Pay 2 Play?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Bob Sushko, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    Check this out . . . a somewhat well known venue recently replied to my inquiry about booking my band there. We are a quartet, I try to get at least $100 for each of us . . . we would have to bring, what 80 people to make that? Sounds like a bad deal to me . . . what do you guys say?

    As an opening band we do ask that you sell tickets in advance to help promote the show then make commission on those tickets. Commission rates vary between $2-$5 per ticket depending on ticket price & number sold. Our opening bands typically bring out between 25-60 fans, the minimum required for most shows is only 15.

    We mail you hardcopies and make you a ticketfly option so you get credit for fans who purchase online.

    -online and hardcopy presales determine set order, whoever has the most fans coming out is direct support.

    -presales and walkups determine commission. Must reach the ticket minimum to make commission.
     
  2. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    I'm inspired, I'm about to quit my job and turn my garage into a venue!

    No, I've never heard of this for music.
    MMA fights, yes, a friend of mine had to sell tickets to a 4 hour MMA event he was fighting in. Unfortunately he got too caught up in selling tickets and didn't have time to make weight for his fight and had to forfeit his match. Disappointing.

    I recall some venues letting bands sell tickets, but it was more of a "heres 30 tickets for this show, to avoid Ticketmaster fees for your buddies, bring us back the money..."

    What city is this in?
     
  3. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

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    Back when I was playing regularly there were a couple of venues that ran like this. I boycotted with extreme prejudice.

    * edit - actually, maybe I misread what you wrote. The ones I saw, basically you had to pay the venue for the tickets up front. If you didn't sell them then you were out of pocket.
     
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  4. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Tell them to go to hell. If a bar or club isn't bring people im it is usually their fault. Unless it is a really crappy band.
    People need a reason to go to these places. Smoke, lousy food, bad atmosphere. filthy bathrooms, poor service, no advertisements and then they expect you to draw people?

    Screw 'em. I have been around for many years. These clubs aren't using me like that.
     
  5. scrimmer

    scrimmer Tele-Afflicted

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    Except for a few cool spots here and there, this type of BS is slowly becoming the norm around my area and even a lot of my favorite dives are pulling
    this crap now.

    I honestly haven't gigged on a regular basis since my punk days, but the few times that I have tried over the years to since to actually get something together,
    have some fun and make a few bucks, this is what we've run into in the Charlotte region.
    If you are not already a regionally known act and are trying to get established this is the kind of "deal" most places want you to agree to.
    Now, in another popular genre around here, if you're an unknown hip-hop or rap act; 'the world's your oyster' as this stupid millenial hipster city eats that up.
    All they have to do is get some flyers out about a new, "up and coming hot artist", and BOOM instant packed house!

    Occasional open mikes and jams are all I attend anymore, when time allows.

    Hell, I guess I'm just an old, bitter fart.
     
  6. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Most bars like this would not even know what to do if 80 people showed up.
     
  7. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    I've not run into this kind of arrangement yet (thankfully). My band (inclusive my, not possessive :)) on average gets to play about one gig per month, however, if it ever gets that this is the only way to a paying gig I guess my gigging days will be over.
    I don't have that many friends...............:)
     
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  8. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    No thx, sell tickets to my friends so I can get 2 to 5 bucks from each of them ? The venue gets the rest ? Thats interesting all by itself . Don't pay the band a minimum but have the band sell tickets and the venue gets the money ! Quite an enterprise . Oh and U gotta sell 15 tickets minimum. lets see, we sell 15 tickets at say $10 each, thats $150 for the venue and nothing for the band ! What a deal ! Evidently beer and food is free at this venue .

    It would be more cost effective for each band member to just send them $25 or $30 each and stay home !
     
  9. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    I think I remember reading about it being prominent in L.A. during the hair metal years.
     
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  10. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I have never had 80 friends in my life......I doubt any band members in my band ever had 80 friends between us......
    Just say no to this , the ones that fall for this , OR pay to play in any way , OR play for free , charity and friends exclude are just hollowing out everything for people that want decent pay.
    A bar should be capable of bringing in enough customers on it's own , no exceptions.
    I hate reading about these things.....
     
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  11. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    Is this a "traditional night club", or a "venue for hire".
    1. Traditional clubs take care of their own business.... building their own clientele and hiring a band is part of that business.
      (NOTE: They should NEVER be using "pay to play" tactics... if they do, run)
    2. A "Venue for Hire" operates more like a rental hall or theater. Often it requires some sort of payment
    They are two totally different business models, and both are legit. It's also important to point out, some "bars" can legitimately operate as a "venue for hire".

    It sounds to me like everyone in this thread thinks all venues should operate as #1... but I can assure you, with a good group that has a following the second option has it's merits.
     
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  12. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A lot of defensive reactions here, and understandably so. I've never been in a situation like this, and I wouldn't want to.

    But really, let me be devil's advocate for just a moment.

    It kinda makes sense.

    If the venue is to make any money above and beyond what they pay a band, that band better bring a good-sized crowd of paying patrons in.

    And, this is one way to make sure a venue doesnt loose their butt by taking a chance by having a band play
     
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  13. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    While I’m not a professional paid musician by any means so take this for what it’s worth, and I understand the venom at first, but if you’re not a band that can easily and reliably get at least 15-25 people to show up and pay to see you I’m not sure what venue would want to give you stage time and have you there to play...or am I missing something?
     
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  14. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve gigged for half a century. The basic concept hasn’t changed, although I’ll admit the nuances make it tougher.

    The venue has to make money over and above what it would make if there was no band. End of story.

    It is tougher with alcohol/driving laws, competing distractions, arguably less interest by the public in live music by unknowns, shorter attention spans and often a noticeable age gap between musicians and patrons. And so on.

    We only play if we get a C note or more per player and still score at least a couple gigs per month. But, it gets tougher as time goes on.

    We all like to get out and gig but for the venue owner it’s solely about profit.
     
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  15. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    Remember the old adage of “good night = good management, bad night = bad band.”

    Just me, but the costs involved in equipment, transportation, your time, etc should be a factor. Even breaking it down further, you’re being set up to work for about minimum wage, with the added incentive of having to provide your own tools.
     
  16. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    True, but.

    For there to be a venue, they have to make a profit.

    It's very very easy for a venue to find a band to perform there, for free or next to nothing. Why should they pay more than they have to?

    The ONLY reason is because your band is so fantastic that it packs people into the joint, and they make money every time you play there, and they in fact can't afford NOT to have you play Friday night, because the bar down the street will eat their lunch if THEY book you instead

    If you can't do that for a venue, why should they even bother hiring you? There's no good reason.

    Just how it is
     
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  17. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    We use the 1% rule. For every 100 people that know when and where you are playing 1 will show up.
    Back in the day the bars pulled in the people and the band kept their asses in a seat or dancing.
    No band on there own can be expected to fill a room 3 nights a week. The venue has a lot of responsibility here ... they have to give people a reason to party at their establishment.
     
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  18. xgritzx

    xgritzx Tele-Meister

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    ive run into situations like this, but its usually a third party involved. such as a battle of the bands type situation, or some other special event. usually passed on them after the first time,lol. lesson learned.
     
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  19. Bob Sushko

    Bob Sushko TDPRI Member

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    We play several bars/restaurants, we will get $80-100 a man, because the venue has part built in crowd and we bring the rest.

    15 people at this Pay2Play joint is the break even point, after that we get $2-5 per ticket sold . . . meaning we would have to bring around 80 people . . . if we brought 80 people we could play anywhere practically.
     
  20. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Being a successful business is up to the business owner. Every business is a risk and taking a chance. There is no such thing as a guarantee.

    Hire great bands and pay them , people may just show up !

    Putting your place of business in the hands of a local band who has more than 15 friends friends is a failure from the get go. Keeping the money from the first 15 tickets sold ( from the band ) is a hell of a way to earn a living .

    So basically this guys business model week after week is to hire a band and have them bring more than 15 people, every week. Thats a slow way to go OUT of business. :( He started going OUT of Business the day he OPENED his business !
     
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