"The market needs a way to compare and contrast. And if you don't give them one they will default to price comparisons."
—John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing
Marketer John Jantsch makes a great point here. If there is not a way for your target audience to differentiate you from your competition, they will always default to the lowest cost.
There is a reason why graduation gigs for brass quintets don't tend to pay very well in areas where there are a lot of brass players. The artistic demands of such a gig are not very great. As a result (as Ron Davis explains perfectly in Episode 19 of The Entrepreneurial Musician), the various brass quintets around town are fungible. If any of them can do the job, the customer (that is the person hiring the quintet) will default to price point.
The players from the top symphony orchestra in town may very well charge $1500 or more for their services. If a group of very talented graduate students will do it for $500, the person hiring will probably go with the latter. That's because in the eyes of the customer, both groups will both do the same job equally well.
The take away is we need to make a case for why we are different than our competition in the eyes of our customers. In the case of playing graduations, this is probably not possible. But when developing our product (whether we are a chamber group or someone with a doctorate applying for university teaching jobs), we have to be sure to make it easy for our potential customers to compare and contrast us in a positive light.
If not, it will simply be a race to the bottom in terms of price point.