I’m not one to rant or complain but since I can remember there has been this quite prominent issue on the unsigned circuit that simply needs to be dealt with.
I appreciate that music is a business to some people, however much they commend the talent and do what they can in the way of promoting artists and getting them on stage, quite often they do it all with £ signs in their eyes.
So some smart arse came up with the concept of ‘Pay to Play’, the concept that strikes fear into any unsigned act that is trying to perform, and share this organic, nurtured and more often than not personal journey they’ve embarked on to become a successful artist. ‘Pay to Play’ doesn’t just stand in the way of this, it completely blocks the path. For anybody who is unsure about this concept it is literally having to pay to play gigs, they tell you that you need to get a certain number of people to pay and see you, if you don’t you pay for each individual person that didn’t come. Now on a small level if you’re asked for 10 people, that’s OK, in my opinion as long as you’re not begging your friends to do it every week, maybe once a month you ask them to all get together.
The more members in the act the easier this is of course. Now this isn’t a name and shame and slag off, it’s not a “don’t use this promoter or this venue” (however much I think that would benefit some acts), but when you look at larger venues, some are now asking for between 40 and 60 people per act. I understand that people need to get paid, bar needs to make money, and maintenance of the venue and staff costs need to be covered, but the idea of asking an UNSIGNED artist to get 60 people to a gig is laughable. The majority of artists without management, and some even with management cannot acquire 60 people to a gig. Jesus, I run an unsigned acoustic night that showcases on average 10 acts a night and I get between 80-150, and that night is FREE.
So despite the artists that don’t have £100′s to throw at a promoter this is immediately effecting music as a whole. Artists are having to become less adventurous with their music to ensure they can pull in the necessary numbers and ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ to even by worthy of being approached by a promoter, and that shit, needs to stop. The moment you start pressuring artists to not follow their own path, and start pigeon holing them into a specific genres, that is the moment there needs to be a stand.
Now I’m only one person, however I am doing my bit by starting a night with the rest of the IAmMusic.TV team that helps you get paid, basic costs are covered and after six tickets, every single person you get in to see you, you get the full amount for the ticket.The night will be at a reputable venue that shares my passion to embrace new music and not oblige acts to pay stupid amounts to simply do what they love. I will ask you to help promote the gig, like most promoters will, but I have a team of bloggers, people networking constantly behind me. I will release more details about this closer to the date.
I don’t feel I’m the only one that can appreciate this is a cause worth getting behind and urge any promoter that wants to get on board to help start a coalition and instead of hindering, start helping artists by using your night as a platform to help them shine, not exploit them to make money.
All my contact details are below and I’ll gladly get involved with any projects that recognise that people are more important than profit, and the music is much more important than the money.
Sam Clegg ::: Head of Unsigned Talent @ IAmMusic.TV
Twitter ::: @oldgriefs
Email ::: firstname.lastname@example.org