newspaper detailing his distress and frustration with our nation’s live music industry.
The former frontman of the influential 1980s band The Scientists and later outfit The Surrealists tackled many issues relevant to today’s independent musicians.
“When I began working as a musician in Fremantle some 35 years ago, I earned around $600 per week,” Salmon said in the article.
“I had a regular gig and it was ongoing.
“Nowadays I’d think myself very lucky to make that sort of wage playing music.”
Musician and student Jonathan McKay, from local Perth band The Silent World, understands the problem, and feels his music will have to come second behind a mainstream job.
“We’ve been making music for a few years, and we’ve been able to hold a lot of shows at a lot of different venues across Perth,” McKay told Inkwire.
“But it’s not like I ever see our band becoming a full-time job.
“I have my uni work, and us playing music has always come second to that.”
McKay said it was unfortunate that people tended not to view musicians as professionals.
Like many other musicians in the Perth music scene, McKay relies on his own money to support the band.
“We don’t get paid much to play gigs, barely enough to cover fuel costs, usually,” he said.
“We sometimes get a few beers, but the money we get from playing gigs would never go anywhere in supporting us as musicians.”
Drum Media editor Aarom Wilson said the parlous lot of musicians is largely a factor of supply and demand.
“Due to there being an almost inexhaustible supply of upcoming bands, this can result in bigger promoters paying very low amounts for large tour support duties, because they know there will always be another band of similar size and pull who will take it,” Wilson said.
However, Wilson added that bands must take their craft more seriously if they wanted to make an impression.
RTR FM music director Adam Trainer said Perth’s rapidly-growth was fuelling support from the public.
“Especially in the last few years, there have been a number of smaller venues opening up, venues that allow young and up-and-coming bands to get a break and have a show,” Mr Trainer said.