Do Music Venues Pay Bands Enough?
In the past many music venues have come under fire for asking upcoming bands to play for free, with the excuse being that they will gain added exposure from it. Rightly so, many people find this unacceptable. Try to imagine this happening is any other industry. Would a restaurant ask a chef to work for free so that he could get more exposure for his food? Would you expect a decorator to paint your living room for free so that he could get more exposure for his painting skills? It can often seem that musicians are under valued by venue owners, especially when they are first starting out.
The question is, ‘What can a bands do about this problem?’, and the answer at the moment is unfortunately not very much. One option is ot ‘out’ bad venue managers on social media in the hope that they see the error of their ways and stary paying properly, and there have been some notable instances of this happening recently. If this is a route which you choose to go down, just make sure that you aren’t burning your bridges, as it is never nice to be banned from playing a venue forever.
Some bands do choose to play for free if they aren’t offered anny money, but does the ‘addded exposure’ add up? It’s true that if the manager of the Albert Hall got intouch with you and asked you to preferom with not payment, it would probably be a good idea to take them up on the offer. Howver, the reality is that whe your local pub ask you to turn up for nothing, you and your fans/friends will all go along and spend your money there making the landlord a fortune while you remain out of pocket.
The best advice to follow if you encounter this kind of situation is to appeal to the person attempting to book you and explain your point of view to them. If you do have fans (even if there are just twenty of them), tell the promoter that they will be coming down and spending their hard earned cash. If the promoter still fails to budge and refuses to pay, then it’s probablly best to move on and find someone who will value your tallent and hard work.