The age old question for bar bands…who is responsible for “draw”. For those who are new to the scene…a draw is how many people show up the night of your gig. The argument has been made both ways. Bands believe it is the venue’s responsibility to get people into their bar, and of course venues believe the responsibility falls on the band to bring people to the bar.
If the venue expects you to bring the crowd to them…you have to decide if the pay you are getting not only covers your time and talent but the hours you put into advertising your show and getting people to come to it. The cost for advertising a show has gone down significantly with the introduction of social media, but there is still the time and effort factor. If you are playing every weekend…it can be very difficult to convince people to come see you again and again.
I do not believe this is an argument that can be won by either side. I believe that as a band (or solo act) you have to decide if you are willing to play venues that expect you to have a certain draw knowing that your friends and fans may or may not show up.
There are gigs out there that don’t require a draw. Restaurants and Casino bars are a great example. As a rule, they have a built-in audience. The chore then becomes convincing these venues that your band deserves these coveted gigs…because every band wants them.