How much do drummers get paid?

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
This may have all ready been discussed but I couldn't really find a dedicated thread about it.

I am curious about how much drummers get paid, all levels.

I read somewhere that Dave Grohl is worth like 260 mill but I wonder how much he gets per gig?

I know bands like Fleetwood Mac have a guarantee of 1 mill, but how much does Mick actually make?

A little curious because you have teachers who charge like 20-40 an hour. Then you have your cover bands who get like $400 for a 4 hour set, split 4 ways = $25 and hour for each member.

I've heard some people even say they won't even play unless there's $100 dollar bill in front of them.


Not that money is the prime focus for us but at what point are you like, "Ok, I can keep doing this for free... or, request something as a guarantee to make it worth my while"

Also, bands like The Aristocrats, how much does Marco make.. or Dave Turncrantz from Russian Circles? Dave has probably made a lot of nothing before they became relatively big.




Thoughts?
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
There are so many variables to this question that it would be impossible to state an answer. and most of them are not going to tell you.

Having read your profile, How much do engineers get paid.???
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
There are so many variables to this question that it would be impossible to state an answer. and most of them are not going to tell you.

Having read your profile, How much do engineers get paid.???
Not enough lmao. But too much to just want quit and become a full time musician.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I am curious about how much drummers get paid, all levels.

Thoughts?
Maybe this is your answer...drummers get paid on all different levels.

I'd bet you would be surprised how much some make in addition to how little others make. In addition, I'll bet it's a seasonal thing. For example, a drummer may make a flat rate per tour, but they may only tour for 9 months of the year, so for the other three months, he/she may not make anything.

Also, drummers make more if they have songwriting credits as well.

It's all really messy, and there's not flat rate for any of this stuff.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Many, many threads on this topic:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112715
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42558
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73002
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116786
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79457
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60323

And so on...

The age old answer to this vague of a question: It depends. On pretty much everything. It's not like a represented union job in state government where you are hired at a certain payscale. Almost everything about the job is variable.

One thing of which I'm fairly certain: The ratio of drummers in the world, to the number of drummers in the world who can completely support themselves financially solely on drumming, is a very lopsided ratio.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Maybe this is your answer...drummers get paid on all different levels.

Also, drummers make more if they have songwriting credits as well.

It's all really messy, and there's not flat rate for any of this stuff.
Exactly. It varies, and it's subjective... at all levels.

Keep in mind that Grohl's money mostly comes equally from performance and songwriting, plus whatever piece he may have had of Nirvana. I'd be surprised if he's only worth 2.5m, there should be more in his pot from the last 25 years in the spotlight, esp with Foo Fighters.

Session pay is subjective, I don't know if anyone makes basic scale (which isn't really very much.) Some drummers are paid by the track, or by the day, or by the project. It depends on the artist, the project, and the drummer. Someone who brings cache to the project, such as Vinnie, Gadd, or now, ?uestlove, will command more for their mere presence than Josh Freese, for example. Nothing (necessarily) to do with ability, it's more about their name value.

Same for touring bands. Having a name drummer may attract an additional 20 drummers to a show that might not have come otherwise. That makes the drummer more valuable in terms of the artist's revenue, and he will likely get paid more.

Local gigs are all over the place, but again, it depends on the band, the venue, and the drummer.

Bermuda
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Exactly. It varies, and it's subjective... at all levels.

Keep in mind that Grohl's money mostly comes equally from performance and songwriting, plus whatever piece he may have had of Nirvana. I'd be surprised if he's only worth 2.5m, there should be more in his pot from the last 25 years in the spotlight, esp with Foo Fighters.

Session pay is subjective, I don't know if anyone makes basic scale (which isn't really very much.) Some drummers are paid by the track, or by the day, or by the project. It depends on the artist, the project, and the drummer. Someone who brings cache to the project, such as Vinnie, Gadd, or now, ?uestlove, will command more for their mere presence than Josh Freese, for example. Nothing (necessarily) to do with ability, it's more about their name value.

Same for touring bands. Having a name drummer may attract an additional 20 drummers to a show that might not have come otherwise. That makes the drummer more valuable in terms of the artist's revenue, and he will likely get paid more.

Local gigs are all over the place, but again, it depends on the band, the venue, and the drummer.

Bermuda
Sorry I had Dave Grohl's networth wrong.

I often think that I should have paid more attention in music class and took proper lessons and learned how to read music so I can do it for my profession.

I also think that at point of having drumming as my career it would burn me out and make it not as fun as it is not playing to support myself.

I guess that's a sub-question. Being a professional drummer, do you have have those slum days of not wanting to go into the 'office'?
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Many, many threads on this topic:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112715
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42558
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73002
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116786
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79457
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60323

And so on...

The age old answer to this vague of a question: It depends. On pretty much everything. It's not like a represented union job in state government where you are hired at a certain payscale. Almost everything about the job is variable.

One thing of which I'm fairly certain: The ratio of drummers in the world, to the number of drummers in the world who can completely support themselves financially solely on drumming, is a very lopsided ratio.
Wow, thank you. I got some reading to do!
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I'm in the Musicians Union for work at Disney and there is a sideman rate and a leader rate, etc.,....but that doesn't apply to everyone. I suppose if you're lucky enough to get a full-time musician spot anywhere, it's decent. But those are rare. This would explain why we have so many music teachers.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
it really depends on the gig.

The union sets the pay scale for union gigs, and it's probably in the middle of what people are getting, but not all gigs are union.

Ignoring the super rich celebrities like Dave Grohl (isn't he more of a singer since Nirvana??), working musicians have a number of income streams.

Here's what you can expect in a city like Boston:

1. Theater/Orchestra gigs - these are usually union; you get paid about $40 to cart your drums around, and you get about $2 per mile for travel. You get $60 or so for each two hour rehearsal, and each performance you get about $150.

2. Single Concerts (union) - this is your average party, fundraiser, wedding reception, kind of gig. $120 per musician for 2 hours (2x45 minute sets with breaks). A 2 hour rehearsal with the band is $75

3. Single Concerts (non-union) - the same as above, but not with Union pay. I would expect to get around $100 per hour (depending on the size of the band).

4. Club date (union) - bar or restaurant gig. You get about $100 per musician for 2 hours or less, $144 for a 4 hour gig (each our is 45 mins + break). If it's a regular gig (example: 6 performances in 6 weeks) then $100 per musician gets 3 hours.

5. Club date (non-union) - Same as above, but not union. I wouldn't expect less than $100 for a 2-4 hour gig, and most gigs only pay $100-$150 per musician.

6. Rehearsals - I'm freelance, so if someone wants me to rehearse with them, I typically charge $20-$40 an hour depending on travel.

Recording sessions have all but dried up, so I'm not sure what (if anything) they pay these days.

These are all averages and are going to be subject to your local area, and will depend if you are using Union Scale or Market Rate.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
it really depends on the gig.

The union sets the pay scale for union gigs, and it's probably in the middle of what people are getting, but not all gigs are union.

Ignoring the super rich celebrities like Dave Grohl (isn't he more of a singer since Nirvana??), working musicians have a number of income streams.

Here's what you can expect in a city like Boston:

1. Theater/Orchestra gigs - these are usually union; you get paid about $40 to cart your drums around, and you get about $2 per mile for travel. You get $60 or so for each two hour rehearsal, and each performance you get about $150.

2. Single Concerts (union) - this is your average party, fundraiser, wedding reception, kind of gig. $120 per musician for 2 hours (2x45 minute sets with breaks). A 2 hour rehearsal with the band is $75

3. Single Concerts (non-union) - the same as above, but not with Union pay. I would expect to get around $100 per hour (depending on the size of the band).

4. Club date (union) - bar or restaurant gig. You get about $100 per musician for 2 hours or less, $144 for a 4 hour gig (each our is 45 mins + break). If it's a regular gig (example: 6 performances in 6 weeks) then $100 per musician gets 3 hours.

5. Club date (non-union) - Same as above, but not union. I wouldn't expect less than $100 for a 2-4 hour gig, and most gigs only pay $100-$150 per musician.

6. Rehearsals - I'm freelance, so if someone wants me to rehearse with them, I typically charge $20-$40 an hour depending on travel.

Recording sessions have all but dried up, so I'm not sure what (if anything) they pay these days.

These are all averages and are going to be subject to your local area, and will depend if you are using Union Scale or Market Rate.
This is very helpful.

also, Dave Grohl has played drums with Tenacious D, Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of the Stone Age, and 'may or may not have' played for the band Ghost on their "If You Have Ghost" EP.


Would it be ludicrous of me to ask a rehearsal fee next time a band sends me their songs to learn, learn them, show up to practice, play all the songs as recorded (if not better) for a few hours, and then get offered a gig?

I have people asking me to play for the cover bands all the time and I typically ask what the guarantee if and one of them replied "what do you mean?"

Am I being pretentious?
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I play about 45-55 gigs a year. I usually end up around $6500-7k in cash at the end of the year. That works out to $127-144 per gig. As a hobby, an outlet and a self-supporting part-time job, I'm quite content with that.

I'm very fortunate to play in the tourist trap of Door County A LOT in the summer so beyond the extra miles on my van, it's a great weekend that gives me fun gigs and plenty of gas money.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I also think that at point of having drumming as my career it would burn me out and make it not as fun as it is not playing to support myself.

I guess that's a sub-question. Being a professional drummer, do you have have those slum days of not wanting to go into the 'office'?
The most important thing is to love the drumming. If you do, then the money isn't an issue, and working will never be a drag. If you don't really love drumming, then no (realistic) amount of money will make it more tolerable.

You've got to love the playing, and not worry about the rest. Besides, being a full-time pro musician doesn't have a career path the way just about every other career does. Desire, education, and ability are great, but they alone don't guarantee any outcome.

Bermuda
 

mikel

Platinum Member
How long is a piece of string? Same answer. Dave Grohl is rich cos he has his own band and writes and sings his own material, it has nowt to do with being a drummer.

In general drummers would get paid the same as the rest of the band if they are a hired gun. If you are a full member of an originals band its the same, unless you are a song writer.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I read somewhere that Dave Grohl is worth like 260 mill but I wonder how much he gets per gig?
There is a funny story as documented by a music mogul in that moguls autobiography (and I forget which one, as I've read many such books). Ahow, apparently when Nirvanna first got signed, Kurt Cobain was afraid Dave and Krist would never make much money just being in Nirvanna, and Kurt was concerned that if they never made much money, they would eventually leave the band to get real jobs or whatever. So Kurt shared song writing royalties with them in hopes they might make enough to not quit.

But then when Nirvana took off and got huge and Kurt saw Dave and Kris were raking in plenty of cash just as members, Cobain asked them to both sign over song writing credits back to Cobain, and they did, even though it meant giving up rights to very large sums of money.

But as mentioned, Ghrol makes more money as the songwriter of the Foo Fighters than he does just from drumming.

Steve Smith has said some gigs make money, some lose money, he just hope it all balances out at the end of the year.

I know bands like Fleetwood Mac have a guarantee of 1 mill, but how much does Mick actually make?
On that level, I highly doubt Mick gets a paycheck at the end of each gig.

First off, there are all the band members to spit it with. Then Fleetwood Mac travels with back up musicians. And then they'll have a road crew, from the guy who sets up the drums to the truck driver to the person who does the bands laundry. A band like Fleetwood Mac probably employs 200 people easily when on the road. And then are managers, lawyers and such who all get a cut of the proceeds. Plus bills for insurance, gas, etc.

And then there just isn't the ticket sales. There are t-shirt sales, programs and other merchandise.

I'm not sure if he still does, but Mick also use get a little extra as the leader of the band.

So it's not so simple as making x dollars per show for someone like Mick.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
20 years ago I subbed for a very nice rockstar who had two bands.
While he was being paid $5k per show in stadiums I got a fantastic 6 weeks on the road and was paid $450 per week at the end.
I also got $40 per day for food, free beer on the rider, free hotel room and a good bunch of people with which to see the country.

I would do it again for less.
 
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