Rant!

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, two other bands & a venue have just really pissed me off.

We played a big outdoor event earlier this year. It was a charity biker bash for about 6,000 people. The organisers hired a venue (name withheld to protect the cheap ass b&^^&*s). That venue contacted us a few weeks ago on fee + availability for a gig next November for a similar size crowd. We confirmed availability & quoted £400 ($660) based on everything being provided (it's about a 1 hour haul from my house). This is a commercial money make for the venue but with a token charitable donation (another misrepresentation deal that annoys me too). Anyhow, that's a very good price for a band of our standing.

Wind forward to our gig in the same out of town area last Saturday night. I got speaking to some guys who came to see us play. They're from a very good band local to the area. I mentioned the gig call for next November, & they told me they got the same call. They confirmed they'd put in about the same fee range as us. They've heard that two other (mediocre, if I'm being kind) bands got the gig ahead of us, on the basis they charged £50 ($66). WTF!!!!!

Ok, so WTF do these bands think they're doing? We're talking about doing a gig for a major commercial operation that's going to gross over $60,000 for the event, & they put in a joke fee like that??? Two parties at fault here;

1/ The venue for cheaping out on a show of this size. Frankly, at the fee we appropriated, same with the other band too, they would have got two of the very best acts around at a bargain price, & a show worthy of the event. Because of their dime pinching, they're getting a couple of barely passable pub/cabaret acts (one of the "bands" uses a drum machine). Makes no commercial sense in terms of promoting patronage of future events, that's for sure.

2/ The cheap ass "bands" for putting in a joke of a fee just to get the gig. In these circumstances, there was absolutely no need to cheap out so badly. They're ruining it for all musicians, & sending the worst possible message to venues that live music is disposable/valueless.

We don't need the gig, but man, the principals at play here really disappoint me on so many levels.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Sounds like the Mexican construction companies in the US that undercut the local companies by scrimping on materials and OH&S.

I guess since drum machines replaced drummers on the basis of economics in the studio it's not too surprising that they are replacing us live too. I wonder about the punters - why they don't protest and demand "proper" bands for their money.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I guess since drum machines replaced drummers on the basis of economics in the studio it's not too surprising that they are replacing us live too. I wonder about the punters - why they don't protest and demand "proper" bands for their money.
Grea, the drum machine comment was just a throw away mention as an indication of the type of act I'm talking about. We've all seen them - weak, benign, going through the motions kinda deal. That's one "band", the other is a zero impact type acoustic guitar based cover band. To some extent, the quality of act isn't the main deal here, it's the cheaping out aspect, from both venue & acts, + the message it sends. Considering the budget for this show (a fireworks/bonfire event), talking + or - a few hundred £ is just silly.

Our band members would only have taken $100 each for this gig, simply on the basis it's a show up & play kinda deal. That's peanut money for good players with a good show.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I suppose all you can do is step back and watch it burn down. If it does indeed, burn. Some people just have to do what they do and find out after the fact how bad it really was. People aren't stupid and they can sense when things are being chimped on. You just gotta let it go and watch what happens.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I suppose all you can do is step back and watch it burn down. If it does indeed, burn. Some people just have to do what they do and find out after the fact how bad it really was. People aren't stupid and they can sense when things are being chimped on. You just gotta let it go and watch what happens.
Agreed. I'm not overly bothered from a personal POV, It's the ongoing implications that concern me. We're already in an environment where many venues regard live music as a very low cost option, whereas DJ's are commanding high fees & getting them. I understand original music acts struggling to get opportunities. That's a tough deal - always has been, always will be, but cover acts putting out popular tunes shouldn't be encouraging gross devaluation like this. It's not necessary, especially at events where there's clearly not an acute cash flow issue.

I take every opportunity to increase fees, not just for my act, but on behalf of all acts who can be bothered to put on a show, & accordingly, fill venues. This disposable attitude already extends to commercial venture summer festivals where support acts are unpaid. I just don't get why venues don't see value in the quality of acts they book. It's almost as if the fact they've booked something is good enough.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
We're already in an environment where many venues regard live music as a very low cost option, whereas DJ's are commanding high fees & getting them.
This seems to be the trend here in Montreal. There are so many bands, and plenty of good ones at that, that the venues are basically only paying for your cab fair. With so much competition, bands are taking what they can get and the venues are laughing.
Unless you're in a wedding band you're just playing out for the fun of playing out. But even the wedding band is in competition with the DJ (Gawd, some of those guys are so painful to listen to - the shmaltz, just shoot me). I blame that on people not getting out and taking the time to enjoy what a musical act has to offer.

What's wrong with society when a DJ can be as entertaining as a band?
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
But even the wedding band is in competition with the DJ (Gawd, some of those guys are so painful to listen to - the shmaltz, just shoot me).
The wedding band, or the DJ? Either choice, I agree - mostly.

The majority of wedding bands I see are just so damn boring it's untrue. Mostly not very good players, & even when they are good, it's obviously a grind for them. There is one wedding band I like though. They do the usual reserved wedding fayre, but occasionally, they step out & do something on the normal circuit. When they do, they're stunning! Almost as if someone took the shackles off - great to see, but absolutely the exception :(
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Andy, put yourself in the organiser's head.

He want music. He wants to see people drinking. He wants to spend as little as possible. 99% of club/venue owners couldn't care less
about the music.

As a patron also, if your are 5 to 6 rows deep in the club, all you hear is thump-thump-thump- people chatter and clinking glass.

Those 10 guys who are into what the band is playing? Heck, they don't buy enough drinks anyways.

As for the bargain bands- many are happy to play for free/ or a token amount.



I think we 'musicians' are the ones kidding ourselves.

....
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
The wedding band, or the DJ? Either choice, I agree - mostly.
Either for sure. I've been to way to many weddings (I married a lovely Italian from a big extended family) and suffered through one or the other and often both during the same evening...thank god for the open bar...
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
...

Andy, put yourself in the organiser's head.

He want music. He wants to see people drinking. He wants to spend as little as possible. 99% of club/venue owners could care less about the music.

As a patron also, if your are 5 to 6 rows deep in the club, all you hear is thump-thump-thump- people chatter and clinking glass.

Those 10 guys who are into what the band is playing? Heck, they don't buy enough drinks anyways.

As for the bargain bands- many are happy to play for free/ or a token amount.



I think we 'musicians' are the ones kidding ourselves.

....
Abe, I get that in a club scenario where the venue is popular, say on a Friday/Saturday night, but at an annual outdoor where the band/bands are a significant part of the draw, act quality certainly matters IMO. In the bar/pub gig circuit, band quality determines wether the venue is empty or full for the night, & if full, for how long.

In general though, & especially in the environment you describe , yes, act quality is way down the list.

Either for sure. I've been to way to many weddings (I married a lovely Italian from a big extended family) and suffered through one or the other and often both during the same evening...thank god for the open bar...
Yes, I get that, & agree on the open bar ;)

Congratulations BTW!
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Ok, two other bands & a venue have just really pissed me off.

We played a big outdoor event earlier this year. It was a charity biker bash for about 6,000 people. The organisers hired a venue (name withheld to protect the cheap ass b&^^&*s). That venue contacted us a few weeks ago on fee + availability for a gig next November for a similar size crowd. We confirmed availability & quoted £400 ($660) based on everything being provided (it's about a 1 hour haul from my house). This is a commercial money make for the venue but with a token charitable donation (another misrepresentation deal that annoys me too). Anyhow, that's a very good price for a band of our standing.

Wind forward to our gig in the same out of town area last Saturday night. I got speaking to some guys who came to see us play. They're from a very good band local to the area. I mentioned the gig call for next November, & they told me they got the same call. They confirmed they'd put in about the same fee range as us. They've heard that two other (mediocre, if I'm being kind) bands got the gig ahead of us, on the basis they charged £50 ($66). WTF!!!!!

Ok, so WTF do these bands think they're doing? We're talking about doing a gig for a major commercial operation that's going to gross over $60,000 for the event, & they put in a joke fee like that??? Two parties at fault here;

1/ The venue for cheaping out on a show of this size. Frankly, at the fee we appropriated, same with the other band too, they would have got two of the very best acts around at a bargain price, & a show worthy of the event. Because of their dime pinching, they're getting a couple of barely passable pub/cabaret acts (one of the "bands" uses a drum machine). Makes no commercial sense in terms of promoting patronage of future events, that's for sure.

2/ The cheap ass "bands" for putting in a joke of a fee just to get the gig. In these circumstances, there was absolutely no need to cheap out so badly. They're ruining it for all musicians, & sending the worst possible message to venues that live music is disposable/valueless.

We don't need the gig, but man, the principals at play here really disappoint me on so many levels.
Devil's advocate here...

You say they're ruining it for all musicians...but they're not. They're just ruining it for those who want to make a good slug of money. The two bands who got the gig have, errr, got the gig. It's not ruined for them. They'll probably have a great day.

I fully sympathise with YOU. I don't empathise with you because I'm in a 'professional' band (ie. we are serious and professional about what we do even though we get shafted left, right, and centre by venues, promoters AND OTHER BANDS !!) who get paid peanuts so I think my aims differ from yours.

But, really, you have to see it from a) the other bands' points of view and b) the venue point of view.

And yes, I agree, they'll probably be a crap band.

But I've seen plenty of highly paid professional bands (including a number of tribute bands) who have been utter dross...and been paid thousands !!
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I dont get why a band would go through all that it takes to put on a show and make no money to do it. Not that money is necessarily a great reason to play music, but its the only reason I can think of to play covers. I really don't understand people at all.

I dont think promoters care for music anymore than carpenters care for trees. We are a means to an end and the cheaper we are the better. Really makes music unions look like a good idea.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
More people are cheated in the name of charity each year than are cheated by any other scam.
I often get requests to play events like this at a low price. I learned not to give in because there is always someone making money at it. They use you as the sucker by appealing to your heart. They even make you feel guilty if you don't take the bait.
Being involved in the aftermath of Sandy Hook really opened my eyes to the, "Big Biz" of charity events.
I have no problem with charity events if everyone is pitching in and just covering their overhead costs.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
what really sucks is the disparity in the quality of bands in the lineup. who really wants to play on a bill with crap acts. it may make you look better but it sucks.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
More people are cheated in the name of charity each year than are cheated by any other scam.
I often get requests to play events like this at a low price. I learned not to give in because there is always someone making money at it. They use you as the sucker by appealing to your heart. They even make you feel guilty if you don't take the bait.
Being involved in the aftermath of Sandy Hook really opened my eyes to the, "Big Biz" of charity events.
I have no problem with charity events if everyone is pitching in and just covering their overhead costs.
Agreed...

No-one should be earning....or everyone should be.

My band and I organised a charity event last year. Five unsigned bands...all brought a following. All drank lots. All went unpaid, as did the doormen, sound engineer and staff.

Owner of the venue still ripped us off and held out on about 50% of the value of the ticket sales...bastard
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Last year a member from one of the bands that I play with approached me and the rest of the band about playing at his church's annual fair.
I said that I would play it for $50 to cover my expenses. He said that they wanted us to play for free.
My response to him was thus;
1) The church does not pay taxes, I do
2) The food venders, the ride operators, the police, etc are paid. If they work for free, I will.
3) The whole purpose of a fair is to raise money for the church and also help the local economy. I am part of the local economy. I earn $50 at the fair and I spend the cash at local stores afterwards.
Part of the job of a church is to support the local community and not just take from it in the name of God.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Last year a member from one of the bands that I play with approached me and the rest of the band about playing at his church's annual fair.
I said that I would play it for $50 to cover my expenses. He said that they wanted us to play for free.
My response to him was thus;
1) The church does not pay taxes, I do
2) The food venders, the ride operators, the police, etc are paid. If they work for free, I will.
3) The whole purpose of a fair is to raise money for the church and also help the local economy. I am part of the local economy. I earn $50 at the fair and I spend the cash at local stores afterwards.
Part of the job of a church is to support the local community and not just take from it in the name of God.
Bad form on his part. If you weren't a member of the congregation, you should have received money.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
What I don't get is why a DJ is paid more than a cover band, he/she only play records... I'll go to see and listen to a live band, but I won't go to a DJ's entertained party... I'll prefer to stay at home, the records are better, the booze's cheaper and I'm in good company.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Quality rant Andy. The business of music stinks. At an event like that, I am surprised you didn't ask for triple what you quoted them.

One thing that could have happened....you could have cornered the other bands and unloaded your brain on them so they think twice the next time.

Vin is largely right though, there's no getting around that mentality. Cheap is the name of the game to the ones who do the hiring and it's not going to change, ever.

It does peeve me off that DJ's get the money they do. That would be a big sour grapes on my part. Musicians truly are at the very bottom of the pile, largely due to bands 1 and 2. Thing one and thing two.
 
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