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OT: Being asked to waive fee to play benefit event.. Grrr!!


EscapeRocks

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I know this has been discussed here before, but it's now starting to hit us.

 

We are getting requests from various charity/benefits to play for free. Of course they're using us to get a big draw.

 

They always end their pitch with, ".....exposure...."

 

Yeah, okay. I always think, "you've seen our 2014 calendar? We're doing okay without your exposure...besides, people die from exposure, so we charge extra for that :) "

 

 

Are the caterers doing it for free? What about the waitstaff, and other behind the scenes people. Paying them? The venue. Is it being provided free of charge?

 

The answer is always no. They're paying for all of the above.

 

So they'd really like it if we would play a full show for free.

 

Ummm...no.

 

[/rant]

 

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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So they'd really like it if we would play a full show for free.

 

Ummm...no.

 

We've only played free at benefits (same benefit twice) for friends of our band. That was actually very enjoyable, and the free dinner(s) was excellent.

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Ummm...no.

:thu:

 

If you play the gig, you are not playing for free. You are taking a loss!

 

Who is paying for the travel expenses, the time, the opportunity cost of NOT playing another gig for pay?

 

It's such a hard slap in the face when they play the "Exposure" card.

 

It would be one thing to ask you to perform for a reduced rate, but they want you to do this at no charge. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

 

Why is it that most of the time these charity/benefit organizers think only of themselves in the guise of doing it all for charity?

 

Baloney. :mad:

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Two solutions...

 

Decide how many charity jobs you are willing to do a year. When you reach that number tell people you will put them on the list for next year.

 

Decide block-out days or periods. Fridays, Saturdays, Thanksgiving through New Year, etc... Times that will not interfere with the band's survival income.

This post edited for speling.
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Or alternatively (and this works out here, not sure about the US) agree to do the gig, but get them to invoice you so you can then "donate" the fee, and if they are a registered charity you can then claim the fee back as a legitimate tax write-off.

 

Out here any donations made to a registered charity count as a tax deduction to the final amount of tax paid.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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One of the bands I play in did a run of these a few years back. Always for a good cause, but after a while it gets old. The last one that came up had something to do with a kid's charity, but it was a good sized organization that I knew could at least pay a reduced rate, but wasn't interested in doing that. It came up for a vote and several members including myself said "no, not this time, sorry". The drummer pipes up with 'Aw c'mon man....you've got healthy kids!" My response was, "yes, they ARE healthy, mostly because I can afford to feed them".....
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Opportunity cost. If you can play a gig that day for $x,xxx.xx, then taking a free gig is COSTING you the $x,xxx.xx you would have made someplace else.

 

I was glad in my old band I didn't have to deal with that stuff - our booking agent handled all those requests. I didn't realize how many were coming in. He told me on time that he got 3-4 calls PER WEEK asking us to do charity gigs.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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David,

 

Understand the frustration with this. Some charities are able to pay and others are not. Your scenario with much of the event REQUIRING paid services indicates this particular charity is the former and therefore trying to use you.

 

My approach would be to evaluate each request and then decide if it's worth it for reasons you and your band mates determine is worthwhile (good cause, exposure, for a family member, etc.).

 

Otherwise I wouldn't get torqued over it and just simply say "No". Not worth the emotional energy and no one can make you do a charity gig.

 

Greg

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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How about with these provisos you would agree to do some:

Agreed upon charities, in my case

things related to children suffering, are a biggie for me

They pay all expenses for transportation etc

You are permitted to bow out last minute if a real gig comes up, or they pay the difference.

Choose a time of day that does not interfere as much

do shorter set.

Lot of provisos eh!

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I know this has been discussed here before, but it's now starting to hit us.

 

We are getting requests from various charity/benefits to play for free. Of course they're using us to get a big draw.

 

They always end their pitch with, ".....exposure...."

 

Yeah, okay. I always think, "you've seen our 2014 calendar? We're doing okay without your exposure...besides, people die from exposure, so we charge extra for that :) "

 

 

Are the caterers doing it for free? What about the waitstaff, and other behind the scenes people. Paying them? The venue. Is it being provided free of charge?

 

The answer is always no. They're paying for all of the above.

 

So they'd really like it if we would play a full show for free.

 

Ummm...no.

 

[/rant]

 

Vent away, David. It's annoying.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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which charity?

 

Any of them out here - as long as they are a government registered/recognised charity.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Rant on, David.

 

If they have the nerve to ask, they can go [verb] themselves. If I'm in a nasty mood as usually am, I might [verb] them myself.

 

I'd like to know who's asking so I can put them on my $#!t list.

 

--wmp
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Or alternatively (and this works out here, not sure about the US) agree to do the gig, but get them to invoice you so you can then "donate" the fee, and if they are a registered charity you can then claim the fee back as a legitimate tax write-off.

 

Out here any donations made to a registered charity count as a tax deduction to the final amount of tax paid.

 

In the US, unless you have actual "cash out of pocket" costs for donating services to a qualified organization, you can't (legally) claim that as a deduction. Meaning you can't say "well we each usually get $xxx amount for a gig, so we can each deduct". There's a lot of tax code on this subject, but it is mostly common sense.

 

On the other subject, I do think it's important to donate some of my time to a cause I am passionate about. I volunteer to DJ and/or play for my son's Scouting Pack.. everyone else gets the rate card when they ask about my services. :)

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A band I played with last year did like 4 or 5 benefit shows - legitimate charities that did give us exposure, even some TV news blurbs. Then, in August, got talked into another. The did like zero advertising or promotion. Our "exposure" was closing the show to about 6 people wandering around the town square wondering what the hell was going on. Sorry to say, we took an attitude of "what's in it for us?" From then on.
Formerly âChiefDanGâ - nobody calls me chief anymore.
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Oh, we always very politely decline. Also, I'm not that torqued about it.

 

It's more of a sounding out rant. It gets me when I find out all the other services are being paid, even of at a reduced rate, yet they expect the music for free.

 

We have done some benefits along the way for friends or friends of other bands to raise money for cancer treatments, etc...

 

In those cases it's usually four or five local bands getting together to help a brother and we all chip in, sharing backline, sound people, etc..

 

I actually sit on the board of two well run charitable organizations, so I understand budget constraints. However, we have never asked for a band or dj for free.

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I'll never understand why musicians are the first to get cut from the budget. That server walking around with the shrimp platter hasn't been perfecting the angle of his or her tray for the past 5 to 50 years. (And I've worked in food service, so I feel like I can make that judgement.)

 

I'm also always surprised at how event organizers think it's our first time doing this stuff. As you say, David, you sit on boards. I have too, I'm sure many of us are or have been. It's not like we don't know what a budget is, or a fundraiser, or what we're worth, or... :deadhorse:

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Are the caterers doing it for free? What about the waitstaff, and other behind the scenes people. Paying them? The venue. Is it being provided free of charge?

 

The answer is always no. They're paying for all of the above.

 

 

I've been to many charity events where restaurants/caterers have have donated staff and food. We have a high-end bakery down the street and I know they are constantly asked for free goods, which they often decline, but also sometimes donate. There is an annual event where chefs donate time in a sort of food-network style cook-off and all the proceeds go to a charity.

 

I sympathize with your dilemma. I'm sure you've done your share and you have to draw the line somewhere. Part of the problem is the way that people ask ...the "exposure" part is kind of insulting. They want something for free and they are trying to rationalize it for you.

 

I find that part of the issue is the cognitive dissonance these requests produce: most of us like to think we are giving/caring members of society, but we also have to protect the bottom line. I would suggest getting an agreement within the band on how many charity events you are willing to do each year (and that number could be zero). Then agree on a strategy: maybe there is a worthy cause that you would be willing to do every year ...or maybe two where you alternate years. Or maybe you take the first worthy request you get within a 6 month period. Whatever. Then you just tell people: we have allocated a percentage of our schedule to charity work and we don't have any more slots.

 

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There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

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I have played a benefit concert just last night, with a band I play with occasionally. The band's singer recently lost her mother from cancer, and she has started an association with the goal of organizing benefit events, to finance cancer research.

We have known that singer for 20 years, so we knew that the event was genuine. Plus, she didn't ask us to play for free, just with a reduced compensation. We did it without thinking twice.

 

Generally, I have no problem playing benefits IF I have nothing else to do, at a couple of conditions:

- Not for free, unless it's for close friends. Even a small compensation will do.

- I'm suspicious of big benefit events, as sometimes only a fraction of the proceeds reaches the intended recipient. I need precise information.

 

 

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Oh, we always very politely decline. Also, I'm not that torqued about it.

 

...........It's more of a sounding out rant. It gets me when I find out all the other services are being paid, even of at a reduced rate, yet they expect the music for free.

 

With this I must agree, it would be okay if everyone was donating time. I/we do several charity gigs, but they are run on that basis (all those involved are giving of their time) with the only thing being deducted from proceeds is any actual costs that cannot be avoided.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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That's kind of what I was getting at. We very much believe in giving back, and I've told stories over the years here of doing so.

 

It's the attitude of "it's just music they'll do it for free" that gets me, when all else is budgeted.

 

Some of our best shows yearly are benefits in which we accept a discounted rate, as do the other service providers. Those groups don't even think of asking for services for free.

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I try to only concern myself with that which I can influence and control. Being asked to play for free - is really NOT a big deal in and of itself. Sure, those that ask are usually pretty clueless about what they're REALLY asking that a "free" band to provide. But, you can't blame them for asking. It's a case of nothing ventured nothing gained.

 

I do have complete control over how I respond to the request. A simple "I'm sorry, but we only play for clients who pay us" has never failed me yet.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Possible solution....

 

Ask the charity to pay you in full. You agree to deduct your expenses and make a contribution to the charity for the difference.

 

If they have a problem with that, you are being screwed.

 

I've done something similar....book the gig at the normal rate and encourage band members to donate a portion of their cut. But no guarantees to the charity - it's a personal choice for each member.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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If the cause is good, then benefits are a pleasure to play. They foster a feeling of community among the local players. They can lead to legendary jams. For example, did anyone catch the Musicares tribute to Neil Young that was on TV a couple days ago?

 

If money is tight, and/or the cause isn't great, and/or you feel pressured to do a freebie, then it's not so much of a pleasure.

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My rule is one benefit per year. The band has full understanding of this. We have a benefit on Feb 1st for a loyal fan and that's the last one the rest of the year. If the band wants to do another benefit, they do it without me.

 

The exposure sales pitch is a farce. Exposure doesn't pay for the fuel to get to the venue, doesn't pay for the roof over my head, doesn't pay for my time consumed during the day...

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One of my bands was recently asked to play a benefit dinner for an organization that uses local green spaces to make gardens for low-income families, something I actually would support. This benefit dinner was being catered by a local fine-dining restaurant, and the cost was $60/ticket. Of course, we were asked to play for free. When I pointed out that it felt a little ridiculous that they were charging so much for tickets, the organizer told me, " we didn't budget for a band, we just figured we'd find a band for free." And they did, they got a bluegrass band to do the event.

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It's a keeper

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