Protest Against the Exploitation of Musicians

A week today (Sunday 29th April) there will be a protest in George Square against the exploitation of musicians via schemes such as pay to play. A lot of people have showed their support already such as the Musicians Union, Martin Taylor MBE and countless young, hard working musicians and of course, myself.

What Is Pay to Play?
Pay to play is exactly what it sounds like. It is when bands and artists pay to play venues. Be it unfair ticket splits, handing an upfront fee to the venue/promoter before playing or having to sell a certain amount of tickets before a gig is guaranteed.

It’s an unfair practice that a lot of young, inexperienced bands fall victim to and one that this protest aims to completely abolish.

What Will Happen At the Protest?

It’s a friendly, peaceful protest. So friendly and peaceful in fact that we’ll be singing two songs, Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay and Stand By Me. There will be a4 sheets of paper with slogans printed on them being handed out along with safety pins if you don’t have the time/resources to put a slogan on your own t-shirts.

It starts at 1pm in George Square, there will be guest speakers, musicians everywhere you look and a LOT of people looking to make a change within Glasgow’s music scene. All you need to do is turn up and sing along!



  1. Having played gigs in an original music band, and having put on bands for a venue I feel a balance has to be made. The promoter should not be made to pay the whole fee to put on a, say 3 band, gig. He (or she) needs to pay a soundperson and doorperson to check tickets/ take entry fee. That in itself will run to approx. £100 say.
    The venue itself needs to pay adequate barstaff over a period of, say, 4 hours. That’ll come to approx. £50 for 2 staff.
    The promoter him/herself should reasonably pocket a minimum of £40 an evening (that sound fair enough for arranging the gig and being present throughout the evening?)
    That’s £190.
    That’s £63.33 per band for a 3 band bill.

    So, question is how that money gets made to cover these costs?

    Answer must be door-money/ ticket sales and drink sales.

    So, entry to a gig is £5 per head, say, on average.

    If the bands pull 10 people each then everyone breaks even. If they pull more then yeah I see a reason for a band to make a little money but otherwise why should a band get money?

    There are FAR TOO MANY bands in Glasgow pulling less than 10 people to their shows that are expecting not to contribute financially in some way to their stage time.
    If you regularly pull less than 10 people to your shows maybe it’s a sign of the times or maybe it’s because you’re just not worth watching so why should the poor promoter have to front the bills while you play to the club’s staff (and they wish you’d rather not!).

    The bands themselves need to do groundwork. Gather fans and make music that people WANT to hear. Then the rewards will come.

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