I just stumbled upon an interesting article in New Music Strategies debating whether it’s a healthy practice for bands to pay to play in venues or festivals. The issue exposed in the post is that a certain big UK music industry event, the Surface Unsigned festival, which is in fact a battle of the bands, allowed bands to sign up only if they could pre sell 25 tickets at 6 pounds each (more or less $12). P2P (pay to play) is common practice for promoter and venues, whereby they do you a favor by letting you perform in their venues – but is that favor worth the price you’re paying? In some scenarios it could make sense, like trying to break in a venue’s regular rotation of bands, but it should be a well prepared and detailed business decision. You can see it as part of your promotion budget, but don’t expect most club owners and promoters to give a doggie’s arse about your expectations: they’ll mostly just want in on as much money as you can give them.
Would love to have your comments on the matter.