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PAY TO PLAY
Any self-respecting DJ wants to play at every possible gig. They live to drop beats, and most of the time money is not an issue. One self-serving promoter decided to bank in on this notion.
"Our plan is to make such awesome events that DJs will beg us play at them" says Brian, the brain behind the Montreal promotional team Bass-Tricks Productions. "It's always a fuss trying to figure out which DJs to book, and then we have to deal with jealousy and whining, not to mention the cost of local DJs. So, we figured why not make the DJs pay us to play? They want exposure, they want to make a reputation for themselves, and we give them that by allowing them to play at massive events. For a cost."
The production team will accept applications, and chose the DJs from that pool, after which there will be a scale of fees depending of the time-slot of any given DJ. Early slots cost 50$, slots before of after International Headliners start at 100$ depending on the magnitude of the headlining artist. They also plan on having additional charges for the flyer; an extra 10$ for every 1 point of font size larger than the basic font size that will be used for the flyer. "We already have a list of over 30 DJs willing to participate, and we've only started. We expect this number to triple once people see who we're booking for the main acts".
Concepts such as Payola have been around since the dawn of Rock'n'Roll and Pop music, in which a record label will pay radio stations to play the songs and artists of the label's choosing. Music has meant big business for the last 60 years, and profiting from this has been the sole purpose of major labels ever since. Now, this new concept is stretching the boundaries, making the artists themselves pay for the right to play. Obviously this idea has met with severe backlash.
"It's fuckin' crazy!" Says DJ Shmiley, an up-and-comer in the Dubstep scene, "I want to make a name for myself, yes, but I'm supposed to be paid for my services nonetheless. So, this stupid idea to make me pay for a spot in a party is totally ass-backwards!". Many other DJs who've gotten wind of this promotional tactic have also vehemently opposed Bass-Tricks, and have called for a boycott of their events.
"It goes against everything we've fought for in the past 10 years here in Montreal" states old-schooler Slackerboy, who has since put a counter concept on the table, a Dj Union. He goes on "It's one thing to accept pennies when a party fails, or is a free event, but it's a whole other story to say that we should actually pay to play". He and others alike argue that if DJs have to invest in getting gigs, they'll have no cash to invest in the music itself, and the scene will become stagnant, people will lose interest as very little new material will be affordable for the city's Disc Jockey community. On top of which, they believe that the scene will be inundated with incompetent DJs who can simply afford to get all the gigs. Also bad for the music scene.
On a rave oriented website, Brian wrote "Hey, you have to invest in your future, you need money to make money". To which dozens of DJs responded "We already invested thousands of dollars into buying music and gear. Go fuck yourself".
Some might need to pay to play, others need a pay to play, but most just want to play. To each his own.
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