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  #1  
Old 11-29-2018, 02:05 AM
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Default Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by vxla View Post
..I've spoken to a top-tier drummer who was behind one of the largest pop artists in the world. He was getting about $150/day plus a $40 per diem as their back line drummer and had to quit to make a better living..

I just stumbled upon this quote in another thread earlier and i was wondering about this, since i heard someone say something similar last week..The quote is from 4 years ago, if thats relevant..

But is that true, that lets say the drummer in the live band from Taylor Swift, or any of such artists, maybe earns only $300-400 on an evening..?

To me that sounds like a very little amount, to believe that such a complete backing band is playing there for like $3000-4000 a night in front of 80.000 people who paid at least $90-100 for a ticket..

But since this is the second time in a week that i hear such a story, i was just wondering if there is someone here who knows if this is kinda true or not..
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2018, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

The venue takes a big chunk of the ticket price first of all. and then all of the people behind the scenes, roadies etc, it gets thin quick
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2018, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by oldskoolsoul View Post
I just stumbled upon this quote in another thread earlier and i was wondering about this, since i heard someone say something similar last week..The quote is from 4 years ago, if thats relevant..

But is that true, that lets say the drummer in the live band from Taylor Swift, or any of such artists, maybe earns only $300-400 on an evening..?

To me that sounds like a very little amount, to believe that such a complete backing band is playing there for like $3000-4000 a night in front of 80.000 people who paid at least $90-100 for a ticket..

But since this is the second time in a week that i hear such a story, i was just wondering if there is someone here who knows if this is kinda true or not..

That sounds about right, from my experience. I used to tour with a multi-platinum artist, making $1200/wk in the first year, and $1600/wk by the time it had petered out. We typically did 3-4 shows a week, which works out to about $300-400 a day. I also made $40 or $50 (I forget which) per diem.

The key is to not look at it like "Taylor is making this, and the record company is making that, and the tickets cost $XX". Just think about YOU. Making $300-400 for a day of work, which just happens to be getting to play your drums for a couple hours - rough stuff ;-) . Also got to take into consideration all the perks...

1. Endorsements save you a decent amount on drum gear.

2. Our tour bus was always stocked with food/drinks/booze (not sure if this is standard), so our per diem (typically considered compensation for daily expenses) basically became extra free money - $50/day for a 60 day tour = $3,000 extra in your pocket.

3. Not sure if this is standard either... Our weekly pay depended only on if we worked at all in a given week. So whether we did one 5-minute TV performance that week, or 2-shows a day everyday, we got the same weekly pay. Fortunately, the singer's voice could only handle 3 shows a week... 4 tops. Also, when we weren't on the road, the whole band was on retainer, so even when we didn't do anything that week, we still made 50% of our "working" rate for doing literally nothing. We were still able to take other side gigs, just so long as it didn't get in the way of that gig.

Remember, in the case of Taylor Swift-type artists, while the band may be talented, they are not "the talent". In the case of "backing musicians/performers", everyone is replaceable ("you are not a special and unique snowflake", yadda yadda). The only one on stage that makes any real difference (in the eyes of the money men) is the artist.

Something else to consider... While the backing band may only cost the artist a few thousand a night, the rest of the show - sound, stage, lights, pyro, road crew, tour manager, security, hair, makeup, wardrobe, tour busses with drivers, transportation for all the gear (multiple semi trucks) and drivers, possibly backup dancers, lodging for every person on the tour... I mean, the artist definitely still makes WAY more than the band. But it's not as much as you may think. Performing, for those types of artists, is a pretty small percentage of their income.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2018, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Salaries are completely subjective, and some artists are more/less generous than others. But "a top-tier drummer who was behind one of the largest pop artists in the world" making $1000/wk doesn't sound like very good money to me. I wouldn't travel for that.

Bermuda
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by cutaway79 View Post
Something else to consider... While the backing band may only cost the artist a few thousand a night, the rest of the show - sound, stage, lights, pyro, road crew, tour manager, security, hair, makeup, wardrobe, tour busses with drivers, transportation for all the gear (multiple semi trucks) and drivers, possibly backup dancers, lodging for every person on the tour... I mean, the artist definitely still makes WAY more than the band. But it's not as much as you may think. Performing, for those types of artists, is a pretty small percentage of their income.
Don't forget the manager's percentage, the booking agent's percentage, the promoter's percentage, the cost to book the venue, and the venue's percentage! That can easily take 40% or more right off the top!

It's expensive to tour. Just because someone sells out a 5,000 seater at $100/ticket, doesn't mean they pocket $500,000.

Bermuda
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Ricky says it all, have a watch of this up till 32:03

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXq2BbasjkQ&t=29m9s
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Sounds low if it is truly a big name, but might be right for a not quite so big name.

I've heard of hired guns undercutting each other to get the gig, and/or keep their name out there. Which then leads to some artists feeling like they can pay chicken feed because they know there is always someone who will be willing to take it just for the chance to tour.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:34 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Sounds low if it is truly a big name, but might be right for a not quite so big name.

I've heard of hired guns undercutting each other to get the gig, and/or keep their name out there. Which then leads to some artists feeling like they can pay chicken feed because they know there is always someone who will be willing to take it just for the chance to tour.
Exactly. The artist I was working for (nowhere near Swift status, btw) had particularly... thrifty... people calling her shots. Her manager was always saying "if you don't like it, there are 100 people behind you, waiting to take your job". Serious power-trip stuff.

I don't know how it is for musicians outside OC/LA, but you can find dudes here (a lot of them anyway) that will work for almost nothing. The market is so saturated. Everyone just wants to work.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by cutaway79 View Post
Exactly. The artist I was working for (nowhere near Swift status, btw) had particularly... thrifty... people calling her shots. Her manager was always saying "if you don't like it, there are 100 people behind you, waiting to take your job". Serious power-trip stuff.

I don't know how it is for musicians outside OC/LA, but you can find dudes here (a lot of them anyway) that will work for almost nothing. The market is so saturated. Everyone just wants to work.
I consider myself lucky to have gotten to do what I do. If I donít do it again, Iím ok with it. I will continue my path, but Iím sure glad I have a steady job. I canít imagine drumming being he only thing I did for a living. I couldnít drag my wife through that kind of life.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2018, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Even a small time band with their own van who hires or bings their own PA know there are one or two other expenses outside of people's salaries.

If you have no extra expenses and the job doesn't tie you up from making your daily paycheck on your off days then $190 sounds not to far away from any common mans daily salary.

If you're on tour with an established artist, you should be paid weekly or monthly for your time, playing or not. It's like working on a boat.
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2018, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
..Even a small time band with their own van who hires or bings their own PA know there are one or two other expenses outside of people's salaries..

A child at kindergarten knows that, thats not the idea..

The idea is that if an artist sells out a stadium, then to me is kinda weird that his/her drummer earns almost less than me playing at a local club..

I just looked and the capacity of the Amsterdam Arena seems to be like 55.000 people..A normal ticket for Beyonce or Taylor Swift will be like $100..Then i am not even speaking about certain VIP-arrangements, bla bla bla..Lets just take that normal ticket..And they for sure will sell out within a few hours..

Then thats allready $5,5 million only income from tickets..Not counted also merchandise, etc, etc, etc..

To hire the complete stadium for a day, i see prices ranging from $250.000 to $1 million..

Even when taking that $1 million and another $3 million for production costs/manager percentages/etc per evening (for which you can drive a loooot of trucks with a lot of food, workers, equipment and all the crap such artists need) then still there would be $1,5 million left according this simple kindergarten-calculation..

Now, i realise very well that you can not calculate a 55.000 people event on the back of a blocknote and that maybe a 100 pages document is needed to put all the numbers for such a show..

But still, when there is that much money circulating for 1 show, then i think playing there as a musician on stage for $300-400 is a complete disgrace..

True, earning $2000 a week is definitely not a bad income for someone personally, but in this case that number is just completely out of balance..

Like, really a lot..
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  #12  
Old 11-29-2018, 06:12 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

This topic touches on my upcoming article in the December issue of DRUM! where I discuss negotiating fees. Without giving away the article, I will say that a musician's pay is based on the value they bring to the gig, and not (necessarily) because they play great. For example - not that most gigs require his skill - but does having Vinnie on drums also sell an extra 20 or 30 tickets per show? That would be his added value that makes it worth paying his price, and drummers whose names carry some cachť will usually get paid more.

Bermuda
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2018, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
This topic touches on my upcoming article in the December issue of DRUM! where I discuss negotiating fees. Without giving away the article, I will say that a musician's pay is based on the value they bring to the gig, and not (necessarily) because they play great. For example - not that most gigs require his skill - but does having Vinnie on drums also sell an extra 20 or 30 tickets per show? That would be his added value that makes it worth paying his price, and drummers whose names carry some cachť will usually get paid more.

Bermuda
I know I wouldn't go to a Weird Al show if Bermuda Schwartz wasn't playing drums ;)
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  #14  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I know I wouldn't go to a Weird Al show if Bermuda Schwartz wasn't playing drums ;)
If other words, you wouldn't go to a Bermuda show if he wasn't there.
;-)
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Old 11-29-2018, 03:49 PM
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2018, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by oldskoolsoul View Post
A child at kindergarten knows that, thats not the idea..

The idea is that if an artist sells out a stadium, then to me is kinda weird that his/her drummer earns almost less than me playing at a local club..

I just looked and the capacity of the Amsterdam Arena seems to be like 55.000 people..A normal ticket for Beyonce or Taylor Swift will be like $100..Then i am not even speaking about certain VIP-arrangements, bla bla bla..Lets just take that normal ticket..And they for sure will sell out within a few hours..

Then thats allready $5,5 million only income from tickets..Not counted also merchandise, etc, etc, etc..

To hire the complete stadium for a day, i see prices ranging from $250.000 to $1 million..

Even when taking that $1 million and another $3 million for production costs/manager percentages/etc per evening (for which you can drive a loooot of trucks with a lot of food, workers, equipment and all the crap such artists need) then still there would be $1,5 million left according this simple kindergarten-calculation..

Now, i realise very well that you can not calculate a 55.000 people event on the back of a blocknote and that maybe a 100 pages document is needed to put all the numbers for such a show..

But still, when there is that much money circulating for 1 show, then i think playing there as a musician on stage for $300-400 is a complete disgrace..

True, earning $2000 a week is definitely not a bad income for someone personally, but in this case that number is just completely out of balance..

Like, really a lot..
As said before there are A LOT of expenses involved in running a business. Because that's what this is. And the base number you're starting with is gross revenue. And just like most other businesses, the gross revenue numbers always look impressive. But once you start backing out expenses (especially insurances), the leftover margins are very slim.

Also consider this, using the Taylor Swift example: It's her company. It's her brand. She's the one who is ultimately responsible. She does all the PR appearances, interviews, fan meet & greets, photo shoots, etc. Granted she has a team to schedule and coordinate, but they represent an expense, and it's still her who has built this company up. The people in her band at the end of the day are employees or contractors to this company. There are artists who are loyal to their musicians and crews and have worked with the same people for decades. And there are people who have a rotating door on band members from tour to tour.

If we're talking about a band vs. an individual artist, the lion's share gets split differently based on each situation, but in the end, if you're not an owner, you're an employee/contractor.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

It's a tough business. So many players, so little slots. Anyone who makes a living from music wholeheartedly deserves it. I didn't have what it took, I gave up at age 26 to learn how to actually make money. I wanted to live in a decent house someday, and music I realized was not the vehicle to me get there.

Now if I was an adult in the 1940's, I could have easily made a decent living from music.

I don't know that I want to mix my monetary needs and music. I'd rather keep them separate.
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2018, 04:11 PM
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Even if these guys/gals don't make a ton of money, dang, look at what they get to DO!

I'm very thankful for my day job and that at any point in time I can walk away from music and be perfectly fine financially. However, there's still a little part of me that wishes I could gig as a full-time job, but another part of me doesn't.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

To a first-order its just supply-demand economics. If you have 200 people desiring only one glass of Heineken, the glass of Heineken drives a big price. If you have 200 drummers vying for being paid for one spot then payment for said spot decreases.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Even if these guys/gals don't make a ton of money, dang, look at what they get to DO!
That's also true. Just as the pay varies, so do the players' perspectives and situations. One player will find that $1000/wk meets their needs and makes them happy, while another making $5000/wk will complain about it. It's all relative.

Sometimes the money doesn't matter quite as much as the experience and love for playing. On the first tour with Weird Al in 1983, I was paid $250/wk, which was less than I was making at my (then-current) day job. From a strictly financial position, I shouldn't have done the tour. But I loved playing, I was already very involved with the project, and I also knew that I'd be returning to work after the brief tour.

And yes, the tour pay did increase over time. :)

Bermuda
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by cutaway79 View Post
Exactly. The artist I was working for (nowhere near Swift status, btw) had particularly... thrifty... people calling her shots. Her manager was always saying "if you don't like it, there are 100 people behind you, waiting to take your job". Serious power-trip stuff.

I don't know how it is for musicians outside OC/LA, but you can find dudes here (a lot of them anyway) that will work for almost nothing. The market is so saturated. Everyone just wants to work.
Not surprising.

One of my old drum teachers hit it big with a huge gig with a platinum-selling artist. There were world tours, stadium shows, videos, being on one of the platinum-selling albums, etc. Then one day he wasn't.

We hooked up again for some additional lessons after this had happened (now some years ago). I gently asked what happened, and it came down to the manager kept cutting his pay, with a promise they would pay him more on the next leg. But then on the next leg, they would instead cut his pay again. Until he eventually felt it was no longer worth it.

I know a bass player who plays with, not a huge name, but a name that has been around for a long time. He has a day job, and he somehow manages to balance out day job with touring. I'm still not sure how he does it, but clearly being the bass player for the said artist isn't something he does for big financial rewards.
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  #21  
Old 11-29-2018, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

My son is in a situation with a band that to our way of thinking isn't exactly ideal, but he's kind of gritting his teeth for the moment and dealing with it.

Basically, he was friends of the lead singer for the band he's currently on tour with, and when the record the band was trying to write was under deadline, they still had nothing. The lead singer (who essentially IS the band) basically came to my son with hat in hand, begging for writing help.

My son co-wrote the entire record they are currently touring, but has never been signed in to the band by the label - he's basically a hired gun guitar player touring the record HE wrote. All of the original band members who had been signed in are now out, and the lead singer controls how much money the players are getting paid. Keep in mind, this is in the indie scene, so we're not talking big bucks or big venues.

My son is getting screwed six ways from Sunday from a money perspective. We've thought about lawyering-up, but if we do that, the lead singer could get pissed and kick my son to the curb, (and he would - he's that type of person) and we'd probably spend more money trying to get things sorted from a rights/royalties perspective than we'd make.

The reality is pretty much like cutaway79 said - everyone in the backing band is replaceable, and if you no longer want to do it, they'll find someone hungry who will.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:23 PM
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My son is in a situation with a band that to our way of thinking isn't exactly ideal, but he's kind of gritting his teeth for the moment and dealing with it.
After this tour is over, do you think he will renegotiate the deal so he can get credit on any future songs he writes?
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
On the first tour with Weird Al in 1983, I was paid $250/wk, which was less than I was making at my (then-current) day job. From a strictly financial position, I shouldn't have done the tour. But I loved playing, I was already very involved with the project, and I also knew that I'd be returning to work after the brief tour.

And yes, the tour pay did increase over time. :)

Bermuda

When the downpayment on a project is one's time, one needs to make a choice as to which way that finite ressource is best allocated.

Looking at your career, seems to me that was a great long-term investment on your part !
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by oldskoolsoul View Post
A child at kindergarten knows that, thats not the idea..

The idea is that if an artist sells out a stadium, then to me is kinda weird that his/her drummer earns almost less than me playing at a local club..

I just looked and the capacity of the Amsterdam Arena seems to be like 55.000 people..A normal ticket for Beyonce or Taylor Swift will be like $100..Then i am not even speaking about certain VIP-arrangements, bla bla bla..Lets just take that normal ticket..And they for sure will sell out within a few hours..

Then thats allready $5,5 million only income from tickets..Not counted also merchandise, etc, etc, etc..

To hire the complete stadium for a day, i see prices ranging from $250.000 to $1 million..

Even when taking that $1 million and another $3 million for production costs/manager percentages/etc per evening (for which you can drive a loooot of trucks with a lot of food, workers, equipment and all the crap such artists need) then still there would be $1,5 million left according this simple kindergarten-calculation..

Now, i realise very well that you can not calculate a 55.000 people event on the back of a blocknote and that maybe a 100 pages document is needed to put all the numbers for such a show..

But still, when there is that much money circulating for 1 show, then i think playing there as a musician on stage for $300-400 is a complete disgrace..

True, earning $2000 a week is definitely not a bad income for someone personally, but in this case that number is just completely out of balance..

Like, really a lot..
Let's say you have a beautiful, hand-painted, one-of-a-kind collector's plate (yes, like a dinner plate). The market says it's value is $2000... That's the singer/artist.

Then you have a paper plate, of which there are 50 or more in one pack. The value of that entire pack is $2... That's us. We are the paper plates.

The market dictates the money. If there are 100 perfectly capable drummers going after one job, do you really think the folks in charge are going to willingly give out more money than they absolutely have to? Hell no! They may even set up a steel cage and make you all fight to the death over who will work for less. The money men aren't a fair or caring bunch. It's called the music BUSINESS for a reason.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
My son is in a situation with a band that to our way of thinking isn't exactly ideal, but he's kind of gritting his teeth for the moment and dealing with it.

Basically, he was friends of the lead singer for the band he's currently on tour with, and when the record the band was trying to write was under deadline, they still had nothing. The lead singer (who essentially IS the band) basically came to my son with hat in hand, begging for writing help.

My son co-wrote the entire record they are currently touring, but has never been signed in to the band by the label - he's basically a hired gun guitar player touring the record HE wrote. All of the original band members who had been signed in are now out, and the lead singer controls how much money the players are getting paid. Keep in mind, this is in the indie scene, so we're not talking big bucks or big venues.

My son is getting screwed six ways from Sunday from a money perspective. We've thought about lawyering-up, but if we do that, the lead singer could get pissed and kick my son to the curb, (and he would - he's that type of person) and we'd probably spend more money trying to get things sorted from a rights/royalties perspective than we'd make.

The reality is pretty much like cutaway79 said - everyone in the backing band is replaceable, and if you no longer want to do it, they'll find someone hungry who will.
Look up Jake E Lee with Ozzy. He wrote the Bark at the Moon album, and never got any credit or financial rewards from it. After the follow up album and tour, jake was fired without ever being given a reason.

And Jake is no where near the only former member of Ozzy's bands who have a difference of opinion on song writiing credits with Ozzy. Or were fired without any reason.

Many, many, many well know bands have broken up over arguements over song writing credits, or lack there of, and the money that does or does not come from them.

And many other "bands" are not bands to the record label, where only 1 or two members are signed to the label, and the other guys are sidemen, even if they've been in the band since day 1.

So I feel for your son, but sadly, it's a rather common situation.
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  #26  
Old 11-29-2018, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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After this tour is over, do you think he will renegotiate the deal so he can get credit on any future songs he writes?
Nothing is set in stone yet - to date, he's not signed a contract, so based on that alone, he could negotiate rights to what he's written. There is plenty of legal precedent for that, so if push came to shove, he'd win that in court, and therein lies the rub - he'd win the battle but lose the war, so to speak.

Simply put, this last record wouldn't have happened without my son. The lead singer is continuing to have a career and take home the lion's share of the money off of my son's work, creativity and sweat, and he's such a narcissistic jerk, he's more than happy to do that rather than to do what's right and fair.

My son is pretty bitter about it, but he's not yet at a point where he can jump to another band or project that is equivalent - as it is, he's touring, gigging and getting paid - maybe not what he should be, but he IS getting paid. If he jumps off at this point, he'll lose everything, and the singer will hire someone else to kind-of get those lead guitar lines covered. It doesn't have to be exact - it just has to be close enough. In the time my son has been touring with the band they have:
  • replaced the lead guitar player (with my son - they fired the original member of the band)
  • replaced the drummer once (original drummer was fired, the replacement drummer left, and the 3rd drummer is the current tour drummer)
  • replaced the bass player twice (original bass player was fired, the replacement player left, and the 3rd guy is the current tour bassist)
  • Hired a second electric guitar player to cover certain parts from the record
  • Fired the second electric guitar player (cost too much money and the label didn't like the stage look)
I want what's best for him, but I don't think he can jump out just yet - not if he wants to continue to tour and gig anyway.
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  #27  
Old 11-29-2018, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Watch the Hired Gun documentary & you'll see a few sides of this coin.

Of the many artists interviewed, Phil Buckman (bass player for Filter) hits on the points mentioned in this thread.
He talks in length about how lead & founder Richard Patrick didn't pay his band but pennies on the dollar for their work.

If they complained, Richard told them what Trent Reznor had told him when he didn't get paid for his guitar work: "If you want the money & fame, write your own record & go get it."

Now Phil does voice work for Carl's Jr. & Hardee's with no regrets.

I for one have had the opportunity to play for some great musicians that came from very good and famous backgrounds. I've learned from them just what many have mentioned here: Play your role, support the song & know your place.
I know I'm not going to make what I feel I'm worth, but at this stage in my life, I'm not chasing that coin. I had a great time & got much knowledge from it. I considered myself paid in full.

Drums need to be fun first, or I'm putting them away.
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  #28  
Old 11-29-2018, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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..As said before there are A LOT of expenses involved in running a business. Because that's what this is. And the base number you're starting with is gross revenue. And just like most other businesses, the gross revenue numbers always look impressive. But once you start backing out expenses (especially insurances), the leftover margins are very slim..

I said in my previous post that i realise very well that i made a kindergarten-calculation..

But then still i doubt there will be 1 financial expert in this world who can justify and convince me that the price of Ms. Swift's complete backing band for a 55.000 people sold out stadium-gig should be less than 1 bottle of her favorite champagne (if that is a Krug Clos díAmbonnay 1995..lol)..I mean, how sad is that..And i am just not caring about the argument that 200 people are waiting to take that place for less or maybe even for free, because thats even more sad..

I guess i just never realized how much of a joke the complete thing really is..

To stand there on stage, as the musician playing the actual music for that evening, for $300, while basically everyone who you spoke with that evening before you went on stage earns more..Like, basically everyone working in the complete stadium seems to earn more that evening than the actual musicians on stage..

But yes, you travel the world, see a lot of airports, a lot of hotels, a lot of cars that drive you to the stadium and maybe every now and then you can lay an hour on a beach somewhere..lol..And in the meantime you are 1,5 year from home, family, etc..

Call me naive, but i really never realized this..
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by oldskoolsoul View Post
I said in my previous post that i realise very well that i made a kindergarten-calculation..

But then still i doubt there will be 1 financial expert in this world who can justify and convince me that the price of Ms. Swift's complete backing band for a 55.000 people sold out stadium-gig should be less than 1 bottle of her favorite champagne (if that is a Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995..lol)..I mean, how sad is that..And i am just not caring about the argument that 200 people are waiting to take that place for less or maybe even for free, because thats even more sad..

I guess i just never realized how much of a joke the complete thing really is..

To stand there on stage, as the musician playing the actual music for that evening, for $300, while basically everyone who you spoke with that evening before you went on stage earns more..Like, basically everyone working in the complete stadium seems to earn more that evening than the actual musicians on stage..

But yes, you travel the world, see a lot of airports, a lot of hotels, a lot of cars that drive you to the stadium and maybe every now and then you can lay an hour on a beach somewhere..lol..And in the meantime you are 1,5 year from home, family, etc..

Call me naive, but i really never realized this..
The music business is like any other business... There are people in charge, and there are varying levels of peons. If you worked at Starbucks, would you complain that the owner is a billionaire, while you're making minimum wage? Same thing... And believe me, Swift-type artists work WAY harder than anyone else on that stage, period. The band gets to play for a couple hours and be done. Meanwhile, the artist has been up since the crack of dawn doing "phoners" (phone interviews), morning TV/radio appearances, photo shoots, promo appearances, meet & greets... The list goes on.

So yeah, it sucks knowing that the person 10 feet away from you, on the same stage, playing the same music, is making that much more than you. But damn, aside from the money, I do not envy the constant hustle that those people have to go through.
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  #30  
Old 11-29-2018, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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..The music business is like any other business... There are people in charge, and there are varying levels of peons. If you worked at Starbucks, would you complain that the owner is a billionaire, while you're making minimum wage? Same thing..

I understand your argument, but to me thats not feeling like an equal comparison..

When i work at Starbucks for minimum wage i will never be seen with the owner creating a coffee together..

And i am also not trying to say that Taylor Swift should earn less..

But when the musicians and Taylor Swift are creating together a musical product on that evening, then to me is just a complete joke that those musicians are actually almost the last ones on the salery scale..

No disrespect intended, because i have a lot of respect for them, but if the toiletwomen each have 650 guests paying $0,50 they seemed to have earned more that evening than the guitarplayer in the band playing a stadiumconcert with his face half the evening on 5-6 huge screens..

To me that just sounds weird, a little..
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  #31  
Old 11-30-2018, 12:29 AM
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williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

I had no idea the pay for professional level session drummers was like that

I make like $100-$150 usually per gig, but there's several times I've made $300+. You're telling me that I make the same amount per show that taylor swifts drummer makes while I play in a no name trio in small towns in Texas? For crowds that are less than 100 and Taylor swift sells out stadiums? I mean I understand that those pro drummers get a lot more steady work and tours, but still I thought they were getting paid WAY more

And all this talk of rude and power-trip managers is also a big surprise. I thought drummers take on those jobs because they want to leave the corporate style business behind

Sounds like the culture is a lot more unpleasant than most people realize
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:41 AM
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  #32  
Old 11-30-2018, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

The tricky question with me and all my principles would ofcourse be..:

What would be your answer if Taylor Swift's management calls tomorrow for a 1 year tour on those conditions..?

And my answer would ofcourse 99,99999% sure be that i am on the plane..

Edit.

Allready a day later i kinda regret writing this, since i am actually pretty sure that that life just is nothing for me..

I am a person who likes quietness (for at least 5-6 hours a day) and honest people and both of those i will for sure not find in that world, thats a fact..

Last edited by oldskoolsoul; 11-30-2018 at 04:00 PM.
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  #33  
Old 11-30-2018, 01:03 AM
Push pull stroke Push pull stroke is offline
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Salaries are completely subjective, and some artists are more/less generous than others. But "a top-tier drummer who was behind one of the largest pop artists in the world" making $1000/wk doesn't sound like very good money to me. I wouldn't travel for that.

Bermuda
I would, if I could bring my wife/kids and they were paid for as well. Assuming I enjoyed working with everybody on the tour, and the music, and had time to get some practice in.

But yeah, thatís a lot of ifs and such.
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  #34  
Old 11-30-2018, 01:03 AM
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Living Dead Drummer Living Dead Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

The majority of the time people will call and say "Here's the gig, it pays $x."
It's then up to me to take it or leave it.

I'm really interested to read Bermuda's article next month, as I've found a lot of people are not into negotiations. I leave room in my quoted rates for such things, but a lot of people either say "okay", or they ghost. If I try to follow up with a lower rate it makes me sound desperate, or if they quote me a price that's too low and I try to negotiate it again becomes a take it or leave it situation.
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  #35  
Old 11-30-2018, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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I am a hired gun ... that is my life ... and I've backed plenty of big names over the years ...

I can tell you that the pay will vary based on many things ... it's all about how it is negotiated and what you are willing to take based on the "perks" involved

believe me there are situations where you will be willing to take less up front for either "perks" or points ... it's often a gamble but hey ... I'm not digging ditches here

I've been in situations where I would back a name artist in a sold out 4000 seat theater on a friday and make $300 then play a wedding on saturday with a bunch of cats from around the way and make $600 ... then sunday play a jazz gig and have 5 times more fun than both gigs put together and make $50

just the way it goes

love what you do and in turn you do what you love
Preach it, man. I have nothing against money, but I have everything against not playing. Some of the best gigs I've ever had were for beans... and some of the silliest, most worklike gigs I've ever done paid large. And you make those decisions as you get the calls.

I'm thinking about something Bermuda often says, too: "Don't say 'no' unless you know you can't say 'yes'". Nobody wants to be that guy who doesn't get called anymore.
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  #36  
Old 11-30-2018, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Originally Posted by williamsbclontz View Post
I had no idea the pay for professional level session drummers was like that

I make like $100-$150 usually per gig, but there's several times I've made $300+. You're telling me that I make the same amount per show that taylor swifts drummer makes while I play in a no name trio in small towns in Texas?
Nobody said Taylor's touring drummer is making $150 a show. I'm acquainted with her last two drummers (Matt B. and Al W.) and they never made that.

Also, "top-tier drummer" and "one of the largest pop artists in the world" means different things to different people. For example, to me, top-tier means Kenny Aronoff and the like, and largest pop artist would mean Justin (either one) or Britney or Taylor. I'm pretty sure the OP wasn't referencing any of them.

It would be helpful to know who that drummer and artist is, to determine if the pay is embarrassingly low, or ballpark for the drummer & artist's level. Well, it would be interesting anyway, although nobody really wants to discuss their own salary if they or the artist are well-known.

Bermuda
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  #37  
Old 11-30-2018, 02:58 AM
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williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

Good info and great points, but let me ask this. We've got a lot of great drummers on this site, but let's talk about a more realistic scenario

99.9999% of us aren't going to play with a Taylor swift caliber artist, but what if one of us were to join a successful touring band who does significantly smaller shows. Like maybe a group who plays 3 times a week, draws a crowd of a few hundred and ticket sales are closer to $20? Around where I live there are a lot of country/rock bands who tour the surrounding states that fit that description but I can't think of anyone who everyone on here would know. What do you think those drummers make and what would you say is an appropriate paycheck for that type of gig
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  #38  
Old 11-30-2018, 03:02 AM
Push pull stroke Push pull stroke is offline
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

I have to admit, Iíve given up on playing for pay any more. Iíll take it if itís offered, but Iím in this for personal development, building relationships, and the love of drumming and music.

Iím a telephone lineman in my day gig, and I make more than enough money to buy NICE drums, feed my family so my wife can stay home with our young kids, and I have EXCELLENT benefits and job security. I donít love it every day, but I still get a lot out of it.
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  #39  
Old 11-30-2018, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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Iím a telephone lineman...
The Roanoke, VA lineman...

Catchy!

I think there could be a song there....
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  #40  
Old 11-30-2018, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Is this statement about 'hired guns' kinda true or not..?

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..and largest pop artist would mean Justin (either one) or Britney or Taylor. I'm pretty sure the OP wasn't referencing any of them..

I have no idea about actual record sales in the US, but cutaway79 was speaking about a 'multi-platinum artist'..

Here (Dutch) no artist in the world is selling anything anymore that even comes close to what 'platinum-selling' meant 20 years ago, but when using that term nowadays the only artists that would fit that catagory would indeed be artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Rihanna, etc..

If we are not speaking about that catagory, then i wonder what 'multi-platinum artist' means, allthough there is ofcourse also for example a huge market for country music in the US with big name artists of which no one here ever heard of..
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