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  #1  
Old 08-24-2017, 03:43 PM
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Default Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Ok, so I'm in a really great Americana band that I'm super-proud of. We are making some headway in terms of gigs, but because we are just starting out, we are getting paid anywhere from "tips only" to $400/gig. I'm really afraid that we have priced ourselves out of some potential great gigs, and gigs we play at are so random (anywhere from festivals, to colleges, to car dealerships' grand openings). So, I'm thinking of trying a new tactic:

Whenever a venue says, "How much do you charge?" instead of replying back a certain dollar figure, I'm thinking of saying, "What's your budget?" I got the idea from someone on here somewhere.

What do y'all think?
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...74&postcount=3

Probably this post lol
And no, i dont think theres anything wrong with that. Depends on the area you live in because if its not a musically wealthy type of city, they may mistakenly take it the wrong way
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

The line definitely leaves it open for discussion, which sounds like you're willing to negotiate. And that's a good thing. OTOH, I remember the line of "Call five plumbers to come over to your house for a job on Saturday night, and whatever they charge, we'll charge one-quarter". ;)
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

It took my band a while to find out what "the going rate" was locally, for some reason people kept it a closely guarded secret possibly to prevent upsetting someone else when they discovered they were getting underpaid.....as we were for quite some time.
In one of my bands we ask for the going rate, in the other we know from friends in other bands what they can ask for and we ask the same as this second band is potentially a bigger draw. I was pleasantly surprised to find that simply by asking the question we were able to get £100 more per gig.
We have a set amount that we won't play for less than, and we limit the number of charity events that we play for free and are careful to only do this with people that we know organise a good event.
Of equal importance to the fee is having a group of people who are in agreement with the parameters that the band will work within, if some people within the band want to play for lower amounts and others don't then it's a recipe for dissent.
What I will say is that in my experience I've come across very few landlords and pub managers that try to knock the price down (& if they do and if it's within our limit then no problem) and even fewer who try to take a lend by offering an amount way below expectations.
In terms of asking a venue what their budget is, it can work in reverse. I've told a pub one amount, they've quickly countered with what their budget range is and I've gone back and agreed that we'll play at the top end of the budget amount.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Depends on what market you're going for.

Never undervalue yourself, think of all the hours of work that goes into what you play. Being paid in exposure doesn't get anyone anywhere. I wouldn't ask what the budget is, you're exposing yourself to be ripped off from the get go. Negotiate by all means but you want a deal that makes playing worth your while.

Focus on the promo side of things. Get a website with links to live videos on YT. Do some photo shoots, google ads etc. The more professional you appear to be the more venues are willing to pay.

If you're doing gigs where the venue is full and they're making a fortune at the bar you should be getting a cut of that.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

That's a good way to handle it, with some finesse. I preface it with something about 'our pay varies with different types of engagements-- clubs, weddings, festivals etc', and then ask what they're budgeting or what they were expecting to pay. If I have an idea of what type of thing it is, I'll quote them our usual rate for that-- e.g. wedding reception = $1200 for four musicians for two hours of playing. If it's more than they wanted to pay, I usually give them options for fewer musicians, or adjusting the hours. Or just accept their counter offer, if it's not too far out of whack.

Just have your fee schedule worked out in advance-- what you generally need for what kind of gig, for a normal length performance, for your normal lineup. And how much per hour to +/- from that for more/fewer players, and how much per player for additional hours of play time.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

In any business, there are two schools of thought on that.

Personally, when someone asks me what my budget is, I dismiss them.

There are cases where the budget question is appropriate, necessary even. A caterer can do a $20 to $100 per plate but the menu will change drasticly.

The only real change for a band is location and time played, and the time doesn't change the dollar amount much because most of the effort is spent transporting and setting up/tearing down gear.

I'd tell them that we play for free but charge $XXX to transport/set up/tear down the gear :)

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Old 08-25-2017, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

When I hear someone say to me "what's your budget?" - i.e. car dealer - what I instead hear is "how much of your money can I get away with taking?"
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:17 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
Ok, so I'm in a really great Americana band that I'm super-proud of. We are making some headway in terms of gigs, but because we are just starting out, we are getting paid anywhere from "tips only" to $400/gig. I'm really afraid that we have priced ourselves out of some potential great gigs, and gigs we play at are so random (anywhere from festivals, to colleges, to car dealerships' grand openings). So, I'm thinking of trying a new tactic:

Whenever a venue says, "How much do you charge?" instead of replying back a certain dollar figure, I'm thinking of saying, "What's your budget?" I got the idea from someone on here somewhere.

What do y'all think?

"What's your budget?" may or may not be appropriate.

You can always give a comfortable quote on your side, say $800 then just play off their response.

You always have bargaining ammo, like "Is there a PA, will we be the only band, is there a DJ who'll need to use our PA, what time is set-up?" All stuff that can add to the price. Things like food/drinks IMO are just perks and should't be considered in the bargaining price, rooms 'maybe'. Giving them a good quote can get them to tell you their budget sometimes.
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

"Everything is negotiable" I think if you begin with that in mind, things usually work out more smoothly.
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Old 08-25-2017, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
The only real change for a band is location and time played, and the time doesn't change the dollar amount much because most of the effort is spent transporting and setting up/tearing down gear.
How's that work as a practical matter? Given that it's a fact of life that not all gigs pay the same. Do you never play clubs?
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post

You always have bargaining ammo, like "Is there a PA, will we be the only band, is there a DJ who'll need to use our PA, what time is set-up?" All stuff that can add to the price. Things like food/drinks IMO are just perks and should't be considered in the bargaining price, rooms 'maybe'. Giving them a good quote can get them to tell you their budget sometimes.

I think just getting all that sort of info first before talkng about money gives you not just that specific information, but also allows you to gauge who you're dealing with.

Now, on the bar scene there is such a thing as getting a first gig and then if things went well aka they sold a lot of beer, you ask for more next time. This is not educated people being paid scale, it's self employed business people trying to charge as much as they can without looosing essential opportunities. Playing for exposure is generally BS, but playing nice to get a steady well paying gig with well driven establishments i something different.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
When I hear someone say to me "what's your budget?" - i.e. car dealer - what I instead hear is "how much of your money can I get away with taking?"
Yep. I won't deal with people who ask me that. Then again, I research ahead of time to find as much as I can about average pricing for whatever it may be.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
I think just getting all that sort of info first before talkng about money gives you not just that specific information, but also allows you to gauge who you're dealing with.

Now, on the bar scene there is such a thing as getting a first gig and then if things went well aka they sold a lot of beer, you ask for more next time. This is not educated people being paid scale, it's self employed business people trying to charge as much as they can without looosing essential opportunities. Playing for exposure is generally BS, but playing nice to get a steady well paying gig with well driven establishments i something different.
Very well made points.

The steady gigs we have these days arose because we offered our standard deal which is "we play the first gig for free...if you and/or your clientelle like us re-book us at an agreeable rate for us both".

It's really worked well for us. We've been offered two paid 'residencies' at separate bars in the last year because we're decent fellers knocking out decent tunes (though the latter may be debatable :-) )

Originals bands (especially) have to be brave and willing to back themselves capable of getting the rebooking.

This year, interestingly in the face of the criticism of 'exposure not paying the bills', we've also secured half a dozen paid gigs from free 'festivals' we've played. Again, I firmly believe, give it your best, act decently, behave yourselves, and there are venue owners out there who will see it all and give you the gig.
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2017, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Hal Galper's book The Touring Musician has some helpful advice. He's talking about booking a tour in performance venues, but you can adapt this to whatever circumstances.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

The most important thing to remember is that a band gets paid based on their value to the people who are doing the hiring, plain and simple. That value may be monetary, or the coolness factor of the band.

In a club situation, does the band bring any business to the venue? Clubs aren't in the business of paying bands just because the band sounds good and has passionate, dedicated players. Bands are paid according to the revenue they help generate.

For weddings, corporate events, etc. where no direct revenue comes from the attendees, the band is paid based on what they add to the event. they may be fun to dance to, they may specialize in a certain style ('20s jazz perhaps) or their name alone has caché. Back in the day in L.A., it was always cool to hire Jack Mack & The Heart Attack for events, and they undoubtedly commanded top dollar based on demand for them.

Negotiating is a delicated dance, and sometimes best left to an experienced manager. Even though they will take 15-20%, their skills to get more money (or better accommodations) may be well worth the fee.

The Touring Musician negotiation suggestions are are undoubtedly useful in certain situations, but not at the club level. Unless the band can demonstrate that it will bring business into the venue, the booker won't be swayed by thoughtful, diplomatic talk. If the band attracts 50 people at a gig on a Tuesday, that could represent $500 in drink revenue, and the band is entitled to ask for a portion of that in return. Not all of it mind you, clubs aren't in business to break even!

I'm way ahead of you: bands aren't in business to break even, either! Well, let's consider a venue's fixed expenses: building rent, insurance, maintenance, product, licenses, electricity, advertising... not to mention employee payroll. Those are the basic costs of doing business, they're not optional, and they exist even when nobody walks in the door. Compare that to the only direct, out-of-pocket expense a band has per gig: the cost of gas to & from the venue. So if a band splits $30 in tips, they've covered the hard cost of gas.

Just trying to put in perspective that a band must seriously consider what they bring to the table, before assuming that venues are obligated to pay bands just to be fair.

Bermuda
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
Ok, so I'm in a really great Americana band that I'm super-proud of. We are making some headway in terms of gigs, but because we are just starting out, we are getting paid anywhere from "tips only" to $400/gig.
The good news is, Americana gigs tend to pay decently, so you're already headed in a good direction money-wise. If you're sharing up to $400 as a band, playing clubs (I assume?)... you're doing well. In those higher paid situations, I'll bet you keep the people dancing and drinking (read: spending money) and that's valuable to the venue.

I'm in a few Americana bands, and we tend to play more and make more money than my other local bands.

Bermuda
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

"a band gets paid based on their value to the people who are doing the hiring"

"Bands are paid according to the revenue they help generate"

"a band must seriously consider what they bring to the table, before assuming that venues are obligated to pay bands just to be fair"

Consider these things I said earlier, and let's conduct a little test.

If you were the booker or owner at a venue, what would you ask the band in order to determine what value they have? I don't mean "do you know all the classic rock songs?" I mean hard questions that the band must answer in order to get a pay commitment for a gig, such as "how is your draw?"

And be honest, using as much perspective from a business owner as possible.

Then, answer those questions as the band.

I think that will help everyone understand better about why bands get paid what they do, or don't.

Bermuda
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
How's that work as a practical matter? Given that it's a fact of life that not all gigs pay the same. Do you never play clubs?
Sorry but I don't understanf the question. How will what work out?

All gigs don't pay the same but most gigs do.

The majority of working bands here play in bars/restaurants for $300-500 for 4 sets. Bands that bring people with them will be on the higher end but the pay will still max at around $100 each.

In my experience, a lot of bands don't appear to bring in enough business to pay the band. There are of course exceptions and those bands are working every week.

A successful business knows where their profit comes from and a successful band should learn, realistically, how much they are contributing to the revenue.

I've played my share of gigs where I felt bad about taking $300 because I KNOW we didn't even bring in that much gross revenue. Other times, when there is a cover charge, I'm counting heads and doing the math, thinking we need to ask for a raise :)

At the entry level, you have to really love playing live music to be in a working band because it's pretty much a minimum wage job.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

I was responding to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
The only real change for a band is location and time played, and the time doesn't change the dollar amount much because most of the effort is spent transporting and setting up/tearing down gear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New Tricks View Post
All gigs don't pay the same but most gigs do.
Clubs, festivals, weddings, corporate, community events, benefits, restaurants, coffee houses, rock dumps?
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

I help with booking gigs with a few bands I play with. Just as a reference point, the gigs I book are usually in bars or as part of the various concert-in-the-park series we have in the SE Michigan area.

I will quote a fee range when asked, but I always tell them I know they have a budget and that I'm confident we can come up with something that works for both of us.

As others have mentioned, you have to know your value as a band. Do you bring people in and keep them there so they spend money on food and drink? I played a gig last weekend for a local pub where we set up outdoors and we kept the patrons there until the last song of the last set. After the gig, the manager immediately offered us additional gigs over the coming months. We asked for a raise and got it.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I was responding to this:
We have a simple lack of communication going on.

Quote:
The only real change for a band is location and time played, and the time doesn't change the dollar amount much because most of the effort is spent transporting and setting up/tearing down gear.
This ^ referred to setting pricing for a band. For example, a 2 hour gig should not be priced half of a 4 hour gig because it's not half the work. A gig 2 hours away should be priced more than a gig 15 minutes away. A 1 set gig providing a back line could be free as far as I'm concerned because there is no work, just the fun.

Obviously clubs, festivals, weddings, corporate, community events, benefits, restaurants, coffee houses, rock dumps are different from each other but standards do apply.

The bulk of the paying work in my area is bars/restraunts. Festivals, community events, benefits, coffe houses and rock dumps are generally non paying events (around here)

Corporate events would be one of the places where I would consider asking about a budget. A wedding may also fall into this category.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Really comes down to as Bermuda said, the value of your product or offering to the buyer. In the case of a bar or venue, if you can't make them money, you don't have any value. Asking them how much they can afford is going to go over less well than you'd hope.

If you're confident you can make them money, then market yourself. Show them your average draws, give them a demo to hear, link your online accounts with tons of "likes".

There's 4 dozen other bands and acts who will play for basically nothing. It's a tough market and unless you're already in demand, I would not go with the "ask their budget" game.
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The most important thing to remember is that a band gets paid based on their value to the people who are doing the hiring, plain and simple. That value may be monetary, or the coolness factor of the band.

In a club situation, does the band bring any business to the venue? Clubs aren't in the business of paying bands just because the band sounds good and has passionate, dedicated players. Bands are paid according to the revenue they help generate.

For weddings, corporate events, etc. where no direct revenue comes from the attendees, the band is paid based on what they add to the event. they may be fun to dance to, they may specialize in a certain style ('20s jazz perhaps) or their name alone has caché. Back in the day in L.A., it was always cool to hire Jack Mack & The Heart Attack for events, and they undoubtedly commanded top dollar based on demand for them.

Negotiating is a delicated dance, and sometimes best left to an experienced manager. Even though they will take 15-20%, their skills to get more money (or better accommodations) may be well worth the fee.

The Touring Musician negotiation suggestions are are undoubtedly useful in certain situations, but not at the club level. Unless the band can demonstrate that it will bring business into the venue, the booker won't be swayed by thoughtful, diplomatic talk. If the band attracts 50 people at a gig on a Tuesday, that could represent $500 in drink revenue, and the band is entitled to ask for a portion of that in return. Not all of it mind you, clubs aren't in business to break even!

I'm way ahead of you: bands aren't in business to break even, either! Well, let's consider a venue's fixed expenses: building rent, insurance, maintenance, product, licenses, electricity, advertising... not to mention employee payroll. Those are the basic costs of doing business, they're not optional, and they exist even when nobody walks in the door. Compare that to the only direct, out-of-pocket expense a band has per gig: the cost of gas to & from the venue. So if a band splits $30 in tips, they've covered the hard cost of gas.

Just trying to put in perspective that a band must seriously consider what they bring to the table, before assuming that venues are obligated to pay bands just to be fair.

Bermuda
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Old 08-30-2017, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Really comes down to as Bermuda said, the value of your product or offering to the buyer. In the case of a bar or venue, if you can't make them money, you don't have any value. Asking them how much they can afford is going to go over less well than you'd hope.

If you're confident you can make them money, then market yourself. Show them your average draws, give them a demo to hear, link your online accounts with tons of "likes".

There's 4 dozen other bands and acts who will play for basically nothing. It's a tough market and unless you're already in demand, I would not go with the "ask their budget" game.
What I don't understand is how many musicians don't understand this...

If you're in this business to make money, fine. But remember that you're then subjected to the same laws that money imposes on any business - those of supply and demand. And lord knows there is absolutely NO shortage of bands (at least in the U.S.)...surplus supply = lower prices. Simple.

A band that makes money for the establishment? A rarer entity; somewhat higher price. A band that makes a LOT of money for the establishment? Rarer still - and thus worth more. Etc. etc...

I like the idea of encouraging musicians to market themselves, using the methods you describe. I think a lot of club owners would react positively to such a presentation.
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Old 08-30-2017, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by philrudd View Post
If you're in this business to make money, fine. But remember that you're then subjected to the same laws that money imposes on any business - those of supply and demand. And lord knows there is absolutely NO shortage of bands (at least in the U.S.)...surplus supply = lower prices. Simple.
Sure, if you're not in it to make money, you are literally not in business, you are a hobbyist. I can't really second guess the value a venue or client places on my services. If they decide for some reason they want to pay for professional musicians-- despite the existence of thousands of crappy hobbyist bands, and despite the fact that it doesn't directly make them money every single night they do it-- I'm not going unilaterally negotiate less pay for myself. Like, the guy who sells a restaurant their steaks doesn't slash his prices just because there are five guys offering them Chinese hot dogs for next to nothing. So I guess I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that information.
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Last edited by toddbishop; 08-31-2017 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by TripleStroke View Post
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...74&postcount=3

Probably this post lol
And no, i dont think theres anything wrong with that. Depends on the area you live in because if its not a musically wealthy type of city, they may mistakenly take it the wrong way
I was gone say... you got that from ME. lol But if i'm being honest I got that form Kenny Aronoff.

I like to "What's your budget" move. Have a price in mind, but don't tell them that. When they give you the budget you can then evaluate. If the price they give is lower than the price you had in mind, try and negotiate and meet someplace in the middle. I've found most people are willing to do that.
On the flip side, the budget could be many times MORE than what the price you had in mind. In that case you win x10!

Don't ever tell them "everything is negotiable". That opens up the door for them to low ball you right from the start. With the "Whats your budget" method you can start the negotiations (if needed), and by doing so you are showing them that you can be flexible without actually saying it.

NOW KEEP IN MIND
This is how I operate when someone is looking to hire me personally. I don't book bands, I don't typically deal with promoters, club owners, ect. 99% of the time it's an artists looking to hire me for something (touring/music video shoot/recording/ect). So I deal with the musicians themselves or managers. The only time I deal with a promoter or event type person is for corporate work. And in those situations there is little negotiation needed as they tend to pay well anyway.

If someone hits me up and is looking to book one of the groups I work for, most of the time I'll help get the ball rolling, but then pass them off to the band leader or manager to handle.
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  #28  
Old 08-31-2017, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
Sure, if you're not in it to make money, you are literally not in business, you are a hobbyist. I can't really second guess the value a venue or client places on my services. If they decide for some reason they want to pay for professional musicians-- despite the existence of thousands of crappy hobbyist bands, and despite the fact that it doesn't directly make them money every single night they do it-- I'm not going unilaterally negotiate less pay for myself. Like, the guy who sells a restaurant their steaks doesn't slash his prices just because there are five guys offering them Chinese hot dogs for next to nothing. So I guess I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that information.
I've probably heard thousands of hobbyist bands over my lifetime. I can probably count a dozen who I'd say were genuinely crappy and can provide a list of probably 50 who were/are as good, if not better, than many established professional bands.

Not for the first time, I feel you underestimate your competition. The standard of music played and produced by hobbyists has never been higher (at least in the UK it hasn't). It's so competitive to get paid gigs, we have to be of a competent/high standard. It's a core reason why pro musicians struggle so much to make a living (why pay a pro £1,000 when they can pay a hobbyist £300 and get a great gig ?).

Just MHO of course...not the first time I've seen a back handed insult directed at hobbyists though from yourself. Bit of a shame really. It makes me turn off reading stuff from someone who has a lot to offer. Sigh.
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:12 AM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I've probably heard thousands of hobbyist bands over my lifetime. I can probably count a dozen who I'd say were genuinely crappy and can provide a list of probably 50 who were/are as good, if not better, than many established professional bands.

Not for the first time, I feel you underestimate your competition. The standard of music played and produced by hobbyists has never been higher (at least in the UK it hasn't). It's so competitive to get paid gigs, we have to be of a competent/high standard. It's a core reason why pro musicians struggle so much to make a living (why pay a pro £1,000 when they can pay a hobbyist £300 and get a great gig ?).

Just MHO of course...not the first time I've seen a back handed insult directed at hobbyists though from yourself. Bit of a shame really. It makes me turn off reading stuff from someone who has a lot to offer. Sigh.
As a UK hobbyist/amateur I agree with you SquadLeader, there's perhaps one really poor band that inexplicably get gigs on my local circuit (actually I don't think it's inexplicable, they're a 3 piece so can go out at 3/4 or 3/5 the money of everyone else and still go home with the same amount in their individual pockets) and the standard of everyone else is high to very high. And ultimately a band that's "good enough" can bring the house down just as well as a band that's absolutely top notch, it's a variation on the law of diminishing returns.

Getting back to PorkPieGuy's situation I want to offer encouragement as the directions this thread have gone in can seem daunting. As a covers band it isn't solely about the pull you have and the audience following because if it was none of us would get anywhere, it would be a chicken and egg situation where you don't get a gig until you can draw an audience.....but how can you ever work on drawing an audience if no one will give you a gig. Every pub that I play in is known for putting a band on. Yes the audiences might be higher on the nights that an established band is on, but the reality is that they are music pubs that people go to to hear music. If a band isn't on that night people will more than likely walk on by. In these situations it's the job of the band to just not mess up! That might sound like a low bar but it's the reality. People will happily stay and listen unless you're so bad that it's unbearable. If the advertised band cancels the landlord has a choice, save the money he would have paid out and offset that against very low bar takings, or shell out for a band (any band......within reason!) with the expectation that the increased takings will cover them.

And I still maintain that it's best to try and find out what the local going rate is and ask for that politely every time because you'll more than likely either get it or an equally polite counter offer. None of my bands, speaking with 11 years experience in NE England pubs, have ever done a freebie for an agent or done a bargain basement "below the bottom end of the going rate" price to get a gig and it's done us no harm. Getting gigs takes hard work and persistence, dropping the price will either get you zero to one extra gig in my neck of the woods or else label you as a substandard band who perhaps DOES get gigs but only at pubs and in days that other bands don't want to do anyway. Either way you would probably regret selling yourself short afterwards.

Last edited by Woolwich; 08-31-2017 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:12 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

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Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
I've probably heard thousands of hobbyist bands over my lifetime. I can probably count a dozen who I'd say were genuinely crappy and can provide a list of probably 50 who were/are as good, if not better, than many established professional bands.

Not for the first time, I feel you underestimate your competition. The standard of music played and produced by hobbyists has never been higher (at least in the UK it hasn't). It's so competitive to get paid gigs, we have to be of a competent/high standard. It's a core reason why pro musicians struggle so much to make a living (why pay a pro £1,000 when they can pay a hobbyist £300 and get a great gig ?).

Just MHO of course...not the first time I've seen a back handed insult directed at hobbyists though from yourself. Bit of a shame really. It makes me turn off reading stuff from someone who has a lot to offer. Sigh.
Sorry the perceived slam was the only thing you got out of that. Just pointing out that there is a difference between professional and hobbyist/semi-pro service, especially with the music I play and the clients/venues I deal with. So for me it's not a straight supply/demand thing where I'm competing with five thousand hobbyist acts to provide the lowest price for the same service.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

I didn't read it all, so I hope I'm not repeating something here.
Asking what the budget is will also allow you to scale your band to the gig, if you have that option built in. A friend has a band that scales from a duo with two singers one playing guitar, to a 7 piece with horns.
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  #32  
Old 09-05-2017, 11:13 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

Here's the fee discussion portion of an actual response I sent to an inquiry from a winery a couple of days ago:

Quote:
Our rates vary according to the type of event and venue, duration, and number of musicians. To give you a ballpark idea: for four musicians, our fee is typically [a number] for a wedding reception or corporate event, down to about [another number, about half the first number] for dinner music and club dates. Maybe the easiest way to proceed is for you to let me know the nature of the event, and what you were hoping to pay for music, and I can give you an actual fee quote, with options to cover a bigger or smaller presentation. When that is agreed upon, I'll write up a contract which I will mail to you. For events we typically ask a 50% deposit payable at time of the signing of the contract.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:49 AM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: Question about getting paid...is this tacky?

I would imagine (& I could be wrong) that the type of band that is scaleable from a duo to a large ensemble will be made up of/contain a number of more experienced musicians who are adept at knowing what the rates are when looking for business. Actually in a situation like this I can see the potential for another can of worms being opened up. Instead of the venue budget being the issue it could possibly turn into the band leaders' perception of the budget being the issue. Horns, percussion and additional guitarists could find themselves being frozen out over time as the core of a band maximise their money. With say £500 on offer the temptation could be to go out as a 4 piece at £125 a man instead of a 5 piece. Or you know what? That place isn't really that big is it, how about we push the duo format that night and take home £250 each? Okay I've gone with the extreme example there but you catch my drift.

Getting back to a point I made earlier, the hardest elements of getting gigs are learning your instrument, rehearsing and fine tuning your material, getting a band diary up and running, finding out which venues put bands on, finding out who you need to speak to, finding out what day and time they are available to get in touch with, finding out which methods of communication they use, finding out what time of year they open the diary and need to be contacted, remembering all of the stuff I've listed and being organised, persistent and polite enough to do it and remember to do it. ONCE you've ticked all of these boxes (& more) the very last part of any negotiation that you've worked very hard to get is the price. In my opinion to go low or ask their budget is like fumbling the ball or falling at the last of many hurdles. You've worked damned hard to get to that point alone so go with the going rate or go high. Very few people will slam a phone down on you or not text back with a counter offer.
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