Would everyone that was forced to play, please stand up!

I chose to write this post on this blog (as opposed to our others) as this one’s about making money the right way, and I think that’s relevant here.

music on the Coke side of life - Capitalistpunk.com
(Shamless inclusion, by way of full disclosure, of a graphic from a vid we made for the gig)

The Chiz, one of my fav local bloggers has ranted (whined) about SA bands not getting paid for My Coke Fest. His argument is that while this is an international trend, SA’s music scene is nothing near what the UK and US have (in terms of global impact – I point I agree with) and as such should have it’s own set of rules.

Fair enough.

I just don’t see why this is one of the issues that should be addressed. I see this as a great marketing and PR opportunity for the bands. The bands seem to agree, as I had more than a few call me and ask me to tell my contacts that they’d happily play for free just to get on the bill. Lots of local bands – a very small bill. It’s the law of supply and demand at play here – and it’s working.

A few other points and comments bothered me.

“…after G&R cancelled and put god alone knows how many millions back into the promoters pockets, they decided to replace them with local acts, God bless them.”

Dude! You make like this was their cunning master plan and turn the promoters into the money-grabbing bad guys. The first thing they did, very publicly, was refunded anyone who wanted one – I know of at least two groups that got their cash back. That alone should have been enough. Adding the local bands was, I think, an great touch for the audience that showed the the promoters give a shit. If you want to be pissed with anyone here it should be G&R – this is not an isolated incident, they’re famous no-shows.

“It’s a little known fact for example that, when Arno Carstens supported REM, he had to FLY himself and HIS WHOLE band to each of the gigs, as well as play for free. Now clearly his management thought this was worth it for the exposure.”

Exactly – they did, and it was. Otherwise they wouldn’t have done it again. You’re complaining on behalf of people that don’t want you complaining bro.

As for the comments:
“I was surprised that the compensation the organisers gave for GNR not playing was a voucher for a coke!!!!!!”

Actually, the voucher for the Coke was part of the plan months ago. The compensation for G&R was a full no-questions-asked refund.

“Whilst waiting on the side of the stage after Evanesence, the crew started packing up the rig, and after about ten mins, they were simply told that if they started their set, the fest would go over curfew! So no gig for the guys and a wasted trip to Cape Town and no reimbursement! Shocker!”

Yeah, that sucks a bit. But check the facts, CT municipality shut down the show – not the promoter. The reason there was a band after Evanescence btw is because they refused to be last on the bill.

“If the people who are supposed to pay us for our labour (performing on a stage to support their business interest is, in fact, labour) refuse to pay us, who exactly are we supposed to sell our music and skills to?”

Who pays companies to advertise their products on TV? No one, this is the same thing – marketing for the local bands, and a great experience.

“Threaten to take the promoter to labour court should the MMFSA find out that he “employed” any musician in violation of at least the minimum wage / casual employee law. “Exposure” is an unquantifiable fee – it is a modern-day dop-system, which incidentally, is punishable by law.”

Great idea, do that – the bands will not thank you when they’re never invited to play at a major show again. Wake up.

“Bands have the right to accept or decline the offer from promoters and they aren’t forced to play. All this talk of slavery and extortion is total bullshit – SA bands should be thanking the promoter for putting them on the bill. “

Finally, some sense.

“Oh and one more thing: The live show is the event, the album is the by product.”

Dude, you are so wrong on all fronts. For now anyway, even for the biggest acts, going on the road is the promotional tour for the CD. Just like an author’s book tour (they don’t get paid either btw, even the big boys).

As far as I’m concerned the bands have a choice, a very simple choice: an offer is on the table if you don’t like the offer, don’t take it. What a great, democratic world we live in.

One very last point, promoting concerts is a money making business, not an arty-farty one. That’s not a bad thing.

Deal with it…!

Rich Punk

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