Friday, February 15, 2008

Battle of the Bands

I am a musician. I love playing music. Not every person that picks up a guitar or owns a drum kit should call themselves a musician. Even I am slowly moving away from the musician into the role of a minister. The reason I say this is because so many people these days starting bands, when they in reality have no talent. None. There is a flood of these terrible bands in Southern California. This makes things difficult for bands that actually know what they are doing. What happens is these bands will get a show, no one will show up and thus, the promoter, the venue, and the venue employees are out of their pay for the evening. So what has happened is that promoters have started making people sell tickets in advance. This makes sense right? It should except it has become the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be. Instead of the bands just not being able to play if they don't sell X amount of tickets, the promoters have decided to take advantage of these bands and make them pay for every ticket that they did not sell. This has in turn lead to a "Battle of the Bands" where people will pay X amount of dollars to play 3 songs. On top of this the original fee doesn't cover everyone to get into perform. For example Spirit West Coast has a such an event. You pay $75 and you get to play, but that only covers 2 of your band members getting into the festival. So you in turn pay the original $75 fee plus another $75-$150 dollars a person to get the rest of the band in to actually play the gig. Then if the judges liked your style of music, or what you had to say, you might get another 10 minute set on one of the main stages. During which, you are not allowed to use any of your own gear. You have to use the backlined gear that the festival provides. Then if you do well through that mess, you get to perform in Nashville for another battle of the bands. But the catch is, you have to make your own way out there. Thus you must raise all the funds you need to get to Tennessee. So they pretty much screw you coming and going. It's an endless cycle. If people actually knew what they were doing before they started a band, then all of this could be avoided. Please, if you are a musician out there, do not take this as discouragement. All I am saying is that you should be decent at your instrument of choice before going and trying to get gigs at The Whiskey A Go Go. Not only will people actually like you, you might actually save yourself some money in the process. If you are a promoter reading this, QUIT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF KIDS! You make them sign a contract that they don't understand, just so that they can get on a stage and play music. I don't know how you look at yourself in the mirror for doing that to kids. Seriously.....
-Chris

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a shame that the "pay-to-play" game has gotten so bad. It's always been around but to hear how the Christian industry has embraced it makes me sad. In our day it was called "pay-o-la" and was usually connected to radio stations. You should start a campaign to end this practice or at least shed light on it. "Play for free" or "play for the door" is the most a young musician should have to sacrifice to play in a venue that's willing to showcase new talent. But as we all know it's more about the money than the talent these days. Just look at MTV or listen to any secular station. Even our favorite genre, smooth jazz, has sold out. There are no more smooth jazz stations any more which is effecting some of the original projects that Steve is involved in. I feel for your generation of musicians but you are the ones that are going to have to change it. Sorry for the passionate response. This is a subject close to my heart AND I watched Martin Luther last night so I'm feeling a little rebellious today.

hasta, Patty =D