#1
I'm not sure how the venues elsewhere work but around where I am (Phoenix) most venues do not pay the bands. The only exceptions are if you sold tickets to the show and sold over a certain amount, then you would get a cut of the ticket sales. Personally I hate to do that pay to play BS, and so far have been successful only booking shows where we are not required to sell tickets. But we are still bringing people out to the shows, and there is still a cover charge at most of the venues. So when should a band start asking for payment? Do we need to be consistently drawing a certain number of people? Should we even be asking to be paid, or just figure it is a nice surprise if we don't ask and do get paid? I'm not saying my band is worthy of getting paid at this point, but for only playing a few shows we are doing very well, and I would like to be getting some sort of payment eventually.
#3
For a cover band? Every time.

For an originals band? Well, you'll have to work that out with the venue, but it's usually a cut of the door.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
Err, why did venue underline itself and link to an ad? Can anyone else see that?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
Quote by AlanHB
Err, why did venue underline itself and link to an ad? Can anyone else see that?

I dont see it on my comp, but I agree with your post
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#6
Supply and demand. Check the Phx area musicians section on Craigslist. There are a bunch of discussions weekly about this topic. What I gather from it is that there is a deluge of bands available, and not a great scene available to support all of them. In fact, I recently talked to the owner of a bar in Mesa that used to host a lot of bands, albeit cover bands. He couldn't afford to keep it running. He paid out the nose for insurance, and then got raped by ASCAP/BMI fees. Unless he had a huge draw on a weekly basis, it wasn't cutting it. Go scroll thru the musicians section again on CL. There are pretty much NO venues posting an add to fill a night of entertainment, except for some of the sketchy setups that end up being pay2play.

There are a lot of bands that just want to perform, and have jobs that pay their bills. I fit into that category. I don't need to get paid, and I do it for fun and because it provides me an audience. Unfortunately, the professional musicians who are still trying to live the dream are getting undercut by those hobbyists who are fine with doing the same thing for less.

It's pure negotiation. Unless your band provides an amazing product that brings in a good revenue compared to everyone else, a venue owner won't care. If he could get the same product and pay less, then he'll do it.

I'd recommend developing a kick ass proven product (play for cheap/free, take videos of awesome performance with a gonzo crowd that appears hell-bent for spending money) and use that to sell future venues on why you are different from the indie hipster coffeehouse band who brings 6 totally broke friends to every show.

Think demographics. 40 year olds are generally more established financially than the 20-something crowd. As a result, the 40 crowd spends way more money. This is why a high quality classic rock cover band is an act worth paying.
#7
This is something I'm also curious about as well. I'm from NYC, and the vast majority of our gigs have been paid gigs (although a couple times the show didn't make enough money, and since I was friends with the person who put it on, I did them a favor and said they didn't have to pay us).

Now we're starting to tour and go through other states, and as I book us shows I'm wondering if I should be negotiating payment up front, or wait until we get there? I would at least like to make up for the cost of gas, and don't want to get ripped off, but I also don't want to look like a jerk by asking for money when our band may not have much of a draw since we're touring and not local.
#8
Paid? Paid? What is this Paid thing you speak of?

I can speak for where you are but when you live in the arse end of a country venues don't seem to want to pay you (this is refering to an originals band), infact they see it as doing you a massive favour just by letting you play. What I have been doing is hiring venues for as cheap as possible, get some other bands on (no more than 4 a night, preferably 3) and then splitting the door money between the bands. Doesnt pay much but it gets us gigs.
-Mithaearon-
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
#9
Quote by cheapr2keepr
Supply and demand. Check the Phx area musicians section on Craigslist. There are a bunch of discussions weekly about this topic. What I gather from it is that there is a deluge of bands available, and not a great scene available to support all of them. In fact, I recently talked to the owner of a bar in Mesa that used to host a lot of bands, albeit cover bands. He couldn't afford to keep it running. He paid out the nose for insurance, and then got raped by ASCAP/BMI fees. Unless he had a huge draw on a weekly basis, it wasn't cutting it. Go scroll thru the musicians section again on CL. There are pretty much NO venues posting an add to fill a night of entertainment, except for some of the sketchy setups that end up being pay2play.

There are a lot of bands that just want to perform, and have jobs that pay their bills. I fit into that category. I don't need to get paid, and I do it for fun and because it provides me an audience. Unfortunately, the professional musicians who are still trying to live the dream are getting undercut by those hobbyists who are fine with doing the same thing for less.

Ya I'm on craigslist a lot, some of those posts on there are mine. I'm one of the people who doesn't think that all bands should be getting paid. Which is why I got in some craiglist fights. But I believe that bands that are just starting out, they are doing it for the exposure, and bands that are bringing in large crowds to the venues they do deserve to get paid. Having played several of the smaller venues around AZ, most of them probably shouldn't be in business. Most of the venues are small, dirty, do no promo, have overpriced drinks, they do absolutely nothing to help themselves and rely on bands to bring in the few customers they have. They book very amateur bands and expect them to bring in a large crowd, I firmly believe that many of the venues around here are shooting themselves in the foot.

And yes there are several opportunities on craigslist. I have booked all of our gigs through craigslist. None of them have made us sell tickets, or even require us to bring a certain number of people. But we do bring people and because of this the promoters who got us the gigs have gotten us other gigs.
#10
Work the door deal!

You need to actually negotiate a deal, don't just accept nothing. And you need to actually have a following to bring, a bare minimum of 40 people.

I've been in that situation before where we weren't getting paid like 6 years ago in my first band. Even though we were bringing in plenty of people for our shows.

You need to start by giving the venue a deal that's completely in their favor while you still get something. This builds a trusting business relationship and and as you develop and gain more of a following you can renegotiate based on the new numbers.

We ended up negotiating the a door deal where the venue would take the first $200 from the door for themselves (this essentially covers the sound guy, and person on the door), and then we would receive 35% of the ticket after the $200 was met. SO for a $8 ticket we would get just short of $3 a ticket sold. It's not much, but it makes it worth the trip, covers gas and food.

But again, if you were doing a $5 ticket, you would need to bring 40 people just to be able to make money. Granted there will more than likely be a few walk ins if it's more of a bar, but you need the following. And until you can get that following your not making the venue any money and that's why their so stingy and trying to grab every dollar they can.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Apr 4, 2012,
#11
Quote by HeartSick
This is something I'm also curious about as well. I'm from NYC, and the vast majority of our gigs have been paid gigs (although a couple times the show didn't make enough money, and since I was friends with the person who put it on, I did them a favor and said they didn't have to pay us).

Now we're starting to tour and go through other states, and as I book us shows I'm wondering if I should be negotiating payment up front, or wait until we get there? I would at least like to make up for the cost of gas, and don't want to get ripped off, but I also don't want to look like a jerk by asking for money when our band may not have much of a draw since we're touring and not local.


First off, you need to be bringing in people regardless of where you are at. If you can't, start slower and slowly branch out.

You need to ask for a guaranteed number, especially for touring. Again you need to figure out how the venue in particular pays, figure out your expenses and how much it just cost you to get there from the last venue and what you need to meet that number to cover gas and food. That's you minimum. Either work a good percentage door deal in your favor. Demand a minimum payment exactly the same as that base number to cover expenses. And then negotiate something on top of that minimum payment.

Something like the example I just posted in my last post:

Have a $70 minimum payment to cover gas and food. Then have a door deal where after a certain amount of money is met for the venue, you guys then get a percentage of each ticket sold after that.

You don't want to drive 100 miles just to find out that the gig your about to play is for free.


I just had a good friend of mine who got an opportunity to go to houston texas recently to play in a festival. The four guys in the band had bought plane tickets, booked rooms, etc. And from what the guy had told them, they would be receiving enough to cover that. Long story short, they didn't get anything in writing, didn't get a final number as far as payment goes, and when they went to get paid, they ended up getting stiffed.

Don't let that happen to you!
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Apr 4, 2012,
#12
Quote by TNA
Ya I'm on craigslist a lot, some of those posts on there are mine. I'm one of the people who doesn't think that all bands should be getting paid. Which is why I got in some craiglist fights. But I believe that bands that are just starting out, they are doing it for the exposure, and bands that are bringing in large crowds to the venues they do deserve to get paid. Having played several of the smaller venues around AZ, most of them probably shouldn't be in business. Most of the venues are small, dirty, do no promo, have overpriced drinks, they do absolutely nothing to help themselves and rely on bands to bring in the few customers they have. They book very amateur bands and expect them to bring in a large crowd, I firmly believe that many of the venues around here are shooting themselves in the foot.

And yes there are several opportunities on craigslist. I have booked all of our gigs through craigslist. None of them have made us sell tickets, or even require us to bring a certain number of people. But we do bring people and because of this the promoters who got us the gigs have gotten us other gigs.


Excellent. Good info to know. I go on CL every couple of weeks to see what opportunities exist. I usually never see venues offering up gigs, but apparently I'm not looking hard enough.

Are you east side, or west side? What genre of music do you guys play?

Our band falls into the doing it for fun category. We are 30's to early 40's and would be happy to get a free plate of nachos and a couple beers out of a gig. BTW, we will be playing in Mesa this Monday.

Message me if you want. Sometimes the world is a smaller place than we realize.
#13
Quote by cheapr2keepr
Excellent. Good info to know. I go on CL every couple of weeks to see what opportunities exist. I usually never see venues offering up gigs, but apparently I'm not looking hard enough.

Are you east side, or west side? What genre of music do you guys play?

Our band falls into the doing it for fun category. We are 30's to early 40's and would be happy to get a free plate of nachos and a couple beers out of a gig. BTW, we will be playing in Mesa this Monday.

Message me if you want. Sometimes the world is a smaller place than we realize.

We're actually from Cave Creek area, so north side I guess. I started checking CL every day. There is a lot of opportunities out there you just need to look for them and jump on them before they are gone. We are even getting some free recording time at the Conservatory of recording arts next week, found on craigslist. I've gotten all of our gigs through craigslist ads.

We definitely aren't one of those bands that is out there trying to make it big or doing it for the money, but I figure if we are going to be in a band why not make it as successful as possible? Here's a link to my band if you want to check us out http://www.facebook.com/LostFrequencyBand
#14
Quote by krypticguitar87
I dont see it on my comp, but I agree with your post


Must just be my computer then.

Anyways time for some AlanHB criticism/reality check.

TS, you're booking gigs over craigslist, then expect to get paid when you show up on their doorstep? Would you accept a job without agreeing on a price too? These things need to be figured out BEFORE you book a gig, otherwise you'll just walk away empty handed.

Also just booking stuff over the internet in general, I'd attempt to get away from this "teenage girl" method of communication, and just go for the phonecall. It's faster and you'll be able to touch base with whoever is organising the whole thing. It's super easy to ignore an email (delete), much harder to get away from a phonecall.

Additionally the fact you're picking up gigs over craigslist, it sounds like the type of venues who are not popular with local bands in the area, so recruit outside bands to do the job for them....for free.

As mentioned above you need to argue that you're going to draw a crowd. You have a couple of things against you. The main two are (1) you're on tour, and nobody in other areas know who you are and (2) your facebook page has no evidence of drawing a crowd, there's not even pics of a live performance. I ignore the amount of "likes", I just want to see proof that you're doing well. You may be, and this information may be elsewhere but I can't see it.

This said, the whole point of "touring" (at lower levels) is to expand your fanbase to other cities. Expanding implies nobody in the other cities know who you are. So what does this mean? You team up with established acts in those other cities as a support act, and get exposed to their fans. In exchange if the other band/s come to your town, they support you. Easy.

And it goes without saying that if you don't have a decent crowd coming to your gigs where you live NOW, there is no point in touring to other areas.

Oh and don't expect a profit.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Quote by AlanHB
Must just be my computer then.

Anyways time for some AlanHB criticism/reality check.

TS, you're booking gigs over craigslist, then expect to get paid when you show up on their doorstep? Would you accept a job without agreeing on a price too? These things need to be figured out BEFORE you book a gig, otherwise you'll just walk away empty handed.

Also just booking stuff over the internet in general, I'd attempt to get away from this "teenage girl" method of communication, and just go for the phonecall. It's faster and you'll be able to touch base with whoever is organising the whole thing. It's super easy to ignore an email (delete), much harder to get away from a phonecall.

Additionally the fact you're picking up gigs over craigslist, it sounds like the type of venues who are not popular with local bands in the area, so recruit outside bands to do the job for them....for free.

As mentioned above you need to argue that you're going to draw a crowd. You have a couple of things against you. The main two are (1) you're on tour, and nobody in other areas know who you are and (2) your facebook page has no evidence of drawing a crowd, there's not even pics of a live performance. I ignore the amount of "likes", I just want to see proof that you're doing well. You may be, and this information may be elsewhere but I can't see it.

This said, the whole point of "touring" (at lower levels) is to expand your fanbase to other cities. Expanding implies nobody in the other cities know who you are. So what does this mean? You team up with established acts in those other cities as a support act, and get exposed to their fans. In exchange if the other band/s come to your town, they support you. Easy.

And it goes without saying that if you don't have a decent crowd coming to your gigs where you live NOW, there is no point in touring to other areas.

Oh and don't expect a profit.

whoa whoa whoa! Who said we are touring? Like I said in my original post we aren't expecting to get paid at this point but so far we are doing well and in the future I would like to be getting paid. I have to disagree with your stance on the way I book gigs. IMO the phone call is pretty much dead, sure people can ignore emails, but you also can't send them a link to your music over the phone. Teenage girl method? I hardly think so, every business in the world uses email now. I've never had a problem with communicating by email, I'm not much of a call person and I see no reason to change the method that is working for me. Sure there are bigger venues that won't be advertising on craigslist, but for starting out it has been a great way to get some small gigs and start networking. So when we do contact the larger venues we have some sort of track record to show them. I agree we need more pics and stuff on our facebook and we'll be getting those soon hopefully.

It seems like you assumed we are much further along than we really are, and maybe I made it seem that way. I'll be honest we've only played 3 gigs, obviously we are not going to be getting paid yet. But those 3 gigs have all gone very well and we are getting some great contacts who are starting to book more gigs at bigger venues for us. This question was more of a right now we are a small time, no pay band. When do we become a band that gets paid?
#16
Sorry, I confused your statement with that guy above

And just take it from me, a musician far more experienced than you, that you will get a lot further with a phonecall than an email. However, I appeciate that the rise of SMS/email has made many people too "nervous" to call.

If you want to argue "businesses" use emails so it's ok, try to consider why exactly they have workplaces. You know, places where people meet. Why do people fly internationally just to meet someone for 2 hours? Why doesn't Obama just email you his speeches, rather than appearing on TV. And if you just get a random email from a band you've never heard of asking you to pay them to pay at your place, do you delete it? Wonders of the universe mate.

Otherwise, you can get paid on your first gig if you like, you just have to work out a deal.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Hey Alan, I just got off the phone with a booker/promoter I work with, who scolded me for calling venues rather than emailing them. I assured him that I was only on the phone with them to follow up, as I had emailed them an introduction earlier.

So, sorry to contradict you, and I know you're a musician with a lot of experience, but bookers and promoters who handle the business side of things will tell you to email the venue. Calling venues puts them on the spot, and if you call a venue you might just end up bothering a bartender who has to go find the owner, because the owner's in his office answering emails.
#18
Hey TNA, for booking shows I've been using IndieOnTheMove.com to find venues. It gives reviews from other bands who have performed there, and the contact information of whoever's in charge of booking shows there. It also lets you set up a profile and advertise for free that you're looking for gigs in certain regions on certain dates. Here's a list of venues in Phoenix, for example. Hope you find it helpful!
#19
Quote by HeartSick
Hey Alan, I just got off the phone with a booker/promoter I work with, who scolded me for calling venues rather than emailing them. I assured him that I was only on the phone with them to follow up, as I had emailed them an introduction earlier.

So, sorry to contradict you, and I know you're a musician with a lot of experience, but bookers and promoters who handle the business side of things will tell you to email the venue. Calling venues puts them on the spot, and if you call a venue you might just end up bothering a bartender who has to go find the owner, because the owner's in his office answering emails.


Not to sound like an ass, but your "booker" sounds like a complete idiot.

From your situation though, you shouldn't be really even contacting venues, that's your bookers job, and it's understandable that they would be upset if you were attempting to contact them yourselves. Your overstepping your bounds if your paying them to represent you.

For your independent artist who is doing everything themselves though, phone calls are a must, follow up emails are a must, and actual meetings, if possible are a must.

If you have a prior business relationship set up with the venue (as in you've played there more than once or twice), and you both know what to expect (as far as your draw and what your expecting as far as payment) and have details worked out all besides choosing a ticket price for this particular show, by all means just send them an email, saying your interested in playing again and what dates your looking at and ask what they have available.

If not, you need to be on the phone and talk to them, or even better go down there in the off hours and speak to them personally if they're local.

Who cares if you bother a bartender, it takes less than 30 seconds for them to get to the booker/owner there at the time and tell them they have a phone call. It's their job to answer phone calls. A personable voice over the phone or personable person, there in person, will get on a bill 10 times over past a faceless email that they're getting 1000s of a week.

And yes calling them does put them on the spot, it means things are about to get done! You are not going to be waiting around for 1-2 weeks trying to still figure out if your going to have the opportunity to play somewhere. Your going to know their available dates immediately, potentially book a date, and be able discuss payment almost immediately.

And it's the bookers/owner's job to meet with their talent if they choose that route of communication. Your not bothering them, your doing what your expose to, inquiring about a potential gig.

I swear, email and text messaging these days have made people extremely lazy.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Apr 5, 2012,
#20
Quote by HeartSick
Hey Alan, I just got off the phone with a booker/promoter I work with, who scolded me for calling venues rather than emailing them. I assured him that I was only on the phone with them to follow up, as I had emailed them an introduction earlier.

So, sorry to contradict you, and I know you're a musician with a lot of experience, but bookers and promoters who handle the business side of things will tell you to email the venue. Calling venues puts them on the spot, and if you call a venue you might just end up bothering a bartender who has to go find the owner, because the owner's in his office answering emails.


Yeah, as said above, he sounds like a bit of a loser. Why exactly is the promoter talking about what venues want? Does he also do all his business through email?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#21
Woah woah woah, why does my friend sound like a "complete idiot"?

First off, I AM an independent artist setting up the tour by myself. I wasn't overstepping my bounds, I was having a phone conversation with a friend, who has been doing this for years, about booking a tour. Get off my case and be careful of calling people names- you're the one who doesn't know the difference between "you're" and "your."

And how is sending an email lazy? I probably spent about 20 minutes on each email, making sure everything was worded correctly, making sure I described my band in a way that would be interesting and relevant to the owners of the club, CHECKING MY GRAMMAR.

You have no grounds to call anyone lazy or an idiot, unless you acknowledge that the pot's calling the kettle black.
#22
Quote by HeartSick
Get off my case and be careful of calling people names- you're the one who doesn't know the difference between "you're" and "your."
CHECKING MY GRAMMAR.

But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#23
I think we've made our case for phonecalls vs email/sms. I know one person who only communicates over facebook, both for band and personal reasons. I'm yet to know of a professional artist who didn't attempt to phonecall a venue, but there sure are a whole heap of bands simply spamming venues emails. So be it (delete).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#24
Just to be a nay sayer...

A lot of venues around here on their websites specifically tell you to NOT call them, because you're just going to get connected to a bartender or cook who doesn't give a ****. But these are more like dives...and not dedicated music venues.
#25
^^^ Yes, this is the occasional venue here and there. I simply play dumb and call them anyway, have a nice chat and they tell me to send an email. I proceed to send the email and they actually now know the person it's coming from, the guy who was cool on the phone. This makes the email a whole lot less random than if I didn't call them before.

So that's an example of using email in addition to phone call.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#26
Quote by HeartSick
Woah woah woah, why does my friend sound like a "complete idiot"?

First off, I AM an independent artist setting up the tour by myself. I wasn't overstepping my bounds, I was having a phone conversation with a friend, who has been doing this for years, about booking a tour. Get off my case and be careful of calling people names- you're the one who doesn't know the difference between "you're" and "your."

And how is sending an email lazy? I probably spent about 20 minutes on each email, making sure everything was worded correctly, making sure I described my band in a way that would be interesting and relevant to the owners of the club, CHECKING MY GRAMMAR.

You have no grounds to call anyone lazy or an idiot, unless you acknowledge that the pot's calling the kettle black.


First off...WOW!

I'm glad you would rather attack grammar than the actual point being made.

Second, go read your post I was referring to, I believe it says, "a booker/promoter I work with"...Never once did you mention this being a friend and never once did you mention being an independent artist.

YOUR post implied that you were working with him in a business sense. If you were working with an actual booking agency or promoter and you just up'd and called a venue or emailed a venue, yes you are over stepping your bounds, and in some cases violating a contract if you've signed one with them to represent you.


Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Yes, this is the occasional venue here and there. I simply play dumb and call them anyway, have a nice chat and they tell me to send an email. I proceed to send the email and they actually now know the person it's coming from, the guy who was cool on the phone. This makes the email a whole lot less random than if I didn't call them before.


Exactly, it's no different than say applying for a job. Who is more likely to get the job, the faceless email application that never calls in to check on it's status or the person that calls for follow ups, shows up at the store for an interview or to check on an application?

It's literally the exact same thing.
#27
Quote by TNA
So when should a band start asking for payment? Do we need to be consistently drawing a certain number of people? Should we even be asking to be paid, or just figure it is a nice surprise if we don't ask and do get paid? I'm not saying my band is worthy of getting paid at this point, but for only playing a few shows we are doing very well, and I would like to be getting some sort of payment eventually.


First off, disclaimer. I don't have a lick of experience in the biz.

Still, reading your OP, here's what I see; a wishy-washy kid with no faith in his band. Do you deserve to get paid? Of COURSE you ****ing deserve to get paid! You're a great band! You rock! You have talent, and people should both hear you and reward you for it. You're entertainers, you need to make a living, and that's how it works.

Right?

No, really. RIGHT?

You're not agreeing with me, are you? You say you're not talented, you're probably not a great band, you DON'T KNOW IF YOU DESERVE TO GET PAID.

As a booker, why should I book you? If you don't have faith in yourself, why should I have faith in you? Better yet, if you're willing to play for free, why should I pay you? As a purely money in/money out situation, a band willing to provide a night's entertainment for my customers for nothing more than a mumbled "thanks" is GOLD. You truly do get something for nothing in that case.

Now, maybe the realities of your region are, in fact, that bands can't expect to get paid when they're first starting out - but you'll never get to the point where you can start expecting compensation for your product if you don't feel like you deserve that compensation FROM DAY ONE.

Attitude, man. It don't get more rock n' roll than that. Can I get an amen from the congregation?
#28
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#29
When I started out, I never even thought about money. We just wanted to play and have some fun. I guess that might have been a bit naive, but whatever. Around Baltimore, it seemed like most people expected us to ask for money. I figured an unknown band playing mostly originals shouldn't expect anything. After all, we're new, unproven, and they have a bottom line to meet. I understood that from day one. All I ever wanted was just some cold water after a gig. No one ever argued with that.

But over time, you get a following. A few good shows isn't an indicator of anything. You need solid shows. If months down the road you're still doing good, then we might have something. It took us years before we really were going strong, getting gigs and being paid for them. Because after we played for a while and drew in people, you make friends with the venue owners. They like you because you bring them money. If you're a charismatic type person, you can twist this around to your advantage. I got recommendations from venue owners and went to other places. But by this time, we had a following, we had records of the people showing up, and a recommendation.

My point is, for a band playing mostly originals, you really shouldn't expect payment at first. Be happy that you're up there playing. At first, you need to build your audience and contacts. Be friendly, be understanding, and don't ever think you deserve more at that stage. When some time passes, then you can reassess what's going on.

One more bit, try to not piss anyone off. You never know who might make things happen for you.
#30
Quote by Fenderexpx50
When I started out, I never even thought about money. We just wanted to play and have some fun. I guess that might have been a bit naive, but whatever. Around Baltimore, it seemed like most people expected us to ask for money. I figured an unknown band playing mostly originals shouldn't expect anything. After all, we're new, unproven, and they have a bottom line to meet. I understood that from day one. All I ever wanted was just some cold water after a gig. No one ever argued with that.

But over time, you get a following. A few good shows isn't an indicator of anything. You need solid shows. If months down the road you're still doing good, then we might have something. It took us years before we really were going strong, getting gigs and being paid for them. Because after we played for a while and drew in people, you make friends with the venue owners. They like you because you bring them money. If you're a charismatic type person, you can twist this around to your advantage. I got recommendations from venue owners and went to other places. But by this time, we had a following, we had records of the people showing up, and a recommendation.

My point is, for a band playing mostly originals, you really shouldn't expect payment at first. Be happy that you're up there playing. At first, you need to build your audience and contacts. Be friendly, be understanding, and don't ever think you deserve more at that stage. When some time passes, then you can reassess what's going on.

One more bit, try to not piss anyone off. You never know who might make things happen for you.

This is dumb. You didn't expect to get paid, so you didn't ask, so everyone should expect to wait to get paid? Sorry, no. I work hard. I'll get paid, thanks.
#31
When you're starting out it's fine just to play "for fun" but once you get a following and your venues earn a lot of money from your shows, you should ask to take a significant (over 50%) cut of the door. Otherwise you ruin it for other bands on the scene as venue owners will expect everyone to play for free- and not every band can afford that!
#32
Quote by UnbrokenGlass
This is dumb. You didn't expect to get paid, so you didn't ask, so everyone should expect to wait to get paid? Sorry, no. I work hard. I'll get paid, thanks.


Let me put this in a way you might understand. Say you start a business. And let's say you want to sell stock in this company. Now, you're a new on the scene company and there are a ton of established companies already out there. Why would anyone buy your stock at the same price as an established company that can prove what it's worth? You have to start low, really low.

Bands are business. So as a new band, you really can't expect much. Sure, it's hard work. But the underlying fact of this matter is the venues have a bottom line. An unproven act is not going to make them a lot of money. In their eyes, they are taking a huge gamble on letting you play. No venue wants to be in the red. So after you've played there a bit and have something, that's when you can reassess your financial arrangement with the venue.

I didn't expect to get paid because I know a little about business. I wouldn't gamble my money on something I had no idea about. Venue owners are the same way. They want to know you'll bring people in their door. So you can try to get paid, but they're not always going to want to pay a new band much unless you have solid proof you can fill the place. That was my point. You shouldn't go in with the idea you'll get paid at first. Odds are you will, but in a competitive area, you might not.
#33
Why is selling tickets such a bad thing?

When I was plying in a band in Toronto Canada; We would get bookings in local original music venues.

Negotiate!!

Get the venue to Print on the ticket:
No Line, No cover with ticket
1 Free (or absurdly low priced) drink.
With ticket.


Get the ticket price up around 15 or 20 bucks.
Here's why:

Does the venue offer Limo packages?
Bundle your show ticket with the venues limo package give the bundled tickets to......
Look at rappers or DJ street crews....

Get one

2 or three people on skateboards with promo posters Selling tickets
(cash up front)
Pay them up to 5 bucks/ticket sold (total, not each)

Work your own ticket sales, Just like a DJ/Rapper crew
Sell USB Sticks of your material & bundle it with your Show ticket (extra income & more ticket sales)


Web support is key.

Website/videos/facebook page
With HIGH quality videos of you performing.

Advertise:
Google ads are actually fairly Cheap. Facebook ads are even cheaper.
Set a budget of about 50 bucks and run a Facebook ad for a day or 2 before your show.

BEFORE YOU do anything like this though:

HAVE RECORDED MATERIAL AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD either on iTunes or your own website.


Have Merchandise to sell at your event: ALWAYS BUNDLED WITH NEXT SHOW TICKETS
USB Sticks with your material on it.
Limo package/next show ticket bundles
V.I.P/Champagne/bottle service & Next show....
Cheap Draft Jugs + next show.......
Cheap Drink + One free Appetizer + Next Show.........


Talk to other small business in your area.
Get 10,20,30,40, & 50% off coupons for stuff like:
Tanning
Nails
Hairdressing
Tattoos & Piercing
Photographers
Oil Changes (cars not hookers)

Get the value right up there & Sell it as a bundle with your show ticket:
Buy my 15-25 dollar Band show ticket & Get 200.00(ish) value at these service places

You gotta Hustle.
Look at the late Billy Zane:

But wait! There's more, Call right now and get DOUBLE the ticket for only DOUBLE the price!!
Last edited by djmarcelca at Apr 18, 2012,
#34
Quote by djmarcelca
Why is selling tickets such a bad thing?

When I was plying in a band in Toronto Canada; We would get bookings in local original music venues.

Negotiate!!

Get the venue to Print on the ticket:
No Line, No cover with ticket
1 Free (or absurdly low priced) drink.
With ticket.


Get the ticket price up around 15 or 20 bucks.
Here's why:

Does the venue offer Limo packages?
Bundle your show ticket with the venues limo package give the bundled tickets to......
Look at rappers or DJ street crews....

Get one

2 or three people on skateboards with promo posters Selling tickets
(cash up front)
Pay them up to 5 bucks/ticket sold (total, not each)

Work your own ticket sales, Just like a DJ/Rapper crew
Sell USB Sticks of your material & bundle it with your Show ticket (extra income & more ticket sales)


Web support is key.

Website/videos/facebook page
With HIGH quality videos of you performing.

Advertise:
Google ads are actually fairly Cheap. Facebook ads are even cheaper.
Set a budget of about 50 bucks and run a Facebook ad for a day or 2 before your show.

BEFORE YOU do anything like this though:

HAVE RECORDED MATERIAL AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD either on iTunes or your own website.


Have Merchandise to sell at your event: ALWAYS BUNDLED WITH NEXT SHOW TICKETS
USB Sticks with your material on it.
Limo package/next show ticket bundles
V.I.P/Champagne/bottle service & Next show....
Cheap Draft Jugs + next show.......
Cheap Drink + One free Appetizer + Next Show.........


Talk to other small business in your area.
Get 10,20,30,40, & 50% off coupons for stuff like:
Tanning
Nails
Hairdressing
Tattoos & Piercing
Photographers
Oil Changes (cars not hookers)

Get the value right up there & Sell it as a bundle with your show ticket:
Buy my 15-25 dollar Band show ticket & Get 200.00(ish) value at these service places

You gotta Hustle.
Look at the late Billy Zane:

But wait! There's more, Call right now and get DOUBLE the ticket for only DOUBLE the price!!
I think you are in a totally different league than us. First of we are college aged. Even $10 for a ticket is high for most people around my age. It's difficult just to get people interested enough to come. It could be a free show, but convincing people that coming to see us play on a Friday or Saturday night instead of a number of other activities they could be doing is no small task. Limos, USB sticks? Sorry we just don't have that kind of money to invest. I've never heard of any band offering limo services. And a free drink, forget about it, there is no way any bar I've played at is offering free drinks.

It appears I have obviously jumped the gun in posting this question based on your and others posts. We are playing dive bars and some small venues. We do all promo ourselves. We are having a decent turnout at shows, but it is mostly friends.

Selling tickets is frowned upon for a few reasons. For one I don't really think it is the bands job to sell tickets, we are providing entertainment for the bar, why should we also be out busting our ass selling tickets just so the bar can make more money. Second is because they make bands pay for those tickets up front. I've played shows where we had to pay a few hundred dollars for tickets and then we are supposed to resell them. If you don't sell enough then you are out that much money for the tickets, and instead of getting paid to play, you just ended up paying the venue to play.

I would have no problem selling tickets if there was no quota we had to meet, pretty much all the places we play charge a door cover anyways. But putting my money on the line in hopes that I am able to sell enough. No thanks.
#35
^^^^ There's really a couple of issues going on there, I'll address the most obvious first. You're put off selling tickets because of "quotas" you've had to meet in the past. This is what's referred to as a "pay-to-play" arrangement, and is largely frowned upon in the music community.

I wrote a piece on pay-to-play a while ago, a link is here https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1440273.html

The other is that you think $10 is too high. Well those same friends forked out over $100 to see Justin Bieber (or any other popular band), so it should be easy for them to find the cash if they want to.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#36
Quote by AlanHB
^^^^ There's really a couple of issues going on there, I'll address the most obvious first. You're put off selling tickets because of "quotas" you've had to meet in the past. This is what's referred to as a "pay-to-play" arrangement, and is largely frowned upon in the music community.

I wrote a piece on pay-to-play a while ago, a link is here https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1440273.html

The other is that you think $10 is too high. Well those same friends forked out over $100 to see Justin Bieber (or any other popular band), so it should be easy for them to find the cash if they want to.

I'm well aware of what pay to play is, that's what I was describing. Unfortunately any place that sells tickets nowadays is going to be pay to play, and I generally avoid those places. Thus we really don't ever sell tickets.

That's a bit of a stretch to compare seeing your friends band in a dive bar, to seeing a nationally touring act in a stadium. And btw the most I've ever paid for a ticket was around $60, I would never pay over 80 to see any band, unless Zeppelin decided to start touring. But hey maybe I just have cheap friends? And if you are playing out once a week, those $10 door fees add up.
#37
Quote by TNA
I think you are in a totally different league than us. First of we are college aged. Even $10 for a ticket is high for most people around my age. It's difficult just to get people interested enough to come. It could be a free show, but convincing people that coming to see us play on a Friday or Saturday night instead of a number of other activities they could be doing is no small task. Limos, USB sticks? Sorry we just don't have that kind of money to invest. I've never heard of any band offering limo services. And a free drink, forget about it, there is no way any bar I've played at is offering free drinks.

It appears I have obviously jumped the gun in posting this question based on your and others posts. We are playing dive bars and some small venues. We do all promo ourselves. We are having a decent turnout at shows, but it is mostly friends.

Selling tickets is frowned upon for a few reasons. For one I don't really think it is the bands job to sell tickets, we are providing entertainment for the bar, why should we also be out busting our ass selling tickets just so the bar can make more money. Second is because they make bands pay for those tickets up front. I've played shows where we had to pay a few hundred dollars for tickets and then we are supposed to resell them. If you don't sell enough then you are out that much money for the tickets, and instead of getting paid to play, you just ended up paying the venue to play.

I would have no problem selling tickets if there was no quota we had to meet, pretty much all the places we play charge a door cover anyways. But putting my money on the line in hopes that I am able to sell enough. No thanks.



We all start in the same league.

IT's not the band that supplies the limo, In my city the Clubs charter Limo's to bring 12-15 people TO the club. You're on your own to get home. The club pays the limo.

That ties into VIP service/Private waitresses/Bottle service.

Clubs that don't do that - Even dives are doing it here. One place hasn't been redecorated since 1946 (original antiques) even does it.


AS for not wanting to sell tickets........

If you don't promote your band and hustle for yourself.....Who will?

How will anyone even hear your music?
Hope they surf to your facebook page?

Put your salesman suit on and SELL SELL SELL!!
#38
Quote by TNA
I'm well aware of what pay to play is, that's what I was describing. Unfortunately any place that sells tickets nowadays is going to be pay to play, and I generally avoid those places. Thus we really don't ever sell tickets.


You can avoid it by teaming up with the other bands yourselves, talking to the venue and taking a portion of the door.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#39
Quote by TNA
At what point should your band be getting paid?


Usualy after the gig, although occasionaly you can get paid in advance.

Seriously? There's no definitive time when a band should start getting paid for what they do, but a good rule of thumb is when you start attracting your own crowd to venues, who in turn make lots of lovely profit from them.

In such a situation, your band would be responsible for generating that profit, so it's only fair that you should get a cut of it.

The best way I've found to get a paying gig is to first play at a venue that doesn't have a door charge for free, and get as many of your friends there as you can. If the landlord makes some money, offer to do it again at a later date for a minimal wage, which he'll probably accept if he has any business sense about him.
Try everything that you can possibly do to make sure that this night is even better attended than the last gig, this will cause you to start gaining a good reputation as a band that fills a venue, which is what eventualy causes other venue owners to start offering you good money for gigs. That's when you start playing venues with a door charge because they can afford to pay you more.

And yeah, try to stay well away from the 'pay to play' thing if you can. That's just a way for promoters to get the bands to do all their promotional work for them without having to actualy pay them anything for doing the work.