Singapore F&B outlet seeks live band, will give “free electricity and aircon” in payment

Let's all support these folks, since they don't charge their customers, either!

By Jeanette Tan | October 3, 2015

Here’s the latest in the world of underpaid and exploited musicians in Singapore — a pesky, poorly-worded ad seeking a live band for a local food and beverage outlet:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

It was posted on September 30 on SOFT, a local music forum where folks in the music scene here connect over topics relating to music in Singapore.

The user then followed up with this:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

“we do not charge customers”. (For food?) Okay.

Right away, users reacted with suspicion:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

Some took the user seriously and chided him or her:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

Others decided to adopt what we hope are slightly clearer methods of illustrating to the user how ridiculous he or she is being:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

(If this is the first time you’re seeing the name GG Allin, you can read about him here. Be warned, though: you’re not gonna like it.)

It does seem, however, from these posts, like people can’t tell if “hacky” is trolling or serious (truth be told, we aren’t certain either) — a rather depressing thing, considering the fact is there do exist many business owners like this.

Local musicians would certainly be able to regale you with anecdotes of this or that bar or F&B outlet that offers you “exposure” in exchange for performing live sets for free.

We understand from folks we’ve spoken to in the scene that the average market rate for gigs is between $150 and $200 per person, per night spent performing — if you’re well-known, chances are you’ll be able to command more. The outlet usually provides food and drinks for the band on the house, too.

In fact, for one-off events like weddings or others, a band can charge even more — about $500 per head.

What’s the point of all this, you might ask?

Playing music is an art, a skill that takes years of practice; not a mere hobby. It is a skill that is of value, and if you’re a self-respecting business owner, you would pay fair, if not good, money for it, and respect what they do, instead of doing this.

Just like how composers work for hours, days even, on a 30-second jingle or song, or like how years of training, effort, money and experience goes into the work designers, copywriters, videographers and photographers do too — and the list goes on.

So the next time you take to a forum or online or anywhere with an advertisement seeking any of the above for your F&B outlet or other business, think about how you’d feel if you saw something like this:

Screenshot from soft.com.sg
Screenshot from soft.com.sg

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About Jeanette Tan

Jeanette takes pride in her ability to sing the complete lyrics to Hakuna Matata and a host of other Disney songs. She holds out hope to someday be talent-spotted to do voice-overs for documentaries, lifts and automated telephone answering systems.

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