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Ross May, singer-guitarist with Faded Chroniclez, played twice at West Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go last year. Each gig cost his band $600.

“We had to drop a deposit of half up front when we got the tickets,” says May. “We had to pay the other half when we got there.”

May and the other members of his six-man power-funk band were given 100 tickets with a face value of $12 each. If they sold all 100 tickets, bandmembers could divide $600 among themselves.

“We sold about 70 of the tickets the first time, and less the second time. We found that about two-thirds of the people who bought tickets actually came up to see us. We broke even the first time. The second time, some of [the money] had to come out of our pockets. But we wrote it off since they give you a video of you playing live for $150, which is a screaming deal.

“The video was bad-ass, but the audio sucked.… We found out later, if you wanted a good audio feed, you had to pay an extra $400. We can’t even use the video; you can’t be represented by something that has bad sound.”

After those shows, May got a call.

“Celina [Denkins], the general manager of the Whisky, called us. She said she really liked our band and that we should play at this battle of the bands.” That contest, hosted by the Whisky and cosponsored by MySpace Records, promised $25,000, a demo deal, and $5000 worth of equipment to the winner. The finalists would compete in front of judges. May says he was flattered that Denkins reached out to his band. He submitted the required video of his band to enter.

“Then Celina called,” says May. “She asked me why we didn’t send [the video] in. For some reason it didn’t go through [the mail].”

May subsequently discovered that the contract would have given MySpace Records “perpetual, worldwide” rights to the song and the “right to use, publish, reproduce” the song “anywhere in the world for any purpose.”

“And they wouldn’t even have to notify us,” says May. “Just by submitting the song, they own it and they would never have to pay us a dime.… The moral of the story is make sure you read all the fine print [in music contracts].”

Faded Chroniclez appears January 30 at the Big Bear Music Festival.

— Ken Leighton

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Comments

sugarrock Jan. 14, 2009 @ 1:50 p.m.

poor noobs, they never learn. pay to play is for suckers. they did it once, but i was shocked to read they did it twice. wow. note to all newbie bands out there, DO NOT PAY TO PLAY. ever. the end.

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mutantboy Jan. 14, 2009 @ 10:44 p.m.

let people be stupid ken, but ferfuxsake don't lend them any ideas of mistaken credibility by putting them in the blurt. then again, i'm sure you have enough of these dumbasses to pay your rent for years to come.

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fadedinoside Jan. 20, 2009 @ 4:23 p.m.

PAY TO PLAY IS THE PLAGUE OF CALIFORNIA MUSIC SCENES UP AND DOWN THE COAST. ITS LIKE PROMOTERS DONT EVEN HAVE A FUNCTION ANYMORE. THEY JUST GIVE THEIR JOB DETAILS TO THE BANDS, AND FORCE THEM TO SELL TICKETS IN ORDER TO PLAY A SHOW AT A RESPECTABLE VENUE. THE VENUE ALWAYS WANTS AN OUTRAGEOUS DEPOSIT, AND A GARENTEE OF TICKETS SOLD, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT PROMOTING A SHOW, AND SELLING THE TICKETS IS THE JOB OF THE PROMOTER AND THE VENUE... BANDS ARE ENTERTAINMENT FOR HIRE. LET THEIR BE NO MISTAKE, THAT THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS EVERYWHERE, AND I GIVE THE FADED CHRONICLEZ CREDIT FOR GOING PUBLIC WITH THEIR MISFORTUNE RUGUARDING THIS SITUATION. THERE ARE A MILLION BANDS THAT REELATE TO THIS, AND ITS TIME THIS PRACTICE IS SHUT DOWN... NO MORE PAY TO PLAY!

AND ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO PUT DOWN THOSE WHO GO OUT ON A LIMB, DONT GET JELOUS, JUST GET ACTIVE. GONE

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thepeoplesvoice Feb. 10, 2009 @ 1:28 p.m.

yeah, i'd have to say that pay to play sucks balls as we all know, but sometimes you have to learn things the hard way (it cool cause it builds character, you know?). mutantboy is a douche bag, these guys are sick...i caught'em at the 710 in PB, with split finger awhile back and they're sick.

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