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...