Article about musicians wages declining

I read and was impressed by a long article probably a decade or more (maybe a few decades ago) that I think was by Cecil in a Straight Dope column in the Washington City Paper. The article was about how much musicians get paid had declined from previous years or decades.

I searched the archives and didn’t find the article. Can anyone post the URL to the article please? I want to share the article with fellow musicians.


Can’t get less than 0. Unless bars are now charging musicians to play. (Joking, LMAO.)

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what “pay to play” is.

My MIL was a choral conductor. She hated electronic synthesizers for throwing musicians out of work. I mentioned that organs have displaced wind and horn players for many centuries. She turned away.

In Melb.Aus, the movie theatre musicians went on strike for higher pay, and never returned. They were replaced by recorded sound and then Talkies.

As it happens, I was in a Live theatre this weekend. 3 people in the pit: keyboard, drums, bass guitar. There was a credit in the programme for the keyboard patch programming.

It’s a shame. I’m a live music freak (over 80 shows in 2019 so far) and I do everything I can to support our local live musicians. I know a lot of the ones in my area and pretty much all of them have regular jobs to support themselves. They are playing because they love it.

823 views of my post and no one remembers the article and can provide a link to it?

Sorry, there was no Cecil Column on it and take your pick from Google from the last few years. Rolling stone has one, NY Times and several others. You probably read an article in a small paper that carried the Straight Dope.

Here are several to choose from:

It’s hard to make a living doing something someone will do for free.

The age-old lament of prostitutes and writers.

Apparently, particularly since the introduction of “The Pill”, which was only in the 1960’s

Before the 1960’s there was a whole business model built around providing straight sex for straight men. After the introduction of the Pill, a whole bunch of that work disappeared, and a much larger proportion of the remaining work is/was ‘anal’, chicks with dicks, and other stuff people still found hard to get for free.

Wow! Thanks! I really liked the last link in your message. Lots of detailed, informative charts. Best wishes.

I have two books that are collections of Cecil’s columns (pre-internet days). I also did a Google Books search on all the Straight Dope books that have searching enabled. None has the article you described. I first found Cecil in the Washington City Paper in 1983 and read it for years, and I don’t remember the column (but then again, there are probably a lot of them I don’t remember).

Glad they helped.