I'm new to this game and I'm trying to find my feet with how it all works. I've spent a long time on this forum trawling through questions by other newbies and it has helped a lot towards giving me the confidence to know I'm doing things the 'right way', if there is such a thing with gig posters.
So anyway, when I started out I was taking my posters to the show and setting up a little stall and trying to sell them on the night. I often felt like I was in direct competition with the official merch stall. I didn't like it.
Recently I have tried to contact the band or management and arrange a deal where they sell them on the official merch stall and take a healthy cut. Although there's less in it for me, I feel better about contributing to the whole economy of the night in a more honest way and the posters seem to sell better from the band's table.
So here's the first time this has happened: the band get back to me and say they aren't into selling posters on their table. Fair enough. But I'm wondering what I do now - set up my own table on the night and try to sell them? Print the posters, give a bunch to the venue for promotion and try to sell the rest online? Or sack it in and don't bother screen printing them at all? Screen printing isn't cheap...
To be honest... I've already decided I'm going to print a small edition anyway, give a few to the venue for promo, try and get a free ticket out of it and sell the prints online. I guess I wanted a bit of a grumble and some kind of affirmation that I'm still doing the right thing - a band you love just doesn't love you back sometimes. Or if not an affirmation then, an education. Please, hit me with it.
Are designing/illustrating a poster for a show and then asking the band or venue after the fact? If you're doing that, don't do that.
A lot of people do work for free to start out, but sooner than later, I think you should be able to find folks who are willing to pay for it. Your work is good.
I'm asking the venue if I can do a poster firstly. At which point I ask if there is a poster budget and wait for the inevitable negative reply. There's usually some crappy-band-photo-with-crappy-font-plopped-on-top-kind-of-a-poster provided by the band tour promoter so the venue would just use that. Which is a shame but I guess they have to run a business.
Anyway, once I get the thumbs up from the venue I design and create the poster, usually checking in with the venue before I go to print to make sure details are ok, etc. The venue are actually happy for me to sell on the night on my own merch table, but it doesn't feel right to me.
I have been offered paid poster work, but so far it has been for bands I can't say I really care for.
It sounds like you're trying to work with the band, which has always been my route. Anytime that you sell something with their name on it without their permission, you are begging for trouble. Working with venues is great for getting constant jobs, but without band approval you don't have the right to sell that poster. From what I remember, a handful of guys on here would work with the venue, then ask the band if they could sell them. I'd rather just cut out the middle man and start with the band.
take the paid poster work when it comes up. that one gig for a band you're not really into could lead to a job with a band you really want to do work for. it's all about getting your name and work out there.
This issue has been discussed over and over again. You can't sell posters without the band's permission - aside from the legal complications that could ensue, it is not 'right'. If you showed up to my show with posters with my band's name on it, set up a little table and started taking money, I would kick your ass. Bands don't make much money on record deals - they make money on touring and merch and you don't have a right to be cutting in on any of that without their permission. The venue has nothing to do with it. They have to have the band's permission before anyone can sell anything no matter how crappy anyone thinks the thumbnail on their web-site is. The bands themselves cannot even put each other on their own posters without everyone's consent (this is a fact) For example - say Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are touring and Willie wants to make a poster - if Merle doesn't want his name on it, then Willie can't put it on there AND, if Merle DOES want his name on it - there's also going to be some agreement on splitting the cost and the profit. This is why some bands may not want to do posters - it's complicated for them if everyone doesn't agree and if money has to be split up and kept track of unless only one band name is on the poster - and a lot of times, unless it's the headliner, it's not worth it to them.
"The venue are actually happy for me to sell on the night on my own merch table, but it doesn't feel right to me." That's because it's NOT right.
And, if you want to make money doing this, suck it up and do posters for bands you don't like if they ask you and are willing to pay - don't be a Princess until you're big enough to pick and choose.
Doesn't matter how good you are or how crappy someone's website is - if you don't do things the right way, you will get a bad rep and look like an asshole - and you may get sued.