Bands, obviously, must rely on venues to play in in order to get that chance to impact people and gain new fans. And this means that majority of my job is spent focusing on finding new venues for my guys to play in. Needless to say, I see a lot of venues operating in different ways.
Yet over the past few years I’ve seen the advancement of “pre-sale” tickets seemingly skyrocket all over the country. It seems like more than half of the venues I come into contact with force bands to sign agreements to sell a certain amount of tickets for a guaranteed amount of time to play their set, and what time slot they get. If the band doesn’t sell the tickets, they don’t get to play.
Now, before I go into my honest opinion of this practice, let’s take a second to analyze some figures here. And no, I won’t name any names of venues, promoters, or anyone involved. The figures however, are real.
So lets say, generally speaking, you wish to play a 25-minute set. In order to play this 25-minute set, you must sell 40 tickets at $14 apiece. If you sell these 40 tickets, the total profit you have to turn in to the venue is $560. Now, thankfully, the system of payment for you is $1 for selling 25-49 tickets. Which means out of $560, you get paid a massive amount of $40.
Now, while I attempt to piece my brain back together after reading these number figures, I find solace in discovering that there’s another opportunity for your band to get paid. We’ve already established that the pre-sale tickets are $14 apiece, but the door price is $17 the night of said show. If you get a walk in that mentions they’re at the venue to see your band, you get $4 out of that $17 door charge. Which is obviously more than the $1 per ticket you sold, but remember, if you don’t sell all 40, you don’t get to play. And, since the venue is so thoughtful of your band, they tell you that you have to include a tally counter and keep track of every person who comes in and mentions your band name. (Wonder if the door guy is even told to ask?)
Obviously it’s going to be much more difficult to sell pre-sale tickets than to get people to just show up, which completely makes sense as to why you’d receive a DOLLAR per every ticket you sell instead of the $4 for a walk in at the door the night of the show.