My band has an opportunity for our first gig on friday night at a bar. We're opening for a friend's band and we'd need to play about 5 tunes. The rest of the guys were totally gung ho about it and wanted to jump on it -- I seemed to be the only one in the band that was a little bothered that we would be playing for free even though they're charging $5 a head.

Part of me says screw it, it will be fun and people might remember your name. Another part of me says stick to your guns...we've worked our asses off for months and deserve compensation for it. Two of us are unemployed (layoffs, not laziness) and we have to pay rent for a practice space.

If you can't get money for the gig, do it anyway. You will get experience (good) and maybe a little, as you said, name recognition (also good). You win in any case.
dude. man. its a gig. all bands work their asses off and i dont know of too many bands where their first gig paid big bucks. it will be fun, and its a way to get ur name out there.
well Bring it up to your friend. I agree with you in principle but 5 tunes isn't very much... Maybe offer to play longer or something? Part of me says you might as well showcase your band once, but once people hear you play for free it'll be harder to get money from them.

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Ack... this is a... tough choice in the end. But man, if it's what gets you going, getting to play this music that you write and love, and playing it for other people, and you could stand to turn some heads from doing it on friday at this bar... I'd say take it without a second thought and play out everything you got. I wish I was at the point you were, even able, with a band to stand beside me, on a stage, but I'm still struggling to get out of the bedroom, so take every advantage of what you got, man. It'll pay off.
Just play it for free. It's practice for more gigs and publicity.
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Do it.

You don't know who might be at that gig. You may not get paid, but you might be seen by someone who can get you booked opening for a huge band, or get you guys signed, etc.

And, plus, if you get even one more fan, the show was worth it.
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Quote by drewfromutah

Part of me says screw it, it will be fun and people might remember your name. Another part of me says stick to your guns...we've worked our asses off for months and deserve compensation for it. Two of us are unemployed (layoffs, not laziness) and we have to pay rent for a practice space.


You are a band. You don't "deserve" anything. You weren't spending the money on building benches for the poor, nor were you working on a cure for cancer. You spent the money in the interests of making music for yourself. Why would you be entitled to compensation from someone else? It's not like they asked you to make the music.

It's extremely rare for a band to be paid for their first gig, let alone a five song set which would go for about 20-30 minutes in front of a crowd who has showed up to see another band play.

If it makes you feel better you can be assured that the amount of people who are going to the gig to see you specifically would be friends and family. If you like you can charge them directly after the show
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idea: do the gig, paid or not, and tape your live preformance (whatever you gotta do, borrow your aunt's camcorder...). parts of it will be valuable in your press-kit down the road, which will help you land more/better/paying gigs.
Well, pal. If you want to make money, know now that you are in the wrong buisness. You won't get paid for a long time, and when you do get paid, it will be so small amounts that it does not even matter. Play for the love of music, and/or the atmosphere and world it creates around you. Not for bucks. Pah..

But i guess it's all rockstarzzz 'n ****? I tell you, i know underground musicians that can make better music, and play their instruments better than a fella like slash ever could - but they make the music that's real, not the music that's bucks.

Arh, to hell with all this. Point is, you should not care.. really, don't care. As long as they don't outright CHARGE you for playing, then play - if you want to. But it should not be for the money. Never.

definitely play it man, your a band and judging you havn't played a gig with your band yet? Play it to get gig experience and work on your presence and show as a whole. Atleast this way you'll have some experience with your band and won't be going into a paid gig in a couple months and playing and sucking it up and getting a bad rep. This will be a learning process for the band to see what needs to be worked on, what can be improved, etc, and plus its free advertising. And see if you can get dinner and drinks or something.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Jul 27, 2009,
Do it, but not for the reasons given.
If this is your first gig, you need the experience. The experience is worth more than whatever money you think your being owed. That being said, if you have to take a night off work for the show, and you're not getting paid, don't do it. It's always better to collect a guaranteed pay cheque, at the end of the day. Unless, of course, you value the experience of playing live at more than what you'd make at a night at your job (i.e., you're basically paying X amount of money to play guitar in front of a bunch of people).
Play it for sure. Don't be a dick about it. You're not known; why should you get compensated? This gives you experience, an audience, and reputation among venues/bands. Win win win in my eyes.
If it's your first gig, then go for it. Keeping in mind that you probably have no established fanbase yet, this can only bring you benefits. Once your band is a little more established, then doing free shows starts to become a waste of your time; why play a tiny little free show when you could be playing something bigger that will actually pay? But for the time being, you've got nothing to lose.
Free Drinks is a good bet. Thats the deal I struck for my first. Still, I havent heard of a opener with anything less than an hour getting any money. You could strike a deal with the bands themselves. The problem is, if the main band is working off the door, and you get a cut from the door, that means you get a cut from the crowd for the whole night. (Not going to happen for an opener) maybe you work out a flat rate, and piss someone off, then you lose a contact cause some guitarist in "Death spares no one"'s Metal-Core Band gets but hurt.

Early Gigs - Play Free. Be cool. show these cats that have been doin it a while that you have stayin power, and that your worth there time.
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If it's your first gig and you're only playing as few songs, don't expect to get paid for it. Try and blag a drink or two - after all, you're probably generating a ton of business for them with your friends/family coming to see you.