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  #1  
Old 11-06-2015, 12:00 AM
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Default Play free for exposure?

This may be relevant...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=essN...ature=youtu.be
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

No kidding. I've seen ads on Craigslist where people want a band to play for free in return for "exposure." They can "pass out their business cards" and "sell their "CDs" for "tremendous exposure."

All the while these same people are paying for he facility, the caterers, the flowers, and so on.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

No opportunity that would give you good exposure is going to try and get you to do it for free...

...all depending on how you define 'good exposure'.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2015, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
Sure. But only if the lighting people, sound people, set designers, riggers, security people, caterers, front of house staff, cleaners, office administrators and everybody else agrees that they should also provide their services for free.

TBH, I don't really have a dog in this fight. My band plays for the fun of playing, a handful of times a year. If ever we find ourselves playing where money is being made, sure we'll want some of it. Playing for exposure? Exposure for what? So a bunch of middle aged people with real jobs can get the opportunity to play somewhere else for free?
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Old 11-06-2015, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

The topic made me think of this comic.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/exposure
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2015, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Them: "Do you want to play for free at an outdoor gig? It'll be great exposure!"


Me: "Yeah, to the elements."


I also tell people of they want me to play for free, they should have asked me 20 years ago. Unless I'm getting paid, I don't leave the house. As much as I love to play, it's simply not worth it anymore unless I'm getting something. I'm too old and experienced to play for free.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2015, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

My Halloween gig went like this...

I spent $70 on bags for my new drums.
I spent about $12 in gas driving there and back.
I spent $9 in parking fees.
I spent about $10 for drinks (one somebody bought me but I got to pay the tip)

The bags I needed anyway, but that's a $30 night for me to go play for "free". It doesn't sound free; doesn't even sound break even. I do it because the old guys I'm playing with get such a thrill out of playing a gig. For a few of them, it's their first gigging band. That's not saying that I'm not enjoying myself, but I would prefer to at least break even.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2015, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

That's hilarious. I also can't count how many times I've been told that I have an "entitled" attitude, or that I think "the world owes me a living" for taking basically the same attitude as the people in the video. Those exact words, over and over- even from other musicians.
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2015, 03:43 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

All joking aside, there are probably hundreds of charities in your local area who are really in need of entertainment for their fundraiser events. If you're going to donate your time and gear free of charge, do it for cancer research or suicide awareness. Don't ever do it for the benefit of a bar or a hotel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
Obviously, we would charge 10 times our usual rate. There is a very small possibility that we would do it for free if they would play support for one our gigs in exchange.

Last edited by Headbanger; 11-06-2015 at 03:57 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2015, 04:11 AM
incrementalg incrementalg is offline
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

When I was 13 or 14 i played for free with my buddies. We donated our time to provide background music for local yard sales. You never know when a music mogul might stop by a yard sale.
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2015, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

I have played for free about six or seven times, every time for a charity I felt an attachment to. I would never play for free to enhance the taking of a bar. If a bar is so bad it cant attract an audience for live music its probably best avoided.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2015, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

The same should go for internships that don't benefit the public welfare.

I worked for many years in the advertising world as a digital artist.
There were always interns who had exceptional skills, worked very hard and received no monetary compensation. This was pretty un-cool. The amount of money coming in from large corporate clients was huge. They could afford to give some paid work the interns but they didn't. The interns gleaned most of their business education from the independent freelancers. Freelancers who would never work for free.

I also worked for a very popular small beer company. We would try to do at least one monthly charity event for no charge. People always asked for free beer for exposure. As much beer that could be made was sold. There was no need for more exposure. "We want you to supply the beer for our Bain Capitol party. It will be good exposure".
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2015, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

As an Architect, this video relates to my client relationships to a "T":

http://www.dump.com/vendorclient/
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  #15  
Old 11-06-2015, 04:59 PM
Widowdrummer Widowdrummer is offline
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
Them: "Do you want to play for free at an outdoor gig? It'll be great exposure!"


Me: "Yeah, to the elements."


I also tell people of they want me to play for free, they should have asked me 20 years ago. Unless I'm getting paid, I don't leave the house. As much as I love to play, it's simply not worth it anymore unless I'm getting something. I'm too old and experienced to play for free.
This +1000. I like to use the line " yea, but you can die from exposure" lol.
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  #16  
Old 11-06-2015, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
Call me crazy, but no. The crowd is there to see the Stones, not your band, and the likelihood of winning any meaningful exposure seems minimal. The only reason to do such a gig, in my mind, would be to have your ego stroked so you could say you played to 40,000 people and opened for the Stones.

I work free only to support charities I believe in, or to help personal friends achieve something. Even then I am rewarded by the friendship.

(To be fair and honest, I have played for free in the past, but not anymore.)
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  #17  
Old 11-06-2015, 05:15 PM
tcspears tcspears is offline
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
I don't think that scenario would ever exist... You won't get paid what the stones get paid, but I can't imagine their management is hiring bands for nothing...

I'm lucky in that I don't run into this often; I bill the band for my time regardless of how much they get paid. Often times a singer will play a big festival for free, and ends up paying the band out of their own pocket. I understand that exposure is valuable, and can turn into paying gigs, but working for free is just backwards.

Funny story: I played with a burlesque troupe at a club owned and operated by Harvard, and we were all hired to play behind the dancers. Great gig. The club had us booked from 7-11 and they took the first $2000 from ticket sales to cover their staff and the use of the location. The crowd was going crazy, so we ended up playing until almost 12. Afterwards, the dancers paid us our rates, and then went to the club owner to get their money from ticket sales. The bar told them that since they had to stay open an hour longer, they have to pay overtime for all of the staff, and they actually owed the club money. The dancers had to give up all the ticket sales money and come up with $200 more to cover the clubs costs... but the club owner assured them that it was one of the best nights the club had and they got great exposure...lol
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2015, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?
.
Chances are, if this were to happen, everybody would get paid.
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  #19  
Old 11-06-2015, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
Yes. Yes, I absolutely would, no question. I can't think of anything more fun.

And I'm glad to see so many in this forum would turn it down...better chance that my band will score the gig.
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  #20  
Old 11-06-2015, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
OK I get it.
But, there are exceptions.

Would your band play, should your band play, for free if you were the opening act for say the Rolling Stones
in front of 40,000 people, for one show?


.
This is a similar scenario to what the NFL did with having their halftime show entertainment play for free. Now they want the halftime performers to PAY TO PLAY! Honestly, I think a viral message should have been sent out to all record labels, band managers, and bands to boycot the NFL because of this.
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  #21  
Old 11-07-2015, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

This says it all: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/exposure
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  #22  
Old 11-07-2015, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
Red Menace beat you to the punch, sir.
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  #23  
Old 11-07-2015, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

OK, OK my Rolling Stones example was way out in left field. It would never happen.

But my point was that there are exceptions where we should consider playing for free. Especially if it's good for our resume.

How about this one: Brad Paisley and his band is playing for Farm Aid. The whole band is donating their time and playing for free.
They want you to play drums for them. Would you do it for free?

Of course you would.

However, if a bar owner wants your band to play for free to get exposure,
I don't think 12 (drunk) people in the audience in a bar equals exposure for your band.


.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
Red Menace beat you to the punch, sir.
Indeed. I missed him as I was scrolling through. But it's still true.
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

I don't leave the house unless it's a really close friend who's in a bind or I'm getting paid. The farther I have to drive, the more the gig needs to pay. Period. Just because I don't make my entire living from this doesn't mean I'm not a professional. Professionals get professional pay. Ask the venue owner, "Try getting a plumber to work for exposure. Go ahead. I'll wait."

As for charity gigs, this was posted in another thread:

Quote:
But I hate it when its a charity fund raising event, and you discover that the crew, the caterers, the waitresses, the venue - everyone is getting paid except the musicians. That's when I say no.
Absolutely goddamn right. Either everyone involved donates their time, expertise, and wear and tear, or nobody does and everybody gets paid.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Well, I've no GF or wife, so it's either go out and play a free gig on Halloween, or sit around the house by myself while everyone else is doing their family stuff with their little kiddies.
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  #27  
Old 11-08-2015, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Where I'm from, there are more bands than places/slots to play. It's just simple economics: supply outstrips demand.

No one NEEDS a band. People sometimes NEED plumbers and electricians, but I can't ever remember hearing anyone yell, 'QUICK! Call a band!'

So supply will ALWAYS outstrip demand, in my opinion.

RE: the Oatmeal strip: I always know BEFORE I make my 'creative thing' what the pay is (or is not) going to be. That creative blob in the strip is an idiot.
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  #28  
Old 11-08-2015, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy_D View Post
This is a similar scenario to what the NFL did with having their halftime show entertainment play for free. Now they want the halftime performers to PAY TO PLAY! Honestly, I think a viral message should have been sent out to all record labels, band managers, and bands to boycot the NFL because of this.
That's incredible!

People should get paid for their work, not pay for the 'privilege' to work.
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Old 11-08-2015, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

I'd play double drums with Vinnie for free.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:57 PM
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  #30  
Old 11-08-2015, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
I'd play double drums with Vinnie for free.
Why? surely he should pay for the honour of playing with you, a member of drummerworld.
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  #31  
Old 11-08-2015, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Band I'm in doesn't play for exposure. We'll play a free gig because we love playing our music.

About half the gigs we do are unpaid/low paid.

We've picked up some decent paid gigs on a few occasions and we got our big gig at a music festival, regular paid spots at a decent paying venue, and good support slots for bands we admire, because we have a reputation as a gang with the right attitude towards music.
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Pay should be based on merit. I am in two bands right now; an originals band and a Lady Gaga cover band. My Gaga band only has played two shows, the last one on Friday; both gigs net the band over $80 per member. We almost filled the place to capacity, had 80-100 people show up both nights.

My originals band may be able to bring a few people to the show, and often play with others on the bill who bring in maybe 1-2 dozen in total. Split three ways, you can see where that's going as far as pay is concerned. Commonly the whole band will just make $10, which we put in a beer fund. Sometimes nothing at all.

If you're not bringing anybody to the gig, which is a common problem with many original bands, why are you complaining about not getting paid? Get asses into the bar.
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  #33  
Old 11-08-2015, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

"About half the gigs we do are unpaidxz

" because we have a reputation as a gang with the right attitude towards music".[/quote]

This is the perfect wrong answer. "Because we have a rep for taking less than we're worth". Or is it "we're known for taking less than other bands". Stop screwing around and worse than that, screwing other bands. Get it together man or get out of the game. Sorry to come off harsh, but your attitude chaps my ass.
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

We'll do the occasional unpaid gig for charity or exposure if the circumstances are right.
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  #35  
Old 11-09-2015, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The SunDog View Post
...Stop screwing around and worse than that, screwing other bands. Get it together man or get out of the game. Sorry to come off harsh, but your attitude chaps my ass.
How is this screwing other bands?

If the other bands are good enough to command more money, they will get it. If they don't, then they won't. Because bands aren't competing with other bands as much as they are competing with piped music, sports on TV, pokies and whatever other inexpensive/profitable entertainment is out there.

I haven't tried this, but I seriously doubt the fact that my band would play a venue for less than AC/DC is going to get us in ahead AC/DC.

And here you go...
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
How is this screwing other bands?

If the other bands are good enough to command more money, they will get it. If they don't, then they won't. Because bands aren't competing with other bands as much as they are competing with piped music, sports on TV, pokies and whatever other inexpensive/profitable entertainment is out there.

I haven't tried this, but I seriously doubt the fact that my band would play a venue for less than AC/DC is going to get us in ahead AC/DC.

And here you go...
Okay I'll do this once and then refrain from digression. If a landscaping company charges zero dollars, they will get jobs, regardless of how much they suck, at the expense of legitimate companies. Professional musicians don't play for free, so lesser musicians that charge less (or play for free) in order to get booked are taking work away at the benefit of a business owner and exspense of working bands. If I walked into your place of work and offered to do your job for free, there's a damn good chance that you would be looking for a new job the next day. In the union this is what we call a rat. Oh yeah, and keep the chapstick. My guess is you need it more than me.

Last edited by The SunDog; 11-09-2015 at 01:48 AM.
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  #37  
Old 11-09-2015, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

If it should ever happen that my band beats out a professional band, purely because we undercut them (even if that does mean playing for free), then we are the least of the professional band's problems!
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
If it should ever happen that my band beats out a professional band, purely because we undercut them (even if that does mean playing for free), then we are the least of the professional band's problems!
No, no you're not. Venue owners by and large don't care about the act's quality, even if they have the expertise to judge.* All they require is the ability to put "LIVE MUSIC" on their billboard.

What they care about is cash flow. What they care about is having "a band." If they can get "a band" for less money - or free - that's precisely what they'll do.

The bottom line is undercut pricing only hurts the people doing what you do. I've seen it in the custom clothing business, too. I've seen it in farriers, of all things!

I'm not saying everyone should charge what the Stones get. More popular acts should make more money. When I was in the USVI, the baseline was $100 per. The top act I heard about was a local boy who went international; he got $10,000 per gig (but he paid out his entourage from that, so...).

What I am saying is if the number you charge should not be zero. It should be what other working musicians in your area get, on average. If you quiz other bands and they get $100 per, your price is $100 per.

If you don't do this simple thing, you're not just hurting yourselves. You're hurting everyone. EVERYONE.

SunDog and I have had our disagreements before, but he's 100% on target on this one.

* Neither do audiences, remember? How many times have you read here on DW that the audience won't notice if you make a mistake?
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  #39  
Old 11-09-2015, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

I have a great example. We allowed ourselves to get suckered a couple months ago.

Asked to play the Tramlines festival a few months ago from a record label who my band was on good terms with, they mentioned they were interested in us months before/might want to sign us...etc the usual speal. For those not in the know Tramlines festival is a city wide event, taking place across many venues in Sheffield, UK once a year.

One of the pre-show suckers was that they could not help with travel costs from London to Sheffield but gave us all the line about the Festival being good exposure for us. After some lenghty discussion we agreed to do it as we’d never played Sheffield before and fancied a road trip together, knowing that it was going to be either really good or really bad.

Unfortunately it was the latter

Anyway, we travelled the whole way (3 1/2 hour drive) to be met by the label head/organiser who straight away thanked us for coming but he wasn’t interested in signing us as he didn’t think we were radio friendly enough, just went straight into it without any of us asking him about their interest or trying to discuss ‘business’ matters. The lack of tact was frustrating, we’d literally just walked in the door to play for him, not discuss anything like that!

This was also after finding out the show was no way linked to Tramlines Festival and was being put on in a tiny venue outside the city centre (was quite an experience driving through thousands of people in the streets/music echoing all over the city centre to turn up to a quiet area a couple miles away with no people around). Ever the proffesionals we took the stage anyway but the house kit was awful/falling apart mid songs and to top it all off our singer lost his voice 2 songs from the end of our set and we had to finish (to an empty pub) early.

To say we left cheesed off is an understatement, won’t work with that guy ever again as we’d helped him out in the past filling in for bands who had cancelled last minute. We did have plenty of trepidations about it but still went ahead for the fun of it (of which there was none) so we’re under no illusions who is to blame for putting ourselves in that situation- ie us.

Lesson learned for the next time I guess.

Last edited by Juniper; 11-09-2015 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:11 PM
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SquadLeader SquadLeader is offline
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Default Re: Play free for exposure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The SunDog View Post
"About half the gigs we do are unpaidxz

" because we have a reputation as a gang with the right attitude towards music".

This is the perfect wrong answer. "Because we have a rep for taking less than we're worth". Or is it "we're known for taking less than other bands". Stop screwing around and worse than that, screwing other bands. Get it together man or get out of the game. Sorry to come off harsh, but your attitude chaps my ass.
You totally de-contextualised my statement to make your point.

Here's what I actually said...

Band I'm in doesn't play for exposure. We'll play a free gig because we love playing our music.

About half the gigs we do are unpaid/low paid.

We've picked up some decent paid gigs on a few occasions and we got our big gig at a music festival, regular paid spots at a decent paying venue, and good support slots for bands we admire, because we have a reputation as a gang with the right attitude towards music.

Reading comprehension doesn't appear to be your strong point so I'll summarise. We will play any gig. We pick up paid gigs because we're not dickheads and we're actually pretty good at what we do. The paid gigs we get have come about because we've put ourselves around a lot, playing all manner of gig. And we go about doing things the right way everywhere we play. Both in terms of our music (we try to be as professional as we can be) and our attitudes.

Example. We played a gig in Bury some time back. They had offered us £100. There was hardly anyone in the venue. We didn't feel right taking £100. We took £40. They booked us back on a busier night. And insisted we take £100.

We won't have the piss taken out of us. But we will try to do right for everyone involved.

If other bands cannot compete with us. Tough sh1t quite frankly.

And stop comparing playing music to other jobs. It's not the same. Not at all. For all manner of reasons. You know this. You're not stupid.
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Last edited by SquadLeader; 11-09-2015 at 03:26 PM.
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