The Buzz | Independent Music News •  Events •  Interviews • Resources

Should Indie Bands Book Shows Through

afton_logoI received an interesting message on my music page on Myspace today from “Kristine” explaining that she is “interested in getting you on some upcoming shows.”

“Kristine” said in her message, “i saw your prfile and seems cool.. i book afton shows in milwaukee and im thinkin youd fit well on shows i’ve got comin up- like maybe this one at miramar theater on aug 29th?”

I found this to be really interesting since I only have an instrumental track and an acoustic guitar track on my music page. Both are not show ready and do not prove that I can take on a performance at the Miramar Theater, which is a predominant venue.

The unprofessionally written message also threw up a red flag. You would think that a serious person in the music industry would send out a grammatically correct message when conducting business, right? I mean, there is the copy and paste functions if a person does not want to re-type a formal message.

The Afton Web site does say, “Afton offers artists hope for finding greater satisfaction and fulfillment in their creative work. We provide this through live performance opportunities and online informational resources. In an industry full of people anxious to tell you that you can’t, we’re lucky to be able to tell you that you can.”

Now I am not questioning if the company is not achieving their goal to help artists. I am just curious about how they conduct their business with such a lazy and error filled approach to indie bands. Their approach also makes me wonder about the business process when a band does accept an offer from them.

I actually Googled “Afton Live Scam”, because that is what I do when any type of company approaches me in an unorthodox manner. I found many forums with mixed emotions about the site. Most were calling the company a scam, but there were bands saying the “pay to play” method, supposedly used by Afton, was a great way to get their name exposed to new fans.

Having friends who book shows themselves on a consistent basis, I would recommend all indie and unsigned bands do the same, or sign with a well-known service. Be sure that all research is done before signing any contract if your band does go with a service or agency.

As I mentioned, I always Google a suspicious company first and then go down the line from there to ensure I am making the right business move.

Has your band accepted an offer from Afton? If so, please leave a comment explaining your good or bad experience with the company.



Filed under
Previous Next
  1. we actually committed to do a show for afton on sept 19th just for shits and giggles we know they dont pay much, but we arnt really worried about getting money from the show just the hopes of finding some new fans. so we will let you know on our experience with afton and let you know if you want, do not that we did also look into afton being a scam also and saw that, but we are new to the industry and figured that this would be another marketing piece that we did not have to pay for
  2. guest
    as a music promoter I am disgusted with how Afton treats bands, basically charging the band a few hundred dollars to play a gig that may or may not have people attend. While I'm not able to promise payment to the bands, I don't rip them off either. If there is a cover at the door, and the venue fees are all paid up after attendance, the bands get a percentage, thats with a $5.00 cover, Afton puts a $10+ cover and then charges the bands to play... where is that money going? NOT TO THE BANDS. MUSICIANS BEWARE
    • Their way of doing business is questionable, but artists need to realize what type of contract they are signing, as well.
    • not an idiot
      They dont charge bands to play. Lol. If you actually KNEW what was going on at an Afton show, you'd know this. Lawl at dull minded morons on the internet, you're the ones that will believe anything they read. Guess 100 dollar bills dont exist either
    • gighive
      Thanks for the feedback! Has your band used Afton? How was the process...?
    • BDjay666
      I think Afton has planted some people, namely "not an idiot" and Angie V...the latter of which has a very familiar name.
    • T.M
      You have ABSOLUTELY no idea what you are talking about. Afton does not charge a dime to the artists. You obviously haven't worked with them at all.
    • x
      You're replying to somebody who was actually defending Afton. So you're saying that they don't know what they're talking about? Seems like you'd support their opinion. You might try actually reading the comment next time.
    • ned
      they don't charge a dime. sets are usually around 30 minutes for a band so if you sell 30 tickets and your cut is 3 dollars a ticket then you make 90 dollars. Elliot smith played solo all his life. so if performing solo you could be earning close to 200 dollars an hour....its better then waiting tables with mass produced beef and chicken like ive done all my life until I got good. if you keep getting better, like practicing all day every day and getting shows, some producer will see you play and there you go. afton is a great way for artists to get noticed and build confidence and do their own promting. I guess people have a problem with artists learning to promote their own music and getting show experience. if their not good then no one will buy their tickets, thus afton doesn't pay them and they will get dropped, and this comes from the contract; after 2 shows where ticket requirments are not met. so people don't like your music they don't sign you, basically.
  3. i just got offered a gig with afton in houston on the 27th.. the 1st couple of times they reached out to me i said NO becuase i didnt see the benefit, then they tried to make it benefit me.. Being an independent artist and puttin on many of my own shows as well i questioned .. it, but there are many of wyas to doing 1 thing, and i said i would give it a try to see how i could make it work for me..I'm a known artist and expect to get paid up front and thats things we discussed via email with afton..But it sworth me giving it a try and see what it really is than just reading about what sumbody says on the internet that has never did a afton show..and also may work for some ppl and may not for some ppl..but i will post after my show as well on Aug 27th and let you all know.
  4. stanvswild
    Same thing happened to us. we knew what we were getting into, but we just wanted to play a show. the show itself was fun, but there was literally NO ONE from afton there at all. basically all the money we made was tips and merch sales. we dont plan on using afton again. "amy" who was our booking agent (who knows if shes even a woman? no one ever met her) really didnt do anything for us except take a lot of money from our ticket sales.
  5. Mya
    wow, I am a manager of an artist that was contacted by afton, he thought it might be a great opportunity but as I read more and more about the commitment and their manipulation of words to make u thik ur paid real money for a show when in actuality its only $1 per ticket but not before u sell 25+ tickets 1st tho! wtf! lol. Do ur homework b4 signing anything ppl.
  6. Shawn
    I play in a local band from omaha and we have done our first 3 shows weve ever played through afton, and are playing another show with them. To be completely honest we wouldnt know what it is like booking a show ourselves but the way afton does it seems like a huge scam. The bad: The tickets are $10.40 online with $2 in fake fees, or $12 at the door for one of the smallest venues in omaha. They dont tell you what time you play until 5 minutes before the show starts( show started at 6:30 and at 6:25 they told us we were going first and to hurry and get our stuff on stage) we sold 40 tickets our first show, which 40 x 12 = $480 and i think we only got $80 of it if that which is alot more then what we got the other shows.
  7. Shawn
    (Cont.) The good: They are actually remotely proffesional with how they go about the whole booking shows process. They even have a couple websites to where you can check your ticket sales and make flyers, etc. They have several shows a month so there is always a show for you to play. overall if you are litterally just starting out as a band and have little to no experience with the music world then they are a good company to play a couple shows with because they do get you alot of shows. other than that i would avoid them.
    • gighive
      Thanks for the feedback, Shawn. Websites like offer hope for easy touring options for bands like yours.
    • Timothy Elkinton326
      I've been reading through all of this, because I was halfway through the artist profile setup, when I got skeptical. Funny That you got one from "Angie" mine was from "Ryan" Fuck this. I already book myself 5 shows a month and I Just started playing.
  8. Oboogie2
    My band was offered a show in San Jose last February, which we didn't take because of prior commitments (they gave us about a week's notice...maybe, upon first email contact). I then started looking them up and found forums like this one. We are taking a short break now, but I may contact them and see what they can offer when we start playing live again. I will let the board know what happens.
    • Thanks for the feedback. We look forward to hearing about what happens...
  9. guest
    I have done 3 shows through afton now, the most recent being this past saturday. If the musician is not in it for the money OR can pull a lot of fans for the show than it is a good opportunity for a band just starting out. However if you are trying to make money off the shows you are booking through afton it will be tough. You have to sell your own tickets(pay to play) you DO NOT give them any money out of your pocket, only what your fans paid you for the ticket and they give you anywhere from$1-$4 per ticket.  Overall its ok for bands starting out but as I am now more established in the community I will not continue to use Afton, not because they are bad but because there are better opportunities out there for me. (Opporutnites that they helped me achieve through the promotion I received from them)
    • Donnie Wts
      Screw Afton they book in Nashville about 2 sundays out of the month (who the hell wants to put on a show on SUNDAY anyway) & ive played once. Its more like a talent show- bands come in w/ 20 fans who all leave soon as their homies get off stage. You "bid" on a decent time slot. Wack-sauce. The one thing i cant get past is how they tell u to hound ur friends & relatives with ticket sales. Someone else phrased it better i cant remember but its damn near degrading call me hi-sadiddy or watever im sure it works fine for some artists but not me & mine. I have a good relationship now with a club owner in Smyrna TN-much better atmoshpere & experience. They look to artisits to bring the crowd when they do local shows & everyone networks.
    • Tgreenman123
       Honestly you guys are all rewtarded. Ive been doin music for over 15 years. Honestly you should be happy to get your foot in the door. I dont know who any of you guys are. You act like you actually make thousands of dollars.Music is something that you can take as a hobby or you can takeserious.It honestly sounds like you all should just giveup. If you can make it and acyually sell tickets with a company like afton. You could turn around and do thesamething yourselves. geta clue idiots!
  10. Julie Kay Clark
    Hi,       I was booked for the first time with Afton and have had a horrible time getting them to respond to my questions. No one has returned my emails or my calls. I am suspicious that they are at best not professional and at worst something of a racket. Julie Kay Clark
  11. Tim
    Hey everyone, join me in Protest of this company by liking the following fanpage on Facebook:!
  12. Aviglione
    i confirmed a show with Afton for Nov 19th in Ardmore PA. I will let you no how it goes. I have been reading the boards and I have found some inconsistencies in peoples posts. 1) "pay-to Play Ugh never its a scam" you as an artist don't pay anything. the fans buy tickets just like they would if they were going to a concert after you made it big, 2) Many posts say that there is no door draw and I know for a fact that there is door draw at my venue. 3) Most people complain about the pay but it is outline in black and white if you are looking to get rich quick then Afton is not right for you. Artists who are just starting out and need to increase their fan base are more the target for this service. It is helpful to them because it is 100% free.  4) For those of you who said "well the artist has to promote themselves", I ask you if you were playing a gig you booked yourself would you not go around and tell people to buy tickets or hype up your show (of course you would) People just want something to complain about. People are so impatient that they don't see that Afton is not the end all promoters. If you book with Afton then think of it more as a stepping stone to reach your dreams. No one ever made it without a little help along the way. I personally don't view them as a scam as long as the do not request money out of my pocket to play a venue ( which they do not) Also Just so you know that I am not some random defending Afton because I work for them I an d going to give you the link to my direct music site so you can see I am who I say I am -Angie V
    • James Faulk
      funny, that reverbnation site doesn't exist
    • Medeval30
      I played a show with afton and you do have 2 sell a certain amount of tickets or they wont book you anymore. They say they help promote the show but why do they send you emails saying if you sell this amount of ticjets upfront we will send out facebook ads for you. I dont believe they promote the shows. They leave it up to the artist unless you sell a certain amount of tickets upfront. I dont think its fair because they are getting a cut of the money which is split between the club, afton and the artist. If you dont sell a certain amount of tickets they can refuse to let you play the gig.
    • BDjay666
      Pretty much what their pitch email says verbatim.  Nice try "Angie V" if that is in fact your real name.  Afton needs to try harder to dupe unsuspecting bands into playing their bullshit shows. 
  13. @trin804
    i had a show thru them this past sunday, i showed up at 5 for artist load in, i sold 20 tickets, and even had people coming to meet me at the door, it was my birthday as well, so i figure a show, my bday, my fans comin to see me...good right...WRONG!!!!!!! I was supposed to go on at 10, i showed up at like 830-900 to watch the other acts but they people who worked the venue were already mopping the floors, the rep told me the show got pushed back 30 mins but nobody was there...if it got pushed back why was no one there...why didn't i get a call??? so i had to get refunds for everybody...needless to say i was quite embarrassed...and because of AFTON and their screw up, it will probably cost me a few people coming to my next show....they are money hungry leeches who know nothing about the music business
  14. Mosesmiles
  15. Protosonic
    Decided we weren't going to work to line their pockets with our fans dollars. Here are our reasons: Hi Mike, sorry to flake but I did some more research and where as I understand you are not necessarily "Pay to Play", but the pay scale is grossly stacked in your favor. A dollar per total ticket sold for the show is very different than a dollar per ticket that your band sold themselves for $9 each, to their friends who ultimately end up supporting Afton, not the band. We wouldn't consider taking any less than 50% of tickets sales that we sold to our fans, especially at a 21+ show where the bar is making $ on drink sales and requires less of the door. We have all talked and agreed not to use your service. We've decided that other avenues are available to us to seek out new venues and we're happy to explore them.
    • Jubblechubb
      Rapidly, Afton has seen to it that I fullfilled destiny by taking the stage in order to give the public and fellow music lovers the opportunity to hear cutting edge musical skills.. I am pleased with everyting. I know I made the right choice with partnering with the legendary booking rep, Amy Cordy and Afton. Sincerely, Christopher G Jewell and Megaplush Lodge
  16. Nuncasweno
    I have been playing in bands all over Northern California and the Pacific Northwest since the early 90's, booking shows, and doing all aspects of what is involved in promoting musicians and trying to provide benefit and a great experience for everyone who attends; fan or band. Afton is becoming something of a fixture now in cities like Portland, Seattle, San Jose, and most recently San Francisco. I have played on 3 Afton promoted bills and have a few other friends in bands who have as well. I agree completely that the business model that Afton uses is disingenuous at best, a rip-off at worst, but as you noted there are (sadly) plenty of inexperienced bands or those who have no problem compromising their time/talent while making Afton and the local venue who partners with them wealthy. The issue for me is that Afton (and the half dozen other national promotion companies who are similar) are not invested in trying to recognize the unique potential of the local music scene as it stands and leverage that, but instead forces their model of what a show is on that scene. As an example: In San Jose and now San Francisco Afton has started booking shows at just a few clubs, the nights they do shows at these venues look and feel totally different from the shows booked by the local promoter, and often result in a contentious internal relationship between the bands playing that night which eventually leads to a fracturing of the music community as a whole. Afton show nights have between 5 and 7 bands playing on a Thursday night with a door charge of between $10 - $12 per head. Other non-Afton nights there are typically 3 bands playing with the opener starting at 9:30 and the admission is between $5 - $7. No one in SF that I know (including myself) goes out to see a show before 9 just based on the logistics of work, school, and mealtimes not to mention the well-established club culture already in place for many years. The Afton shows create tension and sometimes anger because of the bands who are obligated to play before 9 (I refer to these bands as cannon fodder) because they never play to anyone except the bar tender and the other bands queuing up. Since Afton never provides a specified set time for any of the bands until the night of the show (or if they do often changes that at the last minute based on information that none of the bands have access to) this leads to infighting and hard feelings between the musicians rather than promoting a supportive community where we can encourage each other. Often at Afton shows fans (and the other bands) do not stay for anyone except the band their friend is in because of this kind of manufactured contention, as well as the fact that Afton never provides a locally sourced contact who is invested in not just the take at the door, but the development of the scene and potential of return bands/fans based on an overall positive experience for everyone. The best way to get your band shows is to network with other bands, in this kind of environment all the bands feeling such intense competition and having no promoter at the show to speak with, causes zero band networking in most cases. Divide and conquer should be the Afton motto in my opinion. My experience is that Afton is a booking machine, with no more regard for local talent, color or flavor than Warner or Sony; this attitude actually discourages bands on the same bill from collaborating or supporting each other. It is not in Afton's interest to have this kind of community, because if all bands are in heavy competition to pre-sell tickets and jockey for the few coveted time slots announced only at the night of the show this creates an easy opportunity for them to capitalize, control and profit with the least amount of work for them. Fans don't want to commit to buying tickets for a weeknight show (especially if their friends band is playing at 6:30!) because often it's hard to gauge the logistics I mentioned above in relationship to making it out of the house especially if a ticket is $10 or above. I guess the best I can hope for is that Afton will attract and siphon off the "low hanging fruit" so that better shows will be available at venues that refuse to succumb to this one size fits all booking model. So while I think the idea of pre-selling over priced tickets to over booked weeknight shows is abhorrent and I won't be playing any more Afton booked events, this is a free country and Afton are just another money-making music business; the fact that they have such blatant disregard for the local musicians, community and culture is what really makes their business model and policies totally unacceptable. 
  17. Dallas Musician
    Dallas here, and I also got a message from a "Kristine Wheeler" several years ago. Same atrocious writing: hey my names kristine, i book all ages shows for afton at clubs like the door, mosaic, bone, etc. pretty often.  found your page and like what your doin, wanted to see if your down to talk about booking?  i think you might go well on some of my upcoming shows, let me know if your down to exchange info hit me back and ill get you all the details for booking  -kristine And I recently got a message through my ReverbNation account. Again, same disregard for grammar/spelling/punctuation, but a different name: Ryan Kintz. Googled his name, and it turns out that Ryan is a cofounder of "Big Time Entertainment", its former name, now known as "Afton Live". I have no idea if it's part of his game to type like an idiot, or if he's just an idiot, but I get the sneaking suspicion that Ryan and Kristine are one and the same.
  18. BDjay666
    My band has booked two shows with Afton and had negative experiences with both.  The venue they used was off the beaten path in kind of an industrial area or Fresno.  That's not such a big deal, but wait, there's more.  They have some sort of christian worship services on Sunday and therefore require that bands with profanity in their lyrics to do their best to censor their lyrics.  And don't ask me to pray before the show, I don't want to be a part of your hip youth oriented christian cult.  And the staff there doesn't even know what the hell they're doing. That aside, I'm going to get into some nitty gritty business.  Their standard cut on ticket sales is 90/10.  That means 10% goes to your band, and the remaining 90% goes to Afton.  I'm sorry, but I'm not selling a ticket for $10 a pop and only collecting $1.  Unless you sell about 100 tickets, you probably won't even make enough to cover your gas to and from the gig.  The "booking contact" is oblivious to what is going on at these shows that they book (see *True Story).  They still try and book you even if you've already asked them to cease emailing you.  The bills seem like they're put together by the booker drawing random bands out of a hat so you end up with bands that don't really belong together.  Also they book too many bands and don't have enough time to let them play or cut their sets short cuz a douche took too long to set up or tear down. I could keep going, but I think I covered some pretty important points, so please, I urge other bands to also google "Afton shows scam" and find the "never pay to play" link for the breakdown of how Afton (formerly Big Time Entertainment) operates.  *TRUE STORY: My band Blind Disciple was set to play our second gig with Afton, first under the Blind Disciple name. My bass player and I had the gig rig loaded and were at our drummer's place waiting for him to finish getting ready.  Our guitarist went on ahead to at least check us in.  I recieved a phone call from some guy who was apparently running the show that night.  He informed us that due to the fact we didn't sell any tickets that we were kicked off the bill.  Mind you our lead guitarist wasted gas and is already there and hearing this same bullsh*t face to face.  Needless to say we were all pissed due to the unprofessional handling of this situation by the "representatives" of Afton at Club Retro in Fresno.  A few days after this happened we received an email from their booker asking us why we didn't show up.  Tactfully, we told her and Afton shows what to go do with themselves and to never contact us again. Have a nice day.
  19. Bro Bro
    I did a show with was legit, I sold the tickets, showed up and performed...solid shit. I dont think it's a scam, it just might not be the best booking agency available to local upcoming acts. Hit up if you want an ill ass rap group stationed in RVA
  20. t.m
    Many of you need to know the facts about afton before you comment. A lot of the info on here is absolutely ridiculous. Don't listen to these reviews and find out your facts for your self. NO the bands DO NOT get charged to play. Afton gives them the push they need to help them get bigger, but afton doesn't do EVERYTHING for the band as thats impossible. YES there is indeed a cover charge. It was $13 at a show afton was running i went to. They ran an AWESOME show and all the bands were happy working with them. Everything is laid out right there for you before you work with them and there are many contracts to sign - so you know EXACTLY how they work before you work with them.
  21. Cryptic Oath
    We've accepted an offer to play. They are completely unprofessional. They don't tell you what time you go on until that day, book a bunch of bands, and blame you for not bringing in anyone when the weather is bad. Oh, and they also were dishonest about the number of people that paid to see us.
    • Cryptc Oath
      Everything they email you seems to be from a set of responses...complete with errors. And the show want even on the marquee at the place we played.
  22. ClobberDobson
    Whatever. Book me Afton. Don't book me. It don't matter. I'll still be making a million bucks a gig when I play.
  23. ned
    My producer was raked 96 on reverbnation in Nashville (alternative) after my album came out he jumped to 14 in two weeks. Afton contacted me and now I have a show in the heart of downtown Nashville the sunday before Christmas at bb kings blues club. im playing with, and I looked it up, internationally recognized perfomers. I sold only 13 tickets (requirement 12) and am getting paid at least 25 dollars for a 30 minute set. That's like 100 dollars an hour. I need the shows and afton provides and if someone is good enough they will definitely get noticed by producers who attend the shows. if your not good, then practice all day every day until you can make it.