I’ve lived with a musician for the past 29 years. And the music business here in the Hudson Valley sure has changed. The coronavirus has brought on many changes, but I’m not even talking about that. I’m talking about the age old question: Are musicians hired by bars and restaurants to entertain their loyal customers, or are they hired to bring in customers?

I’m not talking about music venues like The Chance, I’m talking about restaurants and bars. I understand that you hope your band will bring in a crowd, but is that a requirement? Do you depend on them to bring your crowd? Or do you hire them to entertain your crowd, maybe keep customers there a little longer, and with the hope that people will return to see them again?

I remember when I was a young kid, we would go to a restaurant where they had the same guy playing the piano and singing every Friday night. People went to the restaurant for the delicious food, but they were appreciative of the music. If there was an off night, did the musician not get invited back? Of course not. He was a great musician and it wasn’t his fault that it was a bad night. Should he have been held responsible? Not in my opinion, but I’ve seen many club owners not hire talented bands because they didn’t feel that enough people came to see them.

Which is why I ask the question… are musicians hired by bars and restaurants to entertain their loyal customers, or are they hired to bring in customers? I’d love to hear from both musicians and club and restaurant owners on this one. Share your story if you’ve got one, and long live local and live music.