Bridging the Music: Scam or legitimate?
Last week, my received an email from someone at Bridging the Music asking us to play in their local band showcase. She said they offer all kinds of prizes in addition to it being a paying gig. I was suspicious, but I decided to get in touch with them to get more details before writing it off completely.
Got a phone call from her yesterday. Apparently, the way it works is we provide $6.50 up front to cover printing of tickets. They then sell tickets through a website and at the door. A portion of the proceeds goes to a charity (don't recall which one she said). We get paid per ticket sold. Pay per ticket increases at certain benchmarks for ticket number.
What do you think? Is this a legitimate opportunity, or is there some red flag that I'm missing? It's not pay to play, We don't buy tickets up front. There's a minimum number of tickets that they'd like us to sell, but no contractual obligation to meet that goal or else. Seems like an ok thing to me, but maybe I just don't know what to watch out for.
I don't know about this organisation but my questions would be:
1) What is the minimum we are guaranteed?
2) If you need $6.50 to print the tickets how much are you spending on advertising the event and marketing?
If the answer to both those questions is "zero" then I think it sounds to me like the old "You get your friends and family to buy tickets from the website or on the door and we will give you 10% of the proceeds" scam.
Usually if someone is asking for money or they want you to work it's a scam.
I have never heard of this one but most of these types that use email or get ahold of you online are scams so be careful.
Unless they can offer a guarantee of a specific amount of pay that's acceptable to you & your bandmates, or if you happen to strongly support the charity in question and can justify donating your time & energy to it, I would skip this.
IMHO, anything that requires you to give them money upfront, and/or sell tickets in order to get paid, is not worth the hassle. If you're serious about your music and your band, then create your own opportunities - instead of just passively reacting to so-called "opportunities" provided by other people. :eyebrow:
So it's a flat fee of $6.50? Not $6.50 per ticket, right? If you like the charity, and the amount of the sales that will go to the charity, and can get some sort of audit trail to authenticate the amount that went to the charity, then I would do it. Worth seeing if this organization can pull in different people than you could on your own.
Just have realistic expectations for what your cut is likely to be.
What is the cost of an individual ticket, and what percentage of that does your band receive?
Are they expecting you and your band to do all the work in promoting and selling tickets to your performance, or do the organizers do that?
Just looked at the website, and while it doesn't look like an outright scam, it looks like a variation on "Play our showcase for free and you'll gain lots of exposure and get to meet all sorts of industry people!" In my experience, these events benefit the promoting organization and the business partners who are given free marketing opportunities in exchange for sponsoring prizes for the bands, and rarely benefit the actual bands playing. My advice - if you and your bandmates feel like you need the playing experience (not the exposure, again, I doubt you'll see much of that) and don't mind doing the legwork that WILL come with accepting their terms to play, then go for it. If you guys are already established by any reasonable measure, then skip it and make better use of your time by booking and promoting your own shows.
How can they afford prizes, advertising, etc. if they can't even cover this minor cost?
They want you to pay them $6.50?? They can't be that hard up for cash - I'd say it's a scam. You could try it, I guess, since we're talking about a pittance, but I bet they'll have some other reason to hit you up for more cash before the gig. Give it a miss.
Tell them you'll gladly pay the $6.50, but you need to collect $13.00 for the roadie fee up front and they can get that back through the ticket sales at the door...
I mean, it looks like a real thing. I dug up one of the bands they had listed for a previous battle of the bands thing and these guys were talking about it on their Facebook page.
Is it worth your while? Probably not. But if you've got nothing better to do, maybe it would be some fun. Even odds this turns into pay-for-play as you learn more details.
Doesn't sound like a scam. 6.50 is nothing.
"Buy tickets" shows a less than 10 bucks per pop price.
First (admittedly, cynical) thing I think is they collect $6.50 from a bunch of people and then don't ever actually put on the show for whatever reason and hedge their bets that not many people are going to fuss over $6.50 and walk away with the profit.
The tickets could be $1.00, I'm not selling anything.:D
If someone is asking you to put up money (any money!), or to sell tickets to play a gig you're into a pay to play situation. What you do with that is up to you, but I won't do it ... period. I'm sure they tell you it's about exposure but just remember that people die from "exposure".
It amazes me how many times people ask this type of question. It doesn't matter what kind of spin the promoters put on it. If money comes out of your pocket instead of goes into your pocket, it's a scam 99.9999999% of the time. Once you give them money, you have almost no chance of seeing it again. In 40+ years of playing, I've never made money on any of these type of scams and I'm sorry I've let other band members talk me into it 100% of the time. YMMV, but I doubt it! :D
First post here. Might I mention that I found this forum by googling the OP's question, out of curiosity, and for a second opinion...
This Friday night, my band will be performing at our second "Bridging the Music" competition. It's a local band showcase/battle. The top three bands, out of how many rounds I'm not sure, get free studio time (they choose the studio, heh). First place gets 20 hours, second gets 10, third gets 5.
I don't know much about this $6.50 ticket-printing fee, for my guitarist takes care of 90% of our booking; I'll have to ask him about that. What I do know is the breakdown as far as ticket-selling is concerned.
The promoter(s) give you a big handful of classic-style tickets, complete with your band's name in big bold print, which you must try your best to sell for $8 each. I forget the exact number, but I think it's either 15 or 20; those are how many tickets you have to "sell" before your band starts to make a profit. All the cash from tickets sold beyond that threshold go into your band's pocket.
In other words, your first 20 guests, no matter how important they are to you or vice versa, are giving their money to promoters, not your band. In order to make any money with this gig, you have to gather up enough friends to cough up a collective $160 before you can even consider getting money for gas/food/beers/etc.
Judging is supposedly based on: 1)number of votes, 2)crowd reaction, 3)judges (last time I believe there were 3 of them). Unfortunately I believe this is where the scam tries to hide itself. Ticket sales are most likely the deciding factor.
So, there's my details on something somebody brought up a month ago. Why is my band doing it again, even though we went home broke the last time we did it?
Someone here mentioned exposure. That's why we did it the first time, and that's why we're doing it again. We made a great connection with another local band (who also didn't make ****) and have been growing each others' fan-base and scoring gigs for each other (or together) ever since.
This time around, we have a whole new set of original music to perform, and no idea what we're up against, and that to me is an awesome feeling.
I'm not saying anything good about "Bridging the Music," for my 20 years in the business has taught me that all promoters are essentially con-artists. However, I will say that these guys are not outright thieves in comparison to some of the other people I've dealt with. They obviously have their own agenda, but they also offer a great opportunity for an original band to show their stuff and possibly find some like-minded musical comrades.
I guess the moral is... if your band is pretty well-established and guarantees a big crowd...don't waste your time, get yourselves a solid paying gig. If you're still looking to turn some heads and find your following, go for it with hopes to score some networking, because you're certainly not going to make ANY money.
Good afternoon. I registered just to share my discontent with BTM with anybody who as an open ear. I don't want to see anybody waste their time on them like my band did.
Bridging the Music uses the classic 'pay to play' model - you sell x number of tickets to participate, or pay a nominal fee, some proceeds go to a charity of their choice, they put on a cross-genre (a nice way of saying that they'll take any sucker that signs up) battle of the bands type event, with the promise of promotion and exposure, and an opportunity to win studio time and play at some festival later.
In my band's experience, no promotion was done outside of a facebook event and a few facebook wall posts. No radio time, no flyers, no local publication advertisements of any sort. The local BTM 'judge' didn't know any of the bands, and even announced my band with the wrong name after our performance, while spending a large period of time talking up their other paid services between performances. He tried to be funny, making Jersey Shore references, which was just ridiculous. He was an annoyance the little crowd we had. The 'judge' sat at a desk in the front of the room during each performance watching movies on his laptop. No actual judging of performance and crowd reaction was done. 2 bands were called in to play last minute because they needed to fill time. One band backed out a month before the gig, and BTM left their name on 'poster' on the facebook page, and continued to advertise their upcoming performance in facebook posts to try and drum up an audience.
At the show itself, other than band members, there *might* have been 20 people that showed up. Hardly a worthwhile audience.
You may have a difference experience with them, but this was mine, and I wanted you to be aware of it. Thank you for your time.
Edit: I will say you have opportunity to make money, but not much. The first 10 tickets you sell, you keep one dollar each, 2 dollars for the next ten and so on. You can sell 25 tickets and make a little under $50, but at the expense of selling tickets to friends and family who will buy them to support you, but probably won't show up. Not worth the hassle.
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