A letter to Gray and his Boston Posse..
In regards to Tournado and specifically Gray's comment on Facebook. First off, I appreciate you reaching out in a civil way. I've been a full time musician for almost 15 years, I've been sold snake oil many times, and am a huge proponent about getting what you're worth as an artist. I would like to say, though, that I disagree with everyone that's arguing that paying $7 to submit for a chance to open for Alpha Rev for free, or any other semi successful band is crooked, shady, or unfair. I'd like to address this scenario from my own perspective and story. I started out as a band that drew nobody. I had no one but my friends coming to my shows and that was not putting any bread on the table. It wasn't until I networked with bigger bands than me that I began to understand how they did it, how they created a full time career out of it. Since then, I've personally paid $1000's to open for bigger bands than me. It's a really great way to build your audience, especially when there is technology out there like www.skaflash.com to help you get in touch with your new fans. Lastly, clubs and established acts don't want to take chances on a band that can't prove their draw at a venue, and just like gaining credit, paying taxes, or doing a residency at a hospital, this is just one great way to begin to prove that.
Charging a band to play in this sense is not making anyone rich, and it's a small price to pay for real exposure. You know who's making money? It's not me!! Companies like Sxsw, and every other conference you pay to play. I've paid to play many of them. The only reason you should ever pay for any of this is to gain new fans, and then try and monetize it, making your money back by selling them your music or a ticket to your own show. It's an artists version of paying for advertising! In this particular case, this isn't the shitty club or band trying to take advantage of musicians like I've seen done before, especially in LA or NYC.. it's a new business model that I thought overall was a good idea when they approached me. It's about the long game.
I am concerned, however, with the fine print you mentioned, I was unaware of that, and I will talk to them over the next few days to change the language to be something that has more protection for the artist. I'm sure their intent was to protect themselves, but it needs a ceiling to it in terms of rights. The company ended up pulling out of the offer in Boston yesterday after much push back from a handful of Boston musicians, I know they had quite a few submissions in the first day and I'm sure they will be refunding that money. At the end of the day, we could talk about labels, booking agents, pub companies, and managers as well.. Have you seen THOSE contracts? They're ALL so one sided and the artist gives up a lot... Which I have more than once.. And continue to.... Some I've regretted, and some I haven't. I believe we all have to give up something to get what we want, and it's up to us individually to decide where we draw the line, and what the market will bear in terms of our worth as professional musicians. At the moment, I'm most concerned about streaming royalties, they're undermining all artists and we are doing very little about it. Other than the "fuck you's" I've gotten about this tournado thing , it has been cool to see artists that care about their rights in Boston. I hope my perspective will have some affect, and I appreciate Gray's tone. Would love to meet any of you at the show at Great Scott and would be happy to put you on the list :)