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Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by basskababble, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Quick rant, then open discussion.

    This weekend my band set up and tore down without ever playing. We were playing a show with some highschool acts (we're all working class in our 20's). The venue (no bar, good sound, big stage) always hands out presale tickets to the bands. $10 presales, $12 at the door. The bands don't see any of this money. We usually hand all but the close friends and girlfriends back (so we'll sell maybe 5 of 20) to save our entourage $2.

    So we're all set up, and I'm asking around for two more mics, wondering where the soundguy is. I find the venue owner (the only guy there older than the guys in our band) and he says "I still haven't seen your money. I need your presales and tickets." I point to our last member, who's lugging his halfstack, and tell him that guy has the last of our tickets. He wants to know where the money is, and I finally ask him "Wait, so we're not getting mics if we didn't sell any presales?"...

    Long story short, his view is "why have you play here if you're not bringing anyone?"

    Mine is "why bring you $10-$12 a head without any cut for me, basically having my closest friends come out to a 6th show in a month, handing you cash that I'll never see, when I did literally ALL the work."

    What's your experience with presales? Is there an upside for the musicians? Our band has taken &*^% that venue stance, might write a song about the presale business, and most certainly won't play that venue again. Are we wrong? Why does this still happen, what's the alternative?
  2. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Some will argue that "presales" isn't "pay to play". Obviously in this case, you didn't pay, and therefore, didn't play, so there ya go.

    When I was in an original band, we played a couple shows like this. We were usually the only band that brought in people. These types of shows are lame... every band is expecting/ hoping the other bands will bring people, so they don't do anything to bring anyone in. The crowd usually consists of the other bands and their girlfriends, while the "promoter" walks away with some cash in his pocket (they always seem to be "busy" somewhere else when you need to talk to them). After getting burned a couple times, we said "screw it" and went on our way. There is no crowd, no pay, no "exposure", nothing for the bands. The only one who makes out is the smooth talker who gets all these bands' hopes up that something good will happen. Don't fall for it!
  3. I just don't understand who they expect to show up? What are we supposed to do? Post on the facebook that we have tickets for sale, to meet up with us? Fans that aren't personal friends won't do that. At other shows we're not about to promote another venue, to people who just dropped a cover at the door.

    It's just a ridiculous proposition. We played this show and arranged it, through a friend in another band, not the owner. We don't have a promblem with this place usually, because we just turn our tickets in, play for other bands, and go home. It's fun for us, exposure, money, or not.

    Like you said, it's not pay to play in the traditional sense, but when the owner takes that attitude it is. Greed.
  4. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Welcome to the new live music business model. Pay to Play. It's BS, and I won't do it. My music partner wants to play the "open mic" at The Bitter End in NYC ... and I refuse. Our stuff (mostly his writing) is easily good enough, and better than most acts I've seen but I don't care how famous the joint is, it's still pay to play.
  5. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Well you learned your lesson. And I'm sure you won't take shows like that anymore. Lots of us have been through it. Reminds me of those Gorilla Productions "battle of the bands" things. STAY AWAY!

    My band used to do that garbage...never got denied the right to perform though...that's just evil IMO.

    TRUE pre-sale tickets for shows should be available through the venue/ticketmaster and can be picked up at will-call desk at the venue. It shouldn't be up to the band to personally hand out tickets and deliver cash to the venue...anytime a "promoter" (I love how they throw that term around, it's completely lost its meaning) gives you a stack of physical tickets and says, "Sell these, bring us your money when you're done"

  6. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    A venue with good sound and a big stage, but no bar? In Florida? How odd.

    With no bar, obviously the only way they're going to make money is tickets sales (in advance or at the door). They have to make money to stay in business and it has to come from somewhere.

    With no bar, the only people that are going to show up are ones who come to hear the band(s). And they'll only show up (in any kind of useful numbers) if SOMEBODY promotes the show. If the venue isn't going to do the marketing/promotion and the band isn't, then nobody is going to show up and there won't be any money to be made by anybody.

    Expecting the band to sell tickets in advance would be somewhat reasonable if the band got to keep some significant portion of the money. Or was going to get some portion of the door money. Or at least get paid a flat fee.

    But, I don't foresee that venue lasting long if they expect all the bands to play for free. I mean, from what the OP said, there was NOTHING in the deal that was going to allow the band to get paid anything. They got none of the advanced sale money, and nothing from the door. If the band had no way to get paid anything for the show, why would the bar owner expect them to do anything more than just show up and play. Really, why would he even expect them to do that?
  7. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    My most recent band played our first (and last) show just over a week ago. Our deal for that show was that we got tickets to pre-sell, but we got to keep all the money from that. Then the bar charged a cover (the same as the ticket price) at the door for people who showed up without a ticket.

    I made sure we sold the place out with advanced sales (sold 108 tickets). Tickets were only $5 each, but $540 for a 4-piece playing their first gig, and only playing one set isn't bad for around here.

    As for selling through Ticketmaster, I actually setup online sales using BrownPaperTickets.com and sold a decent percentage of our tickets that way. It cost me nothing and it cost the people who bought tickets a $0.99 convenience fee per ticket. I still got $5 per ticket for each ticket sold that way. Cheap and easy. And people got cool-looking tickets in the mail. Made us look very professional.
  8. hmmm....a club owner that wants you to establish his customer base with your friends,at your expense,so you can play to gain exposure to those same friends and other bands and their friends.....they couldn't get away with that....

    sadly when you quit they will fill the slot with another young band dying for/of exposure
  9. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    As long as bands are willing to be taken advantage of in this way -- or countless other "pay to play" schemes and scams -- promoters and clubs will continue to take advantage of bands.

    Just say no.
  10. Welcome to my life.
  11. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    There is one place around her that is popular with kids in my school where the band gets half of their presale money.
  12. I'm more than happy to call the place out for my Tallahassee friend. It's The Talent Farm. Out in the middle of nowhere in a warehouse district. The typical gas station about a block or two away (I think you actually do have to get in your car to get to it).

    I'll admit that my band was running late for the gig. It's something that we're not going to allow again. This problem only made the situation worse.

    The whole show was thrown by one of the highschool bands to gain exposure. The poor kid stressed out, called around, had me design a flyer (it kicked arse, enough that the venue wanted to know who made it), and promoted the heck out of the show. All for this jackoff to take advantage of him.

    On one load-in I did mouth off to the guy, before our actual argument, that he was making these kids rent them a venue. He was even giving our roadie a hard time. (We don't have a roadie... just a few able-bodies bros that help us with our stuff... they get in FREE. No questions. Not here apparently)

    It's basically that with this place. You rent a venue, and your friends pay for it. He makes more than he would having someone rehearse there, and he doesn't spend anything more than a few more hours at minimum wage if he's even paying that.

    I told these kids to throw themselves a house party. They'll make 100% of the door, their friends can have a much better time, and they can play as long as they'd like. They listened, and invited us to play. The punk-rock podium lesson they're going to receive is going to be epic.
  13. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    It must be a farm, allright, I can smell the BS from here!

    People are right, it's not 'pay to play', it IS 'play for free' however.
    As I said, it's BS.

    You're much better off with the house party idea, or if you can swing it, rent a hall yourself and collect the door, but depending on insurance and that kind of BS, it may not be effective.

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