I've been in this business more than long enough to know the absolute truth of this.
So musicians need to remember this. How can I contribute to the bottom line of the hotel, so that they will give me more work?
Publicans need to think. Is music a worthwhile loss leader that will bring in a lot of people to the rest of my facilities?
When talking to venue owners one of my first points is that just  putting bands on is not going to rescue a business and deliver it lots of money.
When bands play you basically have only 2-3 blocks of 30 minutes to sell them alcohol. In order to make decent money from bands you need to be selling punters a meal, or have another appealing bar that makes people go early to hang out and make a night out of it. The Corner Hotel does a great job of this.
Venues need to get a decent return on their investment in the PA, lighting and facilities that bands demand.
Currently, smaller, non concert venues aren't really getting that return. Basically this is due to competition between venues desperate to get bands into their venues to keep the cash flow going.
Smaller venues are in the music business and the beer business.
On the other hand larger venues with lesser competition can charge high fees. Stadiums charge for everything from riders to security, PA and lighting costs are paid for by the band/promoter, merchandise fees are 20% or more, food prices are high and parking costs all add to their bottom line.
They are in the hire business the band is in the music business.
Most musicians complain about getting a gig. Smart ones go and create their own. If you want to get started, then you need to go to a venue in your local area and offer to put a night on free of charge to the venue. You pay for the PA, bring along the crowd and take the door. If it works then you can do a deal with the venue, whereby thy may pay you a % of the bar. You do the advertising and it leaves them to concentrate of their beer business, whilst you concentrate on the music business.
Phil Tripp had some great advice He was talking to a singer/songwriter at a conference in Hobart. The act had a gig at a winery but wanted to play more. Phil said approach other wineries to do the same. It worked.
`The thought that came from that was cluster theory. Quite often, one successful venue attracts others around it. People want to go to areas where there is a variety of entertainment. High St Northcote, Melbourne CBD spring to mind.
So performers need to approach venues in a successful area to play, either early in the night when crowds are gathering, or after the venue, when they are on a high from their night out and want to continue on.