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  • Booking Ethics?

    I was curious what people thought of this situation.

    I live in a small town where there is only a few places for musicians to play. I am currently working as a musician and I am playing in and out of town. I booked a show at "club a" about a month ago for this Friday night. I approached "club b" in the same town today about a future booking and they offered me a gig this Thursday. I took the gig. Then about 20 minutes later after I post the gig on social media, the owner of "club a" tells me he is not happy that I booked a gig in the same town the night before I play at his place.

    I was wondering if I was right in booking since this is what I am doing for a living and I have to take gigs as they come. Or is "club a" right in thinking I will take business from him by playing the night before in the same town? I explained to the owner that I am working as a musician for a living and offered to cancel the gig at "club b" just to make it right. Not to mention, "club b" is a better paying gig and more often. "Club a" is a lower paying gig that is less often and a pain to book. The owner also mentions that I need to bring a crowd, while "club b" doesn't care if I play to an empty room.
    Will work for guitars..

  • #2
    If 'club a' did not specify they wanted an 'exclusive', SCREW them. They may not like it, but then they should have booked you for the Thursday if they were going to piss and moan about it...tell them if they think they own you, they need to pay you better or book you more.
    Legitimate competition should not upset a businessperson...if it does, they need to get out of that business.
    Last edited by daddymack; 09-25-2017, 09:31 PM.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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    • #3
      Originally posted by daddymack View Post
      If 'club a' did not specify they wanted an 'exclusive', SCREW them. They may not like it, but then they should have booked you for the Thursday if they were going to piss and moan about it...tell them if they think they own you, they need to pay you better or book you more.
      Legitimate competition should not upset a businessperson...if it does, they need to get out of that business.

      Exactly. I want to add to this that this is really only good for both musicians and venues. If I see that an act I want to see is playing at my favorite venue on X date, maybe I can make it, maybe I can't. However, if that act is *also* playing at a venue I might not otherwise attend on a date I *can* make, I'm going. Further, if it's an act I LOVE, both venues get my business. There is no lose here.
      http://thekiltlifters.com

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      • #4
        It depends entirely on the venue and the nature of it. I play mostly restaurants, so the guy in the corner with the guitar is an enhancement to the dining experience, not the main draw. I have yet to meet a restaurant owner who cared where I played the night before or the night after. I only have had one restaurant manager ask me "so, where's your crowd?" I pointed out that they are a restaurant whose business is food and dining, and if they are dependent on the guy with the guitar to bring their crowd, perhaps they should be looking at their menu, their pricing or staff. No surprise, they went under about 4 months later.

        However, if it's a tavern or bar where live music is one of the main draws, that is a different story, and by booking things too close together, you can diminish their turnout and yours. Some of these businesses run on small margins and feel live music can increase their business, but not if you spread yourself too thin too close together, particularly in a small market. Yes, you are within your rights to play both, but is it good business? It doesn't make much sense for him or for you to do that. For every person who would come and see you two nights in a row, there are a ton who won't. While it's cool you got paid for those two nights, you may have lost one venue in an already tight market, so in the long run, you may have shot yourself in the foot.
        Last edited by Pat'sStrat; 09-26-2017, 08:56 AM.

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        • #5
          I gave serious consideration to Pat's premise before I responded, but given the details regarding pay, booking frequency and booking ease, I stand by my position. If 'club a' paid as well and booked the OP as frequently, tehn with a leveler playing field, I would indeed have hesitated. But 'a' doesn't pay as well or book as often. You go where the $ is and the room is the better fit...and easier to deal with. It is generally good to have more than one venue in your pocket, but the reality is Fridays are typically better nights than Thursdays, and if 'a' won't pay on a Friday what 'b' pays on a Thursday, you have to wonder what is wrong with the picture when they whine.
          Last edited by daddymack; 09-26-2017, 09:21 AM.
          "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

          Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
          "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

          Comment


          • #6
            We play in 1 place per town just to avoid that kind of situation. We have had a couple of managers ask us not to book at a nearby, rival club and that is why we started this policy. For this assurance that we will not book at a rival place we ask for multiple gigs. Works well and most clubs will give us 3-4 gigs at a time.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by daddymack View Post
              I gave serious consideration to Pat's premise before I responded, but given the details regarding pay, booking frequency and booking ease, I stand by my position. If 'club a' paid as well and booked the OP as frequently, tehn with a leveler playing field, I would indeed have hesitated. But 'a' doesn't pay as well or book as often. You go where the $ is and the room is the better fit...and easier to deal with. It is generally good to have more than one venue in your pocket, but the reality is Fridays are typically better nights than Thursdays, and if 'a' won't pay on a Friday what 'b' pays on a Thursday, you have to wonder what is wrong with the picture when they whine.

              All that is true, but you just have to be prepared to lose a venue over it and decide if its worth it or not. That's all I'm saying. Things rarely ever happen the way they SHOULD happen in this stupid business. Hell, we have a guy here who books most of the major events who won't book you if you have said something on facebook he doesn't like. Is it right, or fair? Hell no. Is it the reality? Absolutely.
              Last edited by Pat'sStrat; 09-26-2017, 09:31 AM.

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              • #8
                To add more information.

                "Club A" is a beer bar and "Club B" is a restaurant with a full bar. I figured they were different enough to not cause any issues. If they were both restaurants or both beer bars, then yeah, I can see where he's coming from. I am not going to lose any sleep if I lose the "Club A" venue to play at though.
                Will work for guitars..

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                • #9
                  Bottom line: short of club A having an exclusive, you have the right to work anywhere you want and as much as you want. Is it good business? For you yes and that's they way it should be conducted. I think it takes a lot of balls for club A to bitch about this as you are an independent contractor. Does he expect you to pass up work and sit at home to please him? Don't worry, he'll book you again.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pat'sStrat View Post
                    Hell, we have a guy here who books most of the major events who won't book you if you have said something on facebook he doesn't like. Is it right, or fair? Hell no. Is it the reality? Absolutely.
                    there is no shortage of vindictive @$$#0!3$ in the business...
                    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As mentioned, there very well could be an upside for Club A. For example, one of my bands does a couple of big events per year. We always book a well attended gig the day beforehand to do a final push for the big event. We can sometimes pick up 10 to 20 extra people for the big event. It doesn't seem to detract from either gig. I do that sort of thing as a solo. I'll be playing a gig on Wednesday downtown, and folks might ask if I'm playing anywhere else. Sure I'll say, tomorrow I'm at Lounge X a few blocks away. Once in a while they show up the next day. and Lounge X has made some extra money.

                      You could just tell Club A that you plan on quietly letting people know that you'll be performing Friday night, and that you're hoping to draw extra people out because of that. As daddymack alluded to, if his biz is so bad that he's counting every pint of beer to make his lease then he's not managing his establishment correctly, and should get out and find something else.

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