Free Drinks That You Pay Yourself

Free Drinks That You Pay Yourself

I love the band Athlete and their song “Flights to El Salvador”. In the lyrics there is a great line: “Free drinks that you pay yourself…. can’t quite put my finger on it”.

Athlete, who were signed at the time to Parlophone who are owned by EMI, raise a question for me with these lyrics. In the music industry it is well-known when a band takes an advance for an album, there are lots of costs incurred. Suddenly when work is done to release that album, there’s a lot of people who benefit from the ‘expenses’ account. But bands don’t.

All these expenses come out of the advance given to a band or against the bands ‘tab,’ and therefore requires that band to sell more albums before this is paid off. That’s an additional frustration for lots of bands who may get radio play and sell even over a hundred thousand albums, but they don’t get to see much of the money themselves. Fair enough if they had the choice on where this is spent- bit trickier when this decision is made on their behalf. ‘Want to fly first class?’

‘I think you should use this producer because he’s uber talented………. (and we as a label have a stake in his business).’

Clearly with the decrease of album sales, bands must be watching executives downing the drinks on their tab, and making expensive music videos with a great level of dismay.

Is there such a thing as a free drink or a free lunch in business. It may seem like it’s free, but someone somewhere is paying the tab and how do you know that it isn’t you? Maybe a supplier treats you to a meal. You like to be dined and wined. It’s coming out of their marketing budget, and although their service that year was below standard, they hope to keep your business and treat you to a few perks along the way. In this way, after a lovely lunch, they maintain your business at their current profit margins. After all they don’t have to spend money on marketing to you to get your business as you’re already a client. So therefore they can use the marketing spend on the free lunch.

Clearly, this isn’t the motivation of all people, and don’t get me wrong, it’s great to do business over a meal. But it’s worth asking the question.

Are you receiving free drinks or do you end up paying for them yourself?

  • andy raine


  • Anonymous

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