Are You Willing To Gig For Free To Grab Some Exposure And Fans.RN HomeRulesFAQ
Posted at Wed, 06/01/2016 - 09:41
Posts: 20
Are You Willing To Gig For Free To Grab Some Exposure And Fans.

Starting out on your own, whether its your new band and your carting a tonne of gear around with you or your a DJ looking for places to spin, the awkward conversation always turns up at the end of the gig, or on the phone before you even get the gig in the first place. How much dya wanna get paid? Money. How to do you have the awkward conversation at the end of the night if the crowd weren't into it, the bar owner made a loss, no-one has turned up, you played poor and made mistakes, all that stuff? When I was playing and doing my local circuit, it was the norm to play for free, every so often I would have a chat with an event planner and they'd ask how much we charge, if we were busy I'd throw a random over-priced number at them in an effort to put them off because we were busy, often they would say yeah and we'd collect £600 or so. I basically discovered you would have to play for free at a semi-popular regular/annual event to make sure you get on the bill somewhere, anywhere it didn't matter. Then the rule of thumb was that you would charge for a wedding or New Years, and people would expect it. I decided to have this mini rant thanks to something I bumped into in Digital Music News.

A new restaurant owner appealed in his local paper with a printed ad for an act to come forwards and play at his launch party, the ad states that he is ideally looking for someone to play for free. He documented the results he got inside 48 hours. They are:

  • More than 10 quality submissions within 24 hours of the posting.
  • One serious band with media coverage and a substantial following looking to expand their base (for free).
  • More than 18 quality submissions within 48 hours.
  • ‘Probably 10 or so’ that were willing to play for free, probably to practice gigging in front of people.
  • Overall, more than three dozen submissions.
  • Mixture of smaller bands, younger groups, and DJs.
  • One angry complaint from a Grammy-nominated artist claiming that the restaurant owner was ‘exploitative’ and questioning why they paid caterers but not musicians.
  • 3 different solicitations from professional companies handling band submissions, including Sonicbids.
I was pleased to see a good few 'applicants' chime in, surprised to see the angry Grammy nominee (who stayed nameless of course -.- ) but we can see the letter. The letter is a crazy over-reaction I feel.

"Dear Exploiter, (bit aggressive?)

Are you paying the caterer?  The limo drivers?  The event planners?  The venue?  Of course you are, but I’m just wondering why [they] don’t see this as a great opportunity also and will do it for free?

You suck. I’m sure you’ll get some poor band to do if for free. Hope your party flops big time.

– Grammy nominated musician"

Thoughts and opinions?