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#1
HEy does anyone know if this is a common thing or if it is just these places around me that are asking bands to pay uwards of 100 bucks to play. I personaly think this is insane. We are the entertainment, we are doing the work to bring the money in for them, so shouldnt they be paying us if anything? asking a band to pay to play is like asking an employee to pay to work.
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#2
its their place of course you gotta pay
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#3
the typical pay-to-play deal is that you buy a set number of tickets below cost,(they say 6$ on them, you pay 3$). You then sell them.
basically, the "promoter" gives you the responsability of making sure a decent crowd shows up. If you succeed, you make money. If not youre out money and his costs are still covered.

It's pretty common, although i'd prefer to avoid it.
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#5
yeah, ive ran into that, we usually play for free. We never pay money. Funk that.
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#6
are they charging a cover which you get to keep? Sometimes places will make you pay for the use of the PA system and the soundman running it and the band gets to keep any cover that is collected. Usually its anywhere between $100-$250 for the PA and soundman if you dont have one of your own. That way if your band doesnt bring any people they dont get screwed.
#7
Evansut7's suggestion sounds most accurate. I've heard this is most common in large cities where there are a lot of bands. Personally, I would never pay to perform somewhere. The only exceptions being music showcases where the exposure outweighs the money.

Side Note: I think PLAYING FOR FREE on a regular basis is an insult to yourself and disrespectful to the music community. Don't think "it's just about the music" This is a business, and you need to make money to have a successful business. Is there a mechanic who does free work all the time, how about a lawyer? Think again. If those gigging musicians wonder why the pay is so low, I'm sure you can figure out who to blame.
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#8
^ you act like yor band is the greatest thing on earth, you are pretty bad actually. So what if somebody plays for free? not a free night but being a band on the bill playing for exposure. I dont mind if it helps build an audience. pull your head out of your ass and quit thinking your god, its people like you that take away from the fun of music.


And you play fall out boys covers
Last edited by ihatemetal at Jul 24, 2006,
#9
Quote by ihatemetal
^ you act like yor band is the greatest thing on earth, you are pretty bad actually. So what if somebody plays for free? not a free night but being a band on the bill playing for exposure. I dont mind if it helps build an audience. pull your head out of your ass and quit thinking your god, its people like you that take away from the fun of music.


And you play fall out boys covers


Dude, you didnt make yourself look any better. Keep your stupid immature comments to yourself and just post the advice.
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#10
Quote by Dutch_Apples
Side Note: I think PLAYING FOR FREE on a regular basis is an insult to yourself and disrespectful to the music community. Don't think "it's just about the music" This is a business, and you need to make money to have a successful business. Is there a mechanic who does free work all the time, how about a lawyer? Think again. If those gigging musicians wonder why the pay is so low, I'm sure you can figure out who to blame.


Agreed. Doing a favor or two is not bad, but choose those favors very carefully.

I used to do the odd gig for free, and half the time when I did the people in charge of the event would have no respect for me. I show up ahead of time, do all the setting up by myself with my band, but because I'm playing for free they think I'm not a professional. From my experience, when I'm paid like a professional, I'm treated as a professional.
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#11
ihatemetal, Tomorrow's Awakening isn't the band I'm in that plays Fall out boy covers. Something tells me you are probably one of those musicians who rarely gigs, has made pennies, and now just performs infront of your cat in your bedroom.

What are people exposing themselves to when they play for free all the time, diesease?
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#12
No bud, I gig plenty, but starting out we got alot of exposure just offering to open shows and got our name out there.
#13
Opening shows isn't a bad idea, but we had a pretty bad experience with it. A local band offered to have openers and we agreed since it would be in bars and would open us to a new audience. Well, when we did gig with them, there were maybe 5 people there since we went on early. Around midnight the place got packed. The other guys in TA then told me they don't like playing bars because of that, which is why we don't gig much anymore.

Also the band we were opening for seems to have "exposure" issues. They hire this expensive sound guy for every show to get good sound, but end up walkin out each night with about $30 each since the sound guy makes $300-$500. I would never gig with a band who did that.
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#14
aww man, i just like to play for people. period. I guess its what youre in music for. Is it for the music? Or the money? Not saying money is bad :P, but I'm in it for having fun and making songs that are close to me. Don't bash me, its all about what it is to you. Music is personal, no doubt about it. So thats why you guys cant make general statements about the buisness.
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#15
Quote by Dutch_Apples
Opening shows isn't a bad idea, but we had a pretty bad experience with it. A local band offered to have openers and we agreed since it would be in bars and would open us to a new audience. Well, when we did gig with them, there were maybe 5 people there since we went on early. Around midnight the place got packed. The other guys in TA then told me they don't like playing bars because of that, which is why we don't gig much anymore.

Also the band we were opening for seems to have "exposure" issues. They hire this expensive sound guy for every show to get good sound, but end up walkin out each night with about $30 each since the sound guy makes $300-$500. I would never gig with a band who did that.



Thats why we are somewhat picky, with our shows, we have one coming up with a pretty big signed punk band in about 5 days. We wont play in bars for that reason, we just have dyi shows at a non profit venue and always get a great turn out. We basically get the venue for 350 and tickets are always 7 bucks, 330 cap you do the math.. We also have a 2k pa we lug around to some shows and have our own sound guy.
#16
Wow thats bull****. Unless your playing at madison square garden where thousands are coming to see you play I would say hell no. It's like going to work and your boss is asking you to pay to work there.
#17
Like others said before me, it depends on what you are paying for... if they just want 100 dollars to reserve a slot and you have to bring all your own gear including a PA and sound guy, then that's lame... however if they are selling you cheap tix, supplying a PA, and/or a soundman then damn thats a good deal, because renting a PA and a soundman usually costs damn more that $100 dollars. Luckily my drummer's dad has access to a good PA, and our other bassist and I are prty talented in mixing, so we just showed one of our friends who is good at listening to music what to do... and we haven't had a problem yet.
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#18
I remember reading somewhere that the Musicians' Union and GigRight UK were trying to stamp out pay to play venues. Which gives me the impression that they aren't a good thing. I'm not sure if I remember correctly though.
#19
OK, so back to whether you should "pay to play"... My local venue have always ask for 60pounds for hire of the room and to pay the soundman and use the PA. They have also recently had to add another 10 to that due to need PRS copyright laws, so they ask all bands for this amount so that they can pay to play CDs and any bands can play covers without getting into any bother.
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#20
yeah i understand copyright fees and renting out the PA but genneraly pay to play is really lame, that usually means youll be getting NO promotion from the venue so you have to promote and sell your own tickets. Id rather play for free than risk a pay tyo play deal (actually i pay for free quite a bit it helps get exposure).
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#21
Quote by Dutch_Apples

What are people exposing themselves to when they play for free all the time, diesease?


Yeah, a little disease i like to call "fun".
#22
Mangablade, there is nothing wrong with playing for fun. But when it intefers with people's careers, that's what matters to me. Why do you think musician unions have a rule that say you can only perform with union members and play in AFM venues? No wonder the mob owns unions.
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#23
if i could play every night to a room full of people and not make a penny i would do it

thats all i really need to say about this
Originally posted by guitarkid27
RobbieMac2002 gives good advice.
#24
I say F that. I remember paying to be in a "battle" type thing. Like $25, and man, never again. You should be the guys to get paid since you're bringing them the crowd for their bar/club in general. (people=cash)
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#25
Quote by RobbieMac2002
if i could play every night to a room full of people and not make a penny i would do it

thats all i really need to say about this


you cant though. id like to sit around and watch TV all day but i cant because i have to work to pay my bills. one way or another you need to make money so its either get paid to play or not play at all. there are way to many touring bands out there that are making little to no money busting there balls doing what they love, or worse not being able to do it at all because they cant financially support it.
#26
robbie mac i think sums it all up, i think everyone here would play every day if they got a place to eat and sleep. But the sad truth is we all cant.
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#27
Well im talking one or two no-pay gigs. I think not only would it be fun, you wouldnt have to worry about money because you'd either do paying gigs too or have a job.

but if youre just starting out as a band, no-pay gigs do a lot:

1) they give you stage experience
2) exposure
3) experience with getting gigs/ getting to them/ setting up etc.
#28
to the two people who responded to my comments...

you are both right...

i guess the key word in my sentence was 'could'.


The way it works most of the time (different in each city I guess) is that if you want to make money from music and you dont know the business well enough to do it yourself then you need to get a promoter or manager of some kind. These promoters will be in touch with venues, and they will get you gigs. This way the promoter pays the cost of hiring the venue. Otherwise, you are doing the arrangement the thread starter mentioned whereby you effectivly are your own promoter and are hiring the venue yourself. You should get to recoup your money from ticket costs, but this is something you need to make sure beforehand.


The comments I made were quite idealistic so they were shorter and had more emphasis...

but I wasnt 100% out... obviously if you want to play music as a full time job then yes, you need to earn rent and stuff from the job you are doing... but me and my bandmates have a plan that we hope to carry out the year after next (we have our last year of uni this year and will all take a gap year next year to work on the band)...

we plan to all rent a house for three (three-peice obviously) with not too high rent, slightly lower than what we are paying at the moment... then all get part time jobs... whether it be bar work, catering, temp work... or a 9-3, mon-fri simple office job... this means we will all be earning during the day to pay our bills and stuff... then in the evenings we will be practicing and recording and all that jazz... and we wil try to play a gig in a different city across Britain every weekend... hopefully building up reputation and maybe supporting some good (signed) bands...

its a nice dream isnt it? and I think its very acheivable... if after a year we still arent picked up by anyone... we'll give up and join the real world
Originally posted by guitarkid27
RobbieMac2002 gives good advice.
#29
You pay to play, and the people pay to watch you play.

So you pay to rent the place, equipment time etc, and then you make a ticket price or something, then you earn a portion from the ticket price. If you have enough people, you'd earn money, otherwise it'd a waste.

Well at least that's how I think it should work.

When your band is starting off, getting a few nonpaying gigs is a great idea because it helps you gain experience, gain exposure and again, experience and experience and exposure.
#30
OK, this issue has raised some interesting points.

Firstly, if you are a new band, with no experience, people wont come and see you play, so having you on the bill is of no use to the promoter. The promoter of the night is not some altruistic do-gooder, seeking to enlighten the world about your band. He is out to make money. Simple. With this in mind, it is right for him to seek to at least cover his costs of the night. Fair? I think so.

However, bands also dont want to be out of pocket (travel expenses, basically). The issue to me is that bands should always take a slice of the door. This is how our gigs get sorted. The more people you pull in, the bigger slice of the door you get. Our last gig we had nearly 75 people just there to se us. So we ended up with £150. Nothing at all, you may say.. but consider this... a) you are out socialising with friends b) you are playing your guitae/bass/drums c) you are getting stage experience c) you are not at home masturbating (delete if over 16). Anyone who says they would rather be at home playing "to their cat" over playing to a crowd of people just because they are not getting paid is a greedy fcker. You gotta spend money to make money..
So far we have paid for two recording sessions and travel expenses, as well as cd's, badges etc which we give out free at our gigs..

We all have full time jobs and i earn over £35k so i am happy to gig for little or no money. To me, the most important thing is the music. But i have that luxury becuase i earn good money. if i was a struggling musician, my stance may be different. but surely it's better to be out there than sat at home..

Anyone who wants to be in the music industry better get used to people making money off them!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a gig on sunday and i cannot wait ! Anyone who lives in London should come along!!
#31
i would like to point out that i work during the day to make $$$$ so that i can go out to a coffee shop once a week or so or just anywhere that'll have me really and do a little acoustic type set and get a couple of snaps, i do it for free, usually i'll do requests for a small tip, but other than that it's just good fun, if i had to pay to play in a decent sized club or venue and i had a full band i wouldn't honestly have a problem with it initially at least.
#32
Just another point to raise, in my area the people running the bars and venues (which are overall quite small compared to the average size), rather than asking for 'pay-to-play' tell the bands who are playing the number of people who will need to come for them to cover their costs and therefore allow the gig to go ahead. Might be an idea to see if any of your local venues go for that approach.
It encourages the bands to promote the hell out of the gig that's for sure :p
#33
thats a good point^

most of the places ive played are willing to take a chance on a band once if they have a good demo or at least seem professional and mature enough not to waste the opportunity...

if they play poorly or dont bring many people they simply wont offer the chance again... BUT... if they dont bring many people yet go on to impress the crowd then they will get a return call if the venue needs any opening act
Originally posted by guitarkid27
RobbieMac2002 gives good advice.
#34
We were caught in a tangle the other night when our guitarist said we can have a gig playing at a private party for a relative's college graduation party. He said it was no pay, but food & drink. This presented a lot of problems:

1. We are a cover band that plays gigs for usually $300-$500 (Hey, we are in a small community) and I usually charge double that for private parties.

2. Even if it was free food and drink. Driving drunk probably wouldn't be good.

3. Some of us would have to spend money on gas (40 mile drive), cartage, etc.

At first I said absolutely not. If it's "exposure" we need for that, those people can come to one of our shows! Then I came up with the idea of putting a tip jar out. Even if 5 people only threw in 20s, that's $100 that we could put towards a light system. I'm going to see how that goes later this week.

Just another alternative to playing for free.
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#35
Quote by Dutch_Apples
ihatemetal, Tomorrow's Awakening isn't the band I'm in that plays Fall out boy covers. Something tells me you are probably one of those musicians who rarely gigs, has made pennies, and now just performs infront of your cat in your bedroom.

What are people exposing themselves to when they play for free all the time, diesease?


Whats a matter with playing in front of your cat in you bedroom!!??
#36
Basically, the only times I think you should pay is when it's an investment with some sort of possible payback... but payback doesn't have to just be money. It can be exposure. It could land you a date with an awesome chick you've been trying to impress. Maybe you get free drinks that night. Maybe you just really really want to perform for, well, anyone. As long as the end result seems worth the money to you, do it. But, if it really just seems like someone's tryin to screw you... call them on it. Get them to explain why your investment is worth it. Maybe there's something you don't know, or maybe they're just tryin to screw you 'cause they think they can, and by calling them on it they'll quit the bs and give ya a fair deal. There's nothing anyone wants less than a reputation that they screw bands over.
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#37
id advise u to avoid any places that offer you to pay anything to play...

even the pay to play things where you pay for tickets and then sell them on yourselfs...

the best ones to do are the places that give out flyers for your band, and offer to pay the band for the amount of people that turn up with their flyers after a certain amount of people...

so say the venue might say they will give you 2 quid per person after 20 people turn up...so if 15 people turn up with you flyers they will give you nothing, if 21 people turn up you will get 42 quid..
#38
Let's put it this way...


A painter wouldn't pay to paint your house

A plumber wouldn't pay to fix your toilet

Why should a musician pay to entertain people?


a 100% "FUCK THAT" from me
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#39
Quote by Spynal
Let's put it this way...


A painter wouldn't pay to paint your house

A plumber wouldn't pay to fix your toilet

Why should a musician pay to entertain people?


a 100% "FUCK THAT" from me

That would be a valid point if you were paying the audience to watch you. You're not paying to entertain, you're paying for use of space and equipment. If you're any other kind of artist, like a painter... if you did not have a space available to display and sell your art from, would you not need to rent a space?

This is the fact of the matter... if you don't own the venue, this means someone else does. Someone else is paying for the space you're playing in out of their pocket. And they're doing you the service of letting you use their space and equipment. You can't expect them to do that for free, they're gonna want some sort of compensation. Sure, they could ask for a portion of the door, but if you're not a famous band, their's no guarantee that anyone will actually show up. Which means it's in their best interests to charge beforehand, so as to give you more incentive to promote and bring people to the show.

And speaking of promoting, there's a lot of people acting like it's the venue's job to make sure your band does well, to promote and help you out. Some places are nice like that, sure, but for the most part, venues are there for themselves, not you. It's your job to promote, to make sure the show is successfull. You've gotta look out for your own intrests, just the same as the venue has to look out for their own.
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#40
If i remember rightly guns n roses used to have to pay to play back when they were starting out and they did alright out of it. But then again they were playing at places like the troubadour
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