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Pay To Play: NYC DJs Forced To Sell Tickets To Keep Their DJ Slots?

Most musicians and DJs have heard of (and know to avoid) pay-to-play schemes, where a promotional company offers small-time DJs “exposure” and an opening set at a club or festival in return for a fee. But based on a tip we’ve gotten from DJ Roodz in the New York City area, the practice has made a comeback, with promoters forcing DJs to sell tickets to keep their set times. Keep reading for stories from DJs in the NYC area about this scheme that promoters are running.

Do you have a pay-to-play or sell-tickets to play story?
Make sure to comment after the article and share it. 

Being A “Small Time” DJ In NYC

webster-hall-cash

Earlier this week, the staff at DJ Techtools got an interesting email from a New York City native and local DJ who has tried to get more gigs, Christian Roodal (aka DJ Roodz). He wrote to us asking for advice on breaking into local scenes and hinted at a major problem in the NYC area of promoters requiring that DJs sell tickets to hold down their sets. We’ve heard of pay-to-play, but this sounded different – so Christian shared more details:

“Out here the problem is pretty rampant – especially in NYC and NJ. When venues like Webster Hall, Space, and Pacha [closed earlier this year] book big talent, individual promoters and “promotion agencies” (mostly by way of Instagram) are generally responsible for promoting the event – just like in their job description – and “booking DJs.”

This usually involves talking local guys to push anywhere from 5-50 tickets in exchange for a set. These sets aren’t guaranteed, more like a very strong “maybe.” For mainstage, you’re expected to sell sometimes 75+ tickets. As DJs, we’ve been promised festivals, mainstage opportunities, or even side stage sets, and have been pulled off, sometimes last-minute, even when ticket quotas are met. The problem is, there really isn’t anywhere to go for gigs besides these guys. They don’t ask for mixes, or skill demonstrations, or anything. All they care about is getting sales.”

To us, this is incredible – no DJ should ever take on the responsibility of helping to promote and sell tickets to a gig without a firm agreement that they’re guaranteed a slot. And there’s likely even grounds for legal action in a case like this – as verbal agreements are often as enforceable as written contracts – albeit harder to prove in a court of law.

How The “Selling Tickets” To Play Scam Works

Pay To Play DJ Sets in NYC

We asked Christian to tell us as much as he could about the process of getting DJs to sell tickets in exchange for a “strong maybe” DJ set – and he elaborated:

“Essentially, no matter what a ticket costs, the DJ keeps $5. Doesn’t matter if it’s $20, $50, $90, whatever. The DJ returns the “ticket value minus five” to the promoter. The promoters use this as a sort of scheme to get people to play, saying things like “Check out your earning potential – sell out, make $250 (from selling 50 tickets, generally the norm) AND DJ!” However, the flipside is that, that $5 is also your bargaining room. You can take a hit on your commission in exchange for selling cheaper tickets to essentially move product and guarantee your set.

And what about the concept he suggested above, where sometimes DJs will sell tickets but still get pulled of a promised DJ set? Christian shared another story:

I’ve been pulled from a show on the day of, about 3 hours before my set time at the promoter’s office. I showed up there to cash out the tickets and had my controller, laptop, everything in tow. He took the money and told me “Sorry bud, not tonight” because I didn’t sell enough.

I had been with this promoter for over a year now, and I thought he knew my competency as a DJ, but he had never heard or even asked for one of my mixes, or anything like that. The next day, he called me up and said he wanted me to “image promote” for him – basically, host a table at one of the clubs he promotes once or twice a month. I was supposed to bring at least 5 girls for every guy and “Don’t worry if they’re under 21, I’ll take care of that with the bouncer and get you bottles.” Essentially, show them a good time so they have a better chance of coming to see me play, or come to me for tickets to other shows.”

Is this a one-off kind event? Apparently not – Christian connected us with other DJs in the greater NYC/NJ area who shared similar stories:

Stories From Other NYC-Area DJs

“I have had to sell tickets for Webster Hall and Pacha. For Webster I sold 5 actually and to keep my spot I bought 10 tickets so it became the Pay to Play type of thing and I didn’t get paid for my set at all.

For Pacha, this one time I didn’t have to sell tickets, just bring at least 20 people, I think 10 showed up, I was promised $150 a bottle, and a B2B session with my buddy, it was a deep house event.

When me and my friend got there, the “manager” said my friend and I were NOT playing back to back and that I wasn’t getting paid at all. So I took into my own hands and when my buddy was done with his set, I jumped on because no other DJ was around. We had the room jumping man everyone was dancing, I played 20 minutes, then this kid comes to the booth and says you are out after this song and he played [R Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind”]. Everyone stopped dancing [and left for the] main floor, I packed up my stuff and left.

For Space, I sold 25 tickets between me and my ex (her dad was the owner of the club), he put me in the container spot over the bar where you first walk in, you would think the man would pay the kid his daughter has been seeing for 5 years, right? Wrong. Area Events started telling him that the only DJs who get paid [are] the headliner, everyone else sells tickets and gets the 5 dollar rip” – Aaron E., DJ Eckhaus, NJ

live-in-color-nynj-admit-one

“So I’d been in sporadic contact with this one promoter for a few weeks trying to figure out a good first gig for me to start with him that would fit my musical style and that my friends would want to come out to see me for. Then one morning, I woke up to a few missed calls from the promoter, which was unusual because we’d only text and haven’t spoken face to face yet. So I called him back and he said he had a great opportunity for me to play at Life In Color NYNJ on the “Local Artists Spotlight” Side Stage.

I was thrilled to be even considered to play […] but wondered what the catch was. He brought up the fact that I “obviously” wouldn’t get paid as the exposure should be huge for me and then asked me to sell tickets at the face value from which I could keep a $5/ticket commission. I wondered why there wasn’t a minimum number to sell or at least strive for. He said he could only give me 50 tickets and for me to push as much as I could, but also said there isn’t a minimum I need to sell because the event was big enough that online sales should take care of it as long as I basically didn’t sell just 1 or 2.

I sold like 25-30 tickets to my friends who were super-excited to get there early to see my set. A day before the show, when I went in to cash out the tickets and get my commission. I was asked why I still had tickets left. I just responded saying that everyone else already had one or bought online and since there wasn’t a minimum I thought about 30 was fine and was happy with the $150 I’d get for that.

The promoter then said that wasn’t part of the original deal. He said that I had to have pushed all of them to even be considered for a set and if maybe I’d be able to go B2B with another random local DJ. So basically the meeting ended with me making $150 off of ticket sales, getting bumped from a festival/show that I had received promo materials for, and the awkwardness of having to tell my friends that my set got cancelled because I was unable to sell an additional 20 tickets…” -David S., DJ Davvid, NY, Boston

“Some kid hit me up on Instagram asking me to sell 30 tickets for Pacha (for the first time for me) so I took it… Sold a good amount… Bought a few just to get them out… Drive all the way to the city from Jersey with a car full of people. Turns out the promoter ran off with the money and the bouncers and management said that anyone that worked under him couldn’t come in. And the ticket codes got cancelled out. Needless to say I was left in the dust on front of Pacha cause some scumbag promoter ran off with the ticket money.

I love when promoters come to ME to DJ, have a big convo with me, then BAM I have to sell 50 tickets in 3 days OR I just got offered to play I’m shmacked and they wanted ME to pay them 500 to play! But, I guess it would have been a steal cause “main stage” buy in was 1,000.” -Anthony J., DJ Statik, NJ

pacha-cash

“Our first two times playing Pacha NY Basement, we had to promote using a guest list and the promoter was a friend from college who got our foot in the door for sure. Once he stopped working in the industry, we realized that other promoters were marketing the “opportunity to play mainstage and clubs and festivals.”

[…] we came to realize that every single promoter we were meeting didn’t even ask us for a mix, a sample, or a resume. All they would say is “25+” in text message responses. [With one promoter], we were booked for Pacha’s basement twice, but only played once because one of the times a water main blew up down the road. We only met a quota of 5 tickets for these shows, and he was lenient about those times only. He told us that if we want to play again we have to sell at least 20.

As young adults with full-time jobs to support our passion of music, how are we expected to drive all around the world to sell 20-30 tickets for a timeslot that’s not even guaranteed? Also, the commission (no matter how much the ticket costs) is $5.

The last time we performed was at Space Ibiza NY. We drove around NYC and Westchester County, putting roughly 300 miles on my car, to sell 13 tickets because the other 7 were for family and friends. We were told that our set time was from 1am-2am. The evening of our performance, we went back to our promoter’s office to cash out the tickets. The promoter said “So yeah you guys can either play from 11-11:30 or 3-3:30.” We were furious, but maintained composure and bit our tongues because we knew this would be the last time we did any kind of business with this person. At the end of the day, finally getting to perform is great. However, it is not worth the trouble we have to go through to “start from the bottom and work our way up” according to these promoters.”  – Francesco B. and Adrian B., Hammerheadz, NY

Have you ever been forced to sell tickets and then ultimately burned out of a DJ set at a club? Share your stories in the comments below. 

We reached out to Webster Hall and Space Ibiza NY for comment, but they have not yet replied. 

Want to read more about the pay-to-play scam that companies like Afton run in the music industry? Check out the incredibly informative NeverPayToPlay.com

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  • konradical

    Omg this has been going on for decades… Hey dummies, take the tix on spec. DO NOT PAY UPFRONT. Promise to pay at the gig that evening. Don’t give the promoter the $$$ until after your set. Problem solved, you’re welcome. That’s how to hustle the hustler if you’re willing to engage in this crap. End of the day, it’s all about the draw. Everyone pays their dues…

  • Doc Louis

    I can’t begin to tell you how many issues I’ve had with this. I’m an NYC DJ, and I’ve been under the stress of selling tickets to perform for about a year or two now. I’ve stopped performing because I cannot trust any of these companies or “booking” groups. The worst issue I’ve had was at an I’m Shmacked event in October 3 of 2014. I sold roughly 100 tickets over a few weeks, and put forth my commission just to secure my 12am-1pm slot. I knew I wanted that slot- I’d be opening for Jai Wolf for his very first headlining show (and I did). The show was great, I felt accomplished, and had a lot of fun. However, the promoting manager that I was in contact with left the venue after an hour or two, missing my set along with Jai Wolf’s. Afterwards, I found out that a large number of people that I sold my tickets to were refused entry. The promotion company that I was in contact with had actually OVERSOLD the event, and the venue reached it’s maximum capacity. 20 people that I had sold tickets to were refused entry, and demanded their cash back. I took it up with the company to get their money back – which was a failure. How you ask? Well the two times I trekked from Long Island to Wall Street (mind you, I was a junior in college and didn’t have a working car at the time), the promotion manager told me he “couldn’t sign the checks because the head of the company wasn’t there, and he couldn’t sign for him.” This was after I had sent multiple e-mails (dozens) to both the manager and head of the company. These e-mails weren’t responded to, nor would the ever be. So, out of respect for the people who were refused entry, I took more than $400 out of my own pocket to reimburse those people. You see, it’s not only the fact that these companies are forcing DJs to promote their events and roll in some cash for them, but they have no respect or care for the DJs, the promoters, OR the audience that attends the events. To them, it’s all about the profit. It sickens me that all of this is considered “the norm” in the Metro NY/NJ area, and I really hope that someday it will come to an end.

  • richi

    man … that is world wide! I live in austria-vienna and here there is this party that is always packed with plp. The reason is that they have like 7 djs in just one floor and every dj has to sell their tickets as well. There is no actually selling because they give disscount cards and at the end they pay you 2€ or 1 € for ticket (they cost mainly 10€). Anyways… you get a fight for the times, children that name theirselfs djs, 1 or 2 djs that are the headliners doing whatever they want, a looooooot of spoiled children getting into the club and a feeling of beeing a prostitute. I mainly play latin house so the promoter took me because i was something different. When the party started and i was making my set he run to me saying what the hell was i playing? i had to play something more comercial, that the people know so that they can sing and dance along… i felt so sick of that and at the end when i got a better job that actually was better paid i just run of. Sometimes at that parties they put my name on the flyers but at the end i didn’t play, only sale tickets…

  • Steve

    Great article. I really hope this helps to raise awareness of the issue. This is a huge problem in London.

    As with NYC there are hundreds of ‘DJs’ (I use that term loosely as many are barely competent) for every available set. Promoters don’t even ask them for a mix etc or care what they play which has led to a side issue of the quality of events declining. The music is an afterthought rather than the priority.

    I’ve been to many events (as a DJ and a ticket buying customer) where the order that the DJs are on is completely wrong, their styles are mismatched or inappropriate for the night and many of the DJs don’t seem to be reading the room or don’t have the backup music to switch styles to fit the vibe.

    The result is a terrible experience for the audience and then the promoters complain that they’re having trouble filling future events – which in turn leads to them putting more pressure on DJs to sell tickets. It’s a horrible, endless cycle which is gradually crushing the industry.

  • Johnny Fontana

    I am staying quiet because I can’t wait to hear from the “it will all go away and come to pass” crowd… Where are you now? It’s going on 10 years and it’s getting worse. The problem is the dj culture. It is dead. It’s happening in your house but expect other people to fix your problems. It’s a trickle down-effect. Producer becomes dj, dj has fans, promoter has no clue, booking agent just throws promter friend any dj. All crowds are by default. We sit here and say “it will all go away”. Now I can say, “i told you so…”

  • Maruz

    Ho yes…I did dj at ministry of sound in London multiple times with this smelly system. The funny thing is that these type of clubs are also labels and I wonder how a dj can purchase tracks from them when the money I would make selling tickets would not even be enough to pay my taxi to get back home. The management is 100% aware of this s#@t anyway. They belive that that’s the way to go!

  • DJ FAZY

    Am dubai base dj and producer the way it goes here at the UAE is that for a dj to play at a club the club has to pay for his “dj permits” which cost around 500$ that will be paid to the municipality thus the promoters come in. They cannot just book any dj if you not able bring people or book tables you just wasting your time no matter how good you are that’s not how it goes around dubai it’s all about how many people you can bring. The promoter argree with the club manager either the club will pay for the dj permits Or the promoter who will get the door money and all the table bookings % of it BUT won’t get the bar sale money so they have sighn a contact.
    Then the problem goes global the promoters want to book djs who can book tables not even care to as them for mixes or talent and passionate about djing.Thus when you go to any club in Dubai they are play the same music same djs and promoter going around Doing same night but different night Name and Urban theme.

  • Taytor

    I’m in Orange County, CA. Heat lounge has been the worst I’ve experienced. The promoter hit me & my friend up (we’re a duo) to play this show with Nicky Romero 3 hours before call time & told us to sell a table for $350, and that anyone that made it to the door before 10 was free, but the catch was they had to be in line by 8:30.

    We initially told him no because there was no way we could get the 5 people to pay $70 each and is not make a penny. He calls us back 2 hours later and says the other dj he got just bailed and that we were his last hope, but he would still do the one table for 2 shows. The next one was whatever show we wanted & he would give us a prime slot.

    I reluctantly say sure. We had enough people to cover it (as long as they got in free).

    We show up. The promoter put us in the smoking patio from 12-2. We were told we had a 45min set. Traktor had crashed 20 min before I left losing all my playlists. So, we were completely unprepared for 2 hours. The table for our friends was in a complete other room from us, and we couldn’t find the promoter.

    We ended up playing the show. I think my friend payed a bunch of the $350. (Only reason I didn’t walk out when I got there was how stoked he was to play this first show). And he was adamant on playing no matter how bad the terms were.

    All in all… I hate this whole pay to play shit. The promoters aren’t even doing their job….

  • Nothing new been happening in London for years. I was phoned up for a set at Ministry of Sound (on my clubs to play bucket list!!!), nearly creamed my pants before being hit with a request for x number of ticket sales. I was very disappointed and politely declined.

    Folk can moan all they want but there are hundreds maybe thousands of Dj’s that will pay to play.

  • Mike Gone

    What is a structured settlement and why might it be better for me than a lump sum payment?

  • Oh that.

    This has been going on for atleast a decade in London UK. One of the reason i couldnt be bothered with it and all the arse licking to try and get a set. Problem with selling tickets is. Everyone i knew, i could atleast name 20 othe djs whom knew the same people and advertised on the same dance music forums and this is before facebook took off.

  • MoMo

    Absolutely terrible. The article is one thing but the real stories posted are f**king horrifying considering the hopeful innocence these @$$holes are preying upon. It’s undeniably shameful. At this point I have to say, those of you who would have done it for free – wouldn’t bark hard about not getting paid. For everyone else, just name and shame those cats to let the world know.

  • D.j. Mikey

    Yikes! That is sketch. Its the DJs job to keep people there having a good time, dancing and drinking. People actually have time for such nonsense.

  • D.j. Johnnyseriuss

    @Dan White This topic is hot and I love it. There should be a follow up article on how we can all combat this major problem.

    I say that we should have a major dj strike worldwide so we djs can have a voice that we should stop playing midset.

    It would be cool for example if all the djs would get up at same time around the world stop the music and disappear from dj booth. Post it on social and I guarantee we will get so much press and buzz because once the music stops all the clubs owners & promoters will finally wake up to respect the DJ with no Dj there is no Music !!

    I can imagine this making headlines on radios stations, TV, blogs you name it!

    This can work!

  • This is a huge issue in the NYC area. I was offered an opening set via instagram for a well known headline DJ. I was asked to sell 30 tickets or so. He never heard me DJ. The promoter wouldn’t mail the tickets or a contract to me and would only meet in Manhattan to do the exchange. I was familiar with this kind of scheme as it’s also very prevalent in the rock scene and I’ve dealt with it from playing in bands. It’s usually never worth it…

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  • Pieter Paßmann

    Because of bullshit like this I don’t play as much as I used to. I got so fed up with promoters going off on the backs of DJs with their crappy marketing stunts, that I just refuse to work with any of them.

    When playing out is only possible by such a crappy scheme, one should just tell the promoter to F off and just plan out their own events.

  • StephenNawlins

    The biggest Problem is that most DJs don’t work for the “DJ Community” but for their own Shit-Faces Fame.
    The most of us only talk about “Community” when we are on a Website like this one, posting on the Forum taking benefit out of others experience.
    If we can “steal” a paid Gig from another one we offer to do it for a handfull bucks less than the concurrence. We DJs are egoistic caracters.
    Over here in Switzerland 2-3 times in the last 15 years guys tried to build up a DJ Union to regulate minimal salaries and to because as a Union organised Profession you are more powerful than if you’re not (not only in discussions with Promoters, owners etc…but also with the Music industry in General in which, in my eyes, the DJs still are not really recognized to their real value)…each try failed by now.
    Would it be enough to have a Union in every Country, well I don’t think so. As the DJ Job is an occupation that is so not giving a sh** on boarders and Countries a Worldwide Union would be way more effective, but who wants to run it???
    Then it would be a huge win for an Union if Superstar DJs would be part of it to Show Support to the cause, as it is to regulate the minimal payment and rules the ones being on top shouldn’t be touched negatively by those regulations.
    Well wondering what the “Community” thinks about it.

  • Eggy

    I actually just had a thought: why doesn’t DJ TT create a universal symbol for DJs to include in their pictures/logos which would signify that the DJ doesn’t “Pay to Play”? I know I’d throw something like that on my promotional materials.
    DJTT has name recognition, and has a history of standing up for the disenfranchised DJ. Let’s do something about this once and for all.
    One last point (I mentioned this in my previous post, but I can’t stress it enough): DJs provide a service–they should be compensated for it. Bartenders get paid, bouncers get paid, sound guys get paid, but DJs don’t? There is no justification for this.

  • Eggy

    A similar phenomenon is going on in Japan. I posted about it a few months back, but I’ll throw an abridged version up here as well:

    I’ve been DJing in Japan on and off for over a year, and I’ve had about 20-30 gigs in total at venues ranging from dive bars, to big clubs, to fancy hotel lounges. For the most part, these events have been a blast, and I’m thankful to have been given all these great opportunities to play. The downside is that 90% of these gigs have been unpaid (save free entry and a drink ticket or two); and by the end of the night I often find myself in the red due to purchasing drinks for friends who have come out to see me, taxis back and forth (when I choose not to go early/stay until 5 AM), etc.

    Though I have had a few gigs in North America that didn’t provide financial compensation, those situations were far from the norm, and I typically would do them as a favor for friends. In most cases, however, event organizers back home compensate DJs for their services. In fact, there have been situations where the venues were so empty that I’m certain the owners of the establishments were losing money?but they nonetheless paid me. The concept seems quite simple: You request a service; you pay for that service.

    In Japan, however, I’ve come to realize that this is not typically the norm (with the exception of non-Japanese organizers, who, in my experience, compensate DJs). In Japan, actually, there’s an air of “I’m letting you play at ____, so just be thankful for the opportunity.” At the beginning, I was extremely thankful. After all, how many DJs get to play at WOMB after only 6 months of playing (I came to learn later that this is all to common)? Playing at famous clubs can be great, even though you will almost never be guaranteed a slot on the main stage. You also don’t always get to play at an ideal time; and 4AM sets can really wear you down (not to mention, it’s nearly impossible to get friends to come out and see you when you’re playing the DJ equivalent of the graveyard shift).

    On top of not being compensated, though, there is another unique aspect about DJing in Japan which really irks me: You are constantly pressured to bring as many people to an event as possible in order to line the pockets of the club owners and promoters. I realize that promoters probably need to satisfy a certain quota, but the constant badgering of DJs to report the number of guests, and guilting DJs into bringing more people out if they don’t report a high enough number, is absolutely ridiculous. To put this in more simple terms?if you’re not going to compensate someone for doing work for you, don’t ask them to bust their ass to do your job for you. Now, occasionally, you will be compensated per person you bring; but these “kickback” systems are rarely announced, often requiring DJs to go out of their way to get some kind of clarification. Even when you do get clarification, the terms are typically silly (e.g. $5 bucks per person after the first 20 people you bring). Once again, you only get paid once the promoter profits substantially off your hard work.

    And then there’s the problem of promoters shortening slots for sets in order fit as many DJs in as possible, because they know that the more people they have DJing for them, the more money they can make based on each DJ’s shuukyaku (essentially translating to “rounding up customers”) abilities. All this leads to is too much variety in the type of music played, and an influx of inexperienced DJs.

    There is another underlying issue with the whole shuukyaku system, and that is that you feel like you’re taking advantage of your friends when you ask them to come. The reality is that DJs want nothing more than to hang out with their friends, and they naturally want to invite their friends, help them get discounts, etc.; however, I’ve stopped inviting friends to clubs when the promoter has informed me that there is a kickback system in place, because I don’t want to profit off my hard-earned relationships.

    This post has gotten way too long for its own good, so without further ado, here is my announcement: I will no longer be taking unpaid gigs as a DJ?and I urge other DJs to do the same. I have spent way too much money (in addition to transportation and party-related expenses, purchasing music and DJ equipment gets expensive) and time on this passion; and like anyone else who provides services, I would like to be compensated for them.

  • raji_rabbit

    This has been going on in San Diego forever…..

  • Kalani Holguin

    This has been a VERY common thing in the live music scene in So Cal, specially hollywood, for many many years. You have a band and you want to play the Whiskey then you gotta sell so many tickets. But actually all they want is that lump sum. They can care less if you actually “Sell” the tickets or if people actually show up.

  • killmedj

    A little different but similar. I went to see my friend DJ his Wednesday residency last week. He is an excellent DJ and plays professionally. He normally closes the room after so called “Name” DJ’s finish their sets. Sometimes they are actually quite good. But last Wednesday we watched 2 hacks train wreck their way through a 2 hour set. It was horrendous. I just happened to have a chat with the manger who I’m comfortable enough with to express my dismay at the DJ’s that were playing.
    He told me that the promoter had said that if these guys brought 20+ people they could have the main spot. Now this isn’t a shitty bar. it has a 500 ppl capacity and from what I saw it wouldn’t have been far off it.
    Watching these goons gallop every mix and flip styles every other track was embarrassing and cringe worthy.
    BUT… the promoter was stoked. the 20 “bros” they dragged along were hyping the crowd and jumping around like goons which kept some of the crowd amused. But the main audience were pretty despondent and were really only there because there was no where else to go.
    Then it was time for my buddy to play. He played a great well thought out and considerate set, moving and adapting, and trying to reconnect with the people. In effect he didn’t really get to play per se’, he was in “clean up” mode, and people had already started leaving after losing interest because of the first guys.
    What could have a been a great pumping party till the end, was sacrificed for the sake of 20 or so people added to a guest list. It made me question why I even bother trying to get better if iTunes playlist DJ’s can secure main spots with little or no skill or taste. Not to mention cheapening the years of experience that my friend (And myself for that matter) have dedicated to this craft.
    Oops sorry, long ranting post =/

  • Kyler Killips

    Why aren’t contracts created to protect this sort of thing? Im sure headliners sign contracts before their show.

  • ITS_NIO

    I got quite a few! lol but this guy name ANDREX he calls himself a DJ lol does exactly pay to play shit. n more! He tried to tell me a night prior to this event that i was suppose to play that there was going to be a “DJ Contest” n the rules were if u made the dancefloor packed n people were dancing n brought little or no people that i wasnt good enough. n if u brought people n didnt make people dance that it wasnt bad but that u didnt lose. lol So i already thought it was bullshit. I get to the club there is nothing set up on the stage were this so called “dj contest” was happening n the dj before my set was just standing there kicking rocks waiting for someone to help him. So i knew this was gonna be one of those bullshit promoter nights right away cuz this guy named ANDREX had a rep for ripping djs off n straight lying to DJ’s so they do his work for em. And i been djing for years now in the EDM scene in LA,OC,SD so ive been fucked over n lied to many times before. So i felt bad for the guy that was kicking rocks waiting for someone to set up something for him to start djing. I let him take my intended slot time. Cuz i did not want to deal with the unprofessionalism of this ANDREX character. I asked other djs that were gonna dj that night if they knew about this “DJ Contest” n they all told me they didnt hear nothing about it! He tried to bait me into doing extra work cuz he knows i am an excellent dj n im no fucking rookie to this industry. Thats how scumbag e he is! Also he tried making me pass out flyers without pay! i took a bunch of them n didnt pass a single one! lmfao! haha i threw all of them in the trash cuz it was his event. So i dindt end up playing or paid. But it wasnt a complete loss actually. I am blessed enough to know alot of great humble people in this EDM industry like the likes of LAIDBACK LUKE! he is my mentor n has opened up many doors for me. n introduced me to many HIgh level promoters who are truly honest with their work. I talked to one of them n told them about this ANDREX fellow n he has also heard about ANDREX n his shadyness! n decided to help me n go around his shady ass n helped me get booked the following night MAINSTAGE to Open up for DANNIC. It felt so good! n the look on his face when he found out about it was priceless. I Want to give some advice to the new upcoming DJ/Artists in this industry. Its really hard to get noticed n get those big time dj slots. takes alot of work. but if u really want it u gotta work ur ass off! WORK! N STAY TRUE! DONT FAKE IT TILL U MAKE IT!! like this ANDREX fellow he is trying to go about it the wrong way. He is surely staying as a local dj for the rest of his life with his path! STAY TRUE n u will be rewarded heavily. just work! DREAMS DONT WORK IF U DONT!and dont get discouraged when shit like this happens! keep pushing n find ways around it! ADD ME or FOllow me on social media if u like 🙂 Instagram :ITS_NIO SNAPCHAT: ITSNIO TWITTER: ITS_NIO feel free to ask anything 🙂 also sorry about the grammar. im lazy.

    • ITS_NIO

      I also gotten my mentor to speak up about this problem with promoters!

      • D.j. Johnnyseriuss

        Look at u 🙂 Laidback luke is one my idols and favorite house djs. I would love to personally meet him one day 🙂 🙂 soon I hope but respect Nio

        • NIO

          Look me up n contact me. when he plays socal ill most likely be there. we can meet up ill have u meet him. it will be very brief as he is a very busy man.

          • Jack Piner

            you seem pretty damn pretentious… cool, you tweet with and see laidback luke sometimes… don’t over glorify yourself man. take this parachute so you don’t get hurt hopping off of his d

    • Faceoff

      I can second the experience with this Promoter / “DJ” that goes by the name of ANDR3X. He is honestly one of the biggest scam artists in the LA / Orange County CA music scene, (TEN nightclub, Heat Ultra OC Lounge). He tricks up and coming dj’s into DJing at his venues by telling them that he cares about their development and that he will help them grow and that in return for an opening set, most of the time in a side room, you have to sell 25+ tickets and book a bottle. He is a smooth talker like every promoter is, but I saw his bs from the start and knew the be weary of him.

      What I saw when I got to the club one night was other DJ’s paying out of pocket to get a table with the sole purpose of meeting his criteria to DJ, i mean these guys were dropping 400+ dollars to DJ in a side room at 10pm. a buddy of mine met the specific requirement and paid for a table out of his own pocket and was still not paid a dime! When i confronted him about this, he told me that you’ve got to want it if you want to DJ and get recognition. So yes if you have to pay out of pocket then that is what he expects you to do and the more you pay the better your timeslot is, HA! He has even done things like switching your timeslot the night of OR telling you that you have to compete in a DJ contest at the last minute with a 10 min slot instead of an hour. What a crock of shit

      The funny part is that ANDREX / ANDR3X hounds his DJ’s about promoting the night, but he does not give you a flyer to work with as he says you must create your own and the best part is that he never promotes the nights on ANY of his social media. So in reality he is just booking talent to do his job for him while he gets paid for it and does not dish out any sort of payment to his talent. He is nothing but a con artist leeching on DJ’s who want an opportunity.

      Let me address him as a DJ / Artist, because this is how he tries to woooo upcoming DJ’s with his successes and how he can help them. He has put out 1 track in the last year which was probably bought / ghost produced. The majority of his twitter followers are bought (ran them through a site to determines what percentage of someones followers are legit and like 68% of his followers were fake) he is just a big pretender, as he once told me… sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it.

      Its very funny to see this, and that other people on the internet are exposing this scumbag

      • NIO

        Dont worry i had talk to my mentor LUKE n ANDREX is blacklisted by him :)))

      • Dante Levo

        This is sad for me to say but I know this ANDR3X guy too. Literally everything you both have said has happened to me. I worked with him for only 2 months cuz I just couldn’t deal with him, I had to bust my ass. Sucks to cuz I was a full time student and had like no time to do anything. Many times he promised main stage opening slots @ sutra in costa mesa for many headliners like Michael woods, morgan page, ec twins, etc. but I had to get 20 + people on guestlist and book a bottle. I ad to do that every time and would tell me to do it 3 days and I don’t know how I pulled it off but I did and once or twice I had to pay out of pocket like 250 for the bottle. He also did this for TEN and OC heat too! I really hated it but I thought that well I at least get to share the stage with these amazing artist. Luckily I actually did get to open for these artist but still its not fair at all that I had to bust my ass in that way in order to play. I want my music and my skills to be my voice that speaks to the people not how much I can bring to the table.

    • DJ Marco Silva

      Thanks for exposing this “Andr3x” clown. He booked me to DJ twice at TEN / HEAT and didnt even show up to the club the night I was supposed to DJ one night. One night I got there with my 20 people and all of the equipment was in disarray and my set time was changed, it was so embarrassing. I didn’t get paid because he says I never brought it up when we agreed he’d pay me if I brought the required amount of people. He hawked me on the phone each day leading up to the night i was to DJ to make sure I was going to book a table and promised me if I did he would book me at SUTRA in orange county the next week, that never happened. I thought he was cool at first but nope, just another promoter douche.

      I’ll never work with him again! Don’t fall victim like me, stay away from this guy. Just incase anyone wants to stay away from this cancer here is his facebook.

      http://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/ANDR3X.DJ

      • Faceoff

        smh… sounds familiar

    • EarlWill

      its like that this post on DJ techtools happened at the perfect time because it seems like the same strategies have been deployed in Socal, not that its anything new. But yes Andr3x totally tried the same crap with me, a lot of what has been said in these comments about him are absolutely true. Being someone who has been around the scene for a while I dodged all of his tactics and avoided getting taken advantage of. He talked a big game but once you DJ for him once you see what he is really about, he only cares about taking advantage of new DJ’s to achieve the pull he is required to get as a promoter. IT IS NOT a DJ’s job to do the promoters job, yes it is expected that you have some type of following but when it gets to the point where these guys are dishing out cash to play, it is just disrespectful and plain out sad.

      Andr3x doesn’t even care about talent, he would book shitty DJ’s later in a premium slot just because he got a bottle, that’s stupid. And its apparent with the retention among the DJ’s he books, he has a few DJ’s that he books recurring but these guys are definitely whoring themselves out and emptying their pockets. I saw it with my own two eyes. He is like a predator on up and coming DJ’s haha and the only one benefiting from it is him. He is indeed shady as NIO points out above. I’m sure he will continue to do what he does because right now there is no shortage of DJ’s willing to shell out money to promoters like him to DJ a side room set.

      and what @ITS_NIO said about him being salty at him for DJing the mainstage is also true, Another promoter booked me at the same club for the week after I was supposed to DJ for him on the mainstage and when he found out he wasnt happy about it because he believed it would affect how many people id be able to bring for his night.

  • Scott Camello

    If u sold tickets to DJ and only kept $5 the promoter robbed u also rip is $10 and they prob had no intention of having u djing because your name would be on the flyer dumbass. So #1 know the chain of command and who is in charge of putting on the DJs. I’ve worked at Space pacha personally and never had no issues didnt have to sell 50- 100 tickets to get on.
    So know the game before u play the field otherwise u will get benched

  • Yusif Refae

    Hey DJs, welcome to the club: promoters have been fucking over singers & bands like this since at least the 80s, and probably since forever… what we need is a performing artist’s union to regulate this type of shady behavior…

  • Kirk Cosier

    It’s not only New York, I’ve played with Christian before and had to sell tickets because we worked with the same guy. It’s pretty ridiculous. I never had an issue where I had lost the slot due to my numbers. That being said every time I approached a promoter from NYC I would send my music and press kit with anything they needed to know and their responses were about selling tickets. Even bigger tours I’ve played I’ve had to deal with this issue. I think bringing a crowd to a club is definitely a viable thing to ask if an act. But actually doing the promoters job is a no go on my part. As if sacrificing time, effort, and passion into building a brand and making music should be out only focus.

  • Justin Wong

    “so basically the meeting ended with me making $150 off of ticket sales, getting bumped from a festival/show that I had received promo materials for, and the awkwardness of having to tell my friends that my set got cancelled because I was unable to sell an additional 20 tickets…”” ———- This is the same in Toronto and its all too real…

  • Rave47

    Right now on amazon a new Turbosound M15 1,100W powered speaker goes for 550$
    Turbosound Milan M15B 2,200W Powered Sub goes for 700$.

    That’s a 4,400W powered stereo system with a mono sub woofer for 1,800 USD.

    OR, if you see this like I do, it’s a 300 person party ready to go at any day, any time.

    Going rave is a costly endeavour that WILL get you in a mess a problems with the local police- But it’s a hell lot of fun.

    If you do decide to start your own illegal parties- be sure to lawyer up before hand, and make sure your lawyers’ phone is available the night of the event. The last thing you want is to have public defence- they are worst case scenario only! Never get to the worst case scenario!

    Also, never let a Diesel generator run out of fuel. Once it runs out you’ll have to get a tech to power it back on. Keep an eye on your fuel levels and top off as required.

    I’m sure you all know how to promote and where to get booze.

    Have fun 🙂

  • Bilbo Bagginski

    Fuck this shit hahahaha… I’d rather stay home and watch paint dry than to pay to play.. hahaha.. what an absolute crock of shit. Back in the day these people would get laughed at.

  • Dj Ocaso

    This problem is running rampant the last time I was talking about gigs with other Djs in NYC and Long Island… Glad that I turn down these gigs and stick to my own business… IT NEEDS TO STOP because it’s continuing to RUIN whatever is left of decent nightlife.

  • discoboi

    Happens in malaysia too. got my residential contract terminated cause i wasnt bringing enough “ballers” to the club.

  • Wolf of 8th Street

    I have been a dj / producer for some 20 years now, and a promoter throwing mostly raves (when they existed in NYC) under Digital Entrapment for about 15 years. There are 3 major problems driving this as I have seen the good, bad and ugly. I will only speak on my oersonal expierence, feel free to disagree. 1. The rave scene is dead: while this has been the case for years now, let me explain why it’s a problem. As the rave scene got bigger and bigger, from 200 people in a run down room in the delewhere water gap in PA to places like Amazura, Shelter, Exit etc… DJs were in high demand. At any event we were also booking 10 – 50’djs this left alot of room for demo submission, building up our own crew djs, and never having to worry about taking a financial hit. The scene was built on the music NOT ticket sales. Wanted a gig, word of mouth a solid mix, and production credit was all you needed. Companies that threw the events all knew eachother and worked together. The problem at that time.became the crowd / drugs. Let me get on the soap box for a minute. Drugs were always a part of the culture however when I got involved in the scene, people knew the DJs they wanted to see, who was playing, what time they went on etc… The music was the main course, the drugs were a side dish. When that focal point shifted the die hards left, the promoters started losing money hand.over fist, and the focus became the struggle to break even. For argument sake I’ll use random names and prices but it quickly became obvious.. Why spend 20,000$ on rabbit in the moon when you could spend 2000$ on robert armani and the same amount of people would turn up. If it hadn’t been for our niche events (that people said wouldn’t work) and did like NYCs main room all hardcore party “F%ck the prejudice” there was no way to develop a good diverse lineup, and have a chance to.actually break even or make some money. This also shifted power back into the hands of the clubs. This leads me to problem #2… The clubs: At this time the independent promoters were all scared shit of losing what little money they had, lineups became redundant, and the crowds thin. Most who ran crews and threw events couldn’t afford to rent out these mega venues or book these artists both whos prices went through the roof. They went from throwing events to working for club owners. Now let me tell you a FACT about club owners… They were not and likely never will be in touch with the music. Their goal is simple: get as many people through the door who are willing to spend 300+ (or more) as I have played Vegas and seen a table for 4 and an 80$ bottle of vodka go for upwards of 10k through the door. The club owners could care less who is playing,.and can’t tell you the difference between happy hardcore and house. Their bottom line is money. Does that make me happy of course not, do I understand yes. They are in the business of selling booze, not tickets. They will let ANYONE and I do mean ANYONE play without asking so much as what they play, and for a mix. Instead they will ask in a much fluffier way… “how many idiots can we count on you bringing by hook or crook that will buy a bottle for a 3,000% markup”. People often mistake club owners as entertainment salesman, they aren’t. They are bar owners who know people will flash cash to impress ladies. So lets recap before I go into.#3 the DJs. Now we have no more independent promoters with the proper motivations, uneducated crowds, who are more likely to dance.around to a song with the word molly in it, than to know even one record the headliner has produced, and club owners who press promoters to drive a 3:1 girl to guy ratio so the guys can all play who’s got the bigger cock, and can buy the most $3,000 bottles of “goose”. Finally and here is the straw that broke the camel’s back… The DJs. Believe it or not there was a time that being a DJ required a vast set of skills to name a few: beat matching, cutting, scratching, mix riding, digging, amd the 2 most important technical skills IMO… CROWD READING, and knowing your RECORDS like the back of your hand. That is just the technical side, there is also self promotion, being humble (I remember some of my biggest played, and paid events started by helping Pauly Sympty RIP hook up gear, and pass out flyers). That got my foot in the door, from there being able to engage the crowd switch up vibes that were not working without sounding like boulders rolling off a cliff, and keeping people moving helped me progress uo the ladder. You couldn’t simply buy some gear and call yourself a DJ. Now what do you need 500 bucks and a tune ripper and ypur a dj?? No dues paid, no technical skill required. You are now judged and booked by how many of your Facebook fans (those you didn’t buy) will show up and buy that goose. Everyone is a DJ club owners don’t have to seek talent. For everyone of us who put in years perfecting a craft, there are 100 who have a computer with all the same songs and pre-programed sets that spent alot more time whoring themself out. A good artist is now someone who throws cake or mixes without headphones… This ties the problem together supply and demand. The supply is there the demand is not because the focal point is different. If you spend all your time perfecting the art of DJ’ing and producing, you better have damn good PR company who will guarentee these club owners x bottles sold. Finally all the new comers taking the easy way out. Stop. Every time you pay to play, every time you agree to sell a ticket for a non contracted slot, you are diminishing the quality of events, and undermining those who have the integrity and skill plus dues paid to push these events back in the right direction. NYC, Vegas, Cali can be great again if you guys respect the art and yourselves. Even the pay to play system itself is flawed. So you agree to sell 30 tickets. You even buy a few yourself. You are not expanding your fan base playing for 30 minutes in the coat closet at 9pm. The only ones hearing you are the people you guilted into getting a ticket.That is assuming you even play. The club on the other hand is getting a minimum of 100 per person (30 for the ticket.and 3 drinks) so ask yourself not only what you are worth but why. Over time it just may nale a difference. /end rant

    • D.j. Johnnyseriuss

      Good post bro applaud

  • DJ Jibbs

    There is such a large demand for DJ gigs now. And the market is oversaturated with so many DJs that promoters don’t even have to worry about paying a DJ anything or even doing their jobs. Clubs like Space and Webster Hall have their “promoters scam gullible DJs into selling tickets for an hour slot for a slow nights and empty basement floors. Never pay to play! I would personally play for free before I ever pay to play somewhere. Previously I responded to an Looking for local DJ ad on Instagram talked to a promoter Matt Curiale to DJ Status Fridays is a new college promo at Stage 48. DJs need to have a guest-list of at least 30 people. He message me saying “You will not be paid out if you do less then 8 people on guest list. I will personally pay you in cash the following Friday at the club. I will not be able to meet you anywhere else to pay you as all pay outs are left at the club.” LOL YEAH RIGHT. I immediately thought that was sketchy. My gut told me not to promote or put people on the guest list. They kept following up and I kept playing along like I was going to DJ and basically bailed on them. Try to get paid before DJ. Protect yourself. Use promoters for exposure like they try to use you for ticket sales but just don’t sell any tickets lol Master your craft the rest will come DJs.

    • Armani Cee

      LOL same situation, I actually DJ’d. Was very difficult to obtain my money. Shout to you for putting the guy’s name. The promoter I ripped texted me my comment on this article and was basically whining like a girl.

      • DJ Jibbs

        hahaha i had to dig through emails to find his full name. i hate sketchy promoters.

  • It’s awesome to see prostitution at this level… You guys are weirdos to gag and open for any stinky promoters you see.
    Better die as a looser than win as a bitch, but it seems that in these days you NEED to be famous be it for good or more often for bad reasons.

  • Unknown

    All I can say is promoters don’t give a shit about music, all about the how many tickets you can sell. They just care about earning they’re money, quantity over quality
    Company’s don’t give a shit about how good you are they just care about how much you sell.
    Many times I been replaced by other djs who can’t play shit or even set they’re equipments only because they charge 50$, and people like that is what fuck up for the rest of us djs.
    I remember when I was 15 and started practicing, once I got my first gig I was fucking excited after a while I realized how they worked. Now I’m 19 and I’ve come to a point where I don’t even practice djing. The love I once had for djing as a 15 year old is now gone due to fucked up promoters and some djs are.

    I have quit djing cause I’m tired of selling for promoters. recently started posting mixes on Spundcloud/mixcloud. I rather post shit on SoundCloud or mixcloud than sell tickets for a low lowlife promoter that Feeds you bullshit and rips you off

    Toronto, Canada

  • Steve

    I love dance music. and I used to love clubbing, but not when it’s time to play in there.
    all the relationships seem shady, fake and opportunistic. that’s not for me.
    the new generation of producers/djs dream of playing at festivals and bigger venues. not that is hassle free, because it’s not.
    unless djs have an active and demanding fanbase, things will be harder.

  • midiman

    I would never pay to play! Fuck the scammers!! I would rather fuck a donkey than losing my pride!

  • Jarret

    lol… this has been going on in LA/Hollywood area for a bit, now.
    Alot of desperate suckers play into it, too. If everyone said “no”, I think it’d fizzle out. But thirsty ass EDM ‘djs’ keep perpetuating this… around here, at least.

    • Paul Schieffer

      It is far, far worse with “Live Music”, at least in LA. The DJ scene will be the same soon, as the exact same evolution from “promoter” to “P2P” to “Ticket Scam” seems to be occurring – only 20 years later.

  • SoftwareKing

    It might be because most of you young djs play the same exact tunes as everyone else. Learn to separate your selves from the pack.

  • Scott Camello

    When your a real dj in new York u can comment lol never heard of any of these DJs complaining so that tells me that they failed at their shot and not for nothing without the promoters u wouldn’t even have a article.

    • Jarret

      huh?

    • synapticflow

      You don’t have to know who they are for their bad experiences to be true.
      And of course someone just had to get that “real DJ” mess on here
      even without it being an article about SYNC or vinyl purists.

  • Trent Von

    This is why RAVES came to be in the first place. Club owner didn’t like the music, DJs couldn’t play the music they loved….. So they told the entire industry to F-OFF and threw their own parties. What ever it took, you and a bunch of friends backed a U-Haul in an abandoned warehouse, opened the van doors (that had light rigging and speakers on it) and va-la, instant party. The instant that one of your lookouts reported police activity in the area, you slammed the truck shut and drove off. It practically decimated the club scene for a couple years, but for a moment, we took it back….. in the hands of REAL people!
    What we need is a bit of that old school mentality, this is NOT theirs, it’s ours!

    • Veronika Smith

      The time has come for the Rave to return.

      • ben

        Rave didn’t went away…. 😉

  • Boo Hoo

    Why don’t you just say no then? If you’re good enough to play you will be asked to play without selling tickets. If you don’t want to sell them just say no and stay home. Why is everyone whining about this? It has been going on for years in every industry. Focus on bulding your brand and build a following and the promoter will book you and pay you. You’re not entitled to play at the biggest clubs in America because you bought a controller last month. You have to provide value to the organization booking you. The DJs that are getting paid played a bunch of shows for free also before they started getting paid. They probably put a lot more time and money into branding themselves. Music is a business and if you can’t handle the way it is maybe you aren’t cut out for it. There was a time when the best DJs played and got paid. Now everyone thinks they’re the best and wants a shot at the main stage. You get what you deserve. Work hard and stop crying about it.

  • nickdawg2000

    5 years from now I can totally envision the 9-10pm slot just getting auctioned off…”Want to play the warmup slot? Bidding starts at $100!” And by then there will be so many thirsty DJs trying to get their name out there that it will be an all-out a bidding frenzy that some rich trust-fund kid will just end up winning every single time. Hopefully by that point I’ll be settled down and the only “DJ’ing” I’ll be concerned with is what Raffi CD to play on the home stereo when I put my kids to bed each night.

  • Terry Casey

    why not start your own nights in smaller venue…these guys are not even on the flyers..we what’s the benefit.

  • Adrian Hardy

    Electric Adventure asked me to pay $6k to play, and I would receive equivalent value in tickets. Whether I sold them all or not “was up to me”. I chose not to play

  • This is a big reason why the quality of dance music is so unexceptional these days.

    • Spacecamp

      Actually, I think that’s because so many DJs feel that they HAVE to make music in order to become a famous DJ, and so we’ve got tons of DJs putting out mediocre tracks to say “I made tracks, now can I be famous?”

  • Hater

    ….this isn’t a new thing, this has been going on for years…

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  • LigerZero

    A DJ is hired to mix music so therefore should be hired to do so. A promoter is hired to promote a party so therefore should be hired to do so. Neither should do the others job. End of discussion.

  • I dont understand. just say no. easy. move on to another spot

  • 4D2D

    I’ve done the same type of deal for rap shows. They give me 50 tickets and I have to personally go meet and sell them and collect and keep money. Ive done it several times, no issues on set times or pay. But man what a pain, if I could just push my friends to buy online or day of show I can not only bring more people, I have more time to work on music not sales.

  • Chris Varvaro

    I have had this exact experience. I was told by a promoter “hey you can come close for Project 46 at Webster hall just pay $350 upfront. (there were also a bunch of other events he offered for ludicrous prices which he sent me via text message). If you want to do more than one it is 250 all of them its 1500. You will be provided with 25 each show which you can sell for 20 each to make a great profit.”

    This was ultra sketch and in the end I didn’t do it, and every time I would ask questions to confirm about set times, location, dates, etc. the promoter would not really answer and give me one word answers or short answers like “yes” “no” “it my partner”. Also, since I’m still a minor I asked if this would be a problem and they said no. I also asked about since the people I would have been selling to are minors too if that would be an issue and they said “no, we’ll handle it.”

    I called one of the clubs once to confirm the event and they could not confirm of the promoter even being affiliated with the club, the event, or that this particular event was even going on at the club at the date and time the promoter told me it was. I honestly hate people like this and have had multiple promoters like this approach me and I am in NJ. This crap has to stop. Good thing I didn’t fall for it in the end. I could have almost lost over $500.

  • Dustin Lewis

    It’s running rampant here in Los Angeles too, I fell for one myself. Definitely plan on breaking away from them after this next gig.

    A DJ should be hired on their talent; their ability to make great music selection and reading a crowd. Of course they should have some sort of following/fan base, but a DJ’s job isn’t to promote and sell tickets, point blank. I dont mind occasionally helping to promote the gigs I do, but the majority of that type of work is the promoter’s responsibility. And if you disagree with that, you are part of the problem.

    It’s not our job to help you sell tickets. If you value yourself as a DJ, you shouldn’t be selling tickets just to get a slot, or to be able to play at all.

    I have to side with Laidback Luke with this one: Just focus on practicing your DJing and get your music production skills up, and be ready when that big opportunity comes. A lot of these newer DJs just don’t have the patience anymore, they want to get big and fast. If you have love for the music and your craft, the wait is worth it.

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  • Erik Werner

    This sounds as an issue of an excessive supply. There are too many DJs, so that is pushing their price to the negative. I am not that surprised given current high accessibility of the DJ tools (pun not intended) … If DJs have the skills and passion, they should go old school, make a crew with friends and promote their own parties. That’s how it has always been done and that’s how good music is born.

    • Paul Schieffer

      It isn’t excess supply, it is excess laziness. In music, there is ALWAYS excess supply – there have always been people eager to play in front of others, regardless of skill. The Gong Show was a thing, remember!

      The issue is that the “gatekeepers” have gotten too lazy to do their jobs, instead choosing profit over quality. It is the promoter/booker’s JOB to vet acts for his clients, but they just aren’t doing that, instead USING the inherent excess supply to run what is effectively a confidence scam – to everyone’s detriment but their own pocketbooks, and even that in the long run as the audience catches on…

  • DJ Joshua Carl

    There’s another variant of this I’ve seen in the last few years
    These promoters will book 4 DJs for a 10-2 slot.
    If xxx amount of your guest list does not show up you sit there, headphones in hand, until they do.
    And of course they don’t get paid, or get paid minimal for their 1 hour set.

    It’s a typhoon for the young college dj. They get sucked in to play a decent venue.
    Meanwhile mr promoter (like many said above) don’t ask for mixes, credentials, anything.
    Which usually ends up with a hard style guy at 1000, and 2 guys playing the same exact set, and well you get the point.
    All they need to do is find 4 thirsty DJs, and their job is done. It’s quite the racket.

    Sidebar.
    We (Rad)showed up for Pacha once (probably my 7th show there) and was informed my room had been bought out by someone (the hiphop room) but they didn’t want to lose us, so they put us in the basement. The catch was. Someone literally came to them with a few hundred to play the basement 3-??
    The best part was when he showed up he had bought his sound card that afternoon, and didn’t even open it. It was literally his first time EVER DJing. Ever ever ((you dj so bad u got bumped for someone’s 1st time))
    And he was sure let everyone know he PAID good money to start at 3.
    It took a cast of many to get his gear working, (while he stood there confused) and was on by 4.
    Sure enough the minimal progressive tech-house was exactly what the room was needed, ehemm

  • Armani Cee

    I’m from the area and I’m very familiar with this sort of thing. It all started when a pretty known DJ in NYC posted a flyer to his Instagram with the caption “Looking for local DJ’s, Promoters, Dancers in the area for a new promotion group!” I looked at this as an opportunity and messaged him my info. He asked the basic info such as “where am I from?” and my age. I then get messaged by his promoter friend (based in Manhattan) who is “interested” in me as a DJ and wants to work with me. I thought this was weird because he didn’t mention my music not once. I even sent him a link to my soundcloud and a recent mix I did and he said he’d check it out but doubt he ever did. Anyways he hit me up a few days later saying “Hey I’m having an event tonight you can come out with as many friends as you want for free, and can join my table.” So I tried to get a few people to come out and it didn’t work out. I thought we were going to actually be talking business so I texted him “Hey I can go out there solo so we can finally meet and talk business,” to which he didn’t reply. Whatever.
    A few days later he messaged me his number and told me to call him up which I did. He basically broke down the same shit as in this article, “I’m having this event at Stage 48 with ASAP Ferg and LOUDPVCK. In order to DJ an hour during a peak time you must sell 75 tickets. To DJ for an hour on the third floor you must sell 50 tickets, but I’ll give you some leeway”. I was to keep $10 a ticket and the tickets were going for $40. Needless to say, I only sold 2 tickets (nobody is paying $40 when you can pay half at Pacha or Webster on a Friday). The promoter set me up with my own flyer and my own online store for tickets (I could sell tickets online or in-hand). I pushed the shit out of it, having to tell everyone I was opening at this event and seeing if I could bring people. When I arrived at the event to cash out my tickets the promoter said “you only sold 2 tickets? I thought you said you sold 20?” I told him “No I never said that, idk where you heard that”. Long story short he gave me my money and I enjoyed the event free of cost. The $20 basically covered my transportation that night.
    In another working with this shady promoter, he had me DJ at a rooftop lounge a few weeks later. He asked if I could bring 20 people on a guestlist, which was easy for me. He did the same set up of sending me a flyer with my name on it so I can promote that I’m DJ’ing. I was able to bring 30 people and received $5 a head. When I got there I was told I was going to be able to DJ from 1:30-2:30. However he told me I’d have to start at 2 and go until 3. At the end of the night, I asked for my money and he said “I’d have to come next week (all the way back to the city)” for it. I texted him that following week asking for my money and he said he “didn’t know when he’d be in the city again”. Over the next few days I began to harass him until I got my money. He finally got fed up and told me to meet him at his day job. Turns out he worked at his uncle’s granite factory in Brooklyn during the day. He didn’t even want to interact with me in person, instead giving the money (only $100) to his uncle to give to me. The kid is just a scrub who tries to be a big shot at night but isn’t shit during the day.
    I hope all you guys in the tri-state learn from this bullshit and not to deal with it. Leave this for the mediocre guys who are just starting out and want to be Tiesto over night. They say you have to fail in order to learn, and in this situation that’s exactly what I did.

  • Admiralty

    I manage and book DJ’s for a very slect club in London. My pre-requisite is that they bring enough people to cover their fee as a minimum. If they don’t – they don’t get to come back.
    They also need to know how to actually entertain an audience.
    The one’s that bring people always get booked again (and you know what?), they get better and better..
    Everyone gets paid and everyone gets to keep a slice of the action by-way of a bonus.
    As a DJ myself, I think this is the most effective way to ensure that we get a crowd and the DJ gets to enjoy the success.

    • Mario Ontaneda

      This is a terrible way to do business. Yes DJs should have a following but why would you hire an opening DJ just to bring people. You club owners/managers are idiots. Supposedly you hire an opening DJ, let’s say a DJ that most likely has VERY little experience, so you tell him/her to bring 10-15 people. Fine. Then the DJ does that, gets on the opening set and does a TERRIBLE job. You are GONNA lose people due to the music being terrible. So yea, you got yourself those 10-15 people to come with the DJ, but you also lost people due to the lack of skill/talent of the DJ, and possibly PAYING customers at that. So tell me, how that is worth more for your business, when you lose paying customers, and take on 10-15 customers that expect free drinks because the promoter promised them a free bottle/drink tickets. Yea that makes sense buddy.

      • D.j. Johnnyseriuss

        Mario and Joshua on the Discussion 🙂 I agree on TRST and what this article says. Thankfully I never had been asked to sell tickets but only one time I felt I lost a Gig when they asked me I have to sell tickets then In returned I asked how much will I get for my dj set and what will I be getting for selling tickets. Then never heard back from them and Happy I did not.

        But this Fu$kery is happening consitently. Some promoters are in it for their interest and dont care about you. They would text you out of the blue In the lines of the text goes as ‘I wanna put you on this friday how many people can you bring?’ So you lie said yea I can bring about 10 to 15 people. When you show up to play, place is packed then promoter asks you where is your people? Then I point it out to the people in the crowd then he looks unhappy even though place is packed. So at the end of the night while you are waiting for your pay he goes up to cannot pay me the amount he promised but promises to put me on again soon etc.

        Just ton of B.S.

        I was talking to another DJ whos is well know and we both came to the conclusion why are promoters even called promoters??? now in days?? They don’t bring people? They rely on others to their Jobs? They should rename that position as Event organizers. Because the only thing these so called promoters do is sit down with other promoters during week plan for the future events, get the flyers done, plan what djs they are going to put on, see how much money they are making and when event comes around they just party. These so called promoters should actually hire real promoters people that will actually distribute flyers, do social media blast, and actually bring people. Not to rely on DJs to fill up your club.

        Just agrevates how the nightclub scene is even more Fked up than ever…

      • Admiralty

        The point is that running a club in London or any major city is a tough job and most of the DJ’s have no idea just how close to breaking the venue is – let alone the actual terms that the promoter has been forced into to secure the night.

        “Living in a world of fantasy” is how I’d describe some of your comments.

        Bottom line; you may be as good as Frankie Knuckles, Eddie Halliwell or John Digweed, but money in the till is where it counts.
        Software has removed most of the skilful elements that I was proud of mastering. Reading a crowd and creating the correct ‘vibe’ comes with experience, but audiences are used to a DJ that plays for an hour and then goes to the next party.
        Welcome to the economics of supply and demand.
        Behold the monster we have all created.

        • Mario Ontaneda

          That we created? The DJs are at the bottom of the barrel. I know of venues of NYC that make 50k a night and still pay their DJs 300 for an entire night.

          See that’s the problem with owners and managers, you guys think you know everything but can’t even do a good job at your own job. A DJ is a DJ. A promoter is a promoter. Why do you have people doing two jobs at once? Sounds like you are hiring fuckboys. Venue managers and promoters are shooting for short term success.

          You guys created this. DJs only go along with the wave because we have to pay bills and keep the lights on.

          • Admiralty

            No Mario, I stand by my statement. It’s the world we all created … because we are all so desperate to get the gig and the promoter knows this.
            Perhaps if there was some kind of solidarity, but all DJ’s tend to operate individually and don’t have any real power until they get a manager or agent who can do the hard work for them.

          • Mario Ontaneda

            So you hiring the shitty promoters, that’s our fault? That’s the managers/owners fault. Stop trying to find a scapegoat. It trickles down from the top.

    • DJs shouldn’t be booked on how many friends they can bring to a club. A club should be strong enough to stand on its own and not require popularity contests. Being popular is not guarantee on actually being any good at programming a set. Clubs have always been about the music but now it’s about the DJ and followers, meaning the culture has changed and most certainly for the worse.

    • I don’t see a problem with your practice. DJs underestimate how difficult it is to get people to come to a certain night.

      I’ve hosted many nights as a DJ/promoter and the people I book are expected to be able to at least attract their friends to come see them. With out an audience there is no party. It doesn’t matter how good you are.

      The difference is when a DJ is on the hook financially for the event as depicted in this article. There’s definitely some shady practices out there and promoters who are predators.

      • Spacecamp

        Exactly, Rob. Expecting a DJ to promote and put in an effort is one thing – but expecting them to contribute financially and do the bulk of the promotional work is a bit crazy.

    • John Donner

      “You can only play if you bring people to my club,where I get them for the door and for the drinks,and I’ll give you a percentage of that.” Your club must suck balls given that instead of having a budget set aside for DJ’s,you’re on some pay as you go type of s**t. And DJ’s don’t get better thanks to bringing you more guests,they get better with practice. I bet that you also make the DJ’s pay for their food and drinks too don’t you? Playing good music is what should get you booked,not how good a prostitute you are.

      • Admiralty

        No John, I pay all the DJ’s.
        There’s no pay as you go, I just don’t book a DJ that couldn’t be bothered to bring some people.
        I even throw 4 free drinks in too.

        • John Donner

          The DJ whom you’re forcing to bring people is actually paying his or herself by bringing people to your club. On top of that,you’re making money from the drinks that they’ll be buying which is instant profit after the first drink. If you really want to pay a DJ whose bringing people to your club,you give them the door and you keep the drinks.As for never booking them again if they don’t bring people to your club,that makes you part of the reason why new DJ’s have trouble getting noticed. Four free drinks? The DJ should eat and drink for free.

          • Admiralty

            I don’t make additional money, I (personally) get my fee and some extra drinks because I do the bookings.

            ” On top of that,you’re making money from the drinks that they’ll be buying which is instant profit after the first drink”

            Not true, the venue makes the money on the drinks, that’s the way it works. This isn’t 1996 you know. Club owners don’t run nights these days, they provide facilities for promoters.

            “Four free drinks? The DJ should eat and drink for free.”
            Again John, you’re very misguided. If a DJ is someone that was really famous I’d probably take them out for dinner, this would be because I wanted to and not because they are a ‘name’,
            DJ’s are like busses, if you miss one, there will be another along shortly.
            There’s rather a lot of delusional commentary in your analysis. A DJ plays some tunes, people dance, tell their friends and if the DJ has bothered to do some ground work I book them again.
            If you want to avoid doing the ‘leg work’ write some tunes, promote yourself and… oh, you see where I’m going with this?

          • John Donner

            I’ve been in the music game for quite some time and have worked with some of the biggest names in electronic music. You are forcing DJ’s to do your job of promotion and paying them with the business that they bring in,and then making them buy their drinks after the fourth round as well as buying their own food,and you still manage to get people to play? Where I’m from,no one would play for you. Your establishment should have an event budget that pays for guest DJ’s,and the only thing that should prevent a DJ from coming back is if they performed poorly. Justify what you do anyway you want. Ultimately,the people who play for you have a choice and choose your way. In my neck of the woods no one would play for you.

  • Matt Brown

    I have a few horror stories…

    In 2013 when we first started our group Space Race, we got booked to play at BB Kings for a Project 46 show. Unfortunately we didn’t sell enough tickets and got removed from the line up when we got there, even though our names were on the flyer.

    More recently we were BOOKED to play Stage 48 and close out after Lil Jon. Last minute some kids paid to play and were squeezed in right before us. They went on and played big room and cleared the room and train wrecked, so us as DJs that were booked only got to play for a pretty empty room with a few fans that stayed to catch our set. On top of that we only got to play 25 min out of our hour and half set we were booked for. And on top of that our ticket link for our friends apparently didn’t register any sales even though I sat with some friends when they bought their tickets. Just to clarify we were booked and didn’t have to sell tickets, but we did get a commission per ticket sale via our link. Still waiting on payment for that as well…

    Another time my roommate was a promoter, some of you guys in NYC might remember the Cloud Factory parties. My roommate wanted to be our “manager” and we were like whatever because we were small and he was a promoter so we thought we could get gigs. Wrong. The kid switched our time slot last minute because some shitty trance DJ wanted to play earlier, and then he threatened to kick me out of the party because I wasn’t okay with that. I’m sure more kids have horror stories about this kid.

    /endrant

    • iamrockstarmike

      i rock with you guys, star falcon, and joe san heavy. keep killin it

    • Reg

      Great article guys! Same fucking shit around here… Back in the ’70s ’80s and ’90s, there was a time when CLUB MANAGERS used to make THEIR FUCKING JOB!!!!!!!!
      Reg Saindon aka ”The Free Beat Freak”, Montréal.

  • bkbikenerd

    Dj’s need to be less thirsty. The promoters zone in on this and use it to their advantage.

    A DJ, DJ’s (what ever that means to you)
    A Promoter, promotes (gets people to know about and attend events)

    So why as a DJ are you now doing the promoters’s job?
    If the DJ’s are doing all the promoting what the hell are the promoters doing?
    If the promoter doesn’t even care to listen to your mixes and soundcloud it’s because he doesn’t care about your dj’ing.

    Most the spots mentioned in the article are full of B&T doucebags and local ones too. The whole scene is douchebag right down to the promotors, owners and cut throat dj’s that will spin for free.

    DJ’s please stop doing the promoter’s job for them. It’s their freaking job. Concentrate on being the best dj you can be.

  • eugene

    Honestly, it is the DJ’s fault. Promoters and owners know they can get away with this because the DJ has accepted this position. It is funny because it really should be the other way around. DJ’s should get used to walking out mid-set. Do this to fuck the people who try to fuck you. In the end, you are never going to win with someone in that position anyway.

    • Admiralty

      An honorable point you make, but promoters all talk to each other.
      Getting another gig in the same town would be very difficult.
      How about a DJ strike?
      I suspect that would ‘hold’ about as long as it takes the promoter to check their email list for the large number of bedroom DJ’s who want to work.
      The only way forward is to take the big step and start your own night, promote it yourself and pray that enough people come.

  • This is a major problem. It devalues the veteran artists who won’t get involved in this crap just as much as it devalues these young kids trying to break into the scene. It needs to stop. Will it? Probably not. The young kids want to rise quickly into the scene, they se this as a quick way into gaining gigs.

    • Spacecamp

      Agreed. That’s why we’re really hoping this article and comments get shared heavily – this practice needs to be stopped, and it’s up to DJs and aspiring DJs to be the ones to say no.

    • Paul Schieffer

      History doomed to repeat itself – in LA and NYC (and so now I’ve heard, Atlanta, Chicago, and Austin), LIVE music clubs started letting “promoters” book their shows a while ago. The exact thing happened – when they got slapped for “P2P”, they found a workaround, albeit one that is [only] a bit different than what was described here.

      In LA (where I’m most familiar with the phenomenon), the promoter “books” you on the condition that you, as the band, BUY say 50 tickets at a “wholesale price” (usually $5 with a face value of $12). It is then your responsibility to sell those tickets – and that is the only compensation you will get. Oh, and by the way, anyone who pays at the door, the promoter keeps (or splits with the club)…

      Do you know why no one goes to see live music in those towns? It isn’t over-saturation, no matter what the punters (after all, they are the ones paying the $250 to play) may tell you. It is that the odds of seeing a randomly good band on any given night are crazy low – mostly because only the ones who can afford it end up playing!

      It seems that the DJ world is going the same way, and not that surprisingly. Like I said, doomed to repeat…

      • Kalani Holguin

        Yup!! Ive been playing in live bands in the La/hollywood scene for many years. Pay to Play is a Major business. WIth Dj’s it can be even worse because EVERYONE is a damn dj now.

      • apricot ashtray

        That’s how the Whisky has stayed open for so long.

  • Stephen Nawlins

    Around then years ago here in my hometown (Basel Switzerland) I applied for a DJ Job in a new Location. Well it was a Table Dance Bar before and was remade to a nice Lounge Club.
    I allready was mixing since 5-6 years, had Club experience and met the owner.
    She told me “You know I put a lot of Money in the renovation and remodeling of the Club and for the Moment it isn’t working allready. Mostly the guys mixing here aren’t DJs but friends playing for Drinks ’cause they Support me. A DJ with Club experience would be great but I am afraid that I cannot pay what you are used to”.
    I really appreciated her honnesty and as I was mixing since a few years 1h away in the City of Zürich I reacted that way: “Well how much can you afford???” She said “100 CHF for playing from 2PM-2AM” I answered “OK let’s do it, I see it is a nice Venue and that it has starting Problems, let’s build it up together”. She was really happy and excited, we decided to make a 80’s Party 1 month later.
    No Facebook at this time just made a round Email to approx. 50people.
    I showed up around 1h before my gig like always, People started coming in and around 30 of my friends been there (Free Entry Location btw).
    When I started playing Music around 9pm I saw the owner jumping from table to table putting some Cards on the table looking but I couldn’t see what it was untill one of my friend brought one to me and told me “You must be a really expensive DJ that they cover 2 CHF on every drink as a Music-Cover”
    There were around 100 People inside (They never had more than 50 People before as nobody knew it wasn’t a Table Dance place anymore) which all stayed and had a great Party untill I finished at 2pm. If I count that every guest had 3 Drinks in 5hours (which isn’t much) she made 100 x 2 x 3 = 600 CHF out of Music-Cover from which I only saw 100CHF because I was a good guy who offered her to work on a friendly based Price to help her building up the Location. btw at this time I was working as resident in a bar in Zürich half as big for 1h shorter sets for a payment of 400 CHF, I haven’t made a second Party athis Location and it closed less than 6 month later because she never made any Publicity for it.
    Since then you rather can afford my Services or you Forget about me.

  • Ronald Dixie

    The rave in Milwaukee does the same thing for some of their larger events. We are talking more then 6 stages though. Mostperformers are not a fan of it, but it works and brings people in, not necessary talented djs, but when you have 6 stages….

  • Jerr1233

    If you are going to make a deal with these scumbag promoters for a spot and sell tickets. The best thing to do is to hold on to your leverage…”THE MONEY” Once they get the money from you they have all the power. All you have to do is show them that you can cover your debt by showing them the money in an account on your phone and say you get your money after my promised set, if not I keep it all and walk out and you can try and sue me. They may not try to use you again, but would you really want to deal with someone like that again?

  • Don Stone

    Welcome to Upstate NY, the land of 14 dj lineups with 1 headliner. If you sell tickets you play. Happens all the time and every 18 yr old DJ eats it up and will basically beg to do it.

  • Hi, Here in My country Bolivia, specifically on La Paz, all the DJ’s and Live Act’s have a standar, its like everybody give the value that our art deserve, we even ask to the courtesy tickets (+2) to bring some friend or.. just because we need to keep the standar, obviously there’s a few DJ’s that sell tickets, but those all are “wanna be’s”, my best advice, if a promoter don’t even ask you for a mixtape or something, doesn’t worth it, because they just want money and don’t care about you aka they’ll take advantage of you, or they’ll try it
    Its hard to coordinate with others almost imposible but if all of you agree to don’t sell tickets to play at the end of the month the promoters will realize that theres no others choice, or they book the right way or theres no DJ’s in the club, its very hard but its the only soution that i can see

  • Omers

    That’s insane… I’ve heard about this kind of thing on reddit before but didn’t realise it was so bad or that the gigs weren’t even a sure thing. Sure makes me appreciate the scene here a lot more; Get booked, post about it on Facebook, show up, play, get paid, go home.

    I’ve never been asked to sell tickets and I don’t know anyone in town who has. DJs here tend to be more than happy to hand out a few fliers or put up some posters but that’s after their name is already on them and it’s by no means expected.

    Festival booking in Western Canada is also mostly done through sending a mix and EPK during the “audition” phase at least for the established festivals like MoNo, Connect, Astral, Shambalah, etc… New DJs always have a chance of booking a slot on merit without any scams or pre-sale bull involved.

    Remind me not to move.

  • Pingback: Pay To Play: NYC DJs Forced To Sell Tickets To Keep Their DJ Slots? – dPico AUDIOS()

  • Samuel Agius

    I suggest that group of djs form a promoting company were they promote events in which they will play in. So no one screws no one

    • Spacecamp

      Yup, that for sure is a great way to end this practice. Start crews, trust each other instead of money-hungry promoters who don’t care about DJ quality.

      • ben

        Live Ur dreams ….

    • Slappy47

      When DJ’s support DJ’s great things happen

  • Dominic Vincenzo Bochicchio

    I kinda thought we hit rock bottom when “Play-for-free” was the norm, but I guess now that “Pay-to-Play” and “Sell-to-Play” are becoming the norm I’m wondering why I even bother making mix-tapes when all that matters is promoting yourself and selling tickets.

    The worst part about all this is that people who truly innovate or do something different with the art-form, don’t have the time or money to mess around with these people. Even if you did everything they want you to do, the second you hand out your rider they drop you like a stone because it’s too much of a commitment.

    These promotion companies are a joke and if they’re asking DJ’s to sell tickets to get on stage, then what are they doing in the first place? Isn’t selling tickets the bare minimum a promotion company is supposed to do? Aren’t they supposed to promote the events? What is even happening anymore!?!?

  • Drew

    This has been going on in NYC for a while now… I remember in the late 80’s through the 90’s, the promoters tried to start this, but didn’t work out. I remember a few years ago this place asked me to do the same thing (to promote myself and sell tickets) and i’ll do a set or two, but I totally said no… I actually said let my people in on the guest list and we’re all good, if I wanted to promote I would be a promoter… Well I didn’t DJ, nor did I promote. I have my own following and I know how many would go to see me. Its really a shame how things changed! DJ-ING is supposed to be fun, not to cut throat to your fellow DJ.

  • You gotta get a strong following to play in bars now, in Paris, France.
    Then you get 80 € for a 5 hours set. They’re destroying a whole culture with these bad behaviors.

    • False ! I didn’t have any followers, I’m not into these things, music is music.
      When you’re playing for foreigners that come for a weekend in Paris I don’t see the need to have followers. What matter is reading crowd, make them sweet and drink.

      Was playing for 80€, 4 hours 10pm-2am, drinks and foods included. Friends allowed.
      150€ on day off or long night (8pm-3am).
      I only have to bring my laptop and was doing this during 2 years (Thursday Friday Saturday).
      The owners was also joking about DJs that was coming at him to mix for 50€ a night or for free.
      In this case I’m sure the DJs are to blame not the owners…

      • Each DJ has his own experiences and stories to tell. All the latest proposals i had were cheap so i refused them all.
        I agree that DJ’s must be blamed for undercut payment, but small bars owners take advantage of the situation, you can’t deny it.

    • John Donner

      If you’re only making 80€ in Paris for a 5 Hour set,leave Paris. Hit the clubs or bars in Bretagne and get 125-150€ for and hour and a half of your time.

      • Thanks for the tip 😉 !! I take note.

  • Dubby Labby

    Promote yourself, don’t let others take the power.

  • Steve

    This has been rampant in Melbourne for ages. It started with ‘get 20+ on your guest list if you want to play next week’. Here they call it being a ‘promoter dj’ and it’s ruining our music scene.

    • Spacecamp

      Between that and the lockout, things sound rough down under. 🙁

  • ShiftFunction

    They’ve been pulling this shit here in London for ages. My gig at Ministry meant I had to sell >20 tickets at greater cost to what my friends would’ve had to pay off their own backs as membership card holders.

    Fortunately I have understanding friends (and the rest of the lineup sort-of justified the extra £5 a ticket).