I've just spoken to a gig promoter who wants to put me on a bill in Manchester in February at an HMV sponsored showcase.
The deal is this. He usually prints 5000 flyers in full colour that go into HMV and other shops. For the events in Jan Feb and March he's doing a further 7000 flyers. As part of the deal I can get cds stocked in HMV Manchester for two weeks which I get the money from, less HMV dealer rate.
He will e-mail me a sheet of tickets which I print off and sell at Â£4 each.
I have to then pre-sell 25 tickets to friends before the event. On the night before soundcheck I have to give him the money from these 25 ticket sales. Any tickets sold above this I can keep.
If I don't sell 25 tickets I still have to give him the money for them. Which is Â£100. So if I don't sell the tickets then I basically have to pay out of my own pocket.
He's been 100% upfront with this. No attempt to deceive me about what the deal involves. He seems a decent bloke and his reasoning behind it is that he wants a commitment from the bands involved that they will bring a crowd. There will be four bands on the night so if each band brings the minimum 25 people then you'll be playing to 75 new pairs of ears. Fair enough.
Thing is to me this basically sounds like pay to play.
I've no interest in selling cds in HMV whether I get money from them or not. I'd rather give people cds for free or point them to my website where they can get free downloads. I'm more likely to spread word that way than for the sake of getting people to pay Â£3 for something that cost me less than Â£1 to manufacture.
25 people isn't a lot if you're a four piece band it's only about 6 people each and hopefully most people have at least six friends in the world.
It's harder for me as a solo artist to guarantee i'll get 25 people. I average about 10-20 per gig but I've managed 42 in the past if I can get friends for further away to make the journey.
It doesn't seem worth it to me. Last time I played Manchester there were about 100 people there. I didn't have to sell any tickets or print any flyers or anything. i got paid cheap guestlist for my friends and a decent slot with two popular bands and though I didn't actually get paid it didn't matter cos that wasn't why I did it.
this way I'm potentially paying to play to 75 strangers who are all only there to see their mates' band.
I'm really not keen on this at all. Have any of you done anything like this? How did it work out?
It's not so much that I'm worried about having to fork out for myself. I reckon I could round up 25 people by February. I'm just not sure whether it's actually a good deal, and whether musicians should get involved in these sorts of events.