Playing "For Exposure"

picodon

Silver Member
I thought those event managers were obsolete now that we have internet? They are much easier to replace than a live band.

Anyway it sounds like French farming, something is obviously wrong with supply and demand and organisation. Too many groups probably doing the same thing and being played out against each other. Unite. And if that doesn't work, become very good and/or diversify. Go organic, in farming terms. Or vertically integrate: Open your own venue.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Apart from this cold economic pseudo analysis I must say I really admire the professional musicians who continue to make their passion their work in spite of the tough conditions.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Our band plays one free charity event each year, and the organizers book us for three paid shows during the next year as a thank-you. Everyone at this event is a volunteer. A music shop donates backline, the sound guy is a friend, PA is borrowed, etc.

Four bands play a set each to 500 people, and all proceeds go to children's cancer research. We're happy to donate a hour on a Sunday afternoon when everyone else donates their time too.

The deciding factor for me is whether or not everyone else is getting paid, as several others have mentioned.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
Once I decided that the only thing I should expect in return for playing music, is the opportunity to play music, it is a lot more fun.
I am not sure I would want my lifestyle dependent on a popularity contest, which is exactly what it all boils down to when you are talking about earning money.
I also think the majority of musicians could not hack the touring lifestyle etc. if they had the opportunity.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Well you can see it as a popularity contest whether you are paid or not. Or you can not see it as a popularity contest at all :)

I see nothing wrong in being paid for hard work, whether you're a drummer, photographer (they have exactly the same issues, competition from hobbyists who happily work for free), butcher or fireman.
 

makinao

Silver Member
Now I get it. She's a designated hitter. The newspaper she's writing for is owned by the same conglomerate (fairfax) that organises the event.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Unless it's an opening gig for someone famous in front of tons of people, forget exposure. I've done a lot of these, and it's ended up as absolutely nothing.

By doing this, you are killing the market for paid musicians, and the only thing you get exposed to is the elements.
 

dannygetsmoney

Junior Member
Ahah this is hilarious.

I've played countless shows for free, opening for bigger acts, and the exposure it awesome. Lovers of the bigger band are lovers of the genre, if they hear us, and like us, we have a new fan.

Say we're playing for 500 people; if 10 of those people like our music and buy the album, we celebrate! Great success. Especially if you get to talk to those people, you might get some die-hards. Winning.

On top of that, playing in front of large audiences is awesome! It's fun! It's the whole game! I personally jump at every opportunity for that, the money will come later.

My 2c
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
the money will come later.
I commend your positivity, but the money will not come later, it never does. By doing this you are supporting the culture of playing for free.

It's always the same with art, you get exploited. We need to take a stand and say no, if you own a venue then you have a responsibility to pay your staff.

A recent venue in my old home town closed down as the promoter paid the bands and NOT the staff. He would book really popular (charting) bands and then pay them a massive wedge, but there'd never be enough to pay the staff. My friend was the bar manager (who essentially rant the place) and he ended up having a heart-attack, then the club closed down.

So sometimes, it's the other way round, it's the owner who wants to mingle with the "stars" and shits on his employees instead.

You very rarely saw a local band playing there, even as a support
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
Ahah this is hilarious.

I've played countless shows for free, opening for bigger acts, and the exposure it awesome. Lovers of the bigger band are lovers of the genre, if they hear us, and like us, we have a new fan.

Say we're playing for 500 people; if 10 of those people like our music and buy the album, we celebrate! Great success. Especially if you get to talk to those people, you might get some die-hards. Winning.

On top of that, playing in front of large audiences is awesome! It's fun! It's the whole game! I personally jump at every opportunity for that, the money will come later.

My 2c
I think it's important for us not to confuse an originals band on the journey to making it and who have CDs and merchandise to sell, with a pub band having their eyes taken out by a landlord/manager on the promise of further gigs that more often than not don't appear.

On another point, when my current band started up a couple of years back one of the guitarists was already in another band and was going to do both bands side by side. This other band had been a going concern for quite a while already and they did all the stuff that I'm not prepared to such as battles of the bands, favours for mates and showcase nights midweek with a promoter who said he'd give them gigs because they'd effectively paid their dues. Even though our new band was about a year behind this one in terms of being out there, within a couple of months we'd exceeded the number of gigs they'd done and all of them were paid. We were unable to commit to gigs we'd been offered as the other band was doing a wedding for free, gigs that this promoter had booked for them (at pubs I wouldn't have gone looking for a gig at) were cancelled or double booked at the last minute, the whole situation had an air of hopelessness and amateurishness about it. We'd even used our gig money to but lights and a PA which he wanted to borrow for his other band.
I'm not sure what point I'm making other than having a vent about seeing my mate being taken advantage of despite my advice, but perhaps it's not so much just about the money as about a whole mindset and approach. When your band is grasping their own fate in their hands, seeing money as a measure of their worth and not relying/being taken advantage of by other people, I feel it's a healthier environment certainly for me to be around.
Play for money or play for no money, its up to the individual. However in any endeavour you need all of the people involved to be singing from the same hymn sheet and having the same goals. In my experience and opinion, we all start out ecstatic to be playing without a thought for cash, then as time passes people progressively see others making money off them and they realise when they're loading their drum kit back into the house at 1am after leaving at 6pm the night before that yes, being in a band is fun but there's a lot of work involved around those few hours on stage at least that's deserving of recompense. And when some members are thinking like this and others are happy playing for nothing, that's when frictions starts and that's when bands can start on the track to ceasing to be.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
Woolwich has nailed it right on the head. There is a vast difference between originals and cover bands and pay. they are very different scenes at least around here.

The bass player from one of my first bands ever used to say "you can play somewhere every weekend for free, but then how do you start getting paid when everyone knows you play for free?"

THere are certain opportunities that I would do something for exposure, but 95% of them aren't going to do anything for you as a band. If you are cool with that, then all the power to you.
 

Big Stu

Member
The big problem in playing for "exposure" is that most often it's just not true. I've had too many gigs (not my choice, reluctantly agree to do it "for the band") where "Harry's Bar" doesn't have ANYONE in the audience that can/will ever be of benefit to future better gigs. The exposure is just a lie for a free band.
It would be no different, and just as wrong, to add b/s to your bio, web page.
Yep I supported the rolling stones in 1987 (well I sold hot dogs on the corner.. that's supporting isn't it?).
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
That was happened for my bands too. Zip.
I commend your positivity, but the money will not come later, it never does. By doing this you are supporting the culture of playing for free.
The bass player from one of my first bands ever used to say "you can play somewhere every weekend for free, but then how do you start getting paid when everyone knows you play for free?"
The big problem in playing for "exposure" is that most often it's just not true.

It's really, really good to see that my experience for playing for free hasn't been an anomaly. I tell people that if they want to see me play for free, they should either (1.) come to my church on a first or third Sunday, or (2.) they should have come to see me 20 years ago.
 

dannygetsmoney

Junior Member
I think it's important for us not to confuse an originals band on the journey to making it and who have CDs and merchandise to sell, with a pub band having their eyes taken out by a landlord/manager on the promise of further gigs that more often than not don't appear.
I understand now. I guess what through me off is the term "exposure." In this context it's so that you get more cover band bar gigs?

That's just not the type of drummer I aspire to be. But again, I'm empathetic towards this situation now and agree that bands should get paid in that scenario.
 
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