Require bands to purchase tickets upfront or set a minimum. They're all about the money and never about actively promoting the show.
Typically this happens with so-called "promoters" who scour Craigslist in a lazy attempt to find young or naive bands and promise them slots at well-known venues. All you, the band, have to do is sell X# of tickets (often times which you must purchase in advance) to get paid. But you get to keep $3 for every ticket you sell! What a deal! Except you have to buy the tickets for $7 and sell them for $10. If you do the math, you are making 30% of the cover from the people JUST there to see you - which is the shittiest deal in the history of shitty deals. They usually put about 5-15 bands on a night, who each play about a 20-minute set. And the bands almost never fit together musically.
IS THIS FAIR: F##K NO! How these "promoters" get away with this is they prey on young bands or artists who don't know any better and will do anything to just play the venue - including paying lots and lots of money for this. While tempted to name the names of these fucktard promoters who do this (and boy would I like to) I will not and hope that enough of you read this and tell these promoters to politely f##k off when they contact you (as I have many many many many times).
There's definitely a stigma associated with pay to play. But, you draw the line between pay to play (where the artist pays) and pre-sell - and you don't have to pre-sell if you don't want to. It should never be a requirement. If you ever paid a promoter out of pocket to hop on a stage for 20 minutes, you just paid to play. & Honestly, they don't care they got your money. Some may even take what money you have and your leftover tickets and say, "sorry you didn't sell enough tickets, too bad" You should NOT want ANY BAND having to buy tickets or pay out of their own pockets - for two reasons.
1) its not ethical and
2) it means they have no draw, no fans, and that's not cool for the venue, fans or other bands.
WHO ARE THESE PROMOTERS?
DO THEY HAVE A CLEAR BUSINESS TRACK RECORD?
CAN YOU GOOGLE THE OWNER OF THE BOOKING COMPANY OR CALL HIM DIRECTLY?
DO THEY HAVE A BUSINESS ADDRESS AND NOT RUNNING A DESK OF THEIR PARENT'S SPARE BEDROOM?
HOW COME CRAIGSLIST PROMOTERS NEVER SAY "MY NAME IS 'JOHN' HERE IS MY PERSONAL CELL NUMBER. HERE IS MY BUSINESS ADDRESS?"
ARE THE SHOWRUNNERS ACTUALLY RUNNING THE SHOW AND RESOLVING ISSUES OR ARE THEY THERE JUST TO COLLECT THE CASH?
AND LASTLY, ASK THE QUESTION: IF YOU'RE SUCH A GREAT PROMOTER, YTF ARE YOU ADVERTISING ON CRAIGSLIST?
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