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gareth

Playing for Nowt?

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Is playing for free or £250 right? No it's not.

Is there anything we an do about it? Probably not.

Will the 'market' find a level? Yes - £0. It's not a free market. The amateur market is being subsidised by other activities. While this happens the price can only ever go down.

Is that right? Definitely not. It's devaluing what we do and sending the message that musicians don't need to be paid because they do it for fun.

It's got to a point now that musicians on this forum accept it and even believe that it's ok to play for free to get 'exposure'. It doesn't happen in any other business. Ever. Maybe people give out free samples or samplers, but no one carries out a whole project for free.

People have even tried to use Firemen and DIYers as examples. Sure use them as examples where you're playing for a mate's party, but you don't see Firemen and DIYers turn up to major projects and do a days work for less than contract prices.

I just can't believe people are defending playing for free or low pay because "That's just the way it is."

It's fairly obvious why it's got like this though.

Shouldn't we be as a collective protesting against low pay and people expecting us to perform for free? Am I seriously alone on this? The mind boggles.

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A million years ago, I used to do a bunch of party nights at Christmas for a local food pub.
Because there was a fair number of gigs involved and the pub was paying me,
I agreed what I regarded as a reasonable per-gig price.
Forward three years and the pub was attempting to act as some sort of musical pimp
by demanding that I do the same rate for 'function' gigs not directly organised by them....
.....it took less than an hour to remove the kit (complete with staples)
that the landlord had been bragging to potential customers that he owned.
I had no trouble in finding alternative gigs (at more money)....
...and I gather, the venue had mountains of grief about the somewhat amateur (& cheap?) replacement.

:)

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[quote name='taunton-hobbit' timestamp='1481138751' post='3190024']

.....it took less than an hour to remove the kit (complete with staples) that the landlord had been bragging to potential customers that he owned.

[/quote]

Eh?

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Ah - I'm not a band, I run a large sound rig...(please DON'T call it a 'disco' - it ain't),
which had been tack-installed through the venue.

:ph34r:

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1481137350' post='3190002']
Is playing for free or £250 right? No it's not.

Is there anything we an do about it? Probably not.

Will the 'market' find a level? Yes - £0. It's not a free market. The amateur market is being subsidised by other activities. While this happens the price can only ever go down.

Is that right? Definitely not. It's devaluing what we do and sending the message that musicians don't need to be paid because they do it for fun.

It's got to a point now that musicians on this forum accept it and even believe that it's ok to play for free to get 'exposure'. It doesn't happen in any other business. Ever. Maybe people give out free samples or samplers, but no one carries out a whole project for free.

People have even tried to use Firemen and DIYers as examples. Sure use them as examples where you're playing for a mate's party, but you don't see Firemen and DIYers turn up to major projects and do a days work for less than contract prices.

I just can't believe people are defending playing for free or low pay because "That's just the way it is."

It's fairly obvious why it's got like this though.

Shouldn't we be as a collective protesting against low pay and people expecting us to perform for free? Am I seriously alone on this? The mind boggles.
[/quote]

Look, it's simple. Here's the answer. If you are a "Pro" with a "Pro" band, or you think you are, you should have a defined and mandatory price per head. I don't know what that should be, you "pros" will have to thrash that out. Let's pick a number for the sake of argument (!) £125 each for a 2 x 45 minute gig. So as a four piece you want £500, and are free to try and persuade the Dog and Duck that you are [u]so[/u] superior and [u]so[/u] worth it, that it's really not in the landlord's interest to not employ you. Oh, and £500 is a minimum: if you have a trio,or a duo, or one man and 20 pedals and a backing track it's still £500. Because you're not allowed to undercut the industry "Norm". Whoever he is. But if its a 5 piece it's £625 and so on.He runs the numbers, and says that on a wet weekend in January, he's not prepared to risk it, but at £250 he'll have a go. "No" you say "We have an industry standard and that's that" "OK" he says "in that case it's a no". "Right - oh" you say, "but you realise that due to the new Music in Small Venues Law you can only use a "Pro" band and that's how it is. That's the rate. If you get a local "Weekend Warrior" band in for less, or Heaven forbid, free, we'll be down on you like a ton (ne for those of you who are metricated) of bricks". What do you seriously think is going to happen. Really. Landlord man is simply going to say "F*** it. I won't bother". AND THEN EVERYONE LOSES. What part of "a segmented market" do you not get? If you are that good, attract that many people, are a seriously commercial proposition be it by ticket or higher drinks cost or whatever, and the venue holds a lot of people you can name your price. If you're in the small pub venue market where space is tight (often very!) and as other people have said you can only fit forty people in if you're lucky (or they're [u]really[/u] good friends) the economics are what the economics are. That's what makes the market. You can bang on about brewery subsidy this and profit margin that, but at the end of the day the number of people in the venue is what matters. Assuming you can fill both venues, how much you would spend promoting (which is essentially what the landlord does, admittedly some a great deal better than others) a gig at Wembley Stadium is an awful lot different to how much you would spend putting on a gig at the Dog and Duck. It just is. To paraphrase an election slogan, "It's the numbers, stupid". It pays what it pays. If you think you are being hard done by by a venue you play at, suggest a price increase. If they say no, either carry on there because you like the place or ditch it, move on and leave it to someone lower down the food chain. If you don't want to do it, don't but please don't keep on trying to make out that if you could just run a protectionist, price -fixed market that everyone would be better off in the long run, because they just wouldn't. A long time ago in this thread someone pointed out that it would mean that music would go "underground" like shebeens or speakeasys. Come to think of it, that's the sort of gig that really appeals to me.........f*** it you right. Let's regulate the hell out of it quick!

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1481132712' post='3189948']
You can get gigs from paying gigs too.
[/quote]

I was answering the question that was asked.

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Decent pro covers bands aren't looking for weekend gigs in pubs for £250 or even £500, a decent band with an agency will be around twice as much, often more. I only saw ebs_freaks last covers band once because they didn't do pubs as such, they did a ticketed gig to raise money for a friend, other than that they were mad busy all the time, I never heard any of them moan that some old guys were playing alright now and taking a gig off them, they were too busy counting their money :D

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1481142693' post='3190065']
Who exactly is talking about regulation and protectionism?
[/quote]

Well, you wrote this . . . .

[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1481137350' post='3190002']
Shouldn't we be as a collective protesting against low pay and people expecting us to perform for free? Am I seriously alone on this?
[/quote]

. . . so it seems like you are talking about it, or at least trying to drum up support for some sort of organised action. Unless you're just trolling to keep the thread rumbling on and on and on.

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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1481134922' post='3189977']


With a 'cover charge' in the USA - does the bar take the money off the punters at the door like an admission fee or add it to the drinks bill once the punter's inside?

Just wondering...
[/quote]

Skankdelvar,

If it's a decent place they take the money at the door and give the punter a some sort of ticket good for a drink.

The clubs that charge a cover are usually book the high end agency handled functions bands.

Basically Bon Jovi and Ga Ga time.

Blue

Edited by blue

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1481150341' post='3190154']
Decent pro covers bands aren't looking for weekend gigs in pubs for £250 or even £500, a decent band with an agency will be around twice as much, often more. I only saw ebs_freaks last covers band once because they didn't do pubs as such, they did a ticketed gig to raise money for a friend, other than that they were mad busy all the time, I never heard any of them moan that some old guys were playing alright now and taking a gig off them, they were too busy counting their money :D
[/quote]

Agreed, were talking about two completely different busines sectors.

I've auditioned for those high-end functions bands. I never felt like they we're what I call "real" musicians. But that's just me.

And while those gigs pay well you have to pay for sound and lights. Guess who owns the sound and lights, yup, the agency that books that gig.

Blue

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1481160915' post='3190197']
Skankdelvar,

If it's a decent place they take the money at the door and give the punter a some sort of ticket good for a drink.

The clubs that charge a cover are usually book the high end agency handled functions bands.

Basically Bon Jovi and Ga Ga time.

Blue
[/quote]

Thanks for that, chief, always wondered. :)

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Tim , Is playing for £300 wrong ?

What do you play for ? (Think Pete asked you earlier)

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We've just agreed to a gig , the fee is set between 500 & 750 , depending on profits of night , think that's a fair approach from an organiser.

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No-one is playing big parties or functions or packed clubs for free. Some people are playing small pubs or charity gigs or "battle of the bands" type gigs for free.

Some people will sometimes invest their time into playing a free gig on the basis that it's a good bet they'll get some good paying gigs out of it. Any business will do this - invest resources into something they're gambling will pay off

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[quote name='Downdown' timestamp='1481155960' post='3190192']


Well, you wrote this . . . .



. . . so it seems like you are talking about it, or at least trying to drum up support for some sort of organised action. Unless you're just trolling to keep the thread rumbling on and on and on.
[/quote]

Indeed. Social media is now a very powerful force. Musicians can do what they want. The idea is to educate musicians and agents that playing for free or low pay isn't on. If someone is providing something of value then they should be adequately compensated.

In my view the more people who think this way the better it is for everyone.

I really don't think the 'but that's just how it is' and attitude that I'm seeing on this thread is a good way of thinking and there are lots of musicians who have been brainwashed into thinking like this.

It's hard work negotiating for money and I get the feeling musicians just want to play music and can't be bothered with hassling for money. This thread seems to bear that out on several posts.
.

Edited by TimR

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1481178248' post='3190222']
Tim , Is playing for £300 wrong ?

What do you play for ? (Think Pete asked you earlier)
[/quote]

I did :)

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1481178248' post='3190222']
Tim , Is playing for £300 wrong ?

What do you play for ? (Think Pete asked you earlier)
[/quote]

Earlier on in the thread I said the band leader was a commercial director and the singer is unemployed/seasonally employed.

The BL makes sure we get a good deal depending on the circumstances of each gig.

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Have you ever thought about going into politics Tim? :D

What has the band members professions or lack of got to do with it?

Edited by stingrayPete1977

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1481195556' post='3190360']
The BL makes sure we get a good deal depending on the circumstances of each gig.
[/quote]

So do I, but I think my circumstances are a at a less lofty level than your high ideals. You still haven't given us a clue as to what you go out for, despite a fair few of u being quite open about what we do. Name your price, then at least we will all know what your acceptable minimum is and maybe we can debate that. Oh and how often you gig would be helpful. We were out 25 times last year (but we don't do August or Easter or half term....but that's another story) and we've got 18 for next year already. All in the £2 - 300 bracket. How about you?

Edited to say that they're all fairly local so no more than 40 mins away from any one of us.

Edited by phil.c60

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It doesn't matter what I get paid because apparently what each of us gets paid doesn't affect what anyone else gets paid. :rolleyes:

I've had people actually tell me that £650 was too much to pay for a party band because they can get a disco for £300 and their mate plays pubs for £250. When I asked why they didn't get their mate to do it, you can probably guess the reply.

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Too many pubs doing too much music to too few crowds. Do I think it would be good if there was a degree of regulation? Yes. I'd have the venues licensed for Music rather than the free-for-all it is now. The places that spend the money for this would be the ones that generally work. They would be the right size, hopefully, have decent electrics and the LL could charge a some sort of premium on his beer and wouldn't have 9 pubs down the road to compete. The 'better' bands would be used in these places (those that sell decent amounts of units)

That would be a start for me... but do I think this will happen. No, not officially, but I do think there are plenty of places that want to stand 'above' the crowd and try and do things correctly.
Do I think it would raise fees... ? hmm, not so much if bands have the tendency to be desperate enough to undercut and get in there but the the venues might self regulate the bands anyway..and some just will not be suitable- for quite a few reasons.
But if the standard is good and people recognise this and attend, which generally they will for the right band and event, then fees will rise because the LL will want to keep this going and this makes that place stand out from 80% of the others.

I believe this kind of happens anyway around here, thankfully, so we are getting there anyway...

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[quote name='TimR' timestamp='1481188595' post='3190303']


Indeed. Social media is now a very powerful force. Musicians can do what they want. The idea is to educate musicians and agents that playing for free or low pay isn't on. If someone is providing something of value then they should be adequately compensated.

In my view the more people who think this way the better it is for everyone.

I really don't think the 'but that's just how it is' and attitude that I'm seeing on this thread is a good way of thinking and there are lots of musicians who have been brainwashed into thinking like this.

It's hard work negotiating for money and I get the feeling musicians just want to play music and can't be bothered with hassling for money. This thread seems to bear that out on several posts.
.
[/quote]

What right have you to insist that 'playing for free or low pay isn't on'? Speak for yourself by all means but don't tell me or others what they should or shouldn't do. If some people are happy to play for free or 'low pay' then that's their prerogative. You disagree, fine, but we're supposed to live in a free country, not some collectivist dictatorship.

I think you're just being deliberately provocative - and your consistent avoidance of answering simple questions about your own circumstances would seem to bear this out. Give it a rest.

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