Pay To Play

If you’re an aspiring band or artist and have ever attempted to get some gigs further afield from your home town, you’ve probably come across the phenomenon that is known as ‘Pay To Play’.

You know the kind of thing where the promoter, or venue says that they can’t or won’t pay you for your performance and tell you that ‘it will be good promotion for your band’ and that ‘that’s just the way things are these days’.

This may well suit you under certain circumstances, but…..

Well, you might be pleased to hear that it’s not just the new, up and coming artists that have to put up with this kind of thing. It seems that even the biggest acts in the world are spun the same rubbish as well. As this blog post by the very readable Helienne Lindvall shows:

Of course this is not something that just happens in London and other big cities, it happens in most smaller towns as well. Thankfully not all venues and promoters do this, but many do.

This is a big issue, with several sides and varying points of view and one that I could probably talk about for hours, so I don’t intend to go into it all here.

What I thought I would do though is to point you towards a couple of Facebook groups that talk about these issues. If nothing else it proves that you’re not alone and that it’s not just the ‘little people’ that are affected.

Here’s a link to a Facebook group started up to highlight and discuss musicians being asked to play for free. The group was actually started after problems with the London 2012 Olympics. You might have to join the group to get involved:

Of course, this doesn’t just affect the music industry. It has become an issue across many fields too, such as journalism.

Here’s a link to another Facebook group called ‘Stop Working For Free’, this time started by respected music journalist Barney Hoskyns. It’s aimed at journalists, musicians, photographers and others as well. Once again you may have to join to get the full benefit:

Why not share your own story?



We all know that Hastings has a great music scene these days. But that’s nothing new and now there’s a great Facebook group for all those who remember the local music and bands from the heady days of the 1970’s and beyond.

It’s called SMART, which is an acronym for ‘Seventies Music and Retro Talk’.

You can find it here:

SMART was set up by local music lover Alan Esdaile and as he told me the group was originally started “to post a few of my cuttings and photos of friends in local bands from the 1970′s. But as more people got involved, I realised it needed to be from the 1960′s through to the 1980′s, all with a connection to Hastings”

SMART has since expanded beyond being just a Facebook group covering those decades though.

Alan now arranges regular meet ups of all interested parties. He said “I’ve now set up a coffee and chat group where we can all get together and chat about music, bands, pier talk etc. It’s great that a few musicians are talking about reforming bands and didn’t realise that other people were still as passionate about their music as they are/were.”

If you’re interested in going along and sharing your own memories, the next meet up is on Friday 22nd November in the bar at the White Rock Hotel from 3.30pm.

Alan’s main aim for the group is “Keeping memories alive”, but he needs your help to do that. So, if you have any old photos, flyers, gig tickets or press cuttings etc why not let him know?

As he told me “So many brilliant musicians and different bands locally come and go. But it’s quite sad that photos are kept in a draw or turning yellow in a box in the loft when other people can get so much more enjoyment out of them.”

Let’s not forget, this was a time before the Internet, social media and digital cameras. An age when nobody had a mobile phone in their pocket with which to record and share their personal gig going experience.

You just might have a piece of local music history laying around forgotten somewhere in your house. So why not have a search and see what you may be able to dig up?

SMART also has a family history angle too as Alan told me that he’s had a number of young people contacting him, asking if he has any pictures of their dads, uncles or other family members.

This goes to prove that history isn’t just for the older generation, it is important to everyone and the more of it that is preserved, the better.

The musical history of the Hastings area during the 1960′s/70′s/80′s and 90′s is a particularly rich one. So, it’s good to see somebody like Alan Esdaile trying to help preserve a unique part of our local heritage.

Why not give him a hand?

A Social Media Policy – Update

Some months ago I wrote a blog post for this Pierless Music site called ‘A Social Media Policy’. The idea was to give bands and musicians some guidance on the potentials pitfalls of their own use of social media, based on my own experiences.

That post was well received and I was recently asked to update the post for use on the Epik Music Videos website.

They have changed the title to ‘The 10 Commandments of Social Media’, even though there are actually 16 “Commandments”. But the title does have a nice ring to it doesn’t it? You can find the post here:

Even if you did read that original Pierless Music post, it would be worth reading this new version as it has been updated and added to.

Let me know what you think and if you have any personal pointers that could be added to any future update.

“Altercation at Alter Bridge”

A while ago I wrote a blog post for this Pierless Music site entitled ‘A Social Media Policy’. You can read it here:                                              

In that post I listed 15 pointers/guidelines that I felt were important to follow if you’re a band, artist, or even a band member. Number 10 was ‘Don’t Engage In Slanging Matches’. Well, I’ve just come across a very good example of exactly why you should follow those guidelines.

I was recently pointed towards a very good and enlightening blog post. I’ve even borrowed the title of this post from that one. It concerns the rock band Alter Bridge and a, completely unnecessary, altercation they had with a photographer who had taken a photo of one of the band members at a gig.

The band then used this photo on their own website and elsewhere for commercial purposes. On hearing about this the photographer asked to be paid a nominal fee of $75 for the use of his work. The band refused and that really should have been the end of the matter, but it wasn’t.

For the full story and what happened next read the post here:                       

As you can see, it all got rather ugly and even dragged in one of the band members.

In my opinion this can only have one effect and that is to make the band look very bad, in many ways. Even fans of the band thought that Alter Bridge were in the wrong with the public way that they had dealt with the issue, as you can see from that blog post.

This is precisely why bands, artists and even band members should not get involved with slanging matches with anyone, for whatever reason. It will never look good and will usually only come back to bite you on the bum, as it has here.

Deleting those unsavoury Facebook, Twitter or comment exchanges will not make the problem go away. As happened here it’s very easy to take a screen grab of any offending comments and many people do this nowadays as a kind of insurance policy.

The Internet and Social Media loves nothing more than a good scandal and news travels very fast there too. So remember that adage, ‘What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet’ and maybe also read Number 3 of my list of pointers/guidelines, ‘Think Before you Post’.

Make sure you’re not the next band, or artist to fall into the same trap that Alter Bridge did. You’ll only live to regret it if you do.

Blog Post – A Social Media Policy

Social Media is something that we all use these days and it’s something that is becoming ever more important for bands and musicians as well. But, are they using it in the correct way?

Because of that question, Pierless Music have decided to write a blog post about this topic and include some Social Media guidelines of our own. You may not agree with them all, but they will hopefully give you something to think about.

And who knows, maybe these guidelines might have some relevance for an individual too?

Find out more here:

Blog Post – Time To Get Serious?

We’ve added a new blog post to the Pierless Music site.

It’s titled “Time To Get Serious?” and can be found here:

If you use Facebook, or direct listeners of your music to your Facebook profile, it might be worth a read.

If you want to write your own blog post for the Pierless Music site, please let us know.


Pierless Music is now on Twitter. You can find us here:

or @pierlessmusic

If you use Twitter, why not follow us there?

Apart from Tweets about the content on this and our other sites. We also intend to use Twitter to share music related news stories and interesting articles that we have come across.

We do have accounts set up with other Internet and social networking sites, such as Facebook, YouTube, Reverb Nation, Mixcloud and Soundcloud. But, some of these are not yet ‘Live’, as we are activating/using them as we progress.

In time, we intend to have widgets on this site to allow you follow, subscribe, friend & join us across all those other Pierless Music sites.

All sites will be under the Pierless Music name.