It is important that you know what your worth is.
There are a few different levels to this but right now I’m specifically speaking of your value in the marketplace. This is the value of yourself that can be translated in the dollar bills. This assessment requires a bit of objectivity (although I believe that we are not capable of objectivity but that’s a whole another post.) You need to calmly see yourself in relationships to others on the market and understand where you stand. You don’t need to be overly humble and you don’t want to overestimate. If you need an opinion of trusted (and honest and loving, I might add) friends, that might be a good idea. I can give you my assessment on the issue but I am known to be too honest and it’s not recommended for everyone. Lol.
Another thing you need to know is when to/when not to ask to have your full value paid in cash money. There are times that it makes sense for you to take the gig despite that sad bread. It is good for you to know that certain gigs bring you other benefits (and this type of situation usually calls for your long-game thinking) that outweighs an immediate cash money. In these situations, it pays for you to graciously do the gig and not make any fuss about money. In the long run. Again, I can help you if you are not sure.
And there are times you should insist on the amount you feel that you deserve. When you do this, you have to be ready to turn down the gig if the other party does not meet your needs. This is important for you but also very important for the community. For the fellow artists. If you undervalue yourself and you take a gig with below market price, you set the standard for everyone else. That particular presenter or club owner will think, “oh, I can get something this good for this little money” and s/he will use you as the precedence. You have to look out for each other. Seriously.
I have seen cats who are more established not asking for enough: this hurts musicians who are coming up after him/her. I know that their motive is not malicious. They feel that they don’t deserve it. They are humble people. But you cannot make a living on humble pies. This is why each one of you have to ponder upon your worth in the marketplace. It’s important that you have a bit more awareness of where you stand. So that you protect the community.
I know that it’s hard to know what is the appropriate amount to ask. I know that many cats do not want to talk about how much they are making for certain gigs because they do not want to set themselves up for possibly being underpaid for other possible gigs. I get that. I struggle with that, too. I’d think, “hmmmm. I think I should ask for this much but what if they think they got me for a bargain? I’d be shooting myself in the foot! But then, I don’t want them to think that I think so highly of myself, either.” But in general, I do have a good sense of these things only because I have been around for a minute. Again, I’ll be happy to help you.
If you are in doubt, ask for a little more than you think you are worth. You can NEVER negotiate up. You can only negotiate down. And when you negotiate down, you even get to act like you are being generous. Lol.
Music business has totally flipped in the last decade. Musicians used to tour to sell the records/CDs. Now, cats produce albums so that they can tour; live concerts are one of the few places you can actually get paid a real money. So I would like you to sit down and think about your value in dollars or yen or whatever. It’s OK for you to demand the pay you feel that you deserve. Doctors do it. Plumbers do it. Uber does it. Do it for yourself and for your fellow artists.