Re: Pay to Play gigs? Fair? Or not?
This has been common since the 1980's.
The issue is promoters stop taking any quality or long term health of the club into account.
Pay to play lead to the 3 biggest clubs in the San Francisco Bay area shutting down.
What happens is it ends up not being about which band is best, or which band brings in the most people. Pay to play means any crappy band with a wealthy father/uncle can cover the tickets, or maybe one band leader has a really good day job and he covers the tickets. The promoter goes who hoo, this band covered the costs, they get to play, but then no one shows up to see them, the band is terrible, and the few people in the audience to see the other bands walk out the door. The bar does terrible, and people don't want to hang out or come back to the venue for future shows.
So many pay-to-play promoters are just trolling for any band who can cover the cost of tickets, and just don't care about anything else. The last band I was in I was also the manager. I got so many emails asking if we wanted to play shows where we would have to sell tickets, and they were all metal shows, and we were NOT a metal band at all. The promoters clearly didn't listen to the music, or read the bio, they just saw another band they thought they could take advantage of.