The roundly despised pay-to-play system in place throughout most of Tokyo’s live-music scene, and to a slightly lesser extent in many other cities, is something I’ve written about in this column before.

A typical complaint from a band might go, “Why should we have to pay just for the privilege of stepping onto the stage?” To this, the venue could perhaps point out that bands are paying for a top-of-the-range sound system, the engineer and venue staff’s salaries, insanely expensive rent, and the fact that small bands often don’t attract an audience. “Privilege” is very low on the list of things a band pays for.

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