I have to be honest, I've thought about this subject over the years, and sometimes I quickly put the issues surrounding this topic away in my subconcious mind, because I wondered if as a musician, I contributed to the issue -- the lack of compensation musicians should receive.
Facing it is a real tough thing, because musicians in and of themselves generally think of themselves as amateurs and not professional, because being skilled at your craft of making music and your music being loved and well received is subjective. Art is subjective. Music is subjective. And because it is subjective and dependent on the eye or ear of the beholder, it easily results in the presenter not feeling as confident of his or her craft, and this can lead to "selling oneself short."
Where does this all lead? It leads to musicians approaching a dining establishment management or a bar with the thought of, "I want to share my music with others, and am willing to accept tips." The establishment, not necessarily in the business to offer live music or it being a high priority for them, simply says, "Why not?" Word gets around, and business owners find out about another business establishment and do not offer compensation while the musician gravels. What appears to then happen is the downward spiral of musicians receiving any or very little compensation for their performances.
I'm guilty of this--I've lowered myself to offering up skills to 'play for free' and receive tip compensation. I've even gone so far as to decline even a meal compensation. And what has this done? It's made it easier for establishments and party planners to get away with offering little to nothing for musicians. I am embarrassed, and it's time for me to stop doing this for the sake of other musicians and myself. There needs to come a time when a musician decides, "enough is enough" for giving of themselves day in and day out, make an offer to the establishment, and hold true to the old adage that has gone through countless generations but often forgotten especially by some of us musicians, "If you want the music (aka dance), you gotta pay the band." And what about that piped in music stuff versus live music ... well, that's a whole other subject...