Band Pay Splits

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
Hey guys! I do not know if this has been previously brought up or not, sorry if it has!

When you play a gig, how does your group split up the pay? Is it divided evenly by all members? Do you reward the member who booked the show? Hold any in a band fund account for equipment?

I am interested in hearing how different groups do it!
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Hey guys! I do not know if this has been previously brought up or not, sorry if it has!

When you play a gig, how does your group split up the pay? Is it divided evenly by all members? Do you reward the member who booked the show? Hold any in a band fund account for equipment?

I am interested in hearing how different groups do it!
Even split. We're all good friends and want to keep it that way.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My band is an equal split. The bandleader IMO deserves more. He books the band, loads in and out, and sets up the PA, plus sings all the tunes, and plays like a real musician should. I let him keep my share of any tips we get. I'll buy him dinner once in a while. He doesn't drink.
 

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
My band is an equal split. The bandleader IMO deserves more. He books the band, loads in and out, and sets up the PA, plus sings all the tunes, and plays like a real musician should. I let him keep my share of any tips we get. I'll buy him dinner once in a while. He doesn't drink.
Very nice!

Our group has four members, Drums, Bass, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar/Vocals. Out band leader is the Rhythm/Vocals and 95% of the songs he wrote himself before anyone else joined. We are writing now as a group and are creating more and more.

We break it down by:
10% to person running merch table (his wife)
10% to him for band expenses, merchandise, online merchant fees
10% to whoever booked the gig
17.5% Lead Guitar
17.5% Rhythm Guitar/Singer
17.5% Bass
17.5% Drums
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
Very nice!

Our group has four members, Drums, Bass, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar/Vocals. Out band leader is the Rhythm/Vocals and 95% of the songs he wrote himself before anyone else joined. We are writing now as a group and are creating more and more.

We break it down by:
10% to person running merch table (his wife)
10% to him for band expenses, merchandise, online merchant fees
10% to whoever booked the gig
17.5% Lead Guitar
17.5% Rhythm Guitar/Singer
17.5% Bass
17.5% Drums
This is a good way to do it. I've been in bands that just split the cash evenly amongst the members (that's what my current band does), and others that use a "shares" system similar to this one. For example, the band members all get a share, the "band fund" gets a share, "merch fund" gets a share, etc...

I like this system that you use since it takes the "overhead" off the top and then distributes the shares evenly. For a band that plays regularly and sells merch I think that this system is probably a good model to follow.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
We just split all money back into the band bank. On the occasion we feel like paying ourselves it goes even 25% for all. I book most of the shows, do all the promo art and most of the actual promo work online, but I dont feel it's yet the kind of load that warrants me demanding a higher cut.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Depends on the type of gig. When I was in a touring band, everyone got a share with one share going to the band fund to pay for travel and merch.

I've also done hired hand gigs where it varied from everyone gets a share to everyone gets a share with the band leader getting share and a half to just everyone getting a set fee and the band leader getting the rest.

Band/Merch funds are great if your band is pretty stable and does a lot of shows, if not I'd just say everyone gets their own share and pays for their own expenses. Also if your band is purchasing band equipment you need to make sure there is some kind of agreement about what to do with the equipment if people leave or the band breaks up.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Wait a minute, there are people making money to do this? Why didn't anybody tell me?

So we evenly split the cost of playing gigs, everybody pitches in for gas, buys their own beer and loads their own gear. At the end of the night we load up and go home with less money than we started with. Life in an original band is a hoot!
 
Wait a minute, there are people making money to do this? Why didn't anybody tell me?

So we evenly split the cost of playing gigs, everybody pitches in for gas, buys their own beer and loads their own gear. At the end of the night we load up and go home with less money than we started with. Life in an original band is a hoot!
I know, right? We are an original band and there isn't much of a music scene here to begin with if you don't count the 200 classic rock cover bands in the area. We have to play a lot of free gigs just to get a chance to play out and when we do get paid, it's rarely over 100 beans. But it's all good, we are playing our own stuff. Reward in and of itself.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
I try not to worry about it too much as long as I think the money I'm getting is fair for the gig. I get that bandleaders, bookers, etc. are going to take a little cut now and again and as long as it isn't egregious, I don't think about it too much. Most of the gigs I do have an even split as far as I know, however.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I guess it depends on the situation, I'm more of a freelancer so I usually just charge groups my hourly rate. I've also worked with groups that got a flat rate and split it amongst the players.

Typically, the band leader takes a bigger cut since they are writing the charts, arranging the tunes, booking the gig, and sometimes bringing equipment (although drummers usually have the most equipment). The leader is really the face of the business, they are the CEO in a way, and have to do all of the marketing and planning. The rest of us have it fairly easy in that we just have to worry about playing the songs and making them sound good.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
The first country music band I played in literally had an "owner." The other musicians were his employees. He owned the PA, booked all the gigs, handled all the promo, established the set lists, and everything else that goes with that gig. He was very fair with the pay, and very active in keeping us working. The working atmosphere was friendly and happy, but it was clear from the beginning that he was the boss and had the final say. I liked this gig a lot because all I had to do was show up for the gig and get paid. The owner was a great guitarist and performer, too. I'd work for him again in a second.

GeeDeeEmm
 

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
Thanks everyone for all the feedback! Keep it coming!

gdmoore28, do you know how he figured out the percentages each person got? Sounds a lot like our group all in all, just interested if you knew the formula!
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
The first country music band I played in literally had an "owner." The other musicians were his employees. He owned the PA, booked all the gigs, handled all the promo, established the set lists, and everything else that goes with that gig. He was very fair with the pay, and very active in keeping us working. The working atmosphere was friendly and happy, but it was clear from the beginning that he was the boss and had the final say. I liked this gig a lot because all I had to do was show up for the gig and get paid. The owner was a great guitarist and performer, too. I'd work for him again in a second.

GeeDeeEmm
A friend of mine was in a band like this, he was basically on salary. No matter if the gig landed the band no money or a lot, he got his salary. In my experience there are a number of country bands that do it like you described.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Thanks everyone for all the feedback! Keep it coming!

gdmoore28, do you know how he figured out the percentages each person got? Sounds a lot like our group all in all, just interested if you knew the formula!
I can tell you in groups like he described a lot of times percentages aren't equal. So it is up to the leader to really decide. Sometimes you might have a really great lead guitarist that gets more percentage, but then the bassist might get less.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I have no idea what formula he used, if any. The only time I was ever privy to any numbers was when I happened to be there when the "owner" was paid for the gig. He got $1200 for the one night gig and each of the three other musicians were paid $150 each. I didn't care. We agreed to work for $150 per night on all our gigs and had no responsibilities except to show up and play. He even hauled all our gear to the shows, and if we traveled out of town he provided transportation. Remember that he also provided and set up all the PA system (a huge rig, run in stereo - even stereo monitors) and the lighting. I never felt anything less than well paid.

GeeDeeEmm
 

zfzgg

Senior Member
My main group gives 7.5% to our agent (unless we booked the gig ourselves) and then divides the rest evenly between the three of us. Everyone contributes fairly evenly in terms of gear cost, setting up, driving, promotion etc.

Almost every band I play in, and have played in, splits the money evenly as well. Sometimes an agent gets a small slice, occasionally the p.a. owner wants a larger slice.

On that note, three piece covers bands rock! I fill in occasionally for a five piece that plays the same venues as us for the same money. In that band, I make only 60% of what I would usually make, because the band has so many damn members.. Why do you ever need two guitarists and a dedicated singer?!

I have played in an originals band when I was a little younger that did the 'band bank account' thing. Never again. I believe everybody should get their share after the gig and any mutual purchases (flyers, studio time) can be paid from the members' own bank accounts. Any long term purchases, such as p.a. gear, lights, should just be bought by one person and then that person can keep them regardless of what happens with the band. If the band splits after they've bought an entire p.a. together, that's a recipe for a horrible situation. Similarly, having a band member who can access the band bank account at their will is a recipe for a horrible situation. Strings, sticks, skins should be bought by the musician who plays that instrument.
 

FritzDrummer

Senior Member
My main group gives 7.5% to our agent (unless we booked the gig ourselves) and then divides the rest evenly between the three of us. Everyone contributes fairly evenly in terms of gear cost, setting up, driving, promotion etc.

Almost every band I play in, and have played in, splits the money evenly as well. Sometimes an agent gets a small slice, occasionally the p.a. owner wants a larger slice.

On that note, three piece covers bands rock! I fill in occasionally for a five piece that plays the same venues as us for the same money. In that band, I make only 60% of what I would usually make, because the band has so many damn members.. Why do you ever need two guitarists and a dedicated singer?!

I have played in an originals band when I was a little younger that did the 'band bank account' thing. Never again. I believe everybody should get their share after the gig and any mutual purchases (flyers, studio time) can be paid from the members' own bank accounts. Any long term purchases, such as p.a. gear, lights, should just be bought by one person and then that person can keep them regardless of what happens with the band. If the band splits after they've bought an entire p.a. together, that's a recipe for a horrible situation. Similarly, having a band member who can access the band bank account at their will is a recipe for a horrible situation. Strings, sticks, skins should be bought by the musician who plays that instrument.
I think I love and agree with every part of this reply!
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
On that note, three piece covers bands rock! I fill in occasionally for a five piece that plays the same venues as us for the same money. In that band, I make only 60% of what I would usually make, because the band has so many damn members.. Why do you ever need two guitarists and a dedicated singer?!
Try playing with a 18 piece big band. You have to get paid so much more as a group just to get gas money.
 
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