How much does your band get for a bar gig?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by rowdyyates, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. rowdyyates

    rowdyyates Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been playing for a long time. Around here, bar's don't pay any more than they did 30 years ago. If you can get $400 or so you're doing great. Some have dropped down to $250. Just not owrth it for a 5 piece band.
     
  2. germs

    germs Member

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    this is something we usually don't discuss, but in the name of internet annonymity(sp?) i'll tell you:

    the most popular live music venue in town pays an average of $600 a night to a okay-to-good cover band. most bands have 4-5 members and run their own PA from the stage, so they're able to make $100/man and put a bit into a group band fund.

    by comparison, most original bands play for the door. only the top tier original bands are able to get guarantees. as you can imagine, pay fluctuates, but is usually about $150 for the whole band. and that's cramming 4+ bands on a bill at a popular venue for that sort of thing.

    for corporate/event bands, the sky's the limit. i've seen prices range anywhere from $800-4000. all depends on how you're able to market yourself and how good you actually are. usually they hire out sound when it's not venue or contract provided, and are able to make a living being musicians.

    that was sort of general, but it seems to be that way across the country. so, at least we're all getting screwed pretty much equally.

    on a personal note, my original band played a 1 hour set this past Saturday at a solo show and charged a $5 cover. we made $1K at the door, plus merch sales. that's a bit on the high side for us, as we usually come out with about $400 at the end of the average night. on the down side, our merch sales are dropping off as our market is almost saturated. that is, the people who are gonna buy our CD and shirts have already done so.

    my festival/event band works for a contract. our minimum is $1K for a 2 hour set and that's with the venue providing sound at their expense. i average about $200-250 a night for a 4 hour show, and the most i've ever personally made is about $500 before taxes. we're officially a business with this band, so it's not quite cash-in-hand like i was used to...i pay taxes upfront to avoid getting slammed in April, and do okay with it.
     
  3. Jazzydave

    Jazzydave Seeker Gold Supporting Member

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    Germs makes a good point here - cover charges. Let's face it, if you're good enough and people dig you, you can make much more having someone work the door. Let me give you an example...

    A few years ago I was at a jazz club I would hang out at quite bit on nights I didn't perform. I knew they didn't do solo acoustic guys on the weekends but I had been itching to perform there for months. One night I overhear the mgr saying that their Sat night band had cancelled and they didn't have time to schedule someone. So, I stepped in and offered to perform. She was a bit hesitant since I was a solo act but I told her that I'd take whatever we made at the door - that way she didn't lose a dime on the deal and it was up to me to bring the people in. Keep in mind this was a venue where the music was a HUGE part of their income...if the word got out that there wasn't an act, not many people would show up.

    So, at the end of the night I walked away with nearly $600 and officially become the "fill in" guy for the venue. It got to a point where I was doing at least 2-3 nights a week there with a minimum of $500/night. Also keep in mind that they were paying some big band acts as much as $2-3k/night so it was a hell of a deal for them and I could bring in just as many people as the other bands.

    Now I realize this was an abnormal situation but my point is that the opportunities are out there - you just have to know how to open that door and work them.

    And, let me toss this out there...if you're not using the "music" as a sole income to survive, what does it really matter? If you're playing note for note covers all night, what's the difference between you and the jukebox? In those situations, it should be about having fun, playing the music you love, and not being greedy. When I hear bands full of lawyers, doctors, etc whining about how they're not making any money on the scene it annoys the hell out of me. That's just plain ol' greed and is what got us into this whole mess of a music industry in the first place...

    I promise that if you play FOR THE MUSIC, all of the other benefits of being in a great band will come to you.
     
  4. fredgarvin

    fredgarvin Member

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    Those are the sad facts. I was trying to tell some kids on here that think 'it's better than it's ever been' about it but they didn't want to believe it. When I started in 1973 I got $50 clear a night. Later it was $100. That was for anything from 3 to six nights a week, depending on the venue. That went a lot further back then. Especially if they threw in a band house. Not to mention there were paying bars just about everywhere...
     
  5. joemilitello

    joemilitello Member

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    A pittance, free beer, and, hopefully, a good time.

    I live in the sticks.
     
  6. Gas-man

    Gas-man Fever In The Funkhouse Silver Supporting Member

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    Come on now.

    That kind of sentiment SOUNDS great and feels great to write, but puhleeze.

    "Do what you love and the money will follow" is basically what you are saying.

    How many bands have believed this and ended up with a one-way ticket to Palookaville?

    As uncool as it may be, you have to decide what will work in your market. What songs people want to hear...

    Just doing what you like aint gonna get it done unless you want to play for 50 bucks to ashtrays.
     
  7. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I sure can't argue with anything above.

    30 years ago, we were getting $300.00 per night average, until we re-organized our set list and developed a fairly strong following.

    Our best one night draw from door receipts alone would have paid us $1400.00 for
    the night with a $2.00 cover.

    We were breaking all kinds of attendance records for these small clubs and the people
    were drinking like fish and having a blast.

    It's a shame the band broke up shortly thereafter having finally built that kind of following. We did manage to pay off our $24,000.00 PA system, but everyone
    was just burnt out, getting married starting to raise a family etc.

    A few of my friends are working in agency bands doing embassy functions, weddings etc, making $2500-$5000.00 per night, but I'd rather slit my wrists.
     
  8. Jazzydave

    Jazzydave Seeker Gold Supporting Member

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    Now I never said you'd get rich or make any money for that matter. Benefits of music to me are far beyond monetary values and I've been fortunate enough to sustain myself due to the generosity of those who support me as an artist.

    Hey, there are plenty of bands out there who are decent and willing to perform for free...so why should a venue that's primary focus is alcohol sales pay big bucks for a band that's not going to bring in much more people than the "free" one?

    I have nothing against listening to cover bands but let's face it, you're not going anywhere in a band like that - it has to be for the fun of it in those situations. The majority of people I know who are in successful cover bands do it for the fun of it and have great day jobs to support it. Most of the people I've met on here are in that same boat.

    So, "Do what you love and the money will follow?" as my theme for this thread? Nope. I will say this though, when you put the proper time, effort, and passion behind what you love, people WILL notice. There are always those without any real talent that slip through the cracks but we know the difference...
     
  9. jmecale72

    jmecale72 Member

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    Around our area all bars pay $300 a night, which is decent if you are a three piece group. However, we have a six piece group which is $50 a night per man. I think the hardest thing for our group is that we don't play music that is the norm for other groups in our area. (country) We are a variety band that plays R&B, rock, and spanish covers. There is only one bar in our town that will cater to our style of music and they only book one night at a time.
     
  10. Devnor

    Devnor Member

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    My piano teacher (brilliant dude) clears $350+ a night playing in one of the premier Dallas cover bands. The venues & women are amazing but I've seen the set lists & they could not pay me enough to play those tunes. UNT 1 o'clock lab band guys playing GaGa & U2. No thanks. What a waste :bonk
     
  11. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    YIKES! Where were you playing that you needed that big of a system?

    We get between $300 and $1500, the latter being some corporate stuff we pick up from time to time.
     
  12. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    We average about $500 in town, (San Antonio) if we play out in the sticks its aroun $1000. 5 guys including a soundguy.
     
  13. tiptone

    tiptone Member

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    I take the attitude that I'll play for free, but need to be paid to haul my gear around. :)

    We've done anything from benefits for $0 up through private parties with a high so far of $1,000. Our minimum for bar/club gigs is $350, which gives us roughly $60 each with a little for the band fund.
     
  14. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    That was a 4 way PA 24 channels along with the rack and power amps.

    Average club sizes seating 250+

    5 members of the group all with vocals and the keyboard player's brother ran sound, so yeah $300.00 split 6 ways was not an easy way to make a living.

    The drummer also owned a 16 foot small moving van to carry everything.
     
  15. Jazzydave

    Jazzydave Seeker Gold Supporting Member

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    I hear you on that...it really all depends on the situation. You can't pay me to play at some places...others I gladly set up for "free."

    Truth is, I usually avg somewhere around $150-200+ just sitting in a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon doing originals and my favorites from the past. That's not including free drinks, meals, and having the opportunity to perform for people that are actually listening to my music!

    Real quick, PLEASE don't think I'm bashing any of you that are in cover bands...I know there's a huge market for solid groups like that and I truly appreciate all it takes to be in a successful one.
     
  16. Gas-man

    Gas-man Fever In The Funkhouse Silver Supporting Member

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    You said if you play what you love "All of the benefits of being in a great band will come to you".

    That usually includes dough.

    That is much different than "People will notice" which is what you seem to have meant.
     
  17. boldaslove1977

    boldaslove1977 Member

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    4 guys in a cover band... the band gets anywhere from 400-1000 depending on the venue and night of the week.

    it's not as much as i think we deserve... and it's def. not as much as some other bands who play the same scene as us... but they've been doing it longer. some of the bigger-name, longer-running acts can get a couple grand for bigger venues.
     
  18. BIGGERSTAFF

    BIGGERSTAFF Member

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    Most of the places in my area are in the $350-500 range, though some will go higher than that.
     
  19. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    I'm in the northern suburbs of Atlanta (Cherokee/Cobb county) and we usually get 450-550,(sports bar type places) five piece mainly blues band.

    In the smaller "blues" venues it drops to 200-250, but these are small joints.
     
  20. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE :rotflmao

    no less than $125 a man, usually $150 a man, and some times $200 a man.
     

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