Is the Value of Your Music Judged by Alcohol Sales?

live_ music_and_drink_specialsA friend posted an article about how venues should pay, promote, and feed the artists who play there. It’s a bit of a rant about being asked to “play for exposure.” I know, people die of exposure.

The article is a dig at venue owners and managers, but I think it misses the underlying point. Venues (bars, clubs) are dealing with supply and demand and a terrible business model for listening rooms — get the audience drunk or you don’t make money.

Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with owning a bar and having live music, and doing the best you can to survive, and allowing artists of all levels to enjoy your space and occasionally make a little money.

But if you want a better deal than that, e.g. a livable wage, venue-inspired promotion, etc., you have to approach venues with what makes sense to them… at least a certain number of attendees who will drink. If that’s not a fit for you, then embrace the alternatives. (House concerts, et al.)

You aren’t going to change the economics of bars unless you become a ticket-selling wonder. Don’t waste your breath trying to change a club-owner’s mind about how they should run their business or book their acts. Their own survival comes first. If it doesn’t, you’ll soon be complaining about a lack of places to play.

In short, don’t try to sell to people who aren’t buying.

 

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