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Fomo Sapiens
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:49 pm
Posts: 6
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:04 pm 

I'm writing a piece for an online media outlet about the metal industry, and I want to get some input from current musicians. One aspect I want to focus on is pay-to-play tours, or tour 'buy-ons'. For those musicians lucky enough not to have come across the phenomenon, it is a practice whereby supporting slots on tours go to the highest bidder, usually to subsidize the headline band. For more information see here.

From the broader view, it is an unsurprising consequence of the saturation of the market. Anyone can write and record music on their laptop - the bottleneck is still in touring, and so there is a broad customer base from which companies can make money.

It is often passed off as capitalism doing its job, but in reality, it is a barefaced extension of vanity publishing. It's very common, even with well-established bands. Here is what Daniel Dlimi of Aeon had to say when he quit after a 2013 tour. Relevant excerpt: "I simply can't afford doing this no more. To tour with a band in our size, you actually lose money on each and every tour."

I supported Daniel on that tour and my band, who were already signed, paid a not insubstantial amount of money to get on the binliner slot. There were three bands in total and Aeon headlined every show; we thought Aeon were making money on the deal, so Daniel's statement shocked me as much as anyone.

What I want to know is: does anyone else have direct experience of pay-to-play? Maybe you run a promotions company and ask musicians to do it.

I'm hoping to find out how long it has been the norm, and maybe get some other perspectives.

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