Society runs on the construct of getting something for something.
We can hear this echoed in everyday speech.
'An honest days pay for an honest days work.'
'You don't get something for nothing.'
The so called entitlement society is currently lambasted at every turn and in that itself is just the latter 'you don't get something for nothing' phrase oft repeated with a jumble of different words.
People can rush forward to claim that I am wrong and provide examples of people they know who often do selfless acts for others, and at an initial glance it is easy to accept that, but dig deeper and it is rarely true.
What these people can get is a sense of satisfaction, a boost to their self worth, a goodwill favour in the bank to be collected at a future date, the respect of their community and more.
Not that I am criticizing these people.
In fact I find their actions often worthy of praise, and the goodwill they receive for helping others is well deserved and should never be withheld from them.
They deserve our gratitude.
It still remains that when one individual is helped then the person providing the help benefits by giving themselves a positive boost to their psych though.
There is still a quid pro quo process at work.
This something for something attitude works fine in the main, but it also lends itself to being exploited.
This exploitation comes into the equation when the balance is off.
It happens when one party takes a large slice of the cake, and then leaves a minuscule amount for the other who participates in the transaction.
If you want an example consider one individual who ask another to build a garden shed for them as a semi-favour.
Let's just say they know each other from the pub.
The first pays for the material and that comes to £100 and then they excuse themselves and leave the second individual to spend three days constructing the shed.
The second individual also provides all the tools required for the job to be done.
Once finished the person is paid £30 for their efforts.
It's a mate and it's a semi-favour so that's fine.
The first then sells the shed for £600.
It's no longer fine is it?
The balance has shifted drastically.
This is something that can be described as being unethical, but then again others would be quick to say that 'it's just business'.
Those who say that it is just business are unsurprisingly in the main the ones who are sitting with a cupboard full of cake though.
So now I will get to my point after laying that groundwork, and it is a word of warning to musicians.
Only ever pay to have your material used when you have weighed up all the benefits to yourself and there is a balance there.
When you enter into an agreement that allows one participant to profit through your providing of your artistic labour then you must think very clearly about it all.
You may be participating in your own exploitation by jumping into bed with them.
A sensible approach would be to ask yourself right from the get go what is in it for them, and what you will get in return.
Weigh it up, and then decide what you want to do.
Take a week to do it.
Consider if the offer is mutually beneficial, and if so then go for it.
If you can live with the losing out a little on the deal, but still think it is advantageous then that's fine.
If you are however looking at a very slim slice of the cake then please do yourself a favour and refuse to pull a chair up to the table.
Of course there will be enticements added to the deal to make it appear more attractive.
There always are.
Beware of them.
A good deal doesn't need enticements.
Basically just never casually jump into an agreement.
If for instance you want your material aired on a radio station then why pay for that when there are so many who are passionate supporters of music and will gladly offer airtime at no cost to you.
What they are looking for is an audience and then sponsorship and advertising to create a solid financial foundation to their project.
To get that they need to accrue quality material to play and find a niche market to promote it to.
You are helping them reach their goals by providing them with your material, and in return they are helping you by promoting your music to a (hopefully) ever growing audience.
There's that mutually beneficial deal right there.
If they were to ask you to financially contribute something to ensure airplay, or increased airplay, then what has happened is that they have just asked you to build a shed for them.
Think about it.
Be part of the solution and not the problem by refusing to be exploited.