Free entrance... To hell
'The best things in life are free' is absolutely not true in the context of consumer culture. Free things are valued much less than the ones you actually pay for. And that’s why free entrance to clubs and events leads to nowhere, even if the initial idea is usually different.
Here are a few usual arguments for free entrance (and guest lists, by the way). Disclaimer: I’m not talking about weekday bar events that usually consist of a DJ and two decks. That’s another category. Below is focused on Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes Thursdays, anything with a lineup longer than one line and music louder than laptop speakers. I must admit I have used some of the arguments myself, but hey, he that is without sin…
If I save on entrance, I’ll be able to buy more drinks and raise the profit for the bar. What’s the difference in the balance books?
Some bars operate like that, and yes, then there’s no difference financially. Some offer artists a profit from the door, and that’s where the argument becomes invalid. Mathematically. Let me get to the logical and even moral side of it. Do you mean you actually prefer alcohol than culture? Did you actually just say it out loud?
If the events are free of charge, I am able to visit a few in one night and I am not obliged to stay.
Yeah, that’s also true in mathematical sense. But then people just browse all night because they’re not committed. I don’t think any artist prefers a crowd that keeps mutating and listeners that don’t even bother taking their jackets off, because hey, they’ll be checking that other party soon. Events are intended to be consumed as a whole. From start to finish. People invest their energy in that. Some artists probably don’t care because they just want to play and get paid if they’re lucky. But those are called street musicians.
The artists are not worth my money.
I see. But you’d go if you were on the guest list, and if you go, you enjoy it in the end, right? Have you noticed it’s nicer to spend your time in the right ambience, when the music is carefully selected and the sound quality is good? So maybe in the end a DJ, a host or an artist is a bit more valuable than a pirate CD and laptop speakers? Or are we coming back to the alcohol argument again?
OK, but I don’t have any money I could spend on culture.
Earn some. Or download some from the internet, you know how to do it, right?
I’m a promoter and I have to make the entrance free because others do it, and I have to compete.
Yes, it’s usually best to copy others. Maybe it’s actually worth closing down, all together, because that’s what some people do. Aren’t there any other means of competition? Oh, right, they involve imagination and some work.
I mean we’ll just lure people in with free entrance, and after some time, when they like the place, we will charge them.
If they are used to enter for free, how are you supposed to charge them later? That’s like super inflation, and nobody likes that. And, by the way, there will be places around that still won’t charge.
I keep asking myself what people want to pay for these days. They don’t want to pay for the entrance, they don’t want to pay for the abums, but they do like to have a drink and some smokes and then tip for that. Yes, music might be lower in the basic pyramid of needs. There’s nothing I can do about it. But then the promoters and venue owners shouldn’t pretend they are patrons of culture when music is just means to attract bar customers. When nobody cares if the artist is comfortable, and the sound is good, and the design of the poster is beautiful.
The prices for events that feature foreign artists in Lithuania can’t be any lower because foreign artists don’t usually have geographically, politically and economically different fees (that would be nice though). And, trust me, Lithuanian promoters spend a lot of time explaining the current tax system and economical situation in our country to the agents. But it’s only fair that an artist can choose a place that pays him more money, because, as the record sales are symbolic, gigs are his main source of income.
To put long story short, nobody rides for free. It’s either you, the sponsor or the promoter who has to cover all the costs. And the promoter, well, he also has to eat something. But that’s another topic.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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