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  #1  
Old 02-11-2018, 02:19 AM
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Default $15000 per Week

I’m watching an episode on Jazz on the education channel, this episode on Swing, they commented that some of the Swing band leaders were making $15000 per week. This was the early 30’s ....during the depression. WOW.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

According to dollartimes calculation website, $15,000.00 in 1930 had the same buying power as $214,991.86 in 2018. So they'd make $11 million a year. Meh, I don't get out of bed for less than $11 million a day.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Paint me dubious about that claim. IDK, though.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Would PBS lie?? This really is a good show.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:05 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

I could see that for Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman perhaps, although it does seem rather high. Most of the others? Not so much. I wonder if they meant 5,000 a week.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:38 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

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Originally Posted by GruntersDad View Post
I’m watching an episode on Jazz on the education channel, this episode on Swing, they commented that some of the Swing band leaders were making $15000 per week. This was the early 30’s ....during the depression. WOW.
I'm pretty sure that there's a missing decimal in that estimate....

That said.. Big paydays happen on occasion, but only seasonally, like at Saratoga during horse-race season. I can pay my mortgage for the year just by renting out the house for a month to down-state-pony-peepers.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

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Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
Hah, PBS! Not outright lie, but poor, politically biased research? Yes.


Case in point
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8tfzbTrpOg
Well this is a Ken Burns series so I would say it was researched pretty well.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
I'm pretty sure that there's a missing decimal in that estimate....

That said.. Big paydays happen on occasion, but only seasonally, like at Saratoga during horse-race season. I can pay my mortgage for the year just by renting out the house for a month to down-state-pony-peepers.
The amount was spoken not written but I’ll let you doubting Thomas’s have your fun.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:56 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

15OO a wk. would have been an enormous amount back then. Maybe they just miss quoted the real amount. Yah I'm a doubter.
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2018, 04:33 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

I read Artie Shaw's book on his adventures from boyhood to big band leader. He said at the height of his bandleading he was making 60 grand a month. Out of that he paid 20 plus musicians, travel and room/board. The rest was his and he says it was a killing. The big guys like Shaw, Goodman, Miller, Dorseys, and to a bit lesser extent Woody Herman were the Rock stars of the day. Makes sense.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Tried to do some fact checking, and the best I could come up with.....


In 1938, Glenn Miller and his band were salaried at $20K / week.

That's 20K for the entirety of the band. I can't pretend to know how he split it up. I do know that he was regarded as the highest paid of the era as he had a bunch of pop hits, movies, TV, etc.

I'm thinking that the 15K quote from PBS is accurate, but lacks the context that it was for the entire band and expenses, not just the band leader.
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2018, 04:48 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

How much did cozy cole and the other drummers from back then make annually?
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2018, 04:53 AM
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Jeremy Bender Jeremy Bender is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought that Gruntersdad was advertising his moderator job!
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2018, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Tried to do some fact checking, and the best I could come up with.....


In 1938, Glenn Miller and his band were salaried at $20K / week.

That's 20K for the entirety of the band. I can't pretend to know how he split it up. I do know that he was regarded as the highest paid of the era as he had a bunch of pop hits, movies, TV, etc.

I'm thinking that the 15K quote from PBS is accurate, but lacks the context that it was for the entire band and expenses, not just the band leader.
That's amazing. Even in context, it's amazing!
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2018, 06:32 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Don't forget, swing and dance bands were serious entertainment then. There was some competition from the theater, a little from movies, but none from TV or any of the pastimes/distractions we enjoy today. Those were the rock concerts of their day, and often for high society venues and functions. I don't think that figure is out of line at all. Certainly not every band made that, but the dozen or so 'superstars' traveling the country would have done very well.

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  #16  
Old 02-11-2018, 08:53 AM
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Morrisman Morrisman is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Apparently Beyoncé earned 105 Million in 2017, which is 2 Mil per week.

So those figures from the 30's make sense.
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  #17  
Old 02-11-2018, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

The late 20's and pre-depression 30's saw entertainment remuneration skyrocket. Guys like Charlie Chaplin were making the equivalent of tens of millions per year. Jack Dempsey drew the first million-dollar gate in 1925; million-dollar gates are still rare for prizefighting, even to this day. And his successor, Gene Tunney, earned the first million-dollar paycheck for a single fight - again, still relatively rare in boxing today (take Mayweather and Pacquiao out of the mix...).

So I can see popular bandleaders pulling down 15K a week. It would fit with the pattern of the times.
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  #18  
Old 02-11-2018, 05:41 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Maybe its gross before expenses? Sounds very high for back then.
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  #19  
Old 02-12-2018, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Somebody is always making money.
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2018, 04:09 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: $15000 per Week

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Boogie View Post
Maybe its gross before expenses? Sounds very high for back then.
All reported figures represent the gross amount, unless otherwise stated. (IE; their net take was $8,500.)

An amusing observation is when a 4-pc band plays a 10,000 seat venue and tickets are $75 each, that the band splits $750,000, and therefore the drummer made $187,500 for the night! But people conveniently ignore expenses such as crew salaries and per diems, hotels, transportation drivers/rental/fuel, manager/booker/promoter percentages, venue fee, sound/video equipment rental, various insurances, consumables like fog juice & batteries (and I'm probably forgetting a few more things.)

Anyway, when a traveling musician/band grossed $15k in a week, you can be sure there were a lot of expenses that came out of that.

Bermuda
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