Money, money, money

Everybody who puts on music shows will know the pressure that exists with regards to paying musicians who you ask to play. If I’m perfectly honest, it’s not often been a major problem for me with Trampoline as I am honest from the word go with artists. However, there have been a few occasions the money situation has still raised it’s ugly head and it can be a really difficult situation. Like I said, at Trampoline we are always upfront as to how things operate. It’s simple. We offer no guarantees, unless that guarantee can be justified. And by this, I mean that the artist in question is likely to pull a crowd significant enough to cover costs and therefore deserving of the money. That’s not to say people who don’t bring a crowd are not deserving of the money just that, given the deal we offer, you should be aware that without the people through the door there is no money to offer. I don’t of course mean that if you ask to play and tell me all your mates will come along that I’ll guarantee you anything because I don’t put on shows to make money. Anyways, I really am talking about bands like Broken Records, Frightened Rabbit, Meursault, Withered Hand; artists who if I were to put on at Trampoline now, the shows would sell themselves. Those acts wouldn’t have to tell people they are playing, or ask them along and would totally merit a guarantee. Smaller acts though really need to consider the implications of expecting money. I’m not saying don’t ask, I’m just saying don’t assume. Most promoters out there are DIY promoters who put on/organise shows out of the goodness of their heart and usually out of their own pocket too. There is no financial gain for Trampoline EVER. In fact, more often than not, I am forced to dip in to my own pocket to cover costs or just be able offer artists a little something.  It often means that artists don’t get very much from us at the end of the night. But whilst we offer no official guarantees, we do state that at the end of the night, once costs are covered, all remaining cash will be given to the bands. However, this requires people to come along to the shows. We spend a lot of time on flyering and promoting the shows any way we can. There are plenty of avenues to find out about Trampoline shows. What gets me is when an artist turns up, brings nobody to to see them and yet still expect to be paid something. This is not possible and if you play Trampoline you are always made fully aware of this from the outset.

I’m a realist as a musician. Would I like to be paid to play? Yes, of course. Do I automatically think I deserve to be paid? No, of course not. Recently we at Trampoline were asked by a band to guarantee a fee. It was an amount greater than the standard fee the larger promoters would automatically pay an artist for playing a grassroots show. Sometimes it borders on the ridiculous. If you can justify the fee, of course I am happy to pay.  And if we have a really good night then yes, you’ll get paid well – we guarantee that.  However, if you don’t expect many people to come along then have a wee think about why you are asking for the money before you do.  I understand travel costs etc are a problem, they exist for everyone who plays outside their home town, but I’d never, at this stage in my career, have the confidence to expect to be paid for a show.  I have no problem with those who ask. Only those who expect or assume.  It’s like that old saying.  When you assume you just make an ass of u and me. It’s a delicate debate of course. And by no means am I saying that musicians don’t deserved to be paid for playing live – that would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  I just wish some artists would think a bit more about who they are dealing with before they fired off a figure.  Too much red wine?  Oh dear.


35 thoughts on “Money, money, money

  1. Oooh.

    Who are you talking about? Eh? Eh? Go on, spill.

    Only joking. That’d be very unproffesional of course.

    At the other end of the spectrum you get bands who never expect to get paid, and sometimes leave without collecting any money they’re actually due.

    I do think *expecting* to get paid is pretty absurd at this level. Certainly, if you’ve made a lot of effort and the venue is full of your friends then you’re within your rights. But only then.

  2. No names Michael, sorry.

    I do think that all artists have a right to want to be paid. I want to be paid! However, as a DIY promoter who has dipped his hand into his own pocket frequnetly to cover costs I just think that until artists reach a certain level where they can command a fee, they need to be careful. Without DIY promoters many artists would not have many places to play live. So whilst I’m saying I’m all for paying artists who play – in fact, I want to pay people every month, it just doesn’t always work that way – I think expecting money is wrong.

    Also, for the most part I’ve had no trouble with bands. Most people I know expect NOT to get paid and are therefore delighted when they get a little something at thr end of the night. That should be clear.

  3. I used to work in a completely opposite way. As a promoter, my job was to scout, book and promote the acts I was working with. I almost always guaranteed a fee for every single band/artist I booked, and I accepted that it was entirely my responsibility to get the people through the door – not the band or artist’s responsibility. If I lost money, then I only ever blamed myself and looked at what I could do differently next time to try and get more people through the door. That is why I called myself a promoter – my job was to promote these bands in every single way I could, and put them on a platform to show people what they can do and raise awareness about the band/artist. I never ever relied on a gig to “sell itself” as that’s completely opposite to what I feel is the definition of a promoter’s job. Otherwise, the promoter merely becomes a booker. I never once expected an act to bring any friends to a show or paid them in accordance with that. I used to lose money during my promoting days, but all the bands went home happy [except one Glasgow-based band who had an ego beyond their faculties. They shall remain nameless] and I always made the effort to look after them with hot food and make sure the experience is enjoyable for them – that’s what it’s all about. Music is the most important thing in my life, so if artists are kind enough to come and play one of my gig nights, then I want to reward them appropriately (yet still within my means) and make sure lots of new people are coming to see them and that they sell a bit of merch.

    I think it’s a really important thing to pay musicians because in the current climate, it’s very difficult for musicians to make any sort of progress if they are playing gigs to a handful of people for absolutely no reward at all. Being a musician at any level costs money, whether it’s small things like plectrums, resin, leads and strings; or bigger things like pedals, instruments, accessories, amplifiers, etc; or, most crucially, travel costs. It very rarely costs a band or artist nothing to get themselves to a gig (even if it’s local), so it’s always nice for them to know they are recouperating some costs and that what they are doing actually has some sort of merit.

    I’m not having any sort of go at your here, Euan (it sort of looks like I am!). Far from it, but just highlighting that promoters work in weird and wonderfully different ways sometimes, despite (I’d like to think) trying to achieve the same thing by putting on gigs. Indeed, in many cases, I feel it’s wrong to expect bands and artists to play for nothing, because if it wasn’t for them playing, you wouldn’t have a gig to book and promote.

    But hey, I’m looking forward to tonight’s Trampoline and hearing future line-up announcements!

    Keep up the good work, bro, you’re easily booking some of the finest bills in Edinburgh on a regular basis.

  4. Man. What a lecture Phil! I admit I am impressed by the way you operated and the reasons behind why you operated in such a fashion. It’s highly commendable and I admire it.

    In terms of Trampoline we do far more than just book bands. However, there are no guarantees other than if the turn out is good then the money each artist receives will be good. Look at the crowd tonight, those artists will get a better pay day than they would have had we guaranteed them money!

    If you don’t mind me saying, whilst I admire you for agreeing to pay bands for their time, I also think it was complete insanity given how much you stood to lose. Sometimes, no matter how hard you push a show, it just doesn’t capture the imagination of people. In addition, in Edinburgh certainly, there’s often stiff competition from other nights – you should know, we cancelled Grouper together for that very reason, knowing we’d lose serious money no matter how much we pushed the show. Trampoline’s been screwed on a number of occasions because of this. Pure and simply people wanted to see other shows. And I’ve ended up forking out for the sound engineer out of my own pocket nevermind the artists playing. I don’t need that stress in my life. Money is tight enough. We work hard at Trampoline to promote shows and let as many people as possible know about what’s happening. And it costs time and money. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t. I think one of the main reasons for this is that we tend to go for artists who are less well known and who may not command an audience such as Meursault, Withered Hand, Broken Records. That is certainly the approach in 2010. Other promoters book bands who need a guarantee but will definitely bring a crowd. We do not. And won’t. It’s all about new artists for us. About finding the little gems. So no, we don’t do guarantees, but we’re good guys and I think we are fair too. Nothing feels better than seeing a crowd like tonight and knowing that the artists will get paid well. It makes it all worth it.

    As for the cost of being a musician mate, I disagree with you completely on that front. I don’t expect promoters money to help pay for my equipment. What??? Travel costs – sure, it would be nice to receive money to cover these things but at the end of the day, I never started playing or writing music to make money. If I were to be lucky enough to make a living from it then that would be brilliant but until we are actually bringing a crowd to shows I will never expect to be paid and I will never give a promoter grief for failing to pay me, unless of course there was an offer.

    Thanks for the nice comments man. It means a lot that people respect what Trampoline is doing. Hopefully we’ll keep putting on good shows in 2010 and keep the folk coming cause tonight was brilliant. What a turn out. Thanks to everyone who showed up.

  5. Hello,

    I’m all for the kind of promotion Phillip suggests. I think he asked us to play in Aberdeen once and we couldn’t do it. That sounds lovely, but it’s probably the exception to the norm.
    (P.S. I love Debutant).

    We played a gig tonight for a Glasgow based promoter. It was at Sneakys and it was rammed.

    We were a bit wary about tonight, because… well it’s Edinburgh… and there was lots on tonight. For once.

    I’m assuming Trampoline was busy tonight. Good lineup. Wish I was there.

    I’m going to assume that Edinburgh promoters have some issues about putting on gigs. Maybe I’m wrong, but a lot of the time people seem to just put on local bands. This isn’t a bad thing, but I assume it’s down to the perceived lack of ‘gig goers’.

    I might be getting away from my point… What was my point?

    Uh… I hate gigs where they expect you to sell tickets…? Who’s the promoter there?

    Gigs where they just expect you to turn up an play are lovely. I always assume some level of promotion from the ‘promoter’, but I also understand they’re putting up their own money if there’s no profit.

    There are some unscrupulous promoters out there. But I imagine it’s very hard to be fair without losing money.

  6. Michael, I think there is an issue with gig goers yes. Certainly in Edinburgh certain types of shows will do better than others. Certain bands will draw crowds. But part of being a promoter is having to be aware of the gigs that might not sell. For example, I’d love to put on Johann Johannsson this year, but it’s Edinburgh and I’m sure that no matter how hard I worked on promoting it, I’d never make the money he would be looking for as a guarantee.

    At the end of the day, whether you agree with Phil or with me I can probably guarantee neither of us have ever put on shows cause we need the hassle or stress. It’s cause we love doing it and love helping bands get good gigs and putting on good bands for people who love to go to gigs.

    The other thing I can guarantee is that neither of us ever make money from it and any money we do make goes straight back into the costs of running these nights.

  7. if you can’t afford to pay each band on any bill at least £20 then you shouldn’t put on the gig in the first place. bands should expect payment (and I’m not talking about beer here), because (for the most part) they deserve it and there are precious few ways of making back the hundreds/thousands which they’ve put up @from they’re own pockets’ for instruments/travel/rehearsal.

    it’s a matter of personal responsability more than anything.
    good intentions are one thing but it’s crazy to expect something for nothing. if you want a band to play than you should be able to pay them.

  8. couldn’t agree with phil more, if you don’t go out of your way to promote the bands playing your night to the absolute best of your ability then what purpose do you serve other than simply hiring the room and the soundman?

    i wish i could be as nice as others who’ve posted but this whole piece pisses me off massively.

  9. Money’s always a tricky subject. Because people have such varied ideas about what is ‘fair pay’.

    I’ve put on shows, with varying degrees of success. It’s hard work. I don’t think anyone understands how much stress it can be without going through it themselves. And it’s almost impossible to make any personal financial gain from it – unless you go into promotion with that sole aim.

    But one of the reasons I got into promotion in the first place is that I think all performers should get paid. It’s just a cost of putting on a show. When it gets to the end of the night and the venue ask for their hire charge, you can’t say “Oh sorry – we didn’t get enough people through the door tonight”. It doesn’t work like that. So why should it be any different for the artists? Incidentally, it’s also one of the reasons I no longer do it as a regular monthly night – as I didn’t have the time or resources required to keep getting busy shows each and every month.

    If eagleowl are playing a show, generally – I’ll ask for a guarantee. I’ll list the gig on our website and myspace. If it’s a gig I’m genuinely excited about playing, I’ll do a mail out or spread the word by facebook or whatever. But I won’t actively go out of my way to ensure that there’s a crowd at the show. I just don’t feel that’s my role as a performer.

    I’m not having a go Euan. It’s good that you’re up front with artists who play trampoline shows, and massive respect for putting together such great line-ups each and every month. And of course, it’s crap when bands get unrealistic ideas about how much they should be paid. But, for me personally, every artist that plays a show should get something. Even, as Neil says, it’s just £20 to cover travelling or rehearsal time or whatever.

  10. Bart, I agree with that in the sense that I want to pay every band. However, I’m not willing to guarantee money that I don’t have. I’m also not saying the role of the performer is to go out of their way to bring a crowd, in fact, if you read the article I say that I’d rather pay people who come along and play to nobody than people who just bring loads of mates along who don’t care about the music in any way but are just there to make up numbers.

    Mr Bear, for the record, we do promote the shows to the best of our ability. We print out flyers, we inform the press, we use all the web facilities available to us. We go out on the streets and hand out flyers after gigs and around the art college etc. We do everything we can with the time we have. And I always, always try to give people something for their time at the end of the night. And more than that, I want to. My point and what the article is about essentially is unrealistic expectation. I can’t always pay people what they want so I don’t guarantee anything.

    And – for the record, I tell people upfront that there is no guarantee and how Trampoline works. If they are not happy with that they can turn me down. They can say no. They don’t have to play the show. I would understand that completely. So maybe you should focus your anger on promoters who don’t care. Who want to make a quick buck. Who ask people to sell tickets to play. Or who don’t tell people there’s no money available. And not on the ones who actually care about putting on good shows, work hard to promote them and care about the bands they put on.

  11. You know, I’ve been thinking about this all morning now and some of the comments above have really pissed me off greatly, and that takes a lot. To summarise what I’m saying in the above article.

    1. Trampoline is a non-profit night. I lose money from it regularly. I don’t put shows on for personal gain.

    2. We make it very clear what the deal is before anyone agrees to play.

    3. If somebody is not happy with the deal on offer they have the right and, I respect their right to say no.

    4. I do believe that artists should get paid to play music. However, I cannot and will not guarantee everyone a fee. As a musician myself I am realistic and don’t expect to get paid all the time, nor do I ask for fees that I do not feel I can justify at this stage of my career.

    5. My problem is not with those who ask for a fee, but with those who agree to play our shows, having been informed of the way we operate, and then get pissed off when there’s no, or little, money for them.

    6. We bust a gut to put on good shows every month and to promote them properly through every means available to us. This costs me money, yet, I take none of this money back from the money we make on the door specifically to ensure that bands get paid. Sometimes, I don’t even get my float money back to ensure bands get paid.

    On top of all of this I’ve started a label to help support local artists, at my own financial risk, and help them pay for their music to get produced. So I take great offence at some of the comments above.

  12. i personally am more then happy to play a gig and not get paid. obviously if the night makes money i would expect to get paid. ive had experiences though where ive put on bands and ive promoted it to the greatest extent i could and youve got say one band who have done thier own promotion of the gig on top and brought in a good crowd and another band who havent bothered thier arses. now in this situation it makes you realise that yes its the promoters responsiblity to get the people in the door but surely some of it lies with the bands that are playing. IS it fair to pay the same to each band when one band havent sold a single tickets?

    id also just like to say here that for all everyone says how close knit and amazing the edinburgh music scene is. a lot of the time all i see is sniping, under hand comments and utter utter competition between bands and promoters alike. this is most definately made worse my the internet as people would not be anywhere near as rude to each other if they were standing face to face. i dont know about anyone else but it just kind of ruins the whole experience for me

  13. Everyone has their own opinions on how they think nights should be run which is fair enough what I don’t understand though is why it offends you so much Mr Bear.

    As Euan has stated he is upfront with all the bands when booking, if they decide not to play then thats their choice and there are no hard feelings.

    I also think its worth saying that Euan really does a damn lot for bands, putting them on at Trampoline, promoting them on this blog and now releasing their music on mini50. He does all of this with no financial reward (infact he often loses money) which, in my opinion, is a hell of a lot more than simply hiring a room and a soundman.

  14. I’m going to type out something without fully having read all the comments above… As a performer myself I don’t see how anyone can expect to get paid at grass roots level in Edinburgh.

    Perhaps I’m being stupid or naive but an independent promoter surely can’t guarantee bands cash when there’s no guarantee that money/punters will come through the door.

    I’d rather the promoter was around for the good of the local music scene rather than not around cos he can’t afford to put nights on. That doesn’t help the local scene?

    I appreciate the people spend lots of money putting bands together and buying equipment – in fact I’m acutely aware of the bottomless pit that is music making having spent a lot and made the sum total of fck all from music – but that’s just the territory.

    As far as I can see it, Trampoline is pretty fair – the deal is explained at the start and you decide whether to play on the deal offered.

  15. I was an independent promoter, yet I almost always guaranteed a fee to every single artist/band I put on. I’m STILL struggling to work out why you think it’s impossible for a DIY promoter to do that. DIY promoters up and down the entire length of the UK almost always guarantee a fee. I don’t think anyone is calling into question Euan’s level of support for unsigned/unheard of artists, and following Euan’s responses, I can’t help but feel he’s taken my initial response to this thread the wrong way. He’s taken it VERY personally. I was merely commenting that I used to work differently, but Euan got uncontrollably defensive – and I’m sorry I drew that out of him; it wasn’t intentional. Put simply, if a promoter promotes a gig – any gig – to the maximum potential, then there is an absolute guarantee that people will turn up. If you build it, people really WILL come. I started promoting somewhat naively, thinking a few posters around town and some online promo will do the trick

    Did it fuck.

    Once I developed a strategy for marketing, and created a budget for promotional materials for each show, I got to work on postering and flyering. Flyering is MASSIVE. Once I started flyering, I noticed my audiences doubled at the very least. And this was in Aber-fucking-deen. Edinburgh is considerably larger and culturally more aware, so the gig-going potential is absolutely fucking massive in this city. And I’ll tell you what, if you guarantee all your bands a fee, it makes you want to do all you fucking can to ensure those people come through the door.

    This has gone from what I hoped would be a constructive debate involving promoters and musicians about different methods of promoting, to a misguided debate about just how much Euan does for the local scene. I don’t think anyone doubts for a single second what he does – I, for one, have great respect for the work he puts in. I just felt the need to react to the original post because it contrasted to the way I operate as a promoter.

  16. No Phil, I never got defensive about what you said. I was happy to discuss the various ways to promote shows and I still am happy to do just that – I even posted a link on facebook and encouraged people to join in the debate.

    I think ultimately I make it clear from the word go the way Trampoline operates. You don’t have to agree with me. You and others clearly don’t. However, I am open and honest about how I operate from the word go. Artists have the choice. Play or don’t. No hard feelings. And most of the time, they probably make more than they would if we’d agreed a fee. For example, somebody who I’ve asked to play in March has asked for a figure which I genuinely think is less than he’d make if we did things my way. And you know what people do play. And they want to play. Even after hearing how we operate. And for the most part I have no trouble from anyone.

    I guess what troubled me was that my article wasn’t about whether I should or shoudln’t offer guarantees, it was about people who agree to play having been told there is no guarantee then get annoyed when we have nothing to offer. And that sometimes people expect too much.

    We genuinely have tried various methods of promoting. We have flyered extensively in the past. With no increase in numbers due to conflicting shows on the same night. I haven’t done posters for years cause I knew from the word go they were pointless. You know as well as I do how many nights can be happening on a Saturday. How many good gigs can take place on the same night in Edinburgh. Perhaps Aberdeen didn’t have this level of competition? I don’t know. But trust me, we have spent loads of time planning ways to increase numbers and nothing seems to guarantee people coming back. I take complete responsibility if a show fails and look at how I can better promote the next one. I’m not being defensive. I’m being honest.

    In no way was I offended by anything you said and I was very much keen to have a good discussion about this too, I see it as a positive way of improving Trampoline if I’m honest and would love to sit down over a pint and discuss how you did things further anytime you’re free.

  17. Actually, Aberdeen could be pretty savage for competition. I mean, when you hire out The Tunnels you’re competing with the other room in the same venue! They always have two gigs on! Some nights in Aberdeen could be especially horrendous, actually. Promoters needed to work more in sync with eachother up there – it would have helped all concerned.

    I actually don’t fancy trying my hand at promoting in Edinburgh and that’s largely due to the fact that the vast majority of small venues aren’t small enough. Or they’re crap yet expensive. Indeed, Edinburgh has a lot of work to do with regards to devoted venues. But that’s a subject for another time.

  18. Well that’s something we deal with every time we do a show man. We often have 2 or more shows on the same night with quality line ups. And it’s hard to work in sync with many Edinburgh promoters because they work out of venues bigger venues and loads of money to pump into promotion, that we just don’t. I understand that and deal with it.

    Life would be so much better if promoters worked together in Edinburgh. You just have to look at Trampoline and Song by Toad/Bowery having big things on the same night in December. That makes no sense for anyone. So it’s something I need to work on this year for sure.

  19. The idea (and hopefully execution) of promoters working together is a big positive to come from this thread. I am an advocate.

  20. Mate, this thread was never negative for me. Apart from the obvious.

    But yes, it’s something I think should happen. Planning as a group so that we don’t have a week of 3 gigs every night and then nothing the following week at all. It makes sense. I’d be very much up for such discussions.

  21. i suppose ultimately (after having calmed down a good deal) i just genuinely feel that trampoline could be promoted to greater extent whether thats online or off (at no extra cost or a great deal more time being spent). i’m not trying to ruffle feathers here it’s just how i honestly see it, and i still cannot see an argument for not paying a band a bare minimum fee, despite what’s been said above. yes it’s expensive putting on shows but it just doesn’t sit well with me to ask people to do something for (potentially) no benefit, no matter how nicely you put it.

  22. As a musician myself. I’d rather play to a crowd and not get paid than play to nobody and get paid. It’s lovely to get paid. It really is. However, if I go along and do a show to a crowd of folk and even 10 of them leave wanting to hear more that means more to me than a promoter offering me 20 quid. Obviously that’s just me though.

  23. for starters, ‘lovely’ is probably not the word I would use. the fact of the matter is that for the vast majority of performers payment is very much a priority. i only really have personal experience to draw upon here but for a long time i simply couldn’t have afforded to be in a band if it wasn’t for that £20. baring in mind, most musicians work pretty crumby, minimum wage jobs the actual cost of being in a band is immense in comparison. and yes, in theory it would make me happier to play to a packed out room for nothing than an empty one for a fee, but what’s it worth if the next time you’re offered a gig and you seriously have to consider whether or not you can afford to play it…i apologise if this sounds like exageration but i promise you this is a reality which a great deal of bands face and is a major cause for a lot of them splitting up well before their time. also, i’m sorry if feelings have been hurt on this thread but at the same time, you can’t write this kind of article and not expect a heated response from someone.

  24. i completely understand bands wanting to be paid for gigs but i wouldnt say that the majority of venues or promoters guarantee a fee. what does annoy me sometimes is when weve brought a lot of people along and been paid less money than the so called more established band who never attracted anyone to actually come to see them play. when i started promoting the first thing i did was to talk to lots of other promoters working in edinburgh to find out how they ran thier nights to make sure i wasnt ripping anyone off etc. the vast majority of promoters i spoke to said that if they hadnt made any money and if the band had not asked for a guaranteed fee then they would not pay the band out of thier own pocket. i really do understand both sides of the debate but i dont think it should be made personal.

    Also i think this would be a good time to have a go at people who ask bands to actually guarantee tickets sales. It really pisses me of that theyre are promoters and venues out there who feel it is the soul responsibility of the band to sell tickets. There is a multi venue festival being planned at the moment in edinburgh where the smaller bands on the bill are being told to guarantee twenty ticket sales in order to fund the prior payment of the signed bands on the bill. To me this is an absolute outrage. the question of whether or not a promoter should guarantee a fee for every act i guess differs from person to person depending on thier personal experiences, but the whole pay to play thing must surely bring us together in a united hatred!

  25. to be fair, it would be hard for the debate not to turn personal at some point given that the original article concerns Euans own night.

    and yes, pay to play should have gone with the dinosaurs. i remember one promoter (years ago) actually confiscated our guitars when it transpired that we wouldn’t be able to pay up. sickos.

  26. To be fair, it really didn’t have to get personal mate. What you’re saying has nothing to do with my article but about your opinion on whether artists should get paid or not for performing. I was merely upset about people who turn up to trampoline, having agreed the deal, then thrown a tantrum cause they never got any money. Sure, I could have expressed my views more clearly in the piece (red wine), but I never got personal or slagged anyone off directly.

    You turned that into Trampoline isn’t well enough promoted and all we do is book a room and sound engineer.

    Quite frankly I’m a bit surprised by you. But if that’s your opinion. Fair enough. I am not hurt by your words.

    Michael -agreed. Pay to play is a disgrace.

  27. I think the question being batted about here is really about where you think the role of the promoter lies.

    For me, it’s not unreasonable for bands to expect a financial gesture to go towards travel and expenses. The grassroots bands I’m familiar with don’t seem to be populated with fantasists who expect to make a huge profit each time they perform. Quite the opposite; they seem to expect to be out of pocket by the end of the night regardless. That’s why I think they appreciate – and are right to expect – any gesture that might help reduce the size of that hole in their pocket.

    I also agree with the point raised earlier that bands are correct to expect a little more from a promoter than just booking a room and a soundman, and telling them to get on with it. They can do that themselves. This talk about the promoter expecting the bands to bring ticket-buyers to the venue, and then dividing any profits left over after everything else has been paid for at the end of the night is a red herring if you ask me.

    A key part of the promoter’s role is to have the savvy and local knowledge to put together line-ups that will by themselves go some way toward filling a room in that town. The system works by putting the more popular bands on at the top of the bill – and in big letters on the posters and flyers – so that their established fan-base and following will turn up when they find out about the gig, and then getting those posters and flyers out there in public – along with the MySpace groups and the Facebook updates and the mailing lists and so on. That way the smaller bands in the support slots hopefully pick up a few fans, sell a couple of EPs off the merch desk, and begin to build their own profile.

    Every band who are at the top of a bill today were at the bottom end of a hell of a lot more bills not long ago, so they know the craic. There is the odd unfortunate exception, but most bands who can fill a room today are usually generous and encouraging toward the acts who are supporting them that night, because they remember being in that position themselves, and won’t object to a fair distribution of the profits at the end of the night.

    However, if the promoter puts three unknown bands on a bill and no fucker turns up, they can’t blame – or penalise – those three bands who have turned up and played in good faith.

    And, sorry Euan, but being well-known in the arse-end of fucking Finland or somewhere doesn’t mean you’ll fill a room in Edinburgh.

    In much the same way, I agree with Michael’s point about promoters asking bands to guarantee a certain number ticket sales being outrageous. That again is simply a cop-out for the promoter, and an excuse for them not to fully carry out the task they’ve taken on for themselves, and instead to shirk some of the responsibility that comes with it.

    Promoting’s not an easy job, and I have every respect for the people who get off their arse and do it; and in particular for Trampoline which I do believe is run as an admirably altruistic venture to support grassroots bands, and as such is a valuable component of the Edinburgh calendar – but if you’re going to take the task of promotion on for yourself you have to be realistic about how you approach it.


    i fail to see how i’ve gone off topic in any way or sunk to ‘slagging’ anyone off?

    in the article you clearly state how trampoline operates and i responded by saying that i didn’t think the amount of promotion that went into the nights justified that kind of system (albeit in a few more words).

    and just to remove any confusion, the word ‘you’, as in ‘what purpose do you serve other than simply hiring the room and the soundman?’ was used in the general sense and not meant as a direct critism of yourself.

    peace out

  29. Dylan, you made really good points all the way through there til your comment about the arse end of Finland. What you on about??? I said I wouldn’t put Johann Johannsson on here cause I knew he wouldn’t fill a room in Edinburgh. Is your point therefore that I know what I’m doing?!

    Other than that. Really good post mate.

  30. Whenever you put on someone I’m not familiar with or don’t like at Trampo I always think they must be from Scandinavia somewhere.

    Those bloody Scandinavians!

  31. Haha. Maybe Iceland mate.

    Neil – I do as much promotion as I can with the resources and time I have. I think people forget I have a baby which means I have barely anytime for anything. I have others on board now and we do flyers every month. So I really don’t know what more we can do with the money and resources we have – maybe rather than criticising you could suggest? The deal is simple though. If you don’t want to play then don’t.

  32. i understand what you’re saying there euan but it’s kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you’re saying you don’t have the time to devote to trampoline when you play in 3 (4?) bands, write a blog (which, given my social circle i have a fair old idea how much time it can eat up), are setting up your own label (a full time job in itself if done properly, even with two people at the helm) work a full time job (a proper one at that) and have a wife and kid at home. this really IS NOT me having a go, more just wondering how anyone could do all these things and hope to do right by each one of them?

    here’s a few suggestions…

    magazine listings- it’s seldom i see trampoline listed in either the skinny, the list, student papers etc

    facebook groups- i’ve seen a few for the higher profile gigs (such as trespassers william) but not for the smaller bills and still they tend to be a little thin on details (bios, links etc).

    having the blog centered more on trampoline- i know this is something you already tend towards, but a weekly or fortnightly supplement would make sense.

    a well maintained myspace page- regular poster artwork in place, mp3’s of each band available to browse on the player

    regular press invites- this would mean guestlists, but it’s a small price to pay for the exposure.

    introducing a minimum fee – ok, before you think ‘oh no, not this can of worms again’ here me out… i understand what you’re saying with the whole ‘by not having a fee it means the artist may end up making more’ thing, however, if fee’s are in place and you still make more than expected then no one would grudge that cash going back into trampoline, therein creating a budget for the next night, be it a higher profile touring band, slightly nicer promotional bumpf, or just a safety net should things not go so well. it’s never going to be a massive amount , i appreciate that, however (excuse the corny saying here) a little can go a long way if used sensibly.

  33. Ok. First point. I play in 1 band. If you didn’t know I got sacked from Woodenbox ages ago and Mammoeth never play live. So yeah. 1 band. The blog. Sure, it takes up time but I’m in the flat most evenings these days so it’s no big deal. Same applies to the label. I’m taking small steps with this anyways so it’s not like it gets in the way. The biggest obstacle to promotion is not having the time to get out there and flyer for myself. But i have people willing to do that for me now. And it’s been happening.

    Your other suggestions are appreciated.

    I approached the press ages ago. The Skinny have said on numerous occasions they’d post something and never have. Other magazines asked for fees, which I didn’t have to give them.

    Facebook groups – since I began using facebook there’s been an event created for EVERY trampoline show, not just the higher profile ones. Maybe I need to do links better to the bands but there’s always a group and always invites to all 400 odd trampoline group members.

    I don’t want to centre the blog completely on Trampoline but I have started trying to do artist profiles in the build up to each show. January being an exception. So I do try.

    Myspace is a good point – noted. Get a bit sloppy on that front I admit.

    The press do get invited. They were there on Saturday. Often they choose to go to other things that are on on a Saturday.

    As for minimum fees. We just have to agree to disagree here I’m afraid mate.

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