We were told about a brand new idea recently, an idea that may well help bands get paid for gigs, instead of them having to play for nothing, or even ‘Pay to Play’.

The idea is called ‘Con£ribute’ and is the brainchild of local promoter John Knowles. John explains his ideas below and we at Pierless Music would like to know what you think about them. We think this has the potential to be a great idea, but what do you think?

Incidentally, the first local Con£ribute gig is being held at The Roomz, St Leonards on Sunday, 27th April and features ‘Dead Belgian’, playing the songs of Jacques Brel.


Imagine the scene, the gig has been great, everyone loved the band and encores have been played, the bar looks at the takings and gives up the 10% it promised to the band and low and behold it’s a staggering £30… which as the band has come down from Liverpool via a gig in London, is something of a slap in the face. So doing my promoter bit, I go round and shake the bucket and watch as people drop in silver coins, no notes and then a handful of copper coins… Really! That’s it? Copper coins for a band you’ve just made do an encore, whilst you hug your pint of ‘nadgers old peculiar’.

It won’t be the first or last time that despite having paid for the posters and offering bed and board and food to the band, that I’ll also be chipping in with my own cash to make the offering a little less embarrassing and it won’t be the last time that I take out the copper coins so at least the band doesn’t see the shameful offering, but it shouldn’t be like this, should it.

Why is it when we go to a gig, in this, one of the most musical towns in the UK, do we expect to pay the band nothing, or as good as, why are the musicians who have entertained you for the night worth less than the price of a pint. Why don’t we / you Con£ribute.

Many venues do of course pay the bands and whilst those of us on both sides would like the fee’s to be better, we respect that it’s a tough environment for publicans and compromise is the middle man. But for many venues, paying a decent amount for a band, an amount we know would be fair, is just not a working possibility. For many bands and promoters we’d rather be out there playing than doing what we love than not. But there has to be a better way, a fairer way, a way in which the band gets more than a pint and a derisory hand full of coins.

Con£ribute is an idea, a simple way to signal that the gig you are at needs your support. It says this venue loves live music and supports bands, but can’t give them more than 10% from the till, it says, if you like the music you heard then Con£ribute.

Con£ribute is not a get out for venues to pay nothing, it’s a support for hard working bands and musicians and a help to venues and promoters who are genuinely trying to do their best by the musicians. So when you see the sign in the window CON£RIBUTE, it means when the bucket comes round put in the price of a pint £2.50 / £3.00, it doesn’t mean pull out a handful of copper coins.

CON£RIBUTE is an idea and we welcome your views; is it workable, do you think it’s fair, as a punter would you honestly put in a fair amount or would you be tempted to just shrug your shoulders, lets start a small revolution, pay the piper the price of a pint?

Con£tribute is an idea from Fetch, a local company specialising in live events:
Contact them via:

So, what do you think? Please let us know.


3 comments on “Con£ribute

  1. It’s not really clear what this scheme is trying to achieve. If all you are doing is walking round with a bucket after a gig then how does a sticker in the window change the audience’s attitude to dropping in a handful of coppers?

    As a punter and music appreciator, my view is that the usual supply and demand forces determine whether pubs/venues have live music on and it is down to them to pay the band. Local examples such as Porters and the Jenny Lind in Old Town are packed when music is on and often empty out as soon as the band stops. They are clearly profiting from the music and should pay the band a fair performance fee.

    If bands want punters to pay out they need to be more creative than just a bucket. Punters dont know if the band has already received a decent fee or not or how much it was. My solution would be that Con£ribute should record the live gig, download it on to cheap memory sticks and sell them at £5 a go. That would be a good value memory of a decent gig and make a bit of profit for the band.

  2. John Wilde on said:

    A worthy cause deserving such a cool idea. Lord knows the energy musicians put into attending/performing at gigs and how insulting to end up with a handfull of coins. Pay it forward guys! I am happy to give em a pints worth of pleasure. Put up the signs, let us know. Sign up and enjoy.

  3. Andrew Brown on said:

    Nice idea – or how about the venue putting a levy on the price of a drinkor snack? Say 10%. As people love their drink or snack, they would also be ‘loving the band. If people don’t like the band, they leave early and buy fewer drinks. If they stay for an encore, they buy more drinks.

    In each case, the popularity of the band will be rewarded according to there success. A band that does not produce good music or live performances will not be able to afford to continue. Those that are good, will get paid well and will be encourgaed to develop. In these days of computerized tills, it would not be hard to add a feature to activate the “contribute feature’ when the event is a band being paid this way. It would also show, without fear of manipulating the numbers, what had been taken that even and what the value of that was the contirubtion amount for the band!

    Just a thought

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