Sometimes pubs and other venues that play live music will ask you for a discount. It can be a great way to get your foot in the door, or help you fill your online calendar. However, you need to be careful that you’re not giving away money for nothing.
As musicians and entertainers, what we do and the services we provide have a significant value. The exact value depends on how good you are and how well you promote yourself, amongst other things. The more you perform, the more you will find your niche and determine your “going rate”. However, sometimes it may be tempting, or even necessary, to accept a discounted rate. Here are five things to consider before you do:
1 - Is there a Long Term Benefit? When you give a discount, you’re taking money straight out of your wallet. So you need to ask yourself; is there a long term benefit to doing it, such as plenty more repeat gigs?
2 - Are They Just Chancing Their Arm? Everyone loves getting a discount. Sometimes you need it, and other times you’ll just chance your arm. Publicans are no different. You have to decide whether you need to drop your price to get the gig, or whether they’re playing Dell Boy with you.
3 - Are you a Busy Fool? It’s great to have a full calendar, and regularly giving discounts can help ensure that. But being busy gigging for less than you’re worth is selling yourself short. If your discount is anyway significant, you are better off sticking to your rates, and doing less gigs for the same money.
4 - Is the Gig Worth it? Every Gig you do has monetary costs associated with it. In addition to travel and other expenses, your time and abilities have a value. Even if you’re someone who loves gigging for the sake of it, you have to ask yourself; are my time and talents being taken advantage of?
5 - You’re Setting a Precedent Once you give someone a discount, they know they can get it again. If you get a name for being cheap, then that’s how people will view you, and your fees and the respect you get, will reflect that!
Discounts are not a bad thing. Used properly they can be very effective. But used incorrectly, they can damage your Act’s prospects, and those of your peers too!