Unsigned bands PLEASE don’t pay to play

Please don’t pay to play your music

It probably won’t benefit you and it will surely harm others

I want to ask you to think very very carefully before you pay somebody for the dubious privilege of playing at their venue, or supporting a signed band.

Think about it, if there is a venue asking you to pay them to play, then what is in it for you?
Is this venue guaranteed to be full of fans of your music? Unlikely.
Will the venue make a huge effort to sell your band to their potantial punters? Probably not.

Fact is, if they need you to pay them, then they are in the wrong business. I know plenty of decent venues that can count on a core of music fans to come to almost any gig they put on. Others which have a large database of music lovers who have come to gigs in the past and might come to yours if it is the sort of music they like. They will offer you a deal whereby you may have to pay for a PA unless you bring your own, and then you get a percentage of the money they take on the door, or a certain amount of money per person who comes in, or perhaps a bar split. They may offer you a guarantee. But the idea of charging bands to play a gig is the most heinous thing ever invented.

The only thing that keeps this nasty practice going is bands that keep accepting it. You may struggle to get gigs, but if that is the case then perhaps look at your playing, your songs, your image, or; most likely; your promotional efforts are letting you down. But if you agree to give a venue money so they will let you play your music you are likely to keep doing that for the duration of your career, as well as ensuring the survival of the venue for longer, and making it look normal for other up and coming bands.

So please don’t do it. Thank you.


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