Monday, August 23, 2010

Bands - Heads up on Afton Live and the way they do business

Recently , Amity of If Not For Dreaming contacted me with the heads up on what is a shady company prying on the new bands. They contacted her via Reverbnation email. It was the poor grammar, misspelled words that red flagged it to her so I asked her for the email she received so I could look into this company myself.

The email is as followed:

Subject: can i get your booking info?


i saw your prfile and seems cool.. i book afton shows in hartford and im thinkin youd fit well on shows i've got comin up- like maybe this one at webster on sept 10th?

i wanna exchange info if youre down and have a bunch of other options if that one wont work, get back w/ me at my email if youre interested and lets talk?

(Email address omitted by Renagade)

could then get you details and get more info from you so i can get you on s good show.

No link to the show nor the company, not even a hint about it. And the spelling and grammar does scream unprofessional. So, I went to Google and searched for Afton. Discovered it was called AftonLive. They have been around for sometime and do put together shows. BUT YOU the artist do the work of selling the house out. No this fact is not found on there website, but, to quote Mulder, “ the truth is out there” .

My next step was to Google AftonLive Scam .Try it. You will be amazed at the number of hits you get. After reading a few articles, blog posts, forum rants, one really stood out and I found it to be right on. Not only about this company but about how many companies and venues are ‘using’ musicians for free entertainment and profiting from it and the bands are allowing it to happen. Many are more than willing to play for free just to play.

Please take the time to check out : Is Afton Live A Scam? Any Worse Than Venues?

It is well written account on the legality and ethics of companies such as this. As the Blog reads:
“There’s been an ongoing debate online about whether Afton Live is a scam, or if their shows are technically “pay-to-play”. It’s semantics, really. Since there has been music, there have been those who prey upon musicians. There’s hardly a professional act that isn’t well acquainted with the shadier aspects of the music business. There’s always going to be someone eager to shake your hand and pat you on the back while they offer you the next great deal. Roger Waters wrote a famous song about these people; just listen to Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” some time. These sorts of people are part of the landscape. They’re always going to be. And there’s really nothing wrong with it, from a legal perspective.”

Is it illegal? Not really. Is it unethical and hurtful to the Music industry? You bet. But as PT Barnum said :       “ There is a sucker born every minute” Artists, I urge you to do your homework, read every contract and take pride in your craft. Don’t sell your soul at the crossroads.

The Author, of Is Afton Live A Scam? Any Worse Than Venues? is Wicasta , a member of Windhaven

ATT: Another good site for info is:


Pamela said...

Amazing. Artists and dreamers of all kinds are hit with stuff like this. :(

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why unknown "artists" and bands scoff at playing for free. If no one knows who you are, why should you get paid? If you don't pull a crowd-- why should you get paid?? Blows my mind, the ego involved here.

Renagade said...

Pam - yes this type of shady dealing goes on among so many forms of creative ventures.

Anon - Although you are off topic, ( topic being not playing for free but actually paying to play) I will like to address your comment.

Music is a product and bands and other artist provide this product by playing live and entertaining the people at a venue.
I ask, using your logic, why then should I pay for a new candy bar? I dont know it so it should be given to me?
And to answer the 'pulling in a crowd' that can be a two way street. Granted, pulling in a crowd is very important for any band, that they want to do. But avenue needs to build a clientile based on service, food and or drinks etc as well as the entertainment provided. To depend soley on the bands pulling in customers for them is not a very good business model.
I must add, again using your logic, why should a company pay a new employee? Chances are they are 'unknown'.
When a band or artist plays, they are proforming a service and delivering their product, to say untill they are famous they dont deserve pay for this is really sad.

Robert Short said...

When I bought my bar, the previous owner said “I have this group who rents out the club once a month and you might want to keep working with them.” The group was Afton shows and while it took a little effort to get the agreement made between them and me, it’s been a great relationship from a venue perspective. So many artists want us to pay them to play at the club and promote for them when we don’t even know who they are. Afton seems to give these artists a platform, not to make a lot of money, but to gain the exposure they need for venue owners like me to take them seriously. They can perform for Afton events for a year or two and other gigs they get, and build up their name and get out there. For me, I don’t have to worry if they suck or whatever, the crowd dictates how long the artist can be up there. And I keep the bar sales, have a decent crowd in the place, and Afton pays for the venue rental. People think Afton “keeps” all the money except the ticket sales commissions from the artists but they in fact turn around and pay the venues and create flyers and advertise. And they staff the door/event. So we just go there, open the bar and serve drinks. I think they are a great platform for artists to get the exposure they need while providing clubs an opportunity to serve a well-under-served community. If you are finding it hard to work for next to nothing, then you are probably “big” enough not to need the Afton show to propel you to the next level, you’re already there.

And to "Renegade's" comments, entertainment is not a candy bar. Yet, if i were introducing a new candy bar, I would give away a lot of them until people can see how great my candy bar is. And in my case, I wouldn't even open if I had to promote for these shows. I hire promoters and in this case Afton to bring people to my club. When they get there, they get great service and a quality venue but I'm not out spending money to get them there, instead artists who are hungry are working their circles of influence. But ya, exposure and free shows is going to be the life of the new artist. Sorry to disagree with your POV.