Pay To Play

People ask me all the time when my next show in Boston is. For those who don't know, I have been blackballed locally and my name has been besmirched. I heard that i was a washed up junky, that i am off my meds making me a liability. I've heard that I have disappeared because I couldn't handle the pressure. I even have heard that I have died! Anyways, there is a growing practice that is hurting artists like myself. When I say like myself, I mean professional. Wannabe artists are paying $200-$500 to perform on stage at local venues. Me myself, I am used to earning that for a live performance. Even promotional shows would yield some sort of return. I talked to a local artist and his management about the practice of pay to play, and they admitted to doing it. I told them that a professional such as myself, that has given his life to the craft, has to be a starving artist and "pay his dues" in order to be able to finally get paid to rock. When another artist, pro or not, goes ahead and pays out of pocket to be on a bill he/she knows they don't deserve to be on it hurts the starving artist even more. They said the same old thing about getting exposure and experience, and I said what I said. Basically, you're hurting the culture and the artists who have been performing for years for crumbs and scraps by cutting corners. A promoter: a person or thing that promotes something, in particular, or a person or company that finances or organizes a sporting event or theatrical production is responsible for making the show pop. When they offer artists time slots on a good bill, the promoter is putting a personal investment into the show and the artists. When that time slot is filled with an artist who pays for it, and the promoter is not concerned with the quality of work, then the corners are being cut and the culture is being sucked dry. Would you pay Best Buy $100 a week to work there? Even if they told you that you were gaining priceless experience and you have a 1 in a million chance of getting a paid gig? The integrity and the worth of a culture is at stake. They ask you to sell tickets when they should be giving you press and coverage to get your name to better draw. You pay and you don't get these things. The promoter doesn't believe in you and your friends and family that came to see you perform are going to be upset in about 25 shows when you are still paying for gigs. I may starve for knowing my worth now, but when I do get my chance it will be lucrative. One.

R. Breighner

Stampede Media