Complaint Corner: Why do I have to Pay for Music?

From the Austin Music People page on Facebook: Someone complained about an experience they had at an Austin music venue last night, and the club owner responded this morning.

PaidGig-NiceToEatHello [Owner], I was here on Saturday night, and we specifically chose your venue because of the statement in the FAQ section of your website that 99% of the time there is no cover. The website also stated that in the event of a cover, it would be publicized that a cover was in effect.

However, when we arrived at your venue we were informed there was a $5 cover charge, which went against everything that was written, and not even on your Facebook page did it state one was in effect. We were also informed there was nothing that could be done about this, and we had no option but to pay the cover charge or leave.

I am deeply disappointed in the false advertising on your website, and feel that you need to immediately fix this as it does nothing but cause disappointment in potential customers.

Please let me know how you plan to remedy this.

Hi [redacted], my name is Nathan Hill and I’m one of the owners here at The White Horse. I was forwarded your email concerning our cover charge last night. I apologize that it was not clearly stated there was a $5 cover, and we will be more vigilant in posting that info in the future.

“I will say however, that a $5 cover is the lowest cover charge you will find in Austin for a music venue on a Saturday night. Especially one that is providing the best country music talent in Texas. Our musicians are all career musicians, and though we try to minimize the cost on the customer as much as possible, and in order to keep our drink prices competitive in a very competitive city, we do sometimes have to ask the customer to help support the musicians through a cover charge.

At $5 you are paying an average of $.25 per hour per musician on a Saturday night. If you do not feel that is appropriate, or if you feel $5 is such an egregious affront to your better judgment, then maybe a place like The White Horse on the weekend is not a place for you. I would also not suggest visiting other fine establishments such as The Continental Club or Broken Spoke, as their cover with the same level of talent we provide is generally $12-15.

There is a growing concern in Austin for the ability for our musicians and artists to be able to afford to live here. We at The White Horse take that very seriously as our employees and owners are comprised of artists and musicians. We pay our bartenders a higher than minimum wage, we keep our prices lower than the competition, we pay the bands out of our own pockets most of the week, and we take chances on talent even if it means taking a loss on the night (and we do). So if $5 at the door to support live music, artists, and working musicians is too much to ask, then I would suggest fighting the stumbling hoards on dirty 6th for no cover and $2 shots. Or maybe visit us on a weekday and remember, there’s a tip jar for the band.

Thank you Nick from oh so many musicians.

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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