5 things you should know before hiring a musician

At Twine we’re passionate about supporting creatives, which is why we get so annoyed when we hear stories of creative freelancers not getting paid, having their time wasted or continually having to make changes to changes because the hirer changed their mind.

To help you guys out, here’s a list of 10 things all hiring parties should be aware of before they hire a musician.

1. Musicians don’t just ‘play’ – they have a craft they perfected for years.

People say musicians ‘play’ an instrument, and it can be fun, but it’s also really hard work becoming a professional musicians and requires great dedication. Sometimes they have to spend one hour on just a few notes in order to perfect them. This is the work musicians do, for hours, days and months. Remember this when you’re hiring a musician for your project. It’s not a hobby for them.hiring graphic - www.twine.fm

2. Musicians are underpaid.

Celebrities like Rihanna and Calvin Harris earn a fortune, but most professional musicians are underpaid for the quality of the work they produce. If you want a high quality product then you need to pay musicians accordingly. Similarly, you might have to cover the costs associated with the work, such as transportation or their rehearsal and recording space. Hiring someone for $5 to professionally produce a track is just disrespectful.
It's not all glamour when you're hiring someone for a project.

3. They love what they do but but don’t love every project they work on.

Freelance musicians have to be really passionate about what they do to keep their career going, but that doesn’t mean you can ask them to do a favour because you mistakenly assume they’ll love helping you out on your project. If they’re your friend and you’ve asked them to work on a project then you might be accidentally putting them in a really difficult position because they don’t want to let you down, but they might have to turn down paid work or cut into their relaxation time. This means that the more time they are spending helping you out, the greater the “price” of the favour is.

It shouldn't have to feel like this when someone's hiring you4. They don’t have a safety net.

Freelance musicians are not salaried so don’t have a safety net if they’re ill or there are issues with delivering a project (whether that’s your fault or their’s). Don’t ask them to continually make changes on a project with no extra payment, just because you changed your mind about what you want. The longer a project takes, the less they earn and the more it could cost them by interfering with other projects they have on the go.


5. Their work is unpredictable

Freelance work for musicians is very unpredictable. They might have a full diary one month and just a few projects the next. You need to take this into account when you’re hiring them and be clear about the timescale, deadline for when project needs to be completed and a really clear brief detailing what they need to do and what filetype or format you need the finished project to be in.


If you’ve had a difficult experience with a hirer then send them this list. The important thing to take away from this article is that playing for free for someone is not the issue, expecting them to play for free is.

Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the CMO at Twine.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.