Re: Pay to Play gigs? Fair? Or not?
I was in a band in my mid-20's that had a pretty good following back in Sacramento. We did the sell tickets prior to the gig thing once or twice, and generally sold a majority of the tickets. We usually were opening for other "bigger" local bands, and on a couple of occasions we would bring in half of the club to see us. Once we played, the place would empty out and the headliner would play to a half empty club.
Very few bands can fill a club on their own. The club needs to be in a good location, have a great crowd regardless of the band, and be a fun place to drink/hangout. Then a band can succeed and not play to the backs of a few people sitting at the bar.