Skiddoo Philippines Inc

Why Most Filipino Musicians & Artists Remain Poor

Most musicians remain poor. But the music that they make, even if it does not bring them millions, gives millions of people happiness.”Langston Hughes

Ain’t that sweet to hear? The last sentence from Mr. Hughes, I mean.

People and fans (groupies) adore you when you perform on stage. Or when they hear your song being played on the radio. Or when your painting is being exhibited in the hippest museums in town. Or when you finally got that acting part in the coolest indie movie of the year.

You feel like a temporary god for finally nailing that sweet dream of yours on a canvass of glorious euphoria after famished years of struggle and pay-for-play gigs.

But the first sentence can break a poor artist’s heart. Even the hardest and toughest hardcore metal screamer in the underground scene today will cry like a baby hungry for milk.

Langston Hughes, undated
The late great Langston Hughes

The Indie Budget Meal

I’m writing from experience.

Having a day job can be a good excuse to pursue one’s passion in arts or music on the sides. Some years ago, and every payday weekend, I set a budget for studio fees either for rehearsals or recording sessions with my band.

Most of the time we rehearse and pay for studio fees in order to prepare for some “big” gigs. Benefit gigs. “Benefit”, because if benefits the pockets of the organizers only. (Excuse me)

The independent performers were usually treated though with either a Burger McDo or a Jolly Spaghetti meal. With already lukewarm Coke or Pepsi.

I call them the indie budget meals.

Or if it’s a bar gig, some real good house meal and probably Php2,500 talent fee at most.

All these after spending the same amount for studio fees, taxi or FX fare.  We’re luckier than other bands because we still can afford those food court meals.

the vitamin-less me eons ago


Why Most Filipino Musicians and Artists are Poor

They spend more that what they receive.

They get scammed.

They don’t know anything about paper investments like stocks, mutual funds, money market, UITF’s, retail treasury bonds, etc. Most are financially illiterate.

For those who get paid thousands (or millions) for talent fees, they don’t keep portions to save and invest for their children’s education or their retirement. They believe they can still earn as much as they can today until they reach 85 years old.

They feed their vices and impulsiveness.

They don’t insure their life and health.

They don’t save however small portion they can from their meager gig earnings.

Artists Supporting Other Artists

It’s heartwarming to know though that there are artists and musicians like Skarlet Brown who have been blessed with better-paying opportunities and bigger breaks who are reaching out to fellow artists still struggling to survive in life.

I’m hearing a lot of good news about the advocacy of Heart of Music, “a non-government organization that would focus on health care coverage for all working musicians.”

I’m hoping that this endeavor will be supported by all Filipino musicians and people from other sectors of the society as well.  Remember that we are fed not only by food but by everyday music these artists produce for your ears to hear and enjoy.

I’m also hoping that all musicians start to become financially literate as early as possible. Plan for the future. Do not rely on earnings and royalties alone. Mitigate the reasons I stated above on why most Filipino artists are poor. Act now.

Be guided on how to not grow old poor by subscribing to BurnGutierrez.Com for free.

P.S. 1. Bro. Bo Sanchez has appointed me as a coach for our young and new investors at the TrulyRichClub social site. It’s a fun, learning family with the purpose of “helping good people become rich”. I’m inviting you to join the TrulyRichClub too and email me at if you have any questions. Click here to join.

P.S. 2. Learn How To Earn Through Larry Gamboa’s Real Estate System. Real Estate Mentor Larry Gamboa is giving a Seminar on February 9, 2013 on how he buys foreclosed properties or properties from “motivated sellers” and turn them around into rental properties or quick sales. If you’re interested to learn his system, click here now!

P.S. 3. Visit the Philippine Red Cross site to donate whatever amount you can for the victims of typhoons “Pablo” and “Quinta” in the Philippines.

P.S. 4.  Heart of Music (HOM) will be holding its formal launch-cum-concert (dubbed Mabuhay, Nyor!) on January 17, 2013 (tomorrow) at the Camp Crame Multi-Purpose Hall. Show starts at 6PM, and will feature performances from Eileen Sison e Guarana with Sitti Navarro, Cooky Chua, Bayang Barrios, Lynn Sherman, and Gou de Jesus. A medical mission will precede the event between 3 to 6. All proceeds from the show will go to senior musicians’ healthcare, as well as HOM’s music education youth outreach program for 2013. For ticket reservations or information on how to donate to this worthy cause, contact Skarlet at 0916.362.4596 or RG at 0917.500.1517.

Photo credits (Langston Hughes) : Marquette University Archives

2 thoughts on “Why Most Filipino Musicians & Artists Remain Poor”

  1. I have a solution. go to (Please note this site is in beta. The original site,, will be inactive after MAY31, 2013.)

    to see who is playing where and when. And while you’re at it, Log in, so you can share with your friends about the events that you find.

    It’s my website that I’ve been doing for 2.5 years now. This is a relaunch to involve other arts. I hope we can all help, either with your financial know-how, or just good press, and improving the state of our cultural consumption.


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