Friday, 13 January 2012

Breaking Myth #5: They're all out to rip you off! (part 2)

We don't "DO" corporate sponsorship!

This time I am going to talk about how promoters/venues sometimes make offers or requests that may seem a bit dodgy on the surface, but when you look a little deeper, what they are trying to do makes sense and is not necessarily just a ploy by them to line their own pockets even more.

Again, this one is pretty heavily pointed at the way things are done here in Cyprus, but I am guessing it is not completely unique to our little island.

One of the things that happens here nowadays is that most venues/promoters get shows sponsored. It is generally a way for them to keep the promotions costs down.

The deal is (again, I am talking about the norm although there may be other situations that happen on occasion) that the sponsors cover the cost of getting high quality full colour fliers and posters printed in return for having their name/logo on said fliers and posters. Some of them might also ask that their product get some promotion or be pushed (like if a beer company sponsors, they probably want their product pushed at the bar) on the night of the gig.

Now, some bands might have 'issues' with 'EVIL CORPORATIONS' having their name/logo in any way associated with their band's name/logo. However, if you are doing a gig at any bar, club, or other typical venue YOU ARE BEING SPONSORED by not only the club, but, most likely, some the very ENTITIES you don't want to have named on your flier.

It seems to have become a very popular thing to say, but unless you are playing a squat somewhere, YOU ARE SUPPORTING AND BE SUPPORTED BY THE EVIL CORPORATIONS. What do you think they are selling at the bar; tap water and home brew? If you're really against these companies, just not having your respective names/logos on the same piece of paper seems a bit of a superficial protest to me.

If you and or your band are REALLY opposed to a certain sponsor then by all means you should stand your ground, but fully. Don't do any gigs at venues that have any affiliation with the sponsors you oppose. If you are against BRAND X beer, don't just insist that BRAND X is not on the promotional material, but that it's name, logo, and product are in no way associated with the gig. Have the venue rid itself of those images and products for the night of your gig. That, or simply do not do gigs at those venues.

In fact, if you are that politically and morally righteous, perhaps renting a non-venue and doing it all the way DIY is the best choice. That way YOU will have final say on all elements involved in your gig.

Okay, maybe I am going a bit overboard. However, unless the sponsor is insisting that YOU become their mouthpiece, I don't see the big issue. If you have a problem with one of the sponsors, then by all means make a statement along the lines of "We'd like to thank BRAND X beer for helping with the promotion of the show, but we would like to point out why we do not support them..." then explain why they are evil.

In actuallity, them sponsoring you gives you the perfect platform to voice your views on them. So where is the problem? Sure, you will be opening up a potential BIG ASS PUBLIC arguement, but you believe in your point, right? And no press is bad press!

Another thing I have heard of bands complaining about is the venue wanting a cut of the door (entry fee people pay for the gig). Okay, there are some venues that don't ask for any of the door, but every gig, venue, and situation is different. The fact is that if the venues don't make money (or even cover their costs) they will go out of business and you won't have anyplace to play. Unfortunately, I have seen this exact thing happen to loads of my favourite places to play/see gigs.

I guess the real question you need to ask yourself is, "Are we doing this gig to make money from the door, or are we doing this gig to get people into what we are doing so we might make some money in the long run (or even to just have the best time ever)?"

What the venues are doing is trying to minimise their risk of loss. If you are really concerned they will take advantage of you and your legions of fans, you could always work a deal where they take 1/2 the door until they reach an agreed on amount and then any additional door money goes to the bands.
(click image above to learn all about the evils of 'pay to play')

Believe me, it could be worse! You could be faced with the dreaded "PAY TO PLAY" option, or the venues could just make you rent their place for the night and do all of the work and staffing yourself! If you are worried about keeping the entry fees down, perhaps you should consider taking less profit from the door yourself...


  1. You've touched a very delicate subject here my friend. To DIY or not to DIY. I haven't met a single person who actually knows what DIY means. To some it means one thing, to others another. Most bands don't care about sponsors, others do (though i haven't met one in CY yet, except my band). We decided to go DIY. Yes, we can't play in big venues. Yes we've rejected an invitation to be one of the opening acts at a very big gig coming up this month because of sponsors. Yes we've played at a bar that charged a 5 euro entrance fee. But you know why? a) Because we couldn't find a place to play and b) because the owners were cool and liked our music and they asked us to play there. Being in a hardcore punk band in CY, it's not an easy thing. There are simply no venues for a proper DIY scene to exist. Hell, i doubt whether there's a punk audience in CY at all :p ! So to answer your real question: We do what we do cos we wanna spread our music. Not for the money. If you say you are DIY and you do it for the money..well you are in the wrong profession! :p PS: I don't judge promoters for getting sponsorships. Nor do i judge other bands for playing sponsored gigs etc. How about opening a CBGBs here in CY ? :p

    1. I do see your point. This is why I promote doing the gig with the sponsors and if you have issues with any of them, use that platform to voice your opposition to them or publicise the things you see than as doing wrong. As for the not making money thing, are you suggesting that your band would be happy to play all gigs for free, record and create your CDs (or tapes, whatever) to then give away, incurring all of the costs yourself? My point being, there is no such thing as free. Someone is paying something somewhere down the line. If you, as a band, are looking to make zero income as a band, then I am guessing you are paying for all the bands inherent costs through money that has been inherited or earned through some kind of gameful employment. If that is your thing, cool. Seriously, I support and respect that too, but the reality is, that if that is the position you take as a band, opportunities in the commercial music industry will not be very satisfying according to your mission statement. BTW, thank you for joining in the discussion. I hope it continues and we all benefit from it.

      p.s. I don't think Hilly was against making money or sponsorship.