Hey everyone!

I'm from Los Angeles and deal with a lot of promoters looking for bands to pay to play. So having to pay money or get a lot of people out can be really difficult to do regularly.

I'm just curious what other people's experiences with booking shows are? Is "pay to play" as common in other parts of the country as it is in LA? What is the hardest part of booking and playing shows for everyone else?
Nothing. I get bands to play gigs I organize no problem and I get gigs for my band.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Quote by theogonia777
Nothing. I get bands to play gigs I organize no problem and I get gigs for my band.

Glad to hear that not everyone has the struggles that I do! So you self-organize gigs for your band? How do you do that?
I mostly organize my own shows too. I let them know ahead of time that there`s little to no money in it for them, which is probably part of the reason I have trouble with bands backing out, or refusing to answer texts (even after they approached me in the first place!).

Where I`m from pay to play isn`t too common, but you hear of it occasionally. I wouldn`t do it, it`s usually a scam. It is hard to find gigs though, that`s why I do my own. Most of the most successful bands from here (Nova Scotia) find their success outside of the province.
Its the same in a lot of places on the east coast too. Especially if you have no manager that can represent you and knows the game.

I've played places where they "showcase several bands in a night. In order to play you have to sell "X" amount of tickets. Naturally the nights they showcase are off nights. Wednesday, Thursday. Now if your playing an hour or two away from your local area good luck , unless you've got a real decent following to begin with getting people to show up that far away when they have work/school the next day. So you end up buying the rest of the tickets just to get the chance to show up.

Think its pretty standard especially for original music. Just starting my first original band in years and am about to find out just how bad it is now, soon. Been doing cover bands for years and in the high point of that game a couple years ago thats easy. Good live demo of some songs and medly's of songs and you can get a gig.
I worked the door at a bar one night. the hardest part about that was the friends and fans of the band that were a bunch of cheap pricks trying to talk their way into the show cause they couldn't pull $5 bucks out of their asses
Last edited by mattedbird at Mar 20, 2016,
I'm from the Los Angeles area as well.

I think one important thing that helps to provide shows is for the band to connect with other bands/musicians/music fans via social media. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of the show opportunities tend to come from in the beginning. If you have decent recordings and they're made accessible from your social media pages, people will hear your music and you'll have a better chance of being booked at random. Sometimes you see results, sometimes you don't.

But the best thing is definitely once you start playing a few shows, you will make friends (if you're personable)and you will eventually be asked to play more and more shows because of the friends you make with other bands and promoters.

Unfortunately, being from LA, you also are probably aware that everything is very dependent on your sound/genre as well, looooool.
ok, yeah. my name is silly because I signed up when I was 13.