#TBT Can You Afford To Take That Gig

In what feels like lifetimes ago, I launched the Gig After Gas Online Calculator in 2008 (shout out to Jason Heath for his help then). The tool was a response to rising costs of gas prices following the housing meltdown.

In hindsight it was super simple but at the time, required a good bit of code to work reliably. A musician could enter their per-service pay, gas mileage, price per gallon, and a field for additional miscellaneous expenses.

It was wildly popular at the time, but it eventually became obsolete. Remember, the iPhone was released in 2007 so the notion of mobile devices and apps to make these things easier to track wasn’t even an idea.

Even though the code is much easier to write these days, I have far less time than I did in 2008 but I have no doubt these issues are very much on the minds of traveling orchestra musicians. Here’s how much gas price increases cut into a per-service musician’s income 14 years ago:

In order to put some concrete figures on just how much impact the increase in gas prices have on gross pay, I created the Gig After Gas Online Calculator. Using figures from the WCO’s current master agreement and average gas prices, I used the Super Deluxe version of the calculator to calculate players traveling as far as Jelen pay as much as 24 percent of their gross compensation toward gas, tolls, and parking expenses.

Travel Pay: Front And Center

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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