I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, which is crazy. But I often observe myself in situations and think – this would be a good Effects Bay post. A while back I wrote the post – PSA: Donâ€™t be a douchebag band, which is a handy PSA for the bands out there.. that just don’t know about the proper protocol when you play live. Today, I’ve been thinking about the crowd or public or audience. I think the crowd needs a PSA as well. I know a lot of you play live, so I’m definitely preaching to the choir, but some of you are music fans, and hopefully this post can be shared to people you know – that might need an ‘adjustment’.
PSA: Donâ€™t be a douchebag audience member
Don’t complain about the cover – This one really burns my ass. So there is a $2 – $5 door charge with 3 bands playing tonight. I’ve seen it SO many times where this is some individual or a group of people that will immediately whine “I don’t want to pay $3 to watch some bands!”. First off, the only reason you came to this bar was to see live music, but for whatever reason you want free access?
The cover is STUPID cheap. I mean, you’re going to pay more for a single beer. You’re probably going to spend $50+ in booze while you’re in the bar. What’s the problem with $3.. which happens to go to the bands?
Inflation is a weird thing. The cost of everything goes up over the years. But what blows me away – I’ll look at old show posters from the 70s, 80s and 90s.. 2000s.. and the cover is always between $2-$5 for show. How much has the cost of beer gone up?Â How much has the cost of music gear gone up? How much as gas prices gone up during that time? I mean really, the covers today should $15-$20 if we follow inflation rules. Yet, people will still complain about the $3 cover?
So, as an audience member, it’s important to understand. The cover pays for the bands that hauled their gear, wrote the songs, performed for you. That $3 is split between the bands (and sometimes with the house or sound guy). You will most likely spend more on booze, than an individual that played tonight will walk away with. I really feel like people don’t know how little bands get paid.
If you’re ever with someone or with a group going into a bar and hear someone complain. Smack them on the side of the head and set them straight. The more we know.. the more we grow.
Buy Merch or Donate – People do NOT understand that merch is very important for bands. If you liked the band, buy some merch. Especially, if the band is a touring band. What people don’t understand, that merch sale is a directly related to gas money, food, and hotel expenses. Think about that band that is on the road, and the turn out is low at the show. Think about that they’ll probably get paid hardly anything, and need to fill up the gas tank to their next city. They need to spend the night after the show. They’ll need to eat breakfast/lunch the next day. That merch goes to that. Being on the road is hard, but good merch sales eases the stress.
As a touring band member myself, there have been plenty of times I bought shirts, CDs/tapes/downloads and overpaid on purpose, because I know how it feels. I think in general the audience is completely oblivious to this. This isn’t a 100% about being a fan of the band. Sure, when you go to the Foo Fighters show, you’ll drop down $150 on merch because you’re into the band, but you did come out to check out the live bar tonight. You thought the bands were ‘cool’.. so help ’em out.
Support ALL the bands – Ugh. People, quit asking when “your” band is playing so you can pop in.. then pop out just to see the one band. A music scene is special and fragile. It involves the bands, the crowd and the venue. Everyone wants the crowd to stay for the whole show. You might be surprised about the bands you have no idea about. We all like to hang, so don’t be cherry picking the slots. Sticking around for all the bands – maintains a healthy music scene.
Encourage others to come – Again, to maintain a healthy scene, it’s important to encourage others to come. Get your wing man/woman to rally. Share the event on Facebook and get the word out. Don’t we have fun when all the friends come out? The band and the venue worked hard to make it happen, so let’s make it an event!
Don’t be a dick – Well, I stating this last, because sometimes, you can’t fix this problem. But when you don’t like the band or bands, you don’t need to heckle them. You don’t need to talk smack. It’s hard to perform in front of a crowd. The “bad” shows are part of the growth process. They need encouragement. How about being positive instead of negative?
Let me know if I missed anything! Please share this!
6 years ago
There are many bands whose performances are equivalent to and sometimes better than a concert by the band they are covering yet nobody considers the cost of gear maintenance and fuel to and from venues. Lest we forget, there is also the amount of time and study (and even the cost of lessons early on for those that paid for it) that we put into perfecting our craft. When doing computer jobs for people, I can get paid $80 for five minutes of work — work that took a lot of time to master — yet most musicians play for free or worse.
But, in the eyes of the public, nobody wants to pay the musicians since they are the ‘radio’ and as everyone knows, it does not cost us anything to turn on the radio.
It is almost funny that cover charges have not changed, but equally troubling is that the amount bands get paid at the end of a long night consequently haven’t changed much in the past 40 years either.
Lastly, there is the unflattering and downright demeaning part of our ‘work’: we are there to make the club owners money and they will not let you forget that.
So, we work for pennies and get treated in like manner. This all seems bleak, and in many ways perhaps it is; but for those who live to play and entertain, I suppose we are willing to pay more to play than we could ever get in return for our playing.Reply