I got to thinking this lately. This applies to non-professionals only. If you are not making money (doing it for a living, or partial income) then is gigging not merely just an exercise in ego? The difference between jam buddies and a gigging band is night and day. I feel the first is musically more satisfying and much more fun, but the second seems to be a lot more people for strangely non financial reasons. Is it all just a big ego trip? I've been asking myself this question lately. I believe ego should have no place in music. So then, i'm doing this (ideally) ego-less thing, in a format that exists seemingly for the function of feeding my own ego (playing gigs). Or, at least, that just what i've got to thinking. I notice a pattern with the bands i've been in. My last two bands have started as good friends jamming, we enjoy the music we're making so much we decide to go official with it (proper band that books gigs) the fun drops right out. Well, not right out, but a lot of the magic goes. We go from making freely the music we want, not worrying if that solo should be 4 bars shorter or if the rhythm is danceable or are there enough venues for this genre etc, to suddenly worrying about this stuff. We go from playing what we want, when we want, and enjoying the hell out of it to following practice agendas and all that business. So instead of hours and hours of fun, it's then hours and hours of quasi-work to a few hours of proportional fun. You're probably thinking I should shut up and mind my own business! How does this affect me, you ask? Because this whole "gigging" fad is stealing all the good musicians! Anyway, I want you guys to really think about it... why do you gig? The common answer I think is that it is fun to see people digging into the music / to entertain people. But what good is that? Those people would be having a good time without you there, and how does it help you? Is a street performer or a comedian then not doing the same thing? It just doesn't seem like a musical exercise to me. It's an entertainment exercise. But then why is every musician so eager to make the leap to entertainer? It just seems to be the thing that is done, so people do it. This thinking i'm developing also might be a side effect of being in a somewhat frustrating market. I'm in a very small country, so there just is not a very large market. There aren't that many people out there to come to the gigs compared to other places in the world. I know kick ass prog rock bands that have been building a name for years and years who are still playing shows to 6 people. There just ain't the numbers down here to support deviation from the most popular stuff. This is possibly making my gigging efforts a much more frustrating experience than perhaps some of my international readers... TLDR Why do you gig? Is it just an ego trip that ultimately results in a lot of fun being sucked out of the musical process?