Mandatory Ticket Sales (by band) to play gig

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by ScurrilousNerd, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. ScurrilousNerd

    ScurrilousNerd SS.org Regular

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    What's up guys, thought I'd ask your opinion on a matter my friends in bands and my own bandmates have been pissed off about recently :wallbash:

    The main local promoter in our scene (not gonna name names, let's just say ontario, canada) for local and "smaller" bands has recently started to require any band playing a gig to sell 15 pre-sale tickets, or else you don't get the gig or have to pay out the tickets from pocket. AND HE DOESN'T EVEN PAY BANDS TO PLAY (not including large touring bands, e.g Counterparts). I know this is so he doesn't lose money, but it's ridiculous when he's presumably making tons of cash off each show. He even has banned my good friend's band from playing any of his shows, just because they talked a bit of shit about him and sold under 15 tickets for 3 shows in a row

    Now personally, I think this is ....ing bullsh*t as HE is the promoter and should be getting people to come to his shows, not forcing bands to bring their own audiences. This pretty much makes it so it's the same 100 people going to shows consistently, most of which are in bands.

    anyway, sorry for the rant. what do you guys think about this? Is it commonplace in metal scenes? Thanks duders
     
  2. iloki

    iloki SS.org Regular

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    Its the same here in MI. My band has been gigging for just about a year, and we've only gotten paid for 2 gigs. One of which the pay came out of our ticket sales (and most of the time, we have to eat this and sell the tickets at a discount to get people to buy because other bands in the area have already discounted)

    It's really annoying, and I honestly wish there was something we could do to lessen the burden on local bands and especially new bands. How do you sell tickets to fans when you don't have any? Generally, you get a few people, but otherwise you end up forking out for the unsold tickets and playing gigs can get expensive.

    There's only been one show so far that we've played that we got paid for that didn't require selling tickets, and that bar has since shutdown, unfortunately.
     
  3. ScurrilousNerd

    ScurrilousNerd SS.org Regular

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    Oh, and we're also signed to this guy's indie record label, which is great, but don't you think he'd be helping out young bands on his own label? :scratch:
     
  4. welsh_7stinger

    welsh_7stinger 7=best number

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    Personally i think this sort of practice is complete bullshit. It is the promoters job to sell tickets. NOT the bands job. There was one in south wales that did this practice and he screwed over a lot of bands.
     
  5. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    Exactly this.

    My old band had mandatory ticket sales a few times and only sold like 4 of the 20 since we were pretty small :ugh: luckily we were able to sell the rest of them the night of each show just outside the doors of the venue at a slight discount since the venue was charging 3 or 4 dollars more than what it would have cost us for the remaining tickets. Lucky, but still bullshit that we had to worry about it :noway:
     
  6. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

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    In short: it's complete and utter bullshit. It's the promoter's job to sell tickets and - believe it or not all your promoters our there - promote the show.
     
  7. scottro202

    scottro202 I'm walkin' here!!!

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    Maybe because I've only been playing shows for a few years and have always done this, but I don't see the big deal in having to sell tickets to shows. If your band can't sell enough tickets to make it worth it for a promoter, then chances are a promoter's gonna have a hard time to sell tickets for your band too. Selling tickets and making money is the point of live shows, or else nobody would hold them (From a venue's perspective, anways).

    Now, in OP's case, I do think it's BS that he's not paying you for those tickets, because on the other side of the coin, you're working and making the venue money just as he is, he just doesn't have a guitar in his hands. I wouldn't even work with someone who wants me to sell tickets for free.
     
  8. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I'm not playing live now (I haven't in years), but I remember those days. But I'll tell you this: Break out of the victim mindset that this guy is being unfair, or screwing you over, and start looking at how you can take advantage of the opportunity. If there's a life lesson I've learned its that, generally speaking, if something is bad, that means there's an opportunity for you to come in and make it good. If this guy is carrying on in a way that is pissing off a lot of bands, just bypass him. You guys could get a bunch of bands together and go to the venues and say that you'll work directly with them and get him out of the deal. It's not super difficult to do, and, while it's more work, "promoting" yourself usually results in better results than paying these so-called professionals to do it. I bet it would be easier than you'd think (at least in my experience) and the threat alone might make the guy reconsider.
     
  9. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    You "signed" with him and he's still doing that? I get the process if its a show with all unknown bands, cause it makes you build a fantasy, but if he's bringing touring acts to town, he needs to do the leg work. If the show sucks, make sure those touring bands know the promoter did jack to help them.
     
  10. tripguitar

    tripguitar Settler of Catan

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    i'll agree that forcing local bands to sell a minimum number of tickets is crap. but it happens everywhere, and there are so many young, willing, and eager bands that i doubt this type of thing will ever go away.

    from the promoter's perspective it works great - he makes you sell tickets which means when he goes to the club/venue he can say he got all these local bands that sold X amount of tickets and brought in X amount of dollars for the night. and he's consistent because hes constantly forcing bands to do it.

    buuuuuut i think this is the wrong way around:
    no one goes to a show because of who the promoter is. yes he advertises the show and puts up flyers/spreads the word etc... but the reason these venues even have local bands open for touring acts, is to get as many people through the door as possible. so really, it IS the band that should be "bringing the audience." still... being forced to sell your own tickets sucks, and i agree its wrong. it should be an option instead of a mandate.
     
  11. tripguitar

    tripguitar Settler of Catan

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    also signing you and then treating you like any other local band is bullshit, find another promoter and/or label!
     
  12. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I've told some of the smaller touring bands that we've played with when the promoter hasn't done shit. We played with some bands from Minnesota a few months back and the promoter put up one flyer, in the bar we were playing in about a week before the show. If not for FB, it would have been a total wash. I think there are a lot of promoter's who are just doing it for free beer and some cash. I don't like the idea of a local promoter who has a monopoly on a scene "signing" bands either. We had a guy in Madison for a few years that decided he was the "taste maker" for the city and if you didn't sign him up as your manager, you weren't getting any good slots, or any of his shows at all. Which sucked cause he was bring guys like DEP, ALOL, Genghis Tron, etc....
     
  13. Char2000

    Char2000 Just....inYour....Up

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    Not sure if OP is serious.. Of course you have to sell tickets. Pretty common here in the US.
     
  14. kevdes93

    kevdes93 Sassy

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    My friends band got screwed over by the areas only promoter. Makes the band members sell like 30 tickets at 10 bucks a pop or else they cant play the show at all. they have to pay to make up for the other tickets. A pretty good hardcore band called barrier came through and while his band was able to play with them, it was only after paying The promoter 600$ For the slot.
     
  15. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    This pay-to-play stuff is so annoying...I don't even show up for the openers half the time anymore because they are usually a bunch of not-that-good-yet kids who happened to be able to afford the $250-$600 buy in. If your band is good, you should be able to get shows. If your band sucks, you shouldn't even be able to buy your way on to a show. We're in a similar situation right now, but we aren't required to sell tickets to play, just if we want to make any money.


    I'm not trying to get down on anyone, but if you can barely play your instrument, you shouldn't be able to open for national touring acts, no matter how much money you have. Everybody starts somewhere, but it should probably be VFW halls and basements and friends parties.
     
  16. scottro202

    scottro202 I'm walkin' here!!!

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    Paying to play is a completely different conversation than selling tickets. Now, I've been in situations where we didn't have money for all the tickets we SOLD (Say, we sold 30 tickets at 10 a pop, but somehow the band only has $250 in ticket money), but that was because you know, drummer gives a ticket to his mom, singer gives one to his girlfriend, guitarist gives tickets to his girlfriends and all of a sudden we don't have all the money for all of the tickets. But, even in that case, because we were selling them and we get money back for each sold, we still made money that night, cause we would get $3 for every ticket we sold. We still made $40 even though we "lost money."

    I haven't even been in a situation where I've been asked to pay to play. Played plenty of free shows, sold a lot of presale tickets, but never paid to play. And if a promoter asked me to pay to play, honestly I'd be a little offended. Then again maybe I'm not good enough to even be asked to pay to play :lol: I don't see a situation where you're paying to be on a stage and you're going to actually reap any benefits for it. A stroke to the ego, maybe a stroke to your wang if you're lucky, but other than that.... why bother?
     
  17. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    The Rave, one of the biggest venues for moderately well-known acts in my state, charges anywhere from $300-$500 for bands to open for nationals. They make the band buy their presale tickets up front, so the venue and promoter make their money they need for guarantees before one actual ticket is sold. This place will sometimes have like 7-8 bands opening shows on the smaller bar stages...so these guys are paying out the wazoo for a chance to play on a tiny little stage about 100 feet from the "real stage" about two and half hours before any of the drawing bands are playing...sounds like money well spent to me!
     
  18. WhiteWalls

    WhiteWalls SS.org Regular

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    It's a sad situation but the problem is that there are way too many bands compared to the number of people who go watch them.
    This makes it so the average band will almost never generate a profit for the promoter, so he has to take other guarantees to be able to do his job, by selling tickets to the band, to eliminate the risk of losing money if no one shows up.

    I was pretty enraged at first but I think this is the right way to go, because the ONLY alternative right now is straight cash pay to play. At least by selling tickets to the band you will bring more people and the band will actually work to grow a fanbase, rather than sitting on its ass on Facebook waiting for something to magically happen (I hope this is not your case but believe me, it's very common)

    If you want to open for a good band that is on tour in town, 90% of the time it's hundreds of euros of cash pay to play.
    (this is based on my country of course, it may be different in others!)
     
  19. Riffer Madness

    Riffer Madness Thrashing since '96

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    Sounds like bs to force a band to buy tickets just so they can then work for free while someone else's getting paid.

    I can see how buying into a certain gig might be beneficial if a popular band sees your set, or has a fanbase who would like your music though...
     
  20. scottro202

    scottro202 I'm walkin' here!!!

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    Forcing the band to BUY the tickets up front indeed is a load of bull. What's fair is a scenario where it's like:

    Venue gives Band 100 tickets. Band sells all 100 tickets, at $10 a pop. Band has $1000 in gross revenue from ticket sales. Day of show, band takes $1000 to venue, gives them that gross revenue. And for the 100 tickets gone, band gets $300 back for the $100 tickets sold. That's basically a door split of 7/3 venue/band, but it's all done before the show. That's how most of the venues I've played around here do it and it's worked well for me as a musician, and I haven't gotten complaints from anybody so I guess it works for them too :lol: That's exactly how Atlanta's big "alternative music venue" (for lack of better term), the Masquerade deals with locals.

    But when booking a show a band should never have to straight-up right a check to a venue. That's stupid. One venue (I won't name) that most bands in the area avoid playing even says that almost exactly on their website :lol:
     

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