Setlist length


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willwelsh816
02-13-2011, 12:49 AM
alright, I play in a blues-rock trio, and we have about 5 songs that are pretty polished, and I was wondering, is that a good amount for a setlist? We would do two covers, one in the beginning, one in the end, would that work out right for a gig?

AlanHB
02-13-2011, 01:11 AM
Lets see. Average song length is 4 minutes. You have 7 songs.

If you get booked for a 28 minute set, you'll be fine.

However, it's more likely that you'll either get booked for a 45 min - 1 hr set (for original bands) or a 3 - 4 hr set (for cover bands).

I'd personally expand your setlist to accommodate for whatever length you're aiming for, and decide whether you're a cover band or an originals band. You can't be both.

nmitchell076
02-13-2011, 01:16 AM
I'd personally expand your setlist to accommodate for whatever length you're aiming for, and decide whether you're a cover band or an originals band. You can't be both.
If your doing Blues you can be, or Bluegrass. Those two genres seem to allow bands who can both cover and write original material in near equal amounts. Folk singers sometimes as well, Bob Dylan in his early years did about half and half, and I think it was woodie guthrie who said he tended to alternate sets half-and-half with covers and originals

AlanHB
02-13-2011, 01:27 AM
If your doing Blues you can be, or Bluegrass. Those two genres seem to allow bands who can both cover and write original material in near equal amounts. Folk singers sometimes as well, Bob Dylan in his early years did about half and half, and I think it was woodie guthrie who said he tended to alternate sets half-and-half with covers and originals

Ok, but let's talk real-life venues and demand here.

A bar wants a cover band, so they hire you. You proceed to play half originals. Half the audience leaves, and the boss is wondering where their cover band went.

A bar wants an originals band, so they hire you. You proceed to play half covers. The audience goes outside to drink instead of listening to covers and the boss is wondering where their original band went.

Punkrokkboi
02-13-2011, 04:31 AM
I think they'll be alright as an original band if they play a few covers, same with a cover band playing an original or two. But less of a cover band. As long as you dont overdo it with covers then you're good. My band tries to play as many originals as possible and if we need more songs we dip into our covers arsenal. I would imagine it'd be the same for a cover band but it seems less acceptable for a cover band to play more than like 2 originals.

Archer18
02-13-2011, 05:04 AM
You usually start off with 30 minute gigs and then once you start playing pubs regularly, you will end up playing something like a 2 hour set.

dmiwshicldply
02-13-2011, 06:01 AM
I find it way more acceptable for an original band to play a few covers than a cover band playing a few originals. If your booked as a cover band people arent there to find new music they are there to dance and drink to the songs they already know (keep in mind the most important job a band has is to sell drinks) typically a crowd going to an original show just wants to hear good music and have a good time. This crowd is buying drinks as long as the band is good, doesnt really matter to them what they play. This is going by my experience anyhow

AlanHB
02-13-2011, 06:19 AM
I find it way more acceptable for an original band to play a few covers than a cover band playing a few originals...

That is true. Part of the reason I believe cover bands are under more pressure not to play originals is that they are being paid to be a cover band, and had advertised themselves as a cover band to the venue owner. This differs from an originals band, who are often not paid by the venue (short of what they get off the door or in tips).

Also they serve a different purpose - nobody just goes out to see a cover band as they would an originals band, they're just in a bar/pub/venue and want to have fun. The cover band is there to help them through playing familiar songs.

Punk_Ninja
02-13-2011, 07:47 AM
Ideally, I'd say that you should work on getting about an hour and a half of stuff. (I don't mean just songs like, cos you may take a break in between and there's banter between songs, etc etc.) For a full gig.

But what you have currently is good enough for a gig with multiple bands on the lineup.

Though in terms of originals/covers, I'd make sure the venue knows that you do some covers, don't book yourself as a strict covers band or a strict original band.
Plus you're blues. Covers are expected!
I haven't seen a blues gig where every song is original, even with the bigger blues names. :)

kangaxxter
02-13-2011, 01:55 PM
I'd check with the venue, as there are a fairly decent amount of places that won't allow you to play cover songs, unless you've proved to the owner that you've purchased the performance rights.

I've seen bands who we're in the middle of a song set get kicked off stage and blacklisted by owners just because they start into a song they don't hold the rights to.

'93
02-13-2011, 05:11 PM
tbh even big bands do covers...i dont know what the problem is...

id say something though like. this is a cover of a band who have been really influential to us etc...

covers give the audience something they know...helps a bit

AlanHB
02-13-2011, 05:47 PM
tbh even big bands do covers...i dont know what the problem is...

How would you feel if you paid $100 to see Metallica, and half the songs they played were covers? What about a quarter of the songs?

Cowless
02-13-2011, 06:01 PM
How would you feel if you paid $100 to see Metallica, and half the songs they played were covers? What about a quarter of the songs?

Actually ,I think they may have done that a few times. Their sets are usually pretty long though, so three to five covers isn't really out of the question.

Punkrokkboi
02-13-2011, 07:38 PM
How would you feel if you paid $100 to see Metallica, and half the songs they played were covers? What about a quarter of the songs?

Hmmm how would you like it if you paid $20 for a Double album from Metallica and they only played covers? lol oh wait.... Garage Inc was a good album in my opinion, and I wouldnt mind if they played those songs for 1/4 of the show, or even 1/2... As long as they also play the classics.

AlanHB
02-13-2011, 10:10 PM
Hmmm how would you like it if you paid $20 for a Double album from Metallica and they only played covers? lol oh wait.... Garage Inc was a good album in my opinion, and I wouldnt mind if they played those songs for 1/4 of the show, or even 1/2... As long as they also play the classics.

Looks like that be a moot point then.

How about you call up a bar and ask if they want a band that plays half originals and half covers. See what they answer and report back here :p:

axemanchris
02-14-2011, 08:32 AM
Looks like that be a moot point then.

How about you call up a bar and ask if they want a band that plays half originals and half covers. See what they answer and report back here :p:

:lurk:

CT

axemanchris
02-14-2011, 08:35 AM
I've seen bands who we're in the middle of a song set get kicked off stage and blacklisted by owners just because they start into a song they don't hold the rights to.

Huh? Where ARE you?

In most locales, in most venues, the onus is on the venue to pay for an annual blanket licence that permits the venue to host performances of copyrighted material.

One more time... the onus is on the venue.

There are some exceptions, such as when YOU are providing the venue, for instance. But just showing up to a bar and playing a set... the VENUE is the one that has to worry about this. Not the band.

I can't begin to imagine how the claim you make in those situations would have worked.

CT

kangaxxter
02-14-2011, 12:00 PM
Huh? Where ARE you?

In most locales, in most venues, the onus is on the venue to pay for an annual blanket licence that permits the venue to host performances of copyrighted material.

One more time... the onus is on the venue.

There are some exceptions, such as when YOU are providing the venue, for instance. But just showing up to a bar and playing a set... the VENUE is the one that has to worry about this. Not the band.

I can't begin to imagine how the claim you make in those situations would have worked.

CT

Hey man, I don't run the venue, and nor do I play covers*. This is just what I've seen.

*At least not at these two places.

801Current
02-14-2011, 12:24 PM
I'd personally expand your setlist to accommodate for whatever length you're aiming for, and decide whether you're a cover band or an originals band. You can't be both.

I think you could be both if you covered songs in your own style like Nirvana when they did Unplugged MTV thing.

801Current
02-14-2011, 12:29 PM
How would you feel if you paid $100 to see Metallica, and half the songs they played were covers? What about a quarter of the songs?

Led Zeppelin played A LOT of covers..they didn't credit all of them as covers..but either way I'd pay $1000 to see them... I'm fine with covers from a big band as long as they are good and the band makes them there own.

axemanchris
02-14-2011, 06:08 PM
Hey man, I don't run the venue, and nor do I play covers*. This is just what I've seen.

*At least not at these two places.

You're in the USA. In any case, I'd like to know how these two venues think that it's okay to pass the responsibility of performance licenses onto the performers, and how/why the performers let them do it.

CT

AlanHB
02-14-2011, 06:36 PM
Led Zeppelin played A LOT of covers..they didn't credit all of them as covers..but either way I'd pay $1000 to see them... I'm fine with covers from a big band as long as they are good and the band makes them there own.

There's a lot of examples here of famous bands doing things that the average band (ie. your band) could not get away with.

People would pay $100 to watch James Hetfield take a crap on stage. This does not mean that it would work for you.

I don't know why the statement "you have to be originals or covers" is causing so much response, when it's just the blatant truth. You have to put yourself out as one of these things as they serve different purposes and venues. You "can" be both, but you will get little to no work as people will hire a band that more fulfils what they want from the band on the night in question.

I'm going to assume at this point that a lot of the people replying are in bands that profess to be both, as this is a common rookie error. Try to start with a full set of covers and slowly swap in originals. Or have 2-3 originals and the rest covers. The cover bands who do this successfully generally play under two separate names, one name has the full 4 hour straight covers, and the other name has the 1 hr worth of originals. The names don't perform on the same night, and rarely at the same venue.

I'm still waiting for someone to ask the bar whether they want a band with half originals and half covers.

Sobriquet
02-14-2011, 07:01 PM
I know that the local venues (all ages) where I'm from usually let original bands play a few covers, as long as it's in good taste (showcases influences, is stylistically diverse from the original versions, doesn't make up a bulk of the set etc.) And these venues house everyone from bigger acts (The Ataris) to fresh groups (The New Limb) to local heroes (The Vain Transparent).

Cowless
02-14-2011, 07:06 PM
Half-and-half is a little extreme, but having a mostly-original set with a few covers or the inverse isn't bad.

SlackerBabbath
02-15-2011, 07:17 AM
You're in the USA. In any case, I'd like to know how these two venues think that it's okay to pass the responsibility of performance licenses onto the performers, and how/why the performers let them do it.

CT

Yeah, me too, it's certainly something I've never heard of anywhere. Infact, I'm not even sure if that's entirely legal. Don't music venues require a performance license by law?

dmiwshicldply
02-15-2011, 06:15 PM
There's a lot of examples here of famous bands doing things that the average band (ie. your band) could not get away with.

People would pay $100 to watch James Hetfield take a crap on stage. This does not mean that it would work for you.

I don't know why the statement "you have to be originals or covers" is causing so much response, when it's just the blatant truth. You have to put yourself out as one of these things as they serve different purposes and venues. You "can" be both, but you will get little to no work as people will hire a band that more fulfils what they want from the band on the night in question.

I'm going to assume at this point that a lot of the people replying are in bands that profess to be both, as this is a common rookie error. Try to start with a full set of covers and slowly swap in originals. Or have 2-3 originals and the rest covers. The cover bands who do this successfully generally play under two separate names, one name has the full 4 hour straight covers, and the other name has the 1 hr worth of originals. The names don't perform on the same night, and rarely at the same venue.

I'm still waiting for someone to ask the bar whether they want a band with half originals and half covers.


I agree here. The reason Zeppelin got away with so many covers was because they where respected greatly worldwide and it was a treat to see Zeppelin do a cover song in the Zeppelin style. But if I'm at the bar to listen to a cover band and after 5 songs I've never heard 2 of them I'm probably leaving, because thats not what i came to hear. And if I'm going to see an originals band and hear Sweet Child of Mine or Don't Stop believing then im probably leaving and wont be back to see that particular band, cause they didnt give me what i paid for

axemanchris
02-15-2011, 09:58 PM
Yeah, me too, it's certainly something I've never heard of anywhere. Infact, I'm not even sure if that's entirely legal. Don't music venues require a performance license by law?

Exactly. This is why I'm wondering how it is they have the gall to get away with passing the buck onto the bands, and how nobody has called them on it.

CT

SlackerBabbath
02-16-2011, 03:19 AM
Exactly. This is why I'm wondering how it is they have the gall to get away with passing the buck onto the bands, and how nobody has called them on it.

CT

Hmmmm. (ponders... reads kangaxxter's first post again)

I'd check with the venue, as there are a fairly decent amount of places that won't allow you to play cover songs, unless you've proved to the owner that you've purchased the performance rights.

I've seen bands who we're in the middle of a song set get kicked off stage and blacklisted by owners just because they start into a song they don't hold the rights to.

kangaxxter, we're gonna need the names of these venues so we can arrange for them to be blacklisted by musicians.

Seriously, that's what you or any other gigging musician with such a venue in their area should be doing, same goes for venues that run a 'pay to play' policy and venues that regularly 'stiff' band's wages (that's agreeing to pay a band a particular amount for a gig then only paying half the wage and giving some lame excuse like "we didn't do as well over the bar as we thought we would" which is bullshit because they wouldn't use that excuse for any other professional they hired to do a job for them, such as a plumber or an electrician.)

Get organised people, just because some of you are just starting out as gigging musicians, that doesn't mean you have to accept people taking advantage of you. These types of venues have a name for musicians who just accept that sort of thing, they call them 'suckers'.
Don't be a sucker.

LazarusOnGrave
02-16-2011, 04:12 AM
Yeah, me too, it's certainly something I've never heard of anywhere. Infact, I'm not even sure if that's entirely legal. Don't music venues require a performance license by law?

Yeah they do. There is actually a bar not far from where I live in PA where BMI threatened to sue the owners $50,000 for not having the license to play copyrighted music (the bar was shut down and going through bankruptcy anyway).

BMI and ASCAP are both assholes. They were originally created to protected musicians from having their work exploited and having someone else make money off it. But now they basically just sue anybody who doesn't pay the fiddler.

They are like the RIAA where they claim to be protecting the artists when they're basically bullying others for their own benefit. In fact they tried suing a New York bar for playing copyrighted songs without a license, and even went so far as to name Bruce Springsteen as a plantiff. Bruce had no idea about and had his name removed from the lawsuit. http://www.shorefire.com/index.php?a=pressrelease&o=3650

I know that ASCAP in recent years lost a court battle over cell phone ringtones. Don't worry, the court says that ringtones are not a public performance, so you don't have to pay royalties when your phone rings at McDonald's. They also threatened to go after YouTube, even though YouTube already does pay licensing fees.

It's archaic, its stupid, and its wrong. The students who were blackballed probably had no idea of any of this, and the club owner was probably a cheap moron (like so many of them) and didn't pay for the license, so he probably freaked out and took it out on the poor kids.

Welcome to America folks.

axemanchris
02-17-2011, 08:28 AM
BMI and ASCAP are both assholes. They were originally created to protected musicians from having their work exploited and having someone else make money off it. But now they basically just sue anybody who doesn't pay the fiddler.

So when a bar hires a band to come and play music, essentially exploiting the products that musicians create, and the bar makes money from it, how does that make PRO's (performing rights organizations) assholes? You're exactly right about their purpose, but I'm having a hard time accepting your judgement.


They are like the RIAA where they claim to be protecting the artists when they're basically bullying others for their own benefit. In fact they tried suing a New York bar for playing copyrighted songs without a license, and even went so far as to name Bruce Springsteen as a plantiff. Bruce had no idea about and had his name removed from the lawsuit. http://www.shorefire.com/index.php?a=pressrelease&o=3650

I'm not sure, politically, how the RIAA fits into the big picture in relation to other musicians' groups such as ASCAP, Harry Fox agency, etc., but the PRO's and the mechanical licencing organizations specifically work on behalf of the musician. For instance, when you agree to have the Harry Fox agency or ASCAP represent you, you give them permission to advocate for your work on your behalf. In the context of an agreement like that, either of those organizations could launch a lawsuit and name Bruce Springsteen (assuming he is a member) as a plaintiff on his behalf.

However, it was within Springsteen's rights to request that his name be removed.


I know that ASCAP in recent years lost a court battle over cell phone ringtones. Don't worry, the court says that ringtones are not a public performance, so you don't have to pay royalties when your phone rings at McDonald's. They also threatened to go after YouTube, even though YouTube already does pay licensing fees.

Again, when their mandate is to act on behalf of the musicians they represent, it is their job to question, "what constitutes a public performance?" when the language used in the law doesn't cover specific technologies. They're just doing the job they are mandated to do. As far as YouTube goes, yes, they should and do pay licensing fees for the use of copyrighted material. Although ASCAP seems to be the most logical place for them to pay fees, which makes me wonder who they are paying them to.


It's archaic, its stupid, and its wrong. The students who were blackballed probably had no idea of any of this, and the club owner was probably a cheap moron (like so many of them) and didn't pay for the license, so he probably freaked out and took it out on the poor kids.

Welcome to America folks.

I agree with this paragraph, so long as the statement of being archaic, stupid and wrong is directed at the bar owners and their ploy to screw the bands.

CT

kangaxxter
02-18-2011, 03:23 AM
Hmmmm. (ponders... reads kangaxxter's first post again)



kangaxxter, we're gonna need the names of these venues so we can arrange for them to be blacklisted by musicians.


Blacklisted isn't quite the right word. Unless Blacklisted means "Banned from playing there ever again", in which case, then yes, it is the right word. And it was actually only at 1 place. The other place just strongly discourages you from playing covers on some perceived moral high ground, however, they won't stop you if you've already started.

If you want the name of the place it's a "hookah bar"* called Swing State in Lake Villa, Illinois, and its a real iffy place already. (I think the owner is missing a few licenses and probably violating Fire Code because it's burned down three or four times).

*It's what they call themselves to allow people to smoke inside without being fined, and not what I would consider a hookah bar. It's what I consider a crap-hole, but it's the only place in my town that would book my friends' band (two of them are under 21) beside the youth center, which is balls.

the_perdestrian
02-18-2011, 03:41 AM
My band plays a good chunk of covers (maybe 1/3) but most people wouldn't pick them out as covers. we like to do solo acoustic singer songwriter style stuff as a three piece punk band. completely changes everyhing about the song and its cool. we could go do a primus song, an original, a cab calloway song, 2 originals, then finish off with a kimya dawson tune (she did a lot of songs on juno) and do it all with no real stylistic change.

SlackerBabbath
02-18-2011, 04:40 AM
Blacklisted isn't quite the right word. Unless Blacklisted means "Banned from playing there ever again", in which case, then yes, it is the right word. And it was actually only at 1 place. The other place just strongly discourages you from playing covers on some perceived moral high ground, however, they won't stop you if you've already started.

If you want the name of the place it's a "hookah bar"* called Swing State in Lake Villa, Illinois, and its a real iffy place already. (I think the owner is missing a few licenses and probably violating Fire Code because it's burned down three or four times).

*It's what they call themselves to allow people to smoke inside without being fined, and not what I would consider a hookah bar. It's what I consider a crap-hole, but it's the only place in my town that would book my friends' band (two of them are under 21) beside the youth center, which is balls.

Blacklisted literaly means to put someone/something on a list of people/organisations who you will never work with again. If a venue blacklists you, you are effectively banned from playing there. If a band blacklists a venue, they are effectively refusing to play there ever again.
A venue that relies on local talent to bring in punters can soon find themselves having problems if the local bands get organised and all agree to collectively blacklist that venue. It means they now have to bring in out of town bands, which are more expensive and often more experienced and more demanding. The sort of guys who won't tolerate any of that kind of crap from the venue owners.
For instance, if I were playing a venue for an agreed price, and my set was stopped simply because I did a cover while assuming the venue had the correct license. I'd pack up, leave the venue and bill them for the full price. Any arguing and my solicitor will handle them, bumping up the price in legal costs.

Y'know what I just got from your post? The fact that there is huge niche in your local market for a decent music venue. Seriously, you don't wanna be playing crap holes and dealing with arseholes like that if you can help it, so approach other better places (bars, clubs restraunts, anywhere with a bar really) with the idea of them putting live entertainment on. All they need is a performance license and a place for a band to set up and they could be making a lot of money because there's no real competition, leaving you with not only somewhere decent to play but also with your feet well and truly under the table at that marvelous new venue.

AlanHB
02-18-2011, 05:56 AM
The other place just strongly discourages you from playing covers on some perceived moral high ground, however, they won't stop you if you've already started.

Yep there's a bar like that near me. If you play more than 2 covers, you won't get paid. It's made pretty clear there.

dmiwshicldply
02-18-2011, 10:58 AM
Yep there's a bar like that near me. If you play more than 2 covers, you won't get paid. It's made pretty clear there.

I don't see anything wrong with that really. As long as its made clear from the beggining as you've said it is. I honestly see it as a good thing for one or two venues to be dedicated to the original bands out there. Cover bands have the oppurtunity to play anywhere but usually an original bands pickings are pretty slim