AFTON LIVE - AFTON SHOWS - AFTON TICKETING
(OR BACK TO NEVERPAYTOPLAY.COM)
|Afton (aka Afton Live - Afton Shows) is the Salem, Oregon company started by Ryan Kintz and Dan Robertson. This company was formerly called Big Time Entertainment. You can read all our previous postings on this link. This page also includes the first emails and questionnaires they sent to all the bands to fill out. Afton has dropped that idea along with a few others. They claim they’ve worked with over 15,000 bands. Where they see this as a testament to their success we view it more as proof that this company is an endless conveyer belt of bands and shows.
Basically an Afton show works like this: Afton rents out clubs in 35 cities all over the US. About six or seven full time reps sit at computers in Salem and spam email bands from multiple sites primarily using the massive myspace data base. Anybody with a music site will get an email from an Afton Rep with a show offer. These people don’t live in the city they book, they’ve never been to the clubs they are renting out and haven’t seen the bands play. When they’ve collected enough acts to be on a “show” (typically seven to nine) they get the musicians to print tickets and sell them. Before the show, all the acts playing turn in their ticket money to their locally hired “show manager”.
This is the standard pay-to-play scenario. If the band sells enough tickets Afton gives them a small percentage and keeps the majority for themselves. Even after paying the club rental, Afton always comes out on top.
THE RULES HAVE CHANGED! (and a new website has arrived)
1. ON-LINE AND NOT PAPER - Afton has decided that it will be easier for them to collect the money if it’s done on-line through credit cards. They claim that this is done for the bands and fans convenience but as we look deeper into this it’s easy to see who is actually benefitting the most. Trying to abandon the physical selling of tickets is a huge shift in Afton’s original rhetoric.
The Afton email now actually states:
Meeting up with every "fan" used to be what they based their company on. Apparently they’ve tossed out their old motto right out the window with their former name, Big Time Entertainment:
So much for their elaborate scenario about “Alex, Pam and Jim” going over to the Hillcrest Shopping Mall and talking to each person for 3+ minutes while handing out CD-rs.
Afton is now totally discouraging actual physical ticket selling. This is absolutely contrary to all their previous literature on the subject.
2. NO DOOR ENTRY - Okay, this one is so mind boggling I had to ask MikeL about it specifically. YES, you heard right - YOU CAN NOT ATTEND AN AFTON SHOW BY PAYING AT THE DOOR! Wow, let me say it again: If you bring your money to the door, even though it’s not sold out, you won’t gain entry to the show. Only through the Afton on-line ticket system can you attend an Afton Show. So in other words, these Afton events are even less like a real show and more like somebody’s private party - except that they are really expensive and nobody is serving complimentary hors d'oeuvres! And Afton is actually claiming that this new setup gains more audience than also allowing people in off the street? Wow!
3. MORE EXPENSIVE - Where you used to sell the old Kinko’s printed tickets for $7 and $8, on-line tickets are now a hefty $9 a pop and physical tickets are $10. If bands thought it was tough selling $7 tickets, wait until they try $9-10! AND THE PRICE HIKE DOESN’T END THERE: In another brilliant move Afton has decided to tack on a couple of extra fees per on-line ticket. For on-line orders they are now charging a $1.20 “convenience fee” and a $.55 “processing fee”! Processing what? So you will be asking your “fans” to fork over almost $11 ($10.70) to see you play. This is just a little more piece of the pie for Afton at the expense of your family and friends! Who do these guys think they are? Ticketmaster? We know who’s convenience this is for...
4. THE NEW “TIP” FEATURE - We believe this one is just plain wrong. In additioin to your mom, dad, siblings, and friends paying an exhorbitent $10.70 each to see you and and bunch of bands/acts they more than likely have no interest in, Afton has arranged for them the opportunity to give you a tip. Afton proudly states that the artist will keep ALL the tip money. How nice of them. This transaction will be recorded for you to see on-line, so you’ll know who’s generous and more important, who’s not. This new feature is obviously helpful to Afton when they end up taking the majority of your ticket money...your tips will help to cushion the blow.
Yeah, really...encourage your fans to buy on-line so they can pay even more money to see you play! Put the screws to them!
By the way...isn’t a tip normally given at the end of the service, not before? Next time you go to your favorite restaurant, give the waiter his tip when he hands you the menu.
THESE NEW RULES ARE BENEFICIAL TO AFTON BECAUSE:
1. THEY WILL BE ABLE TO MONITOR YOU. With the on-line ticket sales Afton will be able to closely monitor each band’s ticket sales (or lack thereof) at all times. According to MikeL they send out robot emails every day to inform you of your progress - but mainly as a way to put the pressure on you. He claims he got so many of these it became extremely annoying and they became more aggressive as the show got closer. He sent one example but told us his inbox was filled with these. It’s the Pay-To-Play Big Brother!
2. IT’S MONEY IN THE BANK...FOR AFTON! - There’s no more hassles with flaky bands who forgot their ticket money, let their best friends slide on the hefty door fee, used it for cheeseburgers before the show or are simply trying to “pull a fast one” on old Afton. Your family and friends' money goes (to use the Afton all-caps style) DIRECTLY TO THE AFTON BANK ACCOUNTS IN SALEM. How easy is that?...for Afton.
3. EXTRA SURCHARGES - It can seem like a fee that is necessary but mostly it’s just a way for them to squeeze a little bit more out of your “fans”.
4. AFTON CAN AMASS A HUGE DATABASE - If you didn’t know it, email address lists and credit card account info is extremely valuable. Now that every person who wants to support their kid’s/friend’s band is required to give email and credit card numbers, Afton will have access to a huge national database of information. Even if your band no longer works with Afton, what would prevent them from still being able to notify your family and friends of other upcoming shows and events? You are helping Afton gain a valuable resource through your friends and family.
DISADVANTAGES TO THE ARTISTS
1. Afton can now constantly bug you about your lack of ticket sales. Your progress can be constantly monitored (see the FIFTH email from MikeL below). They send too many emails every day to remind you what you “promised” and ask you to explain the problem.
2. No matter what their “statistics” might state, it is tough to get people to go through all the steps of signing up and logging into their site for tickets. People are starting to get a “log-in overload” with the current amount of sign-ins and passwords and may be unwilling to go through the hassle.
3. Many people are extremely cautious with credit card information. This is a very valid point that MikeL actually brought up. People don’t trust giving out information to a company they’ve never heard of. Ticketmaster has a name and reputation. Afton doesn’t.
4. No more need for promo. With the “no door entry” policy, there is absolutely no reason for Afton to even list your show in the club’s calendar. Why bother advertising? So your name isn’t going to end up anywhere other than the generic on-line poster you and the other bands on the bill display on Myspace and Facebook sites. A small version appears on the Afton site where you sell tickets.
5. It is hard enough for the typical brand new band to justify a $10 ticket price, but asking for a TIP too? Just how hard up and pathetic do we need to look? Afton also suggests you pressure people who promised to buy a ticket and haven’t. You’ll be able to monitor your family and friends and email them when they aren’t coughing up with the cash. Here’s a TIP from us and it WON’T COST YOU A PENNY: Do not abuse the good intentions of your band’s supporters. They will only take so much before they get sick of these tactics. These people are gold. Treat them as such.
It is our opinion that these new changes (other than being able to determine some kind of pre-show lineup) are mostly beneficial to Afton.
THE BIG EMAIL EXCHANGE (The LONG LONG LONG version): Since MikeL kindly provided us with an organized glimpse into all the many emails he received for one Afton Show, we will reprint them with his permission. This is long and probably too detailed for some but we believe valuable if you really are considering a show with Afton. This is an important look at how involved their emails/rules are! Remember, all this is for ONE GIG! As always we can't resist adding our thoughts on this subject. The original email is in black and our opinion is in red...Again, this is just our opinion. It's up to each musician to make up their own minds about doing this kind of show.
MikeL's Seattle Afton Rep is Amy Cordy (She also books about 10 other cities besides Seattle - see Afton bookers list)
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 19:10:43 -0800
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 18:02:19 -0800
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 18:52:41 -0800
There will be NO DOOR SALES for this event, ALL fans MUST purchase tickets online.
We have full confidence that this new online ticketing system will not only help grow your fan base, but will also allow you to draw more fans to this show with less hassle and less effort than the old way!
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 18:53:09 -0800
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 10:17:59 -0800
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 00:11:18 -0800
Or you could just practice and put on a good show...nah...better go after the family and friends instead.
So finally MikeL has decided to tell Amy that this new fabulous idea isn't working so well...
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 22:19:28 -0800
- All arrangements you make with your Booking Rep will be clearly communicated to the Show Manager prior to your show.
So MikeL and his Maklac project did the Afton show. He sold no tickets. He said that they "played the show and went home, got no pay. Two bands of the seven booked dropped out the night of the show. One group sold about 5 tickets, another sold 5 tickets and one band sold about 40 tickets." As we've stated throughout this website, which is typical of all pay-to-play shows "Each fanbse ONLY stayed for the band they bought tickets for". Even though MikeL estimates about 60 people showed up, they played to six people at a big club like El Corazon and got no pay. "Afton also did not flier or promote the show at all".