What cut/profit does Afton make?
We do NOT take a standard X% fee off the top like a Booking Agency would. Unlike a Booking Agent, who would take a set percentage of your payment from each show, our profit comes from how the entire show does as a whole. We are literally creating and producing the entire show from start to finish, as well as shouldering all financial risk that comes with that. We are doing far more than a Booking Agent. In reality, we are the very last to get paid. We get our cut after all venue overhead, all artist payment, all staffing costs, and after all of our in-office expenses from the show are paid out.
Because of this, our cut is NOT guaranteed. In fact, our cut is never guaranteed. Every show we produce is a risk for us and the club. Our average net profit is less than 3% per year, (between January 2004 and December 2011). We do not take a large cut, we payout to artists as much as we can while making less than a 3% margin on average. Every show that we produce is a risk for us because if the attendance is too low, then overhead costs and expenses will not be recouped, and therefore both us and the club will actually lose money by having the show.
HOW DOES AFTON MAKE MONEY?
100% of all revenues come from the fans buying tickets to see the show. This is how we are able to do what we do at no cost to you, the artist. All of the venue’s show costs, staffing, and all of the Artist Payment comes from the fans ticket and door admissions. That is also how we recoup all of the time, money, and staffing we put into each event. Just like with any live concert, the fans pay to get into the show, and the artists get paid.
ALL WE DO IS FREE FOR ARTISTS
Afton provides risk-free booking. Afton takes on all financial risk for the artists we book. No artist ever pays a fee to Afton, all revenues come solely from the fans who are paying to see the show. Our cut is not guaranteed, and every show we produce is a risk for us and the club. Artists are paid per the written agreement no matter what, even in cases where the show is a complete loss for Afton.
Most local artists do not realize the risk involved and the overhead required to do all ages and under age shows for local artists. Our goal is to be open about what costs go into these shows, and help artists realize that there are far more expenses to make these shows happen than “just paying the sound guy.”
ARTISTS ARE PAID NO MATTER WHAT
We payout to artists what is owed to them no matter what – even if we lost money on that event. If we paid acts based on a “door split” or percentage of the profit per show, over 1/4 of our artists would NOT even get paid (since 1 in 4 shows are a loss for us). The way we currently pay artists guarantees them the pay we owe per the written agreement, no matter what. We are proud of this, and it is an example of how our booking truly is risk-free for our artists.
WE MAY TAKE A LOSS ON A WELL ATTENDED EVENT
We actually lose money on every 1 in every 4 shows we produce. A show can be well attended, and have a good crowd there for the artists, yet still lose money for us and the club. Despite the fact we are good at what we do, despite the fact our average attendance is upwards of 130 fans per show, and despite the fact we have been improving every aspect of our business for over 8 years on over 9,500 local concerts – we still lose money on 1 in 4 shows on average. This shows how risky (and how hard) it is to book local artists at legit music venues, and why most venues shy away from booking local artists they have never worked with or heard of.
ALL AGES SHOWS HAVE HIGHER COSTS THAN A 21+ ONLY BAR GIG
We focus on All Ages & bar w/ID, and underage (18+ Only) shows. All Ages and underage shows have much higher overhead costs than a 21+ ONLY Bar gig. Not only is overhead higher, but for All Ages and underage shows the Bar Sales are only a fraction (sometimes 5 or 10 times lower), then the bar sales generated at a strictly 21+ ONLY show. This is why almost without fail, All Ages or underage shows have a higher ticket price or cover charge versus a 21+ ONLY bar gig. More money must come from the door and ticket admissions in order to recoup the larger overhead costs and make up for the bar sales shortfall.
OTHER THAN ARTIST PAYMENT, WHAT OTHER OVERHEAD IS THERE?
Some acts assume that once we pay the bands, we somehow magically get to “pocket” all the rest of the money. This is not only untrue, but it is impossible! Artist Payment is only a small fraction of the total overhead costs and expenses to put on these underage and all ages shows. Significant overhead expenses are required in order for us to book local artists nationwide. In addition to our costs, we also must pay the minimum operating costs for a venue to open for that night which can include paying the Sound Person, Venue Manager, bar/concessions staff, any Security staff, and a rental price, room fee, or “bar fee” to the club since our shows are generally underage or all ages.
As mentioned above, after all is said and done, and all expenses are paid out our average cut is less than 3% on average. However, even this small 3% margin is not “pocketed” by the company. We use a lot of this 3% margin to IMPROVE our operations, launch new features to help our artists, etc. Some examples of the types of overhead we have here in our main office are below:
- Graphics Staff (flier designs, spotlight ads, show promo ads, website, web banners etc.)
- Software Staff (upkeeping ticketing, myafton.com/myafton_wp profiles, new features, new idea launches to help our artists, system maintenance, etc.)
- Booking Staff (organizing, booking, reviewing new submissions, communicating with each act, etc.)
- Human Resources Staff for Show Manager hiring, training, scheduling, managing (we have 100s of show managers throughout the U.S. to manage)
- On Call person for Show Manager Support (every show someone is IN our office for full show support/backup until the show ends)
- Office staff at our main office that are responsible for long term planning & new features, management and office hiring, ensuring any mistakes are fixed, etc.
- Lineups for 100 shows/month, our site and the clubs site, and weekly updations
- Venue scheduling & relations staff for the 80+ clubs we work with year round
- Accounting, paperwork, book keeping, and payroll
- All web site admin
- Printing & mailing all artist payment checks (800-1,000+ checks every month)
- Customer support for online sales & IT staff
So as you can see, as with any business, our margins of profit are only a small fraction of the gross revenues since the basic expenses to function year-round are significant. We are proud to say, when it comes to All Ages or under age shows, we have not seen anyone paying better or doing more than we do for local artists that book with us.