It’s strange the things you remember from your childhood. I was nine years old. I was in junior school or whatever they call it now. We were having a maths lesson. I remember the teacher who must have been all of twenty years old throwing around some fascinating statistics.
“If you had One Million Pounds”, he said, “You could spend One Hundred Pounds every day and it would last for over twenty-seven years!!!”
The cogs starting turning at that early age and it made me wonder what I could buy every day, for one hundred pounds, and still be in my mid-thirties with a few shillings left.
It was a magic and fulfilling thought as the inconceivable age of thirty-six was an eternity.
Ripple dissolve some years later when we started buying our own home. It was extraordinary that an initial deposit of two grand could increase in three years to something short of £40k giving us the opportunity to buy bigger and with larger mortgages. In no time the distant horizons of one million didn’t appear that far away.
We currently live in Teddington; described as the best town in London certainly by The Evening Standard.
Each time I cross the river on the Teddington footbridge I am confident that at any time I am passing or being passed by an average of fifty million pounds at any time, based on the house prices here. Easy to work out if you can be bothered.
So why are we so concerned with the constant battle of payments in this industry we call music? Are we meant to be grateful when we receive under one pound for our music to be streamed?
Are we supposed to jump for joy when asked to play in a club or venue for free?
Be forever thankful when asked to write something for TV, Film, radio or other media with no budget just so we can add it to our showreel?
My lovely late departed friend, Matthew Strachan wrote the music for ‘Who wants to be a millionaire”. Along with his dad, Keith Strachan, they did very well out of it.
And yet even with this major success or what we call ‘The three plums’, many prospective agents or clients asked him to remove this credit from his showreel. Was it jealousy? Was it being too successful? Had it anything to do with the fact that when you’ve reached a creative peak it becomes instantly irrelevant, deferring to the default of ‘nobody should be THAT successful!’
Meanwhile, back to the one hundred pounds a day calculation. If you had it now it certainly wouldn’t have the buying power of years ago.
At best, five minutes in a helicopter ride over London, a light lunch in Covent Garden or postage for a handful of those precious showreels.
Maybe it’s time to revalue our earnings and, as suggested in a previous blog, start to value and esteem your works charging a living wage? You never know, you may well have twenty-seven years where you can dream of that relatively eternal spending spree.