Why a $5 Cover Charge is Too Low

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I went to a show recently– paid 5 bucks at the door. A few years back I opened for my friend’s album release party– $5 cover charge for that too. And 10 years ago, my first CD release show– yep, $5. Turns out, I asked a friend of mine who is about 25 years older than me how much money his band charged at the door in the mid-70’s– $5.

That same friend has also played a weekly gig for the past 15 years and actually had to take pay cuts every few years. (That might be on a slightly different topic, though).

Scott Honsberger posted an article on Music Think Tank yesterday that talks about this exact situation: the perpetual $5 door charge that has magically flatlined for decades. He thinks it’s way too low, and that bands should begin to slowly condition listeners to expect to pay more. Nothing drastic,… just $6 or $7 to start. Then maybe one day, with a little luck, $10!

So, is Scott’s proposal a good one? Is it possible to teach fans to pay more for live music?

On the one hand, the price of almost every other service or product has gone up. Generally wages increase towards that rise in cost of living. But on the other hand, there are thousands more bands now (millions, if we think globally), and that increase in supply doesn’t bode well for musicians’ bargaining power.

Check out Scott’s article HERE and let us know what you think.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

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