The proliferation of indie artist band promotion sites offering opportunities for ‘gigs’ where you pay a submission fee has increased incredibly in the last few years. The fees generally range from $2-$35 dependent on the event (e.g., showcase, concert, music festival). I remember seeing SonicBids doing it a while ago and honestly felt some kind of way about a number of their offerings. One in particular was a fee to be chosen to open for Talib Kweli. (I’m thinking about these fees like bank fees and how if thousands of people submit to’em, well you do the math. Even if the fee is small added up they equate to big $’s.) For me being an artist that has never done contest’s or had to pay for possible opportunities to perform, well that idea has never sit well.
For over ten years I’ve arranged all types of events in the city of New York. Putting together, parties, open mics, slams and concerts, never during the time subscribing to the ‘pay to play’ movement that so many promoters and event producers make a living by. If anything my goal has been to get artists paid or at least push forward the thinking of artists I’ve collaborated with regarding how to get paid and working harder to get ‘fans’ into shows, not relying on other artists in their respective circles to be the audience.
I’m writing this because I’d like to know how you feel about it. When you look at opportunities how do you decide what is more or less an ‘investment’ toward your career and what really is not? When you do shows or travel to perform what are you looking to get out of the experience?
Granted there are countless opportunities many of us are incapable of navigating towards simply because we do not know they exist. But there has to be something in the back of your mind that says, no wait a minute that’s just not right. Why in the world would I be paying for this? Ultimately, ‘what will be the overall return in my investment?’
In my opinion what it all boils down to is asking yourself honestly the following questions. What are my true goals? What do I need to do to get where I want to be? If you’re sure about these things many of those ‘opportunities’ will look less viable while the most sensible and beneficial ones will rise to the top of the pile. If you’re frustrated, and feel you’ve been doing the same thing for years while the world is steadily changing around you, perhaps consider trying a new approach.
Please leave a comment and let us know how you feel. Our goal is to communicate with you as much as we possibly can, not just disseminate what we feel is ‘Good Information’, a lot of our greatest info comes from what you share.
*BYCM – Before You Correct Me – I’m well aware of the dynamics of submission fees and how they in many cases serve to make things possible. It costs money to arrange events and contests especially when you’re not fully sponsored. My comments are really in reference to the ‘lottery’ style of you may get a chance and not fully being sure if that is always legitimate, like ‘presidential’ elections. As well as any fees that pay for “hot mess showcases” and the like.