Great. Bring more people. Consistently.

Then you have leverage. You have what every club owner wants and they know it and you can prove it.

If a club owner or promoter has 38 bands who can bring in 25 people on average and who are willing to do it for less than you then why would they pay you more?

Sure, there are some restaurants that will pay you to entertain their crowd, but if you’re an upcoming band playing original music then you can be pretty sure that’s not what you’re being paid for. Most clubs are paying you for one things – to bring people through the door so they can sell more booze.

It’s a business. You don’t choose a surgeon because you like them. You choose one because they’re good at their job. Same thing with a club owner or promoter choosing a band for a prime spot and paying them well. Your job is to get people through the door so they can make more money. If you can help them make more money then they will pay you more money.

Unfortunately, like anything worthwhile, it’s always more difficult to build an audience and get more people through the door than we imagine it to be. So our minds start playing tricks on us and we confuse the equation and we start getting frustrated by the wrong things – because it’s always easier to blame someone else than it is look at ourselves and change and improve.

So we end up passing around memes like this that are complete bullshit:


Wrong, wrong and wrong. You do not get paid for how much you rehearse or how far you have to lug your gear or how many lessons you took. None of that is valuable to the person who’s paying you. Money is valuable to the person who is paying you.

You can rehearse 7 days a week for 20 years and lug your gear from Zimbabwe using yaks and canoes and it’s not going to make the club owner more money than the band down the street who brings in 20 people more than you a night.

I’ve seen posts like this that make similar points and they’re always met with angry resistance from artists who think this is selling out, that this is catering to greed or capitalism, etc. My response is this: no one is making you play these clubs. Play in your basement. Play anywhere you want. But if you’re playing a club then they need to make a profit or they will be out of business.

You can fight this all the way and hate on the club owners and promoters, you can put in the hard work and challenge yourselves and get better and bringing in people, or you can bypass clubs all together and pursue a different avenue.

Just don’t be confused. Don’t delude yourself. Know what you get paid for. If you want to get paid more then do a better job of doing what you get paid for or do something else. Sure, it’s not easy, but if you’re confused about what your job is then it will be near impossible.

Scott James
Scott James

Scott James is a guitar player with a background in sales and web design. His clients have included Ritchie Kotzen, Kenny Lee Lewis of the Steve Miller Band and hit songwriter Jeff Silbar. Recent project include the Viral Music Player which he programmed and co-created with fellow blogger/marketer John Oszajca. Scott began blogging on his site in 2009 and has since written some of the most popular posts for CD Baby’s DIY Musician and Disc Makers’ Echoes blog. Scott has studied guitar and music theory with Chris Broderick of Megadeth. He has also received a diploma in Neuro Linguistic Programming from Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall and is currently in training for Myers-Briggs profiling certification with Antonia Dodge and Camronn Huff as well as studying entrepreneurship, personal development and various personality profiling systems under the guidance of mentor Giovanni Cavalieri.

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