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Charging in to Gigs

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Mister Pink
  • Mister Pink

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:40 PM Edited by ThePinkFloydSound, 12 November 2011 - 12:52 PM.

I've always been on te fence about this and I sort of go back and forth believing one to be more 'right.'

So, my friend and I run gig nights monthly in a pub in the Dublin city centre. We usually have 4 bands and a DJ after. We used to charge 5 in to the venue + giving the venue a cut. This idea was scrapped. Instead we get a cut from the bar (10%) and the gigs are FREE IN, so we tried to get as many heads in the door to drink so we can get a decent slice of the action.

Now, we gave this promoting a knock on the head at the start of last summer in pursuit of other hobbies and work. Now, I've booked a date in the same venue.

The manager tells me it's 90 now as it's renovated etc. Place is bigger capacity. OK, I said, this would mean we'd charge in again. 5 in and the first 18 would cover costs, everything else would be profit.

Its probably important to note that we don't pay the bands. We get them some booze and I take some photos of them and pass them on.

Having a free gig has it's advantages. When people hear free, it's handy, people come. On the flip side of that, people don't really value the gig. 'It's free so it can't be that good.'

I remember stetting up the photo society in my college and my psychology module lecturer said, charge people money in to it. Even it's 2 or 3 Euros take it off them because when people pay for something like that, they really feel like they singed up for something and are less inclined (maybe) to not show up.

I'm almost leaning towards charging in as we seemed to make more instant money then and only once did we not break even in a year and a half.

I don't think they're the only ways. I mean could we be charging in (paying the 90 rent) but saying we also want 5% of the bar so the 90 can do down. So, depending on how busy it is, the rent is sliding scale.

Anyway, I'm not asking for business advice. I'm looking for intelligent opinions. I'm still on the fence and can't draw solid conculions on my own. I'm running these gigs with friend. He can be stuborn, as can I, sometimes he can be a little ambitious and I feel like I can be more realistic only for I feel he puts me in that position. Good team biggrin.gif

So maybe one of you guys can see this objectively and tell me what 'right' or what's 'wrong.'

Much appreciated.

  • sivispacem

    Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:01 PM

Interesting thread, but I don't really think it merits being in D&D. Moved to Music Chat.

Mister Pink
  • Mister Pink

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:34 PM Edited by ThePinkFloydSound, 12 November 2011 - 04:37 PM.

Thanks but maybe I didn't word it right. My OP is scatter-brained. I has nothing to do with music, it could be anything that is potentially free.

I'll concise my dilemma.

Do you think people are more inclined to stick around for something they paid for? Does adding a price on something potentially free, offer the 'illusion' of 'more' value.

Do you have less respect for something that is free?

  • sivispacem

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:34 PM

Ooh, sorry, as you were. I'll have it back in D&D if you want. You'll have to ask another mod to move it, because I don't have the authority blush.gif

  • Craig

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 07:04 PM

Moved back. Didn't leave a link to it in Music Chat though, partly because I didn't want it to look clumsy and partly because... well, I forgot.

I'll be sure to leave my opinion on this later on, it's an interesting thought.

Mister Pink
  • Mister Pink

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 01:22 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Saturday, Nov 12 2011, 19:34)
Ooh, sorry, as you were. I'll have it back in D&D if you want. You'll have to ask another mod to move it, because I don't have the authority  blush.gif

Not at all, sir! Thanks

Thanks for moving it back Craig.

So, anybody have any thoughts on this? I reckon if I put it to my friend that charging in might keep punters around and give the gig some 'worth' he'll disagree.

  • Irviding

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:32 PM

Absolutely... it's sort of like those college scams people get or job fair scams. You've been chosen based on a criteria of excellence to come to our fair for work/college/leadership... just pay us 4,000 dollars. People eat those things up.

  • SagaciousKJB

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 04:51 AM

Interesting topic, I definitely see the psychology of this playing out in many areas.

The concept of offering for something for "free" is pretty powerful in itself though. I think people are less likely to walk out of something if they paid money for it. On the other hand I think it's easy to come to the conclusion that, "Hey, it's free, if it sucks I didn't waste anything."

On the other hand, the power of something being "free" is pretty strong. You're right that it does sometimes tend to make people think, "Well, it can't be that good," but it's also a powerful marketing tool to get them in the door. That's why "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" types of sales work so well. You get the psychology of both something gratis and non-gratis and still make money, so usually the added increase in sales makes up for the lower profit margin.

Overall though it's generally a "cost evaluation" type of thing. I mean, if tomorrow someone said, "I'm going to send you $5 in the mail for free, no strings attached," you'd take the $5. On the other hand, if there were any requirements or obligations whatsoever, most people would decide the $5 isn't worth it. So on the one hand... Yeah, a free show, that sounds great... But there are the hassles of going to a show, and as you said, "Well, if it's free it can't be that great."

Most people are willing to pay some kind of cover charge. As you said, even a couple of bucks makes the person think, "Well, it's not that much, maybe it's good" but then at the same time, a couple of bucks adds up pretty quick. That works in terms of getting some money... Just look at dollar stores. Not sure how well it works for attracting more people though, because if someone is still only a few bucks it still seems like it might not be that great.

Overall I think the idea of stuff being "free" is just rife with people trying to find "the catch". Nothing in life is free as they say.

  • illspirit


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Posted 05 December 2011 - 06:32 PM

I'm not sure psychology would be much of a factor here with regards to apparent value. If the bands are decent, and they (plus the promoter) do the legwork to promote the show, people either come or they won't. I've done shows with cover, free, and suggested donations with results on all permutations ranging from only like two people showing up, to going over building capacity and having fire marshals and cops come shut it down. In the end, variables like a act's baseline draw versus saturation (eg, they've already played five shows in the same area that month) and competing events or even weather seem to have a much larger effect. At the very least, such other variables make it rather difficult-- if not impossible --to draw any real correlation with the pricing model.

Generally speaking, however, I prefer a door cover over a bar percentage. While one could theoretically make more money with a cut from the bar, it's a lot easier for the bar to screw you by saying they didn't sell as many drinks as they actually did. If they offer a bar cut in the first place, this is probably what they plan to do. Likewise, even if it's not a trap, you also have to factor in bartenders giving their friends and regulars discounted or free drinks. With a door cover, one knows what the take should be (if you're not running the door yourself, you are counting heads, right?), and the money is right there.

Also, you should probably start paying the bands. While free booze is a decent consolation prize, word gets around rather fast, and you'll be less likely to get out of town bands or even larger local acts to fill the place up. Unless of course you're content with sh*te cover bands and bedroom/iPod "DJs." tounge.gif

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