Why artists should not accept cash payments

"Asking whether it's too expensive to pursue the arts is a little like asking whether it's too expensive to read or write. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t stop." - Paddy Johnson

Why artists should not accept cash payments

Most artists and musicians constantly make art and beautiful music and when asked why they do it, most answered: "Even if we wanted to stop we couldn't". It's built into who they are and it's their way of communicating with the world.

Artists are continually being exploited for their ideas and labour. Occasionally artists are getting paid with a meal and a beer, which on most occasions cost less than R 100.00. Akin to any artist I understand how difficult it is to say no and how easy it is to say yes to exposure, but exposure does not pay the bills. Most artists do what they do for the pure joy of making music, sharing stories and wanting to be heard.

Want to know the hard truth? well…Artists are exploited because they are also self-exploiting. Many will make any compromise necessary to make their work (aside from compromising the work itself). The issue is that, apart from the obvious and extremely important one of making a living, bringing money into the equation changes how we see things.

As we swiftly move on to the point of this blog: STOP ACCEPTING CASH, IT'S DODGY AF! Cash only gigs lead to lack of records, as you would not have received a receipt or an invoice for that gig. So, the question is:

Did you really perform?

Here's a fact: Most people don't walk around with thousands, or even hundreds, of Rands in their wallets.

Think of the risk factors for your customer/ host or venue if they paid you in cash:

  • If something goes wrong, maybe you won't be willing to make it right.
  • Maybe you're overcharging them.
  • Maybe you made up a price right there on the spot, after assessing what you think they can afford. Or what they might be willing to pay.
  • Perhaps you gave someone else a discount, but not them.

Now, think of the risk factors for artists:

  • If something goes wrong (that is out of your control) they may not be willing to pay you the amount you quoted.
  • Lack of financial records
  • Does SARS know you exist?
  • Lastly it's ILLEGAL!

You may be shaking your head right now, saying, "I would never do that!" But other artists have. I've seen it. So, trust works both ways. There is a solution to all of this and as new forms of payment become popular, our preferred methods of payment have been changing.

The easiest, quickest, and least expensive way to get paid is through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Though, just as with every other option, there are benefits and downsides but don't be intimated by the technical processes.

Yes, cash has obvious advantages. Unlike checks and credit card payments, it doesn't need any time to "clear". Still, as a practical matter, most people do not carry large amounts of cash on them… Oh, you thought I'd just leave you hanging no! I have a solution check it out:

Why artists need an easier way of getting bookings and How to ensure your band gets paid for the gig

Why artists should not accept cash payments Estee Claasen

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

Estee Claasen

To Top