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pay to play?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Josh Ryan, Oct 22, 2002.

  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    We do enough work without selling tickets. We have sort of a pay to play "light" thing going on out here. You are expected to sell tickets, but you don't owe anything if you fail to meet a minimum. I'm not sure how much pressure is involved, since I refuse to do it. Thoughts?

    edit---in some dyslexic fit I put a thumbs up, it should be a thumbs down.

    edit edit: Thanks for fixing that Blackbird!
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Pay to Play = evil
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    There are quite a few venues (mostly pubs clubs and bars) in my area but they don't pay bands. If you don't own a PA then you are down the rental.

    One bar lets local organisers use it. The organiser will usually pay for a PA and sound guys (sometimes they are the soundcrew) and might pay you. However they are usually local punters peed off with the lack of venues for original bands and once they have got the posters and PA cannot afford to pay the band.

    In another town theres a venue that often has signed bands. What they do is use one maybe two local bands as support acts to bring in the locals so the headliner(s) who nobody has heard of can get an audience. The local band will be given a couple of flyers with the bands name on it. The the flyer will give the punter £1 off and the band £1 for each flyer. Apparently whoever counts the flyers does it badly and its always less then the bands estimate based on the number of mates in the bar whilst the headliners are on.

    They will take a band on without a demo so it's not all bad. Some bands have never reappeared. They also use Battle of the Bands to scout for talent to use as support acts.

    Talking of which my mates band went to the Battle of the Bands and didn't win. How the judges knew who was best when they werent in the building is puzzling.
  4. Never! I might play for free for the right situation (Church, charity event, friend's party, etc.). I would not pay to play in a situation that makes some third party money without getting a cut. I've put a lot of work and money into getting to the level that I'm at as a player. If it's a for profit event, my services are part of the bottom line.
  5. There is one pay to play venue here, at one of the largest clubs in the area, where national acts tour through. You pay $100 for 20 tix, then if you sell the 20 tix @ $5 a piece you make your money back. They run it as a contest with 5 bands weekly for 4 weeks.

    The winner of the contest gets $500 and opens for a national act. The runners-up get their own weekend show. Its an ok deal when you sell the tickets - its a good place for exposure, and if ya win, you get more exposure. Always a gamble though - but most local bands have done it as the club is one of the best venues in the area. Its pretty good night for checking out new local bands too.

    In general though, pay to play is bogus unless there is some sort of contest or prize at the end. Of course, if you play gigs and dont get paid, you're still paying for your gas and time anyhow, so whats the difference, heh :)
  6. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Not sure what this concept is really about, but in my previous gigging days, the most money we ever made was when we were the organisers. We would rent a place, usually a school sports hall or similar, make posters, hire security, build a stage, print and sell tickets etc. However, we never had less than 1,000 people come to these shows, so the money was great. In a way, we were paying to play, because all the expenses were up front, but as I said, we had our guy at the door selling tickets, and after paying the expenses, about 70% was ours to keep.
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Now imagine that scenario but give 90% of the cash to a middle man who does nothing more than pencil you in at whatever club. You do all of the work. Thats pay to play at it's worst.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    GOOD MAN!!!

    Just because we enjoy doing it, that doesn't mean it isn't "work."

    They pay the waitresses/waiters, bartenders, security/bouncers don't they??? A good musician has honed their skill far more than they and typically has to have a hell of a lot more on the ball.

    It's not really the money --- I just wouldn't play anyplace where musicians are so dissed.
  9. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    jeez...it's hard to get gigs around here if you're a new band, but at least we don't have crap like that!!!
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I wont do a pay to play unless my band gets to a point where our popularity is at the point that I know we will meet the clubs limit and be paid for bringing in enough people.

    I will however play free shows if I see a good incentive. Good example: My band was asked to play at Bilboard Live (a large popular club where many national acts play) for a party a person is throwing for free.

    Usually I will not play a strangers party for free, but considering the size of the venue and the # of people who will attend, I am totally into it. We invited a couple of representatives from record companies to attend the event, and a couple responded saying that they will try to make it.

    I love performing, but if I have to pay to play, Id rather find another club to play, or just work on some more songs for the night.

  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I'll pay a free show no problem, benefits, parties for friends etc. I just hate getting screwed by some random greedy person, even if it's a screwing that has been passed on down. Trickle down screwing, if you get my meaning.
  12. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Weve played benefits and the like, and usually the club owner or event organizer will give us some free drinks or food, which is cool. We dont have a problem playing shows like this, cause none of us are in it for the money. But as far as paying to play? Dont think so.
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    The sad thing is, the rest of my band wanted to do it! They are mildly annoyed with me right now. Again. :D
  14. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Joshua tell them that you will compromise; you'll play and they can pay
  15. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    My compromise is that we won't play and I'll still be in the band. :D
  16. A lot of gigs in Glasgow are pay to play! Have played a couple. We had to pay £50 ($75?) up front to the promoter. We then were given 100 tickets with a face value of £3. It was up to us if we sold them, sold them cheap, or gave them to friends.

    3 bands would play per night. If people didn't have tickets and paid at the door the venue took the money!

    Unfotunately that's just the way the bulk of the venues operate round here!:(
  17. PJR


    Jun 20, 2001
    N.E. PA
    Man....this thread strikes a bad nerve with me....

    I absolutely abhore those clubs that make the band/performer pay to play.

    ...and it seems most of us here agree....is not a good thing. Let alone fair.

    ...yet we find so many bands that are willing to pay to play.....

    So I guess you can't blame the clubs for still doing it. As long as there are bands that put up with it, and keep 'paying' to play...it will continue.

    Don't get me wrong.....I'll play benefits, charities , parties, and 'freebies' if the cause is worthy, or I think it will be good exposure..... but I will not play at a club that 'forces' me to sell a certain number of tix. Nope...not PJR.

  18. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Bliss you must be from MA!!!!!:D
    Around Worcester it goes like this.
    Coverband = Getting paid!
    Original band = Paying to play!
    I do both and it get's fustrating, I play covers to support my original project. (Go Figure) when much more work goes into the original band.
  19. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    Yep, heading out your way to Lucky Dog for some kind of a Northampton meets Worcester thing end of November? I think.
    This is the first instance of pay to play I've heard of out here in W. MA. Hopefully it will be the only one. It's just so unbelievably greedy.
  20. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Where I live:

    Cover band: Get paid
    Original band: Unemployed

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