The Original Music Collective have recently came into existence in an attempt to promote the rights of artists and bands in the west of Scotland.
Fiercely opposed to the premise of pay to play they have already managed to secure a venue that is willing to work hand in hand with them to create a scene that has a fair division of the profits accrued from bands offering live entertainment.
While this may not be a new idea the people involved have many years of experience in playing at a grass roots level and have the enthusiasm and energy to remould the current disproportinate status quo into something that will benefit all.
So I am very pleased to bring you the first interview from one of the men behind it.
I give you a conversation with Joe Bone.
ElD - Do you want to fill the readers in on what OMC are. Your manifesto of intent if you will?
Joe Bone - The Manifesto Of The OMC if you could call it that is built on the punk do it yourself ethic . Working on a zero budget and building funds through a membership scheme and trying to get some local business's on board.
We will arrange our 1st gig soon promising the bands a min of 50 pounds of GB Sterling when they perform on the night (3 bands one night with a 45 min slot each.)
The night will also be MC'd and photographed. It's as simple as that!
We have fans as well as bands coming on board and they know how much their fiver membership can help to hopefully sustain a successful string of events. Pivo Pivo ( A venue in Glasgow City Centre) have kindly backed us as well by waiving their venue hire fee.
The success of the whole Collective will depend on bands and fans getting on board and supporting the whole concept though.
The Collective is aimed solely at bands playing original music as it seemed that they were the ones who were suffering the most .
ElD - So what was it that acted as a catalyst to nudge you from talk to action?
Joe Bone - Ah now that is not an easy question to answer as it was not one singular event that spurred me to put words into action.
It was more a niggling over the years of seeing bands being totally ripped off.
Second rate boozers full to the hilt because bands were playing and they were walking away with not even a free drink while the tills were being filled by their support.
Bands folding because they had enough digging into their own pockets, band members getting married and the financial burden of being in a band couldn't be sustained within a family budget, all because it was all take take take. They were the talent yet it was them who were folding while others were flourishing.
There is one pub in Glasgow who has been exploiting bands like this for years I will not mention them in case I get sued ... It's THE BOX in Sauchiehall St.
I forgot you can't get sued for telling the truth.
ElD - Currently with the rise of downloading it is very obvious that record labels are losing their grip on the market they had cornered and artists are looking to earn a living/make a success from the live arena again. Yet the venues and some promoters seem keen to hang onto their slice of the pie so to speak and this leaves the actually musicians stuck in a sort of no-mans-land. No one wants to pay for the music and the people putting the gigs on don't want to let the bands in on the action either. While that makes no sense at all does it sound like a fair assessment?
Joe Bone - It's a funny situation this El . I think the reason they are still holding on to their big slice of the cake is the amount of new bands out there. Their eagerness to get a gig at any cost falls right into the lap of these people and because they are new on the scene their family & friends will be eager to come to see them which in itself is a false economy but in true capitalist principle thinking, the money will be taken with no long term thought for bands or music itself.
There is money in the live music scene it's just bands aren't getting any of it. But when it come down to it if you think it's a good gig for your band then do it. If a promoter or venue lays down exactly what is involved and you play and don't like the fact your to blame. And bands always need to remember if you are told you need to sell a certain amount of tickets it's PAY TO PLAY.
ElD – Funny you say that because I had someone once ranting at me because I had offered tickets to a support band to sell. For some reason he had a mental block on the fact that the selling of tickets was not conditional to them playing.
The strangest thing was that they had nothing to do with the band at all.
Anyway, where are you ultimately wanting this to go. The music union doesn't seem to do much for artists so would you be wanting to expand this and offer musicians an alternative?
Joe Bone - Where do we go from here? well no long term plan in place as it will depend on the support from the start to whether we can continue or not.
If it grows there will be other avenues we can explore, but hopefully it will catch on as there is no profit gain to the people running it,
That being myself & Allan Doyle who has put an immense amount of work and time into the project setting up the bandradar website, cards posters etc.
If bands are interested please contact the OMC website and sign up http://www.bandradar.co.uk/index.php/2011/02/03/omc-memberships-now-online/
ElD. - There has been attempts to do this sort of thing before in one shape or another and I've been less than keen to participate as all of them without exception appear to lose focus and end up encouraging a cliquish jobs for the boys attitude that flies in the face of the original intent.
How are OMC going to avoid this common pitfall?
Joe Bone - Keeping it simple, stick by the principles laid down at the start, that being it's for the bands first & foremost nothing will ever compromise that principle and hopefully all will benefit from happy bands playing and doing their best to bring a crowd in full knowing that the whole Original Music Collective lifespan depends on it.
So that's the skinny as they say. I sincerely hope that bands, promoters and fans will get on board with this and ensure that musicians can look forward to a brighter future than what is currently on the horizon.