Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Our band needed a PA system. So I bought one. I can afford it but it's not cheap, obviously.

I'm wondering what to do with it re ownership. It seems to me there are 4 options:

A) I own it. Period. The band gets to use it whenever we need it.

B) The band pays me back from gig fees til it's all paid then it belongs to the band.

C) As B but the band pays say 50% and ownership is split.

D) I own it and the band pays me rental at a very good rate, say £20 a gig, for an agreed period then it's free.

A and D are the simplest in terms of ownership. The band has 7 or 8 members and has had some turnover. I don't want property disputes occurring in the future.

Obviously D is most attractive to me as I get some payback on my outlay. But as a band we're a friendly amicable bunch and I don't want to chisel them.

Anyone been in a similar boat? What were your experiences/solutions?

It's "my" band, btw. I started it etc, and am bandleader to a large extent.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
If you paid for it, it's yours. There's no reason to split ownership other than to make things difficult when people come / go.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Our band's PA is owned by our bassist. The other three members of the band pay 20€ per gig (or if the bassist needs a sub, the rent is divided four ways). We have no problems dishing out a sum that small for a really good rig, and in my opinion there's nothing wrong in asking for a small compensation even after the equipment has paid for itself. It is after all an investment, and all investments have both risks and a possibility of profit.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
My band uses option A. However, in our case the singer owns the PA so its a little different. We all have our gear and he has his. His "instrument" is the PA. so he bought it and maintains it like any of us do. We all have our own mics that we use if we need them, but he maintains the system and does all of the sound.

Having anybody but the singer buy the PA makes zero sense to me. I also dont understand hiring a singer with out his own equipment. Its like bringing in a guitarist that doesnt own an amp.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
A or D, with a strong leaning toward D. It's yours and always will be yours, but the band gets to use it at a rate much lower than what they'd encounter if they had to rent a PA for each gig.

DO NOT APPROACH group ownership. Not without incorporation. Even then it's problematic if relationships sour.

I've seen it happen too many times.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
yep. I think I'll go for D.

The next question is, do I charge the PA as an extra band member or part of one?

I'm tempted to go for 50% of a band member's cut, and up that to 100% if I add equipment such as a sub, lights etc later on.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Easiest option is to own the rig outright, then charge a sensible (but not too cheap) fee per gig. Forget "paying it off then it's free". As you pointed out, what if you wish to add to the rig. Additional pieces should attract a higher fee. Treat it as dry hire, & base your fees on local comparable dry hire rates less a generous discount. That way, the band feel they're getting a bargain, & you get a regular pay down. Additionally, don't forget, your fees need to cover ongoing maintenance, & that's everything from lead replacements to full blown repairs.

As a side issue, I very much encourage you to look at 3rd party liability insurance. If some idiot decides to climb a stack & bring it crashing down on the audience, you'll find yourself up to your neck in brown stuff, & likely bankrupt for life. Seriously, don't ignore that, or the cost associated with it in terms of rig rental fees.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
Our band's PA is owned by our bassist. The other three members of the band pay 20€ per gig (or if the bassist needs a sub, the rent is divided four ways). We have no problems dishing out a sum that small for a really good rig, and in my opinion there's nothing wrong in asking for a small compensation even after the equipment has paid for itself. It is after all an investment, and all investments have both risks and a possibility of profit.
A bit surprised that if your bass player has a dep in then the rental is split four ways rather than three. Whenever I've depped (I've done a lot of deps) I've never been expected to pay for anything that belongs to the band as it isn't my problem, I'm just there to make up the numbers.

The PA/van/lights ownership side of it isn't anything to do with me and I wouldn't expect to have to pay for it.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I've never been expected to pay for anything that belongs to the band as it isn't my problem, I'm just there to make up the numbers.

The PA/van/lights ownership side of it isn't anything to do with me and I wouldn't expect to have to pay for it.
For small bands that tour locally, this isn't a problem. When you're working a coast, like Portland Maine to Daytona Florida, the band has to cover the expenditures. In this case, the band can either rent a PA from a sound and lighting company, or they can rent a PA from one of the members at a huge discount.

This either needs to be accounted for in the buy-in, or it needs to come from the earnings.

The OPs other option was to sell partial ownership of the gear. That's a bad idea because it gets messy when half the band leaves/quits/dies/gets fired, goes to jail, goes into debt, etc.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
I think D is your best option.

I know it's splitting hairs, but for some reason "rent" rubs me the wrong way. Rather than charging your band mates rent, I would just agree that you'll be taking a larger percentage from gigs where the PA is used.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
In the past we pieced together a PA from what the different members already had. That way there is no question about who owns it. I have a small mixer/amp, two small speakers, and a good Crown power amp. Another guy has bigger speakers we can use for mains. I do not charge the rest of the band to use what I have. We all have mics and stands. That is what I have always done. Peace and goodwill.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
For small bands that tour locally, this isn't a problem. When you're working a coast, like Portland Maine to Daytona Florida, the band has to cover the expenditures. In this case, the band can either rent a PA from a sound and lighting company, or they can rent a PA from one of the members at a huge discount.
Where are you playing that you are providing the PA on tour? I have toured half of this country in various forms of tours and have never brought our own PA. In fact the only reason our band even owns a PA is for practice. I am curious if this is the norm or if I am missing something.
 

Satch

Junior Member
Both bass and guitar players each own a PA. we use one for practice and the other for gigs. the practice PA is a pain to undo from the studio space so we leave it there. No one asks for extra money.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Where are you playing that you are providing the PA on tour? I have toured half of this country in various forms of tours and have never brought our own PA. In fact the only reason our band even owns a PA is for practice. I am curious if this is the norm or if I am missing something.

We 'were' touring everywhere (93-97). Typically, our day consisted of:

Minimal set or acoustic set in music store/coffee-shop/commons to pimp the club show and album. Radio station pimp session (often just me and singer acoustic). After that, we'd play the club show.

We had a fairly modular PA (EV + Carver) that we could adapt to most circumstances (even small outdoor gigs). We could even pull 2x15 Amp circuits from the RV for outdoor festivals, where we could convert the awning into an outdoor covered stage.

Perhaps the touring experience is different now? I've seen mention that some people even stay in hotels now, which I find simply amazing.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Although the PA is a necessity for the singer(s), It isn't always for a drummer unless the drums are mic'ed, right? So the drummer gets a pass on having to pay for the band to use it. That seems fair, right?

I'm speaking in general terms, because in this case, the OP owns the PA equipment.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Another option is no PA rent, but any PA only repairs are split between the non-owners of the PA, for the privilege of using the PA. Still I like option D the best.
 
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