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Gig Sharking: What is the etiquette?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by AlyCat, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. AlyCat


    Mar 25, 2014
    My question is what is the etiquette on gig sharking? More specifically, what would you do if every time you do a gig, a bandmate of yours is always obtaining venue's and festival's contact info. You may not see it happening at the gig, but then you always notice when immediately this bandmate gets their "other" band a gig on the same festival bill or venue bill as your band. I am a bassist/bandleader and am having a difficult time with this. I spend countless hours of my life playing "band manager" seeking out the right venues, working on booking, networking, and negotiating deals. This is all the while that I am writing (and co-writing) the songs with the guitarist and scheduling rehearsals, recordings and gigs. I always go to the ends of the earth for my band, taking them out to dinner, and always get gigs that pay and always offer them an equal cut. Sometimes I even cut myself out of the pay just so they can get paid. So it is more and more frequently seeming like my hardwork is paving the way for them to easily slide in their band onto everything that we are doing. It seems to me that we are doing all the work and they are piggybacking right on us, riding coattails, using us as an easy stepping stone, or whatever you want to call it.

    I know that some would say that all is fair game, and I would like to hear their side. My experience on the national level was complete intolerance of this kind of thing. For example, I was touring with a national act as a back-up singer and I would witness the guitarist pulling this stuff regularly. One day she got fired on the spot for it. So I am wondering what you would do (if anything) if your bandmate is 9/10 times getting his/her band on the same gig (many times on the same venue or festival bill before the show even happens).

    Thank you in advance :)
  2. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Medway, MA
    I beleive that in certian areas of the world, Gig Sharking is punishible by death.
  3. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Seems like fair play to me. Unless there is a clear understanding between you and your bandmate, why not let him/her network as well?

    If the issue is that you feel taken advantage of & are resenting the extra weight you are pulling (which is what it sounds like from your post), then you need to make changes in your own habits.

    I'm a full time professional side guy that also is a member of a couple of working bands. Depending on what artist I am working with, I might try to promote one of my acts. It's all about understanding how my employer feels about it and acting accordingly.

    I don't begrudge any of my bandmates efforts to promote themselves outside of our respective bands however. Everybody has to work as much as possible! There's a way to do it, of course, to make sure that you aren't misrepresenting any of the parties involved.

    I would encourage you to not work extra hard and then give up your cut. That leads quickly to resentment. Nobody benefits from that in the long run! I'd also make sure to talk to your 'enterprising' bandmates if you feel you are being taken advantage of somehow. As long as everyone is working, I don't personally see a problem, but if you feel that the 'main act' is suffering in any way- then it warrants discussion.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    You should tell the offender that you will book his band for 10% of the take, otherwise he should cease and desist.
  5. That's the crux of the biscuit right there. Are this other person's bookings interfering with your band otherwise? Why not ask them about other gigs they're booking, and if you can get the contact info to book your shared band there? See how they respond to that, if they're not into that then they are trying to get one over on you, not too cool, but pay yourself first and then it's not really an issue, as long as it's not hurting your shared band's repeat bookings, right?
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    On the one hand, getting gigs is a challenge and everyone is trying to survive/compete.

    OTOH, the musician community is a small one, and it isn't good for anyone to chop anyone else off at the knees in the long run. Comes back to bite you.

    I would suggest you discuss directly over a beer with the other musician. Make sure you understand your hard lines and can communicate them clearly. Have the discussion, then see what happens. I'm a big advocate of say what you're going to do and do what you said you were going to do. Keep it simple.
  7. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    These sorts of things don't bother me so I wouldn't do anything. A band member talking to someone at the venue about his other band is not something I feel like I could stop even if I wanted to. Band leader or not, you don't own these people. I guess if it bothers you as much as you've described you can fire the guy.

    This starts to get confusing. You are referring to a band member's "other" band and then referring to the band you share with him as "your" band. Its his band too, yes? Or is he a hired gun in your band? Either way, whats the down-side here? Is his other band taking money from your band or otherwise effecting the show in a negative manner? If his other band wasn't playing, would some other band be playing?

    So you're doing most of the work and occasionally forfeiting your pay to keep the other guys happy. Why?

    So this is whats really bothering you. Fair enough. Have you told the guys how you feel about this?

    Your pronouns are confusing. Who are "we" and "us"? Who are "they?" Aren't you in a band with these guys? Aren't you all "us" as it relates to that band?
  8. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.
    Just off the top of my head it seems a bit underhanded, but it seems you have no exclusive booking rights to the venues.
    One way to fix it may be to confront them in a civil, diplomatic manner and tell them how it makes you feel. You may consider telling them you're suspending any further booking of your band because of it.
    Then propose, since you are doing all the time and legwork to book the venue, to book their band(s) for a booking agents fee (~15%). It kind of puts them on the spot, because without your work, they now have to do it themselves.

    Now the million dollar question: Will they abandon you for it?

    I know it sounds risky, but if it's really bothering you... just sayin'!
  9. Business 101A - Networking is smart business.
  10. You're right. Not cool. Make this clear to everybody. Tell them they're fired if you catch 'em.
    They may protest saying that the venue is looking for variety, or something other than that which your band provides, so they're not actually competing with you or taking your work. In this case say "OK, but since I got your foot in the door with my hard work I am your manager and expect a 15% cut." It might just work out OK.
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I don't like it. Not much I can do about it, though.

    I growl at him a lot when he does it.
  12. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    As long as they're not stealing gigs away from you there's not much to be upset about. Sure, I think it's a little underhanded to use your band to get their band hired but that's to be expected when you hire someone who is not exclusive to your band.

    If this behavior is very detrimental to your band or psyche then hire people who are more exclusive to your project.

    Personally, if I was hired to play in a band at a venue, I would never hawk any other band to the owner or booking agent while on the gig. I'd be surprised if the owner/booker didn't think that was kind of sleazy.

    Now, I might come back later with a promo pack and talk to the owner. That seems more professional.

    Take your fair share of the pay. Talk to your people and communicate your expectations, goals, needs, wants, etc. See where the chips land.

    Fire the guitar player. :p

    Unless he rage-quits first. :p:p

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  13. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    IMO you're looking at this too black and white. Sure, you're putting work into this band, maybe even a disproportionate amount, but that doesn't mean the other guys aren't. Even if all they're doing is learning the songs and showing up to practice and gigs, that is WORK that they are doing.

    Networking is WORK too. I understand your perspective that while they're working "on your dime" as it were, they should be working for you and not themselves, but ultimately band mates having connections helps your band as much as it helps theirs. How much more favorably is a booker going to remember a band where he has a rapport with several members versus a band where he only has one point of contact? Even if they're cutting gigs out from under you - which, yes, we can all agree is not cool and warrants having a conversation to that effect - if you take a step back, would you stop them from trading stocks on their phone while at the gig? Or from flirting with girls? Both are self serving indulgences "on band time."

    Unless they've signed a contract outlining expected behaviour at gigs, you really have no right to dictate how they spend their downtime there.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my view, the goodwill (contacts, reputation, etc.) of a business belongs to that business. Your bandmate is using it to promote his own business. Legal or not, it's sleazy. And the other band is competing with you.

    I'm mainly a hired gun. When I'm on the bandstand, I will share my contact info with other players, but will not promote another band. If a bandleader caught me doing the latter, I'd expect to not get called back.
  15. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles

    +1 on all counts.
  16. so you're upset he's getting gigs at the same venue with another band of his? is the real issue that you feel you're doing his legwork (in band A) for a band you aren't in (band B)? i don't think it's wrong to get phone numbers/names/emails at the gig so long as you aren't using all your time with "band A" to promote "band B". just my opinion......
  17. I do not like that practice either. My/our band cut ties with a singer, and his wife for doing exactly that. Standing on our stage, and trying to promote his other project, and attempting to sell his CD's that had nothing to do with our band. He was able to book 2 gigs for his other band at a venue we played several times, and that was the final straw! The way I saw it was, he stole 2 gigs off us! NOT COOL! If he took the time to go back to said venue a day or 2 after our gig, then so what? I wouldnt care, networking is part of the band scene but when you're playing for band A, you shouldnt be promoting band B. Thats how we (the band) feel about it. Good luck.
  18. totally understandable. there is etiquette.......
  19. Kick him out of the band. It's clear he'd rather work for his other project.
  20. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    How so? If the goodwill belongs to the business, and this band member is a part of that business, isn't his share of that goodwill his equity to do with as he pleases?

    I suppose the case might be different in a hired gun scenario, but the OP gave no indication that the band was anything other than an equal stake partnership.