5 WAYS FOR BANDS TO AVOID COMPLAINING ABOUT the LAME GIG SITUATION.
from Gorehound at: 5 WAYS FOR BANDS TO AVOID COMPLAINING ABOUT the LAME GIG SITUATION. Gorehound’s Roots Guitar Tips
Paid to play? Got stuck with the bill for the hall rental? Outraged the the sound and poster guys are considered a legitimate expense but the actual bands that customers pay money to see, get paid last and least? Paying for bad sound or Promo? It happens because musicians let it happen.
You have to ask questions when you get offered a gig. Make sure that if you expect to be paid, you talk about that first, before you talk about dates, stage times and posters. Self managed bands are notoriously slack when it comes to “taking care of business”. If the only questions you ask are; “when and where”, you should not be handling any business matters.
#1- Know what the Promoters responsibilities are. Paying for a Hall/Venue, PA/soundguy, supplying a backline, posters and stage management is the promotors job. Not yours! When a promoter asks you to play without a guarantee, ask him who’s gear(Amps, Drums) you will be using? Because moving amplifiers and drumsets cost money! Playing for free is one thing but equipment doesn’t move itself. I’d recommend showing up with acoustic Guitars and a set of Bongos at non-guaranteed shows.
From my experience, nobody in their right mind, would ask you to play a party at their residence, quote the band a fee, and then give you some lame explanation about why they can’t pay what they offered. Your average person would not have the nerve. But this happens all the time with “professional” promoters at club and hall gigs that are handled with oral agreements.
When one of the other bands that he hired, doesn’t show up(or shows up minus an amp or drumset), this is not your bands problem. We are not obligated to change our stage-time or lend gear. “Oh this band came a from out of town, do you mind if we pay them, and not give you the guarantee we promised”? Yes, I mind. That is entirely the promotors problem.
Unexpected expenses? That’s too bad, the promoter should probably have thought about that before you offered us the gig.
#2- Don’t be desperate/EASY. If you need experience, get it on your own terms. Don’t exploit yourself, thinking it will pay off eventually. It doesn’t. Sound guys don’t work for free, promotors don’t work for free, and clubs are making a profit from your hard work. It’s marginally better to be a whore, than a slut.
#3- Promote yourself. Everyone tries to, to some degree. Don’t be humble, promotors count on bands having an “awe, shucks, do you really like us?” approach. If you can guarantee a good performance and promote yourself, you will be in a much better position to deal with someone that wants to exploit you.
Think cross-promotion, never just promote one artist, event or piece of merch. Every gig is an opportunity to promote your next gig, your disc, t-shirts ect. Shameless self-promoters, are the ones that succeed.
#4- Know what you are worth. Experience is the only way to separate amateurs from professionals. There is nothing wrong with being semi-pro. Just because you have to work at a day job, does not mean that you should play for free because you don’t need the money. If you are playing music as a hobby, then don’t ask people to pay money for tickets and a cover charge. Unless it is clearly billed as a talent show, it is unethical to charge money for something that you offer for free. Play Charity events, jams or talent shows. If you don’t think that what you do is worth money, what are you doing on a stage?
Music is a business. If you give your product or service away, you will not be in business very long.
#5- Look up or google “offer and acceptance” and “oral agreement”. When you accept a bogus offer, with no details regarding payment, other acts, exact stage times, sound-checks or promotion/, you are the one agreeing to a slanted situation! Any promoter that will not offer an agreement in writing, is planning to rip you off. Tell them that you don’t deal with illegitimate offers. And tell every other musician/band that you know, who the shady promoters/venues are.
Building a network of professionals, that can help you spot the unprofessional promoters, will save you a lot of time. Clubs and promoters blackball musicians for stupid things like playing at competing venues, and playing too frequently. Musicians need to share this info, with musicians and club-goers.
Ever notice that a large percentage of promoters are washed-up, former musicians? They know exactly what they are doing, they have been through it before. Incompetent musicians usually make very incompetent businessmen. We have to learn how to be assertive without seeming aggressive. They gave up on performing because there is too much competition from great players that will work for free. They are counting on this situation continuing!
It’s a “BUYER BEWARE” situation. You can’t complain about eating shit, when you ordered it from the menu!