Here’s a cool article I just read (via Facebook, thanks Forrest) — the author makes lots of good points.
The economics of live music is weird. From my own observation, there are thousands, millions of bands. Most are not that great but lots are very good. Each band has a natural monopoly over their own music but that doesn’t mean anything. A band’s incentive to play is generally not monetary. Bookers’ incentives are primarily monetary and draw equals pay, short-term or otherwise. For new clubs, long-term reputation is going to be less important than just keeping the doors open.
I’ve often been frustrated by bookers who let me do all of the work of booking and promoting a show, who then still take a sizable amount from the door. Musicians’ and bookers’ interests are pretty well aligned, they should work harder to help each other.