wendy13-e13413739727751I recently read a blog post titled ‘Are Vancouver Musicians Working Against Themselves’ by some corporate muckitymuck promotion scheme that was bemoaning the dwindling payouts that bands are getting.

I had to respond because I saw a bunch of people sharing the article without seeming to understand what it takes for a venue to exist. On that note, godless forbid you have a $lumlord. I do feel for musicians, but it seems the tech age has actually over-saturated a bands hype with societal impersonalization… So now let’s blame the venues?

I’ve run a venue that had top notch $ound and paid out over 2K a month for it, which was a bargain… John the sound guy is golden… I’m just a booking coordinator now. The only time I’m an official ‘promoter’ is when I take on a guaranteed bigger show… Yet it seems, I do more promoting then some so-called promoters with the work I do for the venue. I whip up posters and print physical posters to get hung up with the budget the venue restricts me to. I update free social media sites to get the word out and create events on Facebook. It seems to be too much effort for some bands to even share an event, invite peeps to it or copy/save the poster I whipped up and get some handbills printed up… Then there is the live music cover charge outrage at the door… Something is really fucked up in this city… Too much of a good thing?!

More approximate venue costs; Licenses 2K /yr, Insurance 7K /yr, staffing 10K minimum /month with a skeleton staff, Rent 5-15K /month minimum, Taxes on sales are approximately 15% gross /month, booze cost 10-15K month small venue, print Ads 2K/month, posters $300-500 /month, a small ice machine like I had at the Cobes was 3K… etc. etc. etc…. I bleached the shit out of the toilets, picked up booze myself, did the legwork for poster runs on transit, besides booking the acts and doing all the graphics… Most live venues are D.I.Y. dive bars… Yet this article writer seems to be talking like venues are corporations…

If bands expect untold riches for zero promotional effort on their part, something is lost in translation here… Only attending a show when their band plays… Loading out and leaving the show after you play… Only showing up at the show before your slot with no crowd mingling… I could go on, a venue can only hype shit so much and are experiencing declining attendance. Bandwagon promoters that don’t give a shit about cross-booking or booking a band that’s been scheduled to play a date down the street for over two months… The band itself for playing the other show and expecting people to show up at either.

Self band promotion is a lost art. Handbills, reaching out about your show, spacing out your shows to create demand… We’re lucky to have the venues that do exist for live music. It’s a costly endeavor and a gamble considering the more economical trend of the DJ drone machine. I wish people that write and believe shit like this have actually done some research to see the other side of the issue…

I always try to swing gas money and beers on dead nights. I can’t count how many times I’ve paid out of pocket. One can always just hope things even out….

By wendythirteen

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