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  #1  
Old 09-29-2014, 12:39 PM
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Default Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's "my" band, btw. I started it etc, and am bandleader to a large extent.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:57 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

If you paid for it, it's yours. There's no reason to split ownership other than to make things difficult when people come / go.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Our band's PA is owned by our bassist. The other three members of the band pay 20 per gig (or if the bassist needs a sub, the rent is divided four ways). We have no problems dishing out a sum that small for a really good rig, and in my opinion there's nothing wrong in asking for a small compensation even after the equipment has paid for itself. It is after all an investment, and all investments have both risks and a possibility of profit.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:21 PM
James_E James_E is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

D seems fair. If they are truly a "friendly amicable bunch" then they would see it as fair too.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Originally Posted by Liebe zeit View Post
It's "my" band, btw. I started it etc, and am bandleader to a large extent.
In this instance I would own the PA and use it for practice and gigs.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

Having anybody but the singer buy the PA makes zero sense to me. I also dont understand hiring a singer with out his own equipment. Its like bringing in a guitarist that doesnt own an amp.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

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

I've seen it happen too many times.
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

I absolutely agree with STXBob.
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  #9  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

yep. I think I'll go for D.

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

I'm tempted to go for 50% of a band member's cut, and up that to 100% if I add equipment such as a sub, lights etc later on.
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Go with a flat rate or a percentage off the top.
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  #11  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

As a side issue, I very much encourage you to look at 3rd party liability insurance. If some idiot decides to climb a stack & bring it crashing down on the audience, you'll find yourself up to your neck in brown stuff, & likely bankrupt for life. Seriously, don't ignore that, or the cost associated with it in terms of rig rental fees.
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  #12  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:06 PM
mpthomson mpthomson is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

The PA/van/lights ownership side of it isn't anything to do with me and I wouldn't expect to have to pay for it.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:16 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Originally Posted by mpthomson View Post
I've never been expected to pay for anything that belongs to the band as it isn't my problem, I'm just there to make up the numbers.

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

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

The OPs other option was to sell partial ownership of the gear. That's a bad idea because it gets messy when half the band leaves/quits/dies/gets fired, goes to jail, goes into debt, etc.
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:17 PM
adamosmianski adamosmianski is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

I think D is your best option.

I know it's splitting hairs, but for some reason "rent" rubs me the wrong way. Rather than charging your band mates rent, I would just agree that you'll be taking a larger percentage from gigs where the PA is used.
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  #15  
Old 09-29-2014, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

In the past we pieced together a PA from what the different members already had. That way there is no question about who owns it. I have a small mixer/amp, two small speakers, and a good Crown power amp. Another guy has bigger speakers we can use for mains. I do not charge the rest of the band to use what I have. We all have mics and stands. That is what I have always done. Peace and goodwill.
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  #16  
Old 09-29-2014, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
For small bands that tour locally, this isn't a problem. When you're working a coast, like Portland Maine to Daytona Florida, the band has to cover the expenditures. In this case, the band can either rent a PA from a sound and lighting company, or they can rent a PA from one of the members at a huge discount.
Where are you playing that you are providing the PA on tour? I have toured half of this country in various forms of tours and have never brought our own PA. In fact the only reason our band even owns a PA is for practice. I am curious if this is the norm or if I am missing something.
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  #17  
Old 09-29-2014, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Both bass and guitar players each own a PA. we use one for practice and the other for gigs. the practice PA is a pain to undo from the studio space so we leave it there. No one asks for extra money.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2014, 07:36 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

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

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

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

Perhaps the touring experience is different now? I've seen mention that some people even stay in hotels now, which I find simply amazing.
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  #19  
Old 09-29-2014, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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

I'm speaking in general terms, because in this case, the OP owns the PA equipment.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Another option is no PA rent, but any PA only repairs are split between the non-owners of the PA, for the privilege of using the PA. Still I like option D the best.
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  #21  
Old 09-29-2014, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Mostly A for us, though I've given the other members the option of buying it for the band. Same goes for a lot of our other equipment, just the reality of me having the most disposable and steady income out of all the members.
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  #22  
Old 09-29-2014, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Originally Posted by adamosmianski View Post

I know it's splitting hairs, but for some reason "rent" rubs me the wrong way. Rather than charging your band mates rent, I would just agree that you'll be taking a larger percentage from gigs where the PA is used.
That's what I meant by "fee". I charge $90 for gigs up to 200 audience, then $160 for larger gigs. I have to pay increased travelling costs due to higher fuel consumption hauling the rig & lighting. The band is getting tremendous value for money at those rates.

My band fees only cover about half the running/maintenance/5 year write-off costs, so I do a small amount of external system hire each year, & my lighting plus trussing also becomes the Guru exhibition stand. That way, I get everything covered. My 3 day mini festival hire rate is $1,200 plus expenses/subsistence, so my band really does get it all on the cheap, plus the bigger band show attracts a more generous gig fee. In other words, we all win :)
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  #23  
Old 09-29-2014, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Every band I have played in has an all for one one for all attitude. It has to be option A
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

My band leader never charged us a dime for use of his PA. He doesn't even take a leader cut. Very fair guy with the money. But option D is what I would do. It's a lot of work.
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Old Yesterday, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

If you buy it then it is yours. If you want to let the band use it at gigs then fine. I would not go any other way.
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Old Yesterday, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

I've played in bands where both options A and D have been the norm.

I've always been thankful for option A. It's a lovely gesture that has never gone unappreciated by me.

But I've never begrudged option D either. I don't see it as a big deal at all. If no one owned a PA, the band would have to hire one and it would reduce my cut anyway. So I have no issue hiring it from one of the members.....the ability to save some dollars by paying "mates rates" is just a bonus.
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Old Yesterday, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Our band has a couple of different pa options. One is a full band pa, and one is a Bose pa for small, acoustic shows. I think the singer owns both. We just use whatever we need for the show. There is no 'fee' or 'rent' involved. Lol....I'd probably dope slap the singer if he even brought that up.
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Old Yesterday, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Our band has a couple of different pa options. One is a full band pa, and one is a Bose pa for small, acoustic shows. I think the singer owns both. We just use whatever we need for the show. There is no 'fee' or 'rent' involved. Lol....I'd probably dope slap the singer if he even brought that up.
the small PA belonging to the singer without fee makes absolute sense. It's their "instrument" reinforcement after all. A bigger rig that all band members use is a different matter IMO. That's shared expense, & one way or another, has to be paid for. My PA/lighting rig represents a $30,000 + investment, there's no way they, or anyone else, is getting that for free. Any charges I make to the band are more than covered by the increased fee we achieve at such gigs. That means yes, each band member gets a smaller cut, but from a bigger pot. It's just business :)
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  #29  
Old Yesterday, 10:57 AM
mpthomson mpthomson is offline
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
For small bands that tour locally, this isn't a problem. When you're working a coast, like Portland Maine to Daytona Florida, the band has to cover the expenditures. In this case, the band can either rent a PA from a sound and lighting company, or they can rent a PA from one of the members at a huge discount.

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

The OPs other option was to sell partial ownership of the gear. That's a bad idea because it gets messy when half the band leaves/quits/dies/gets fired, goes to jail, goes into debt, etc.
I meant that in terms of depping a gig only. When I'm a member of a band then quite happy to make a contribution to the PA, but not when depping for a couple of gigs as it isn't my problem.

I should add I've never been expected to contribute to running expenses as a dep for any band I've played for and when my regular band has deps in we don't expect them to contribute either.
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Old Yesterday, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

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Originally Posted by mmulcahy1 View Post
Although the PA is a necessity for the singer(s), It isn't always for a drummer unless the drums are mic'ed, right? So the drummer gets a pass on having to pay for the band to use it. That seems fair, right?
Our singer owns a small PA which he brings to our gigs, which are never loud enough to warrant micing anything but vocals. So the PA is his gear. The rest of us paid for our gear (which, as you know, ain't cheap!) and he pays for his. I found that more decent than some singers, who just invest in a couple of mics and a stand.

It's obviously a whole different ball game once a band member owns a big PA that amplifies more than just the vocalist, as described below by many.
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  #31  
Old Yesterday, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Band PA ownership options - thoughts, experiences

Have the guys spring for gas transporting the thing and help setting it up. I see that as the best situation and they'll all always remember you as the great guy who helped them get to the next level with his PA.

Charging them for its use just might rub off some people the wrong way, I think. Especially since you seem to be a tight knit bunch. The money seems to be incidental to you, so leave it at that.
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