Yesterday I had a slightly churlish remark on Twitter about the crowd funding gig. Someone posted a comment saying: “I know I don’t play much anymore but since when did it cost 10k to play in London?”
My answer to that was “Who said it did?”
What we are doing is charging £20 a ticket for a one off special unique show and trying to get 500 people to come along to it so it feels like a really special event. The fact that we make £10.000 out of that is irrelevant.
I couldn’t work out if this guy was leaving his comments (he posted another which was a screenshot of the campaign to prove we were actually asking for £10.000) because he thought we were getting too much money or because he wanted a lower ticket price.
I explained this to him…
If you sell 500 tickets at £20 each you get £10.000. That is how much bands make, or is it? No of course it isn’t! There’s all the fees. The venues cost a fortune to hire, then there are all the other normal things which six by seven were always charged. The manager takes 20% the agent takes 25%, the people who do the tickets take a percentage and so does the promoter. We used to laugh at how the promoters never made any money out of our gigs. You would literally play to 500 people in Manchester then go up to the promoters office to get paid and he would give you between £300- £450, basically what was agreed on the contract before the door split. This was normal. “Where’s the rest?” you would enquire. The answer was always the same: “There were a lot of expenses, we flyered the whole town and put posters everywhere and you asked for towels and 24 cans of stella. Oh and there were sundries.”
This happened everywhere and all the time. We used to get in the van after the gig and think: “Hang on a minute 500 people just paid £11.00 each; that’s a net income of £5500? So they spent over £5000 on venue, posters, fliers and ‘sundries’?” We were never given a receipt by the way for any of these expenses.
It happened to Julian Cope when I was touring with him. We played a very well known venue which I won’t mention the name of and it had a capacity of 500 people. On that tour we were doing about 800-1200 people every night so this was a small gig. I’ve been to that venue many times and I’d never seen it so rammed. I was doing the merch and I sold £980 worth of Cd’s and T-shirts that night. It was over £20 a ticket and we had a guest list of about three people. When we were in Bristol the following day Julian said to me: “Guess how much I got paid for last night? ”
“Dunno £3000?” I said. Nope £450!! I asked him why he put up with that and he said that when he went up to the room to get paid the promoter didn’t turn up and a big surly guy from the venue just gave him the cash and said “There were a few expenses mate. Bye.”
When we were touring with bigger bands, supporting them in front of crowds like 2 to 4 thousand I noticed that the guys who looked after them looked like bouncers and they carried laptops, calculators and baseball bats. Those bands used to get paid.
Anyway, in the end, after asking him what point he was trying to make the guy on twitter agreed with me and said: “not making a point, the Kickstarter just says you’re after 10 grand to play London but I get it’s advance tickets now….Seen you several times. You’re entitled to ask for whatever you like. Just wanted to clarify intent. Good luck”
Not sure what he means by wanting to ‘clarify intent’? Oh well, who cares. It’s good to know that most of this money coming in from this campaign will go directly to the band, where it should go. After we’ve paid for all the things we have to pay for and we can control everything ourselves we might get paid as much as a wedding band / tribute act does! Believe me, that will be a novel feeling.