Playing for exposure

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Sideways Jaye, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There are tons of bands doing their own recordings in home studios, the technology is available these days to get a very good sounding cd if you know what you're doing.
     
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I didn't read like ANY of this. So what I'm about to say has probably already been said.

    It's a very simple thing: Don't want to play for free? Then don't.

    And also: mind your own business (not to imply that anyone isn't doing that, like I said, I didn't read it)
     
  3. Sideways Jaye

    Sideways Jaye Tele-Meister

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    That assumes you don't have it professionally mastered, duplicated, or packaged.

    Sure, you can produce a fine product with a few 57's, Garage Band and your computer, but that's limited.
     
  4. Sideways Jaye

    Sideways Jaye Tele-Meister

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    Exactly, and if you want to play for free, go ahead. I'm just expressing my feelings about the myriad requests I've received over the years.

    In many cases the purchaser rents a space or rents a tent, rents tables and chairs, pays for floral arrangements, pays a caterer big bucks and then wants to pay the band little or nothing.

    Go ahead if you want, but if my post persuades one band to say no and/or one venue to get a clue, then my point is made.
     
  5. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    The "exposure" these events bring the bands is questionable at best.

    If you want exposure, you have to create it.
    You can not depend on the promoter.

    Hmmm .... How would I know that?
     
  6. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

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    Au contraire. I'm 51 years old and have had my own businesses for about 25 of those years.

    You say it's a paid gig, but it's not. You're charging them a variable rate to play there and any money they generate is from their own merch. Hopefully you at least advertise for them and spend some time or money promoting their appearances. Do they promote and advertise that they're playing at your shop? If so, then you might consider your promotion costs a wash.
     
  7. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    :lol: i've never heard that saying applied to these situations before! as many crappy shows as i've been subjected to... nobody has said it! that's a good one...

    my band does a lot of free shows on the DIY circuit. local acts promote the show and play for free in hopes that the touring band can get enough to get them to the next town. im sure the venues skimp a bit off the top... but honestly, not much at all. it's really hard touring... and these shows are about the only way it can still be profitable anymore (aside from having a huge radio hit or something)

    the big difference i see is whether you're doing originals or not. if you play originals... guess what? nobody wants to hear it until they've already heard it! you gotta get out there and let people hear it. sometimes this means playing for a couple beers or tips... thats just how it works.

    cover bands are a different story. they're offering up soulless rehashes of what customers want to hear... and should absolutely get paid for that. people go to bars to drink, dance, and hear music. if you provide one of those services for a bar/venue... they better pay you for it. bartenders have a lot of perks for their services too... and for every bartending gig, there's probably 50 people who would kill for that position... but i don't see them doing it for free!
     
  8. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    Easy there, young feller. My band offers up soulful rehashes of music that most people are too young to recognize. They think we're doing originals. And damn right we should be paid for it.
     
  9. Warm Gums

    Warm Gums Friend of Leo's

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    I got this a lot as a sound guy; " We need professional level sound reinforcement on a "pro bono" basis to support our good work.."
    When I pointed out that "pro bono" was a term usually reserved for well compensated professionals (attorneys, accountants etc.) and was often required as a condition of their employment at a firm, they became confused " I don't understand the difference between them and you".
    Eventually I came up with two simple questions. "Is ANYONE associated with this getting paid? ( usually someone was, often a significant amount) and more telling (and depressing) is ANYONE paying for the "privilege" of taking part in this "festival","open house", "fund raiser" "tour" etc. Surprising how often I got a yes to both, often from major well funded arts and educational organizations. I knew I would feel uncomfortable with those situations, and just said NO (a powerful word when negotiating..), saved a lot of headaches and bad feelings.

    YMMV, but you need to have a line in the sand which you will not cross, every one is different, and none are inherently right or wrong, so make your decision, stick to it, and don't expect every one to toe your line, the arts are an emotional field, and people do what they feel they need to do to participate. It's not always about the money (nor should it be) but you need to be comfortable in your own skin.
     
  10. Sideways Jaye

    Sideways Jaye Tele-Meister

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    Great points by everybody, with the exception of the "soulless rehashes" crack. Watch out, Joe, if you paint with that broad brush, you're likely to get some on you...

    "Is ANYONE associated with this getting paid?"

    Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Bravo, Oh Gummy One, for nailing it to the wall.
     
  11. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    The "exposure can kill ya" bit has been around longer than Freebird jokes, by a long shot.

    I'm a full time musician, so no freebies. Flat rate/minimum guarantee, plus tips (when appropriate), plus comped meal/beverages, for local work. No "playing for the door", or for a percentage of the door, or strictly for tips, none of that. Most working pros that I know have similar guidelines.

    I have my doubts as to whether anybody is ever really "happy" to play for tips in Nashville, although many have and do. A town that has accepted the title of "Music City USA" would do well to consider taking better care of its working class, while those bars take tourist money by the truckloads hand over fist all day long. I've played that town quite a bit over the years but have never worked for tips. I always got my flat rate plus expenses, as paid outright by leaders that hired me. Or if it was a weekday job, they matched revenue I would earn teaching for that day, plus expenses. The persons that hired me were of course free to procure services of a more economical nature instead if they chose.

    I would encourage anyone who wishes to play for free, to not do so in bars, clubs, restaurants, stores, establishments of any sort that make profit from food and alcohol sales, merchandise sales, and/or charge cover for entry. Instead, play house parties or similar situations where *no* monies whatsoever are being exchanged. Obviously I can't stop someone from doing what they're going to do - and I'm certainly not going to argue with anyone about it - but what I can do is adamantly voice my opinion on the matter each and every time the subject arises.

    From time to time I am approached by "friends or family" looking to obtain my services for free or for some insulting amount of money. I lost my sense of humor for this type of inconsiderate behavior long ago. I immediately turn it around and start needling them to do whatever sort of work they do for me, for little or nothing. Those that have at least the same amount of common sense as a box of rocks or a bucket of dirt usually get the picture fairly quickly.
     
  12. prebend

    prebend Tele-Holic

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    Imagine a bar/club owner requesting Budweiser provide them with free beer because it would be good exposure for them.

    Unfortunately the times have really changed. When I was in my first bands back in the nineties (one a alt rock cover band, the other an original alt country) we could sometimes name our price for playing, especially with the cover band. Younger people flocked to places that had live music and bars competed to get the bands with the best followings. Now many bar patrons avoid a place with live music (older crowd may be an exception), especially if there is a cover. They either want to watch sports, eat, pick up someone, talk, sing karaoke, or dance to a DJ. So many places now have a negative incentive to provide a band (jazz/blues maybe an exception) as they feel it will cause them to lose money. Sucks. But it still doesn't make sense to play for free. Things will never turn around that way. Get something for your hard work and services.
     
  13. fenderfan

    fenderfan Tele-Afflicted

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    Our band's response: "Expose THIS".

    The fact is that there are so many bands that just desperately want to play in front of people anywhere, they will accept no-pay exposure gigs..and it's hard to criticize their enthusiasm and excitement. Thus, there are clubs that will keep using the no-pay method. And, there are other clubs which have a whole different outlook, and which give the bands a set, agreed-upon payment amount. Those are the clubs where we play.
     
  14. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    haha... just a healthy jab at my friends who do covers :D

    but it IS a different approach to music. you guys are providing a service much more so than my originals band. playing "for exposure" comes with the territory for me... and my reward is getting my music out there. playing "for exposure" as a cover band is ridiculous. chances are your crowd has heard your songs before. you're providing a more entertaining, dynamic, version of the jukebox... and even the jukebox gets paid!

    i don't mind offering my services to friends/family for free... but you better believe there's a trade. i'll play an hour long set for you... and, if you're a mechanic, you'll spend an hour under my car changing radiator fluid and checking levels! :D

    the most important consideration was nailed by sideways jaye... is anyone else getting paid? if you're helping someone else make money... you better make sure you get your share. like i mentioned last time, bartending is a fun gig... but nobody would THINK about letting them serve for tips. i'm actually surprised the legality of "playing for tips" hasn't been called into question with bands before
     
  15. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Assumptions?

    For the record, I didn't make a distinction between playing covers and playing original material in my post. I've always done both, and while there are distinctions between the two in context, both would apply to the points I was attempting to make. I do plenty of original material with different acts, have done plenty of 100% original material sets... gotta get paid either way is my rule. Everybody has to figure it out for themself.
     
  16. Warm Gums

    Warm Gums Friend of Leo's

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    My favorite F&F is the "will you play our wedding" (I play classical trumpet and guitar..not at the same time) and then they get miffed that you don't also get them a gift.
    Wait; every one else got a card with fancy paper in it, I got a phone call. Every one else rolls in 15 min before, I was there at 7 am rehearsing with the organist. Every one else chugged over to the reception while I was packing up and trying to extricate myself from the music director who "needs some one for sundays..no pay you understand but we have a wonderful young lady who could join you on flute", by the time I get there all the shrimp is gone and I get chicken tenders (again). I just saved you $300+(which you whipped off to the caterer,florist etc. w/o a second thought) and you want a toaster on top of that? I use to plop a little card on the gift table "Thanks for inviting me to share your day, I hope that the gift of my music will stay with you for many years and be a fond anniversary memory." Nope still want that toaster…
     
  17. Sideways Jaye

    Sideways Jaye Tele-Meister

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    Wow, and they were so crass as to actually communicate their expectation of an additional gift to you? That's way not cool. I got their toaster right here, buddy!
     
  18. thecornman

    thecornman Tele-Meister

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    Fact of life is many people will use others for their own benifit! Not just in the music biz. It is really up to each person out there to decide if it is worth getting used or not.
     
  19. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    I'm afraid it's supply and demand. Bands outnumber venues in a huge way. Not saying it's right, but that's the way it seems.
     
  20. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, not exactly. It's more the case that in a collapsed economy, many venues turn to canned music.
     
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