Pay To Play consideration- Discussion?


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Highwaytohell
01-24-2010, 01:52 AM
HTH being an idiot again :/.
The group recently signed on to play bamboozle's the break contest.
Little did I know when I signed up for this contest 2 months ago that 40 tickets would needed to be sold to be allowed to play the qualifying round. Now that's fine and dandy except for the fact that the tickets are 12 dollars to see 20 local bands (some very good, some crap) do 20 minute sets and the bands only recieve all of 1 dollar per sale after 40 are sold.

This led me to the realization that this is utter bullshit. Is it my responsibility to make some jerk all of his money as they swindle all these bands out of theirs (ironically BAMBOOZLING us out of our money). I have decided to take a stand. I want to get all of the local bands in my town playing to join me and try to inflict a tax of- we get half the money from ticket sales or no dice. Bands are the power- They have no power if we give them none- however the other ban have been reluctant to show support. I feel like this is going on too unabated and im not going to stand for it- the prizes are grandiose and unobtainable for the actual chance a band has of winning- despite the fact that all of the things to be considered for are given by people without the power to get you anywhere.

What would my good friends here at UG suggest?

Black Star
01-24-2010, 01:57 AM
I would simply pull out of the competition. Sure, it'd be a bonus if you could get the other bands to join you in the negotiation, but I doubt it will happen. The least you can do is cut your losses.

spitonastranger
01-24-2010, 01:59 AM
it's a competition, your band gets exposure. i don't see why your complaining.

kyle62
01-24-2010, 10:16 AM
it's a competition, your band gets exposure. i don't see why your complaining.
Haha, I love the naiveity of bands these days...suddenly 'exposure' has become the music industry's standard currency. :rolleyes:


The (ahem) exposure from these events is minscule to say the least. If you doubt that, go and look at the lists of previous winners.

I think your 'taking a stand' idea is good one, but if it's one of the big pay-to-play 'festivals' (ie Emergenza, Surface Unsigned etc) they're not going to negotiate. And most of the bands who do these things are simply too dumb and inexperienced to understand how they're being taken for a ride, so I don't know how many you'll get onboard.

Get out of it and don't support the cancer that's killing live music.

editthesadparts
01-24-2010, 03:08 PM
We're playing one next Sunday that requires us to sell 30 tickets and none of that money goes to us, but it's a cool venue and a few pretty important industry people will be there. We could also win a studio time and a distribution package (We can record 5 songs and we get a bunch of cd's and cases). I just like playing live, and we're not the one's giving our money to the company.

AlanHB
01-24-2010, 10:00 PM
Pay to play situations are pure crap. Quite often a band starting out will play for nothing, but to pay is just pushing it too far. You are supplying the entertainment here, it shouldn't be regarded as a privilege to share the stage with 19 other bands.

I'd just pull out. There are free contests too, and paying gigs.

CODE
01-25-2010, 12:49 AM
It is Bamboozle, not just some random 'production' company that is just hassling you for money. A legendary festival with some amazing acts every year, plus tons of people.

If you can afford to do it, it could be very well worth it. If you can't move close to 40 tickets and would have to pay a lot out of pocket, I would say don't unless you have a ton of money you don't know what to do with.

kyle62
01-25-2010, 06:57 AM
We're playing one next Sunday that requires us to sell 30 tickets and none of that money goes to us, but it's a cool venue and a few pretty important industry people will be there. We could also win a studio time and a distribution package (We can record 5 songs and we get a bunch of cd's and cases). I just like playing live, and we're not the one's giving our money to the company.
None of those things will happen, and what's more the 'important industry people are a joke and couldn't give a damn. Not being harsh, but you've got to be realistic.

The only way to the top is hard work, don't let good PR make you think there's suddenly a 'shortcut'.

Highwaytohell
01-25-2010, 09:39 AM
It is Bamboozle, not just some random 'production' company that is just hassling you for money. A legendary festival with some amazing acts every year, plus tons of people.

If you can afford to do it, it could be very well worth it. If you can't move close to 40 tickets and would have to pay a lot out of pocket, I would say don't unless you have a ton of money you don't know what to do with.

Point in case. I think bamboozle sucks (the only band worth paying thier rediculous amount of money to see is Protest the hero- it was cool when foxy shazzam and coheed played, but thats not happening now... it's a bunch of v-necked skinny jean wearing punks who can't play for shit- if they could actually play I wouldn't be such a jerk. )
Besides- look how many bands are applying to compete for all of about 3 slots which they probably won't get- and - isn't it sad how a huge company which many supposed DIY bands are supposed to be associated with finally resorting to one of the sleaziest practices in the businesses?

Sounds like reason enough for a musical revolution


Sounds like this one is an easy question at this point

Gurgle!Argh!
01-25-2010, 01:42 PM
you won't get enough people to join with you in boycotting it to make a difference, but you shouldn't play it anyway.

there's a whole ecosystem of bands who play crappy gigs like this. it is what it is. unless you're absolutely dire, doesn't make a lot of sense to be doing it. and if you're that bad, you should probably be practicing instead.

dullsilver_mike
01-25-2010, 02:57 PM
If you're really dedicated to changing the organization and business practices of an area music scene, then I'm certainly interested in hearing strategies for doing so.

The logistics of forming something like a loose union are just too immense for people to deal with. Setting up a looser network of blacklisting certain companies, venues and recommending others is tricky to do because rising acts aren't going to instantly understand the old network (and might even resent it) and the competetive nature of the industry, even at the local level, leads to a lot of people ignoring those lists for their own immediate gain.

The only way to make headway, in my eyes, is to build a new music culture from the ground up, one where a wider audience is willing to pay a higher premium for live music. More bands can be sustained that way without being tempted to stray into these horrible rip-offs. Of course that's the most difficult course of action of all.

Why not start with the basics--gather your local music scene allies, and brainstorm some ideas. I don't have any other practical advice, I'll be watching this thread for everyone else's ideas as I'm really interested.

CODE
01-25-2010, 02:58 PM
Well if you hate the Bamboozle scene and don't fit in, don't bother.

I personally think it would be awesome-Moving Mountains and Good Old War are playing :)
To each his own though.

Gurgle!Argh!
01-25-2010, 05:15 PM
If you're really dedicated to changing the organization and business practices of an area music scene, then I'm certainly interested in hearing strategies for doing so.

The logistics of forming something like a loose union are just too immense for people to deal with. Setting up a looser network of blacklisting certain companies, venues and recommending others is tricky to do because rising acts aren't going to instantly understand the old network (and might even resent it) and the competetive nature of the industry, even at the local level, leads to a lot of people ignoring those lists for their own immediate gain.

The only way to make headway, in my eyes, is to build a new music culture from the ground up, one where a wider audience is willing to pay a higher premium for live music. More bands can be sustained that way without being tempted to stray into these horrible rip-offs. Of course that's the most difficult course of action of all.

Why not start with the basics--gather your local music scene allies, and brainstorm some ideas. I don't have any other practical advice, I'll be watching this thread for everyone else's ideas as I'm really interested.

you make your own scene. you find people who you have things in common with: bands, promoters, writers, photographers. you go to each others shows. you play with each other. you do your thing. you tap into the other similar scenes happening in your region or country and make friends that way and start to expand out and start playing in other cities. that is the ideal at least.

you're never going to eradicate pay to play from your town, because it is an easy way for a promoter to make money and there always be newer and stupider bands willing to do it. it isn't worth thinking about. people have this angst about missing out on all these great shows because the don't want to do pay to play, but the shows suck and they only exist because they are pay to play, because it is a way of making easy cash. you aren't missing out on anything by avoiding them.

The Paralyzer
01-26-2010, 04:41 PM
My band only sold 20 something tickets and we advanced to the next round. it doesn't make any sense.

The reason we probably won is because one of the judges is the guy who books at the place, and he approached us about playing a show with From First to Last, Black Veil Brides, Eyes Set to Kill and Confide. WHICH WAS AWESOME! the only thing is, even though the judge OFFERED us the show we can't play it because we advanced to the next round and the chance has some bs rule that you can't play there twice within a certain amount of time. So first we were gonna drop out of the break, realizing it was probably rigged anyways, but then we found out we couldn't do that because of some horseshit verbal binding agreement we made or something. But then in order to advance wouldn't we have to sell 40 tickets under that "agreement?" it makes NO SENSE!

So basically all I was trying to say was that there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind this contest... but I had to vent at the same time lol

zhilla
01-26-2010, 04:46 PM
My band only sold 20 something tickets and we advanced to the next round. it doesn't make any sense.

The reason we probably won is because one of the judges is the guy who books at the place, and he approached us about playing a show with From First to Last, Black Veil Brides, Eyes Set to Kill and Confide. WHICH WAS AWESOME! the only thing is, even though the judge OFFERED us the show we can't play it because we advanced to the next round and the chance has some bs rule that you can't play there twice within a certain amount of time. So first we were gonna drop out of the break, realizing it was probably rigged anyways, but then we found out we couldn't do that because of some horseshit verbal binding agreement we made or something. But then in order to advance wouldn't we have to sell 40 tickets under that "agreement?" it makes NO SENSE!

So basically all I was trying to say was that there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind this contest... but I had to vent at the same time lolIt makes plenty of sense to the people making money out of it :mad:

CODE
01-26-2010, 05:35 PM
I've lost a ton of respect for Bamboozle from reading this thread.

Highwaytohell
01-26-2010, 07:46 PM
you make your own scene. you find people who you have things in common with: bands, promoters, writers, photographers. you go to each others shows. you play with each other. you do your thing. you tap into the other similar scenes happening in your region or country and make friends that way and start to expand out and start playing in other cities. that is the ideal at least.


This is the way art and culture has progressed in previous eras. Musicians, writers, and artists all moving in a unified stroke ( why do you think we have the baroque period in art and music, and the romantic period in literature and artwork?)
After the late 60s/early 70s (since the fall of bands such as The Velvet Underground - working with Andy Warhol or Hawkwind working with Liquid Len and the Lensmen )- the only real definitive change came with video- splitting the music world even further. The internet, though allowing more people to collaborate - has still left many afraid. I expect to see some unified music/arts movement soon. and if I don't- i suppose its up to somone to say that we should be working with our visual counterparts again...

scguitarking927
01-26-2010, 08:28 PM
This is the way art and culture has progressed in previous eras. Musicians, writers, and artists all moving in a unified stroke ( why do you think we have the baroque period in art and music, and the romantic period in literature and artwork?)
After the late 60s/early 70s (since the fall of bands such as The Velvet Undergrounds - working with Andy Warhol or Hawkwind working with Liquid Len and the Lensmen )- the only real definitive change came with video- splitting the music workld even further. The internet, though allowing more people to collaborate - has still left many afraid. I expect to see some unified music/arts movement soon. and if I don't- i suppose its up to somone to say tat we should be working with our visual counterparts again...

QFT! I really think its only a matter of time before another great musical/art movement

Best way to start working with our "visual counterparts" as you say would definitely be networking in the art programs in colleges and universities. College towns definitely do have their own scene, I guess its more the idea of expanding that past just city limits and getting new music/art out to the world.

I've actually had quite a few ideas of how to get the music world together and start working together to achieve a new movement of some kind, guess I should probably start on that, and put those ideas into practice ha :peace:

Northernmight
01-27-2010, 06:13 AM
i'd just find another gig.. I mean, you'll just be wasting time with the whole protest thing, since, as you said yourself, the other bands are punks in skinny jeans playing with a lack of brains.

Then again, if you are good enough to call the other contestants bad like that, then you'd have to be a great deal better than those, and thus it should be no problem getting out of your local music scene.. or just finding some better gigs..

/shrug

Lt.DanHasLegs
01-27-2010, 02:04 PM
Something important that is being overlooked here... if there's twenty bands, each required to sell 40 tickets... I'm no math genius but thats a show for 800 people by my counting. Now obviously it'd be an all day thing, so you won't have all 800 there at once, but still, that IS good exposure as argued above me. However, I'm not sure what kind of venue this is gonna be at... but, if the venue is taking 11 dollars per ticket, time 800... 8,800 dollars?? is that right? I'm not sure what the overhead is for a show at a mid sized venue is... but that seems very excessive for a crew of what... five? door ticket taker or two, Sound guy, three miscelanious dudes. Light bill... rent? thats it man. that doesn't cost 8,800 dollars. Someone's getting screwed over somewhere..

However, if you don't like Bamboozle, then no reason to get in on it.

SomeoneYouKnew
01-27-2010, 03:03 PM
Pay to play situations are pure crap. Quite often a band starting out will play for nothing, but to pay is just pushing it too far. You are supplying the entertainment here, it shouldn't be regarded as a privilege to share the stage with 19 other bands.

I'd just pull out. There are free contests too, and paying gigs.This.

Quintex
01-27-2010, 03:04 PM
Something important that is being overlooked here... if there's twenty bands, each required to sell 40 tickets... I'm no math genius but thats a show for 800 people by my counting. Now obviously it'd be an all day thing, so you won't have all 800 there at once, but still, that IS good exposure as argued above me. However, I'm not sure what kind of venue this is gonna be at... but, if the venue is taking 11 dollars per ticket, time 800... 8,800 dollars?? is that right? I'm not sure what the overhead is for a show at a mid sized venue is... but that seems very excessive for a crew of what... five? door ticket taker or two, Sound guy, three miscelanious dudes. Light bill... rent? thats it man. that doesn't cost 8,800 dollars. Someone's getting screwed over somewhere..

However, if you don't like Bamboozle, then no reason to get in on it.
Depreciation on house equipment, maintenance of venue, security, insurance (particularly liability), administration staff, promotional materials, unbooked nights (unsold inventory), interest and finance costs, profit for shareholders/owners, taxes, permits, licensing, franchise fees........ need I go on?

Pretty sure that most amateur bands haven't paid license fees or even carry insurance themselves.

There is a crap load more than showing up at the venue and setting up your back line amps. That is all you may see as a beginning band but it really doesn't stop there.

On topic: When I was a young idiotic performer we routinely paid to play in music festivals and jazz competitions. At that time, wins in these competitions were pretty much required to get into a recognized music program. Not really sure how things work now. I also remember having to pay huge percentage "commissions" to management and booking agents even after we were doing paid gigs. Quite often it seemed we were doing a crap load of work to pay other people's salaries, but without them, we didn't play.

Edit: My experiences are from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s when I decided I liked to eat on a more regular basis.

Corwinoid
01-27-2010, 04:28 PM
I'll throw out that -most- venues are pay to play in some respect. Look at booking a major auditorium in your area, you generally have to sell more than a thousand tickets before they pen you in on the date. Fourty or fifty tickets for a mid-size venue seems fine.

The problem isn't the PTP system, that's the norm... if there's a rigged 'competition' or something going on (I have no f'ing idea what Bamboozled is and icba to google it either), that's kind of ****ed up. The problem is that small time or start up bands think they're suddenly going to jump in to some kind of show that has a minimum bar or they somehow have an entitlement to perform wherever they want.

Music, especially at the smaller level, is all about networking with fans. The reason you hang out in merch after a show isn't because you can't pay someone to do merch, it's so you have a chance to interact with people and build your fan base. The reason you let the fans take you to dinner after the show isn't so they can buy you food, its so you get to hang out with your fans and maybe buy the broke guy who spent his last couple dollars on a ticket something -- he'll come back to the next show because you're just so ****ing cool. The reason you throw parties at the band house isn't so that you can get laid, it's so people can come to your party and -they- can get laid -- ergo, you throw awesome parties, your shows are going to be awesome parties, let's go to your shows, bam! You sell tickets. Seriously, if you don't even have 50 people on a facebook or myspace page these days that want to go to your show, why the hell are you even bothering? Are you even trying to have fans?

If you don't have fans to sell tickets to, why the hell would a venue want you? You don't have fans to sell beer to, you don't have fans to sell cds to, you don't have fans to sell merch for you or the other bands to... I could sell 40 tickets to watch two black guys jump over some kids in central park (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OGWi7w1gHQ) while freezing to death in a snowstorm.

It's just a minimum bar to prove you already have enough people who don't think you suck to make it worth your time and theirs to even bother letting you set up.

hyper5
01-27-2010, 08:02 PM
Stay very, very clear of any showcase, comp, battle of the bands or similar.

Just ask yourself this, who won last years event?

The promise of 'making it big' or a 'recording deal' is the biggest load of bs. Your the only ones capable of getting your music heard and sold in the first years of your band. Anyone else is just trying to rip you and will do more bad than good with the 'promoting' anyway.

My best advice would be wait until all tickets are sold and the cash is handed over to the promoter. Proceed to kick him in the nuts, rob him and go buy a Diezel head and a carton of beer.

gunsnroses0017
01-27-2010, 08:18 PM
Get to know people around your local bars man. Bar shows can attract a decent audience and most of the time you get payed pretty decent. Done my share of those shows where youre required to sell an unheard of amount of tickets for X dollars, and i notice everytime the whole money situation is sketchy and they WILL take advantage of you.

SlackerBabbath
01-28-2010, 07:27 AM
HTH being an idiot again :/.
The group recently signed on to play bamboozle's the break contest.
Little did I know when I signed up for this contest 2 months ago that 40 tickets would needed to be sold to be allowed to play the qualifying round. Now that's fine and dandy except for the fact that the tickets are 12 dollars to see 20 local bands (some very good, some crap) do 20 minute sets and the bands only recieve all of 1 dollar per sale after 40 are sold.

This led me to the realization that this is utter bullshit. Is it my responsibility to make some jerk all of his money as they swindle all these bands out of theirs (ironically BAMBOOZLING us out of our money). I have decided to take a stand. I want to get all of the local bands in my town playing to join me and try to inflict a tax of- we get half the money from ticket sales or no dice. Bands are the power- They have no power if we give them none- however the other ban have been reluctant to show support. I feel like this is going on too unabated and im not going to stand for it- the prizes are grandiose and unobtainable for the actual chance a band has of winning- despite the fact that all of the things to be considered for are given by people without the power to get you anywhere.

What would my good friends here at UG suggest?
:facepalm:
You already know my views on pay to play, so I'm just gonna slap you instead.

SLAP!

gald
01-28-2010, 05:02 PM
Stay very, very clear of any showcase, comp, battle of the bands or similar.


eeeeehhhhhhhhhhhh.

While many of thse things are nothing but a scam, there ARE reputable competitions and such out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBCN_Rock_&_Roll_Rumble

That's a battle that has been going on for the better part of 30 years and there is almost no way to get better exposure in the Boston scene than winning/playing in it. Some past competitors are bands like Cave-In, Big D and the Kids Table, Pibald, Big Wig, Powerman 5000, The Lemonheads..

The band that won this year (The Luxury) also won another competition that got thier name submitted with like 4-5 other bands to open up for Coldplay when they played the Garden.

It's all about being smart and knowing the paticulars before you go in. Do some research, see what other bandswho have been around in your scene think of it and such before you make any decisions.

Highwaytohell
01-28-2010, 05:11 PM
Slacker Back!?! Woot

hyper5
01-28-2010, 08:31 PM
eeeeehhhhhhhhhhhh.

While many of thse things are nothing but a scam, there ARE reputable competitions and such out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBCN_Rock_&_Roll_Rumble

That's a battle that has been going on for the better part of 30 years and there is almost no way to get better exposure in the Boston scene than winning/playing in it. Some past competitors are bands like Cave-In, Big D and the Kids Table, Pibald, Big Wig, Powerman 5000, The Lemonheads..

The band that won this year (The Luxury) also won another competition that got thier name submitted with like 4-5 other bands to open up for Coldplay when they played the Garden.

It's all about being smart and knowing the paticulars before you go in. Do some research, see what other bandswho have been around in your scene think of it and such before you make any decisions.

Yeah definitely true, there is a few that are legit and are well worth it. But more times than not their a scam.

SlackerBabbath
01-29-2010, 01:35 PM
Slacker Back!?!

No, Slacker 'Babbath'. ;)

xsv434
01-30-2010, 01:20 PM
i dont know if this has been mentioned but, if you win you get to play bamboozle im guessing. id pay to do that..!

RadioMuse
01-30-2010, 02:51 PM
If you actually have to pay for the tickets you don't sell and/or sell all forty in order to play that is indeed bullsh!t. However, I've run across soft versions of the "pay to play" where you just sell tickets and if you don't sell beyond a certain number you don't get paid. You do however, play. I'm always willing to play for free, even to a tiny crowd. Hell I've only been paid for playing a show a few times and it was usually a fairly laughable amount (something like $17 for the whole band: split that four ways).

But I wasn't playing anywhere with a thriving scene or anything either... Whatever. My advice is never pay to play, but be willing to play without being paid if you can't draw a large crowd; that's only fair.