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'Your band must sell X number of tix to play'

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by yehongxiang, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. yehongxiang


    Dec 15, 2009
    I've been looking for a band on my local music forums so I've been getting messages/emails from strangers.

    Just got one from a guy that asked if I'd like to try out this Sunday, and that if it works out well, we'd have a gig next month. However, every band member is required to sell 5 tickets in order to play at that show.

    I thought that was pretty odd, so I did a little research and found that it's actually quite a common practice over here in Singapore.

    Is this happening over whereever you guys are as well?
  2. Archaeobass

    Archaeobass Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Its pretty much par for the course in San Francisco.
  3. Yep. 5 isn't bad, my band had to sell 30 over all and I sold 20 by myself.
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    It's what is called "pay to play" and many of us feel that it is absolute BS.
  5. Broadbent


    Mar 28, 2007
    Originals or covers?
  6. DizzyExiled


    Jan 22, 2010
    Chico, Ca
    Been there, bought the tickets myself, resold them to the regular fans, friends, family.
  7. TortillaChip520


    Jun 3, 2008
    Never had to pay for tickets (although if you lose tickets, somebody's gotta pay for them), pretty used to the presale game over here.
  8. B.S. is exactly what it is. I don't want to beat it to death, because we already have. do a search in Band management for pay to play.
  9. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Nothing new. It's just L.A. BS. I just wouldn't do the gig.
  10. screaminglucy


    Jul 20, 2009
    TX, USA
    BS and certainly not worth it
  11. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Yep, you run into it a lot around here.
  12. atauntaun


    Sep 14, 2008
    Alameda, CA
    Endorser Jule Amps Monique
    I haven't come across this in the Bay. Which clubs do this?
  13. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    ataunton: I'm not going on my own personal experience but what others have told me. Luckily we have not had to do this. Several people have told me they had to sell a certain number of tickets. Maybe I'll start keeping a list for you?
  14. If you're play original songs and are not really a major act in your area, it is pretty common practice for venues/promoters to make/ask you to sell tickets.
  15. Yeah dude.... Story time.

    I was 16 years old, junior in high school (three years ago.) I got into this "band" with some kids from school. We played punk/rock covers, and not very well. We had a "manager" who has some mental issues of sorts (so I think we got pity gigs...) Anyway, one of these gigs was a pay-to-play. He and his Dad signed the contract, and didn't tell us that we had to sell tickets until the day before the gig. We tried, but couldn't meet quota.

    Long story short, our "manager" and his Dad had to pony up the cash. GREAT first gig experience :rollno:

    Conclusion: Not a good gigging situation IMO.
  16. It's only BS if you don't have a fan base willing to buy the tickets. I'm not trying to be clever or witty, it's just a fact.

    I'm in a band that (so far) has no problem selling the required number of tickets, and many more. These gigs work out just fine for us. (And are usually better stages, better sound, bigger rooms, better crowds)

    I've also been in bands that could not sell the tickets, and these gigs were a disaster.

    The comment that "most of us" think these gigs are BS is entirely against reality, IMO. I'd love to see the poll question: "Music is my primary source of income, and if I have to pre-sell tickets for a gig, I immediately refuse: yes/no"
  17. Count me as one who believes the practice of pay-to-play is BS...

    ...and if pay-to-play was the only way I could make a living as a musician, I'd find another line of work.

    ...never paid some d-bag to play in his bar...never will.
  18. But then the band is the promoter.

    What upsets some about this is that this is NOT a band role. Traditionally, Band makes music & entertains crowd, while Venue gets people in & takes care of them otherwise. Does Band get a portion of the bartenders tips? No. Do they get to keep all the $$ for tickets they sell over & above the minimum requirement? From what I've caught on these sort of events, no.

    I get the draw for Originals bands to do this. And I can see possible ways to do this as a non-ripoff. But I also see lots of possibilities for sleazy "promoters" to save the costs & time of marketing as well as the costs of paying a band a decent rate.

    Say a band makes themselves a name & can then get booked to play for a decent rate. But then discovers that all the venues that used to pay bands are now doing nothing but 'pay to play' nights. What then? Can you get a refund on the tickets you sold?

    It'd be nice to see musicians get together on this topic. We stay divided & we are too open to the sort of game this can be.
  19. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    How much does your band usually make from pay-to-play gigs?

    Better than what?
  20. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Your "poll" is flawed since the person who made that comment meant "most of us within the whole of TB," but your poll limits reponses from only those whose primary source of income is music. (The wording is also slanted heavily toward the outcome you desire, a common trick to manipulate poll results.)

    If you created an honest poll and asked everyone here "Do you pay to play? Yes or no," I predict "most of us" don't.

    Oh. And I'm having a party for my friends. Since you're one of my friends, you're invited, but you have to pay $5.00 to get into the party, and on top of that you must buy your own drinks and snacks. In exchange, I will play my songs for you. Wanna come? :D

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