Getting paid for a gig isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re just starting out. Much of the pay depends on the type of deal you get and the type of show you do. Sometimes groups also have to perform for free. âA lot of restaurateurs don’t pay us in advance or after the performance. Their accounting department doesn’t care and we have to follow them for over two months. Even after that, getting the money is not guaranteed. It’s like begging for what we deserve, âsays Padmanabhan aka Paddy of One Night Stand.
Some people wait patiently, others apply periodic pressure, but many give up hope of being paid. Sometimes sites have weird requirements too. Celestial Teapot drummer Ashwin Naidu says: âThere are very few venues in town that pay bands a fair price. We played for free a few times, but we have stopped doing it now. There were times when venues asked us to guarantee a certain number of participants. If these many people do not show up, they deduct money from the final amount, citing the lack of audience.
Another group, MH43, has a similar opinion. âIt’s not fair to ask someone to work for free, unless the show is for a cause or is a hunt for talent. Even in these cases, artists should at least benefit from basic transport services, âsays Urja Arora, the group’s manager. She thinks theaters are asking upcoming bands to perform for free because they know there are a lot of other bands willing to do it.
However, venue owners believe that groups should share their fee details in advance to prevent such issues from occurring. âBasically every artist has a level of expertise, fan following, etc. and restaurants choose artists who fit their budget. But each artist must share their fees with the restaurant in advance. This way, less payment or no payment at all will not be taken into account, âsays Kiran Singh from a restaurant in Kalyaninagar.
Most venues approach new groups making sure to provide a good platform and help them reach the masses. But almost all bands have been invited to play for free at some point. In such cases, the artists barter with the organizers. âThe best barter we did was that we would only play for free if the organizers called us again and let us decide the fees for the second gig,â says Urja.
But Rahul Srivastava, lead singer of Kabira Junction, believes that this attitude should not be encouraged. He thinks that because some bands agree to play for free, others must suffer as well. âIt should be a collective effort. Many bands perform for a lower price, which creates problems for other bands who are serious about making music a full-time career. Restaurants only invite those who charge less; they don’t care what music is played, âsays Rahul.
Restaurants need to understand that they need to provide a platform for artists, says restaurateur Kunal Mhaske. He says, âI think new restaurants are a little confused about the operations of the F&B industry. They are probably of the opinion that these groups and artists performing in their restaurants will bring them more business. But I think it’s only for the entertainment of customers. My suggestion to upcoming restaurants is that instead of not paying the groups, promote it by providing a platform to showcase their skills. Groups need money to invest in their passion, so they need to be paid well.