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What's changed? paying gigs discussion

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bearfoot, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    Hello Bassists, my old friends...

    So, there are many threads playing for free, or not, and all the conditions and nuances thereof.
    This thread is for a discussion geared more towards the DIY entertainment business itself - not when you might or might not play for free, but -

    - what has changed in music entertainment tha has apparently pulled the rug out of so many paying gigs? economy, napster, etc..?

    - where has the $ gone? this phenomenon seems to far predate the current, long recession...

    - what can we do to make this better? kill all the hobbyists? :bag: Are there more acts willing to play for nothing than 20 years ago?

    - are there niches for gigs we are not exploring? What is off the beaten path?

    I think this is a very organic problem. People have less $ for entertainment, but they still go out. Beer is flowing, if that is your market.
    The general devaluation of music must be a factor as well. Illegal downloads have created almost the expectation of free music. Has this post-Napster world devalued music more than is even generally thought?
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Too many loser musicians willing to play for free is the problem.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    In some areas, maybe. My band, were not in competition with bands that play for free. None of the venues we play are involved with bands playing for free.

  4. I am Soma

    I am Soma Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    I play about 1/2 our shows for free. We play post-metal sludge and thats not exactly the most popular music here in hipster land. I love playing out and we choose to play for free as to not have to charge a cover.

    I highly doubt this makes us "loser musicians". :scowl:
  5. Where I am, there are about 4-5 cover bands vying for spots on Fri/Sat nights. It can be difficult to get in, as there are other bands with a better following (due to their tenure) and others who will almost work for free.
  6. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Bands where I am are generally making more $$ than they did a few years ago. Much to my surprise, really. I was out of playing gigs for 5 years from 2004-09 and was surprised to see that $400 is the norm now for bar gigs and the better established bands are pulling $600-$700 consistently. The venues that have free bands are getting what they pay for -- dog****
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    There sure is something to that.
    ( I'd not call them losers though)

    However; if it was my project and I wanted to get some exposure I too might do it.
    Only a few gigs though and certainly not more than one or two at the same venue and not without paying those that play with me.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Not losers by any stretch. However if you have to play for free it makes me wonder what post metal sludge is worth in your market?

  9. I am Soma

    I am Soma Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    Maybe there is a difference in original acts vs cover bands. I really have no problem playing for free to get our original music out there and to help not charge a cover. There are a lot of great original bands that dance bars won't give a shot to as they aren't playing covers so we kind of take what we can get.

    These bands aren't dogsh#$t or losers as previously stated though. I usually try not to insult or make all encompassing judements but that's just me. :meh:
  10. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    OK they are not losers just lousy businessmen.
  11. I am Soma

    I am Soma Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    Now that I might agree with :)
  12. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    Hmm well.
    So there is a known divide with original artists vs. cover bands, which is another dead horse.
    I think there an important element, although somewhat subjective, is quality. It's where there are quality musicians playing for naught that things are worst, maybe even a market or region to avoid. Quite frankly, most original music I hear just isn't of very high quality in terms of writing foremost, as well as musicianship. Your original songs have to stand up as well as your covers, stick in the minds/ears as well...in other words pro songwriting if you want to get paid for it. An elusive thing I realize, but when I see someone say, "lyrics don't matter anyway..." - the original material is probably crap. (Not that anyone said that here)
  13. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    None of the cover band venues in South Florida routinely book "free" bands. Even part time weekenders get paid. The idea of a good professional band losing work to freebie bands seems unlkley to me, but hey maybe that's just our market.

    AS to the OP's question, I think we've covered this to death, especially regarding the average bar-band market. You basically have:

    -Tough DUI enforcement
    -Anti smoking laws
    -STDs that can kill you
    -Overall personal health concerns by the public at large slowly becoming more important to more individuals
    -The growth of e-socializing
    -The economy

    and probably a few more I have not mentioned, but they would be the biggees.

    Other than the last one, these are all things that have changes since the golden days (the economy rose and fell in the 70's and 80's without much effect).
  14. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    It's an interesting subject.

    My perspective is a "weekend warrior" point of view......classic rock/country small town Nebraska. Seems to me that there is plenty of work out there if you want it. There's more out there than I can handle. But I'm talking $400/night gigs, street fair stuff.

    A good band (good defined as liked by the crowd) is in demand. People prefer it. The exception seems to be the wedding scene, where the karaoke guys have taken over etc.

    I don't know what it used to be. But at this point there is plenty of work and opportunity for a decent band out here. If you're a full time musician its a different story.
  15. Around here I'm seeing Friday/Saturday night slots becoming 'Open Mic' nights. Which really means three or four young, really bad Neo Hippie bands who bring a pile of friends who all drink. No work for me. These kids sell way more booze than my band could. So, it is what it is.
  16. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Live music has fallen out of fashion. People prefer to hear a DJ play their favorites.
    Cover bands can somewhat fight the movement by playing popular songs and entertaining the audience but original bands, not so much.
  17. I know here in the inland northwest, eastern Wa. state, the number of venues for live music is about half of what it was in the late 70's to mid 80's. Many places went for karaoke, many went to DJ's, when hip-hop came in, since a DJ is cheap compared to a band.
    The places that still book bands only run two nights a week, sometimes three, so the amount of money available to make is less also, compared to the old five- six nights a week we used to do.Even the top cover bands can only work on the weekends...Don't quit your day job!
  18. TheBass


    Jul 2, 2004
    If you are the audience and want to have some fun with your lady - where do you prefer to go to in the evening and pay most for it :

    - to a live music hall just for the music ?
    - a bar with a cover band ?
    - a dance floor with a DJ ?
    - a club or coffeehouse - do they still exist in the US ? - with some low volume level music in the background ?

    Most people your age think the same.

    I am 49 playing in a Jazztrio and a 10-piece RnB Band. By far the most gigs I do playing dinner jazz with my trio. We get even better paid with the trio than with the whole RnB band. Weddings ? Anniversarys ? Guess which Band gets the gig ...
  19. It's pretty hard to pay a 10 pc. band these days. So it's not hard to believe the trio is more successful.
  20. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    I would add to the above that, in my area at least, the clubs and bars do zero promotion of live music. The result, it becomes very difficult to fill the bar on a given night. If asked, where can a person see some great live music? Most people would just stare blankly into space. While the band's I've played in recently have been good players with entertaining music, we are not 3 doors down and are not going to bring 200 people to your venue.

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