I need advice for (politely) demanding more money.

NerfLad

Silver Member
Hello Drummerworld.

This is my first post to the forum, although I lurk frequently and over the years this board has been quite a valuable resource. Thanks!

Here is my situation:

I've been in a 4 piece blues/funk/soul/americana group since January. We have a good singer, but he's very green; in fact this is his first band (he's 26). Unfortunately, he's the one who has been doing all of our booking. His methods have been somewhat overzealous and naive...

Last Friday night we played at an upscale bar from 10pm to 1:30am with two 15 minute breaks for $75. Seven - five for the whole group. We split everything four ways... you see where this is going.

We have a very busy schedule and don't suck by any means, but all of our gigs are super low-paying like this, at places that I know have regularly payed other bands more. How should I politely go about telling my singer/band that

1. This isn't my only gig, and I need to make more cash than that for it to be worth my time

2. As a band, we are worth FAR more than what we are being paid

3. People will continue to take advantage of us if he continues to book us for nothing


I (and many others) like our sound, and they're good guys, so I don't really know how I should approach this. This is a band I auditioned for, (not really "my band") otherwise I would have no qualms about taking the reins and booking gigs myself.

Thanks in advance,

Nerflad
 

Florian

Gold Member
75 bux a gig is why you have a pile of them. I ask for no less than 500 gig for a recurring (once monthly type deal) or 2500 for corporate gigs. We can and will come down slightly on the corp. gigs, but never budge on the bar gigs. Just tell them your price and let them decide.

F
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Are the gigs crowded? You can't ask for $500 if there are 5 people buying drinks, and three of them are in the band, right?

A good rule of thumb is that a bar can expect to make $20 per person per night (if that person stays in the bar for a few drinks, not just one). So, if there's a 50-person crowd all night, that's $1000 for the bar, and you can feel OK about taking $500 of that.

As far as your band is concerned, talk with the other bandmates, and set each person's individual price at $125 (per club gig). It doesn't have to be personal, you just tell the singer what you need to be paid, and he'll pass on this cost to the bar. The bar will take it or leave it, and that's that.

Also tell your singer that he might be able to find musicians who will work for peanuts (as you have done to get the band working), but the next guy probably won't work cheaply for long.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Firstly, welcome to the forum. Even though you've technically been a watching member for a long time. (I did the same).

It's a tricky one if you don't know the guys well but, who doesn't like making money?

Why not ask them to give you a chance to book a few gigs and if they see it pays off then that will be that.
Definitely butter them up with the 'we're worth more than this' approach.
If they say they're not in it for the money then, atleast you'll know where you stand.

I doubt they'd turn money down though.
Good luck!
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
Are the gigs crowded? You can't ask for $500 if there are 5 people buying drinks, and three of them are in the band, right?

A good rule of thumb is that a bar can expect to make $20 per person per night (if that person stays in the bar for a few drinks, not just one). So, if there's a 50-person crowd all night, that's $1000 for the bar, and you can feel OK about taking $500 of that.

As far as your band is concerned, talk with the other bandmates, and set each person's individual price at $125 (per club gig). It doesn't have to be personal, you just tell the singer what you need to be paid, and he'll pass on this cost to the bar. The bar will take it or leave it, and that's that.

Also tell your singer that he might be able to find musicians who will work for peanuts (as you have done to get the band working), but the next guy probably won't work cheaply for long.
On Friday night the bouncer kept track at the door and told us we brought 142 people (!)...
It was most packed during our second set between around 11 and midnight.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
I don't think it's a question of how you ask the singer to ask for more money, but more of an issue as to how the band goes from asking $75 to $500. $75 is pathetic, but nonetheless you'd be asking for a huge increase in fee. I'd use the information you mentioned about the number of people you brought in to the place and make it purely about business.

I think I'd rather play for free (like I do at church and for charity functions) than get paid $15 for a gig. That doesn't even cover gas money.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
First of all, welcome!

1. This isn't my only gig, and I need to make more cash than that for it to be worth my time

2. As a band, we are worth FAR more than what we are being paid

3. People will continue to take advantage of us if he continues to book us for nothing
1. When you auditioned for the group, and asked about the band, you should have asked about how many rehearsals there will be, how many gigs there are, what the stage dress is, HOW MUCH TYPICAL GIGS PAY, how early to be there to set up, what is the PA situation, etc... It probably doesn't help much now, but live and learn, right?

2. That's your opinion. If there is a similar band in the area charging what you guys are currently charging, then you're worth about the same. Supply and demand. Even if you feel your brand.....er, um, *band*....is better, the person purchasing your live show will ultimately make that call.

3. Nobody is taking advantage of you. Your band is being booked for the fee your singer is asking. That's called a win/win situation. If the club talked your singer down to $75 from $750, THEN I might consider that being taken advantage of (although, if your band agrees to play for that low fee, you're still accepting it). If YOU yourself are upset about your low fee, then I would strongly encourage you to talk with the singer and the band about either a new negotiating strategy, or even allowing you to do the booking. I can't imagine your bandmates would turn down extra income, but if the band is simply a musical outlet for them, and the prospect of fewer gigs upsets them, then it might be time to move on.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Me, I'd just lay it out there exactly like this:

1. This isn't my only gig, and I need to make more cash than that for it to be worth my time

2. As a band, we are worth FAR more than what we are being paid

3. People will continue to take advantage of us if he continues to book us for nothing
You biggest problem is the guy doing the bookings. He has to be made aware of the fact that you're more or less working for free. Why can't you just tell him that?
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Why not ask them to give you a chance to book a few gigs and if they see it pays off then that will be that.
Definitely butter them up with the 'we're worth more than this' approach.
If they say they're not in it for the money then, atleast you'll know where you stand.
I think this is great advice.
 

jafo

Member
Hello Drummerworld.

This is my first post to the forum, although I lurk frequently and over the years this board has been quite a valuable resource. Thanks!

Here is my situation:

I've been in a 4 piece blues/funk/soul/americana group since January. We have a good singer, but he's very green; in fact this is his first band (he's 26). Unfortunately, he's the one who has been doing all of our booking. His methods have been somewhat overzealous and naive...

Last Friday night we played at an upscale bar from 10pm to 1:30am with two 15 minute breaks for $75. Seven - five for the whole group. We split everything four ways... you see where this is going.

We have a very busy schedule and don't suck by any means, but all of our gigs are super low-paying like this, at places that I know have regularly payed other bands more. How should I politely go about telling my singer/band that

1. This isn't my only gig, and I need to make more cash than that for it to be worth my time

2. As a band, we are worth FAR more than what we are being paid

3. People will continue to take advantage of us if he continues to book us for nothing


I (and many others) like our sound, and they're good guys, so I don't really know how I should approach this. This is a band I auditioned for, (not really "my band") otherwise I would have no qualms about taking the reins and booking gigs myself.

Thanks in advance,

Nerflad
Bro, I think with that last part of your post ( the 1,2,3) You just answered your own question. I don't think you could put it out there any better than that. I would hope they would be feeling the same. Cause, I know for a fact, if your bands half way good, you all deserve more.

Just to add one more thing, if you go in with that 1,2,3 statements, be ready with a minimum of what you feel your band deserves to play a gig and go from there.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
I like what others have said about seeing if they will let you book a few gigs. HOWEVER I would discuss with them the financial issue so they know going in. Lack of communication in a band is a recipe for disaster.

$75 per gig is not near enough in my book. If you do the math on it you didn't even make minimum wage for playing and making the bar money

$75 divided by 4 members= $18.75 divided by 3 hours= $6.25 an hour. I calculated 3 hours since you said you took two 15 min breaks. you can make more than that flipping burgers at McDonalds.

You might want to mention this to your band mates.
 

TNA

Senior Member
This sounds like more of a band problem than a you problem. You don't want to say I want to make more money. You need to say WE need to make more money. If you tell all the guys that you think that you can and should be making a lot more, then why would any of them disagree with you? Surely they cannot be satisfied with only making 75 for the entire night. Why is the singer handling the bookings? Why not you?
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
I may have ranted about this before,not sure. Do Not settle for sub-standard pay. It not only hurts you but will hurt every other musician in the area. The bar owner will use this low standard of pay as leverage to haggle with every other band that comes in his place. Next thing you know other bars in the area find out that Bar A is getting bands for cheap and they travel the same road. If your guy wants to play for peanuts or free then tell him to go sing at open mic night some place. If your band is going to be professional, charge what a professional charges. Flexibility in negotiations is acceptable but don't sell out under any circumstances. You and your other band members need to clarify what is acceptable and unacceptable pay.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Complete your arranged obligations as agreed but let them know that you must change your price to be financially viable....and give them enough notice so they can look around so they can meet their financial obligations.

Keep in mind that some commitments are worth additional $ in the form of publicity...but it sounds like you have better opportunities and dont really need the exposure.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
I may have ranted about this before,not sure. Do Not settle for sub-standard pay. It not only hurts you but will hurt every other musician in the area. The bar owner will use this low standard of pay as leverage to haggle with every other band that comes in his place. Next thing you know other bars in the area find out that Bar A is getting bands for cheap and they travel the same road. If your guy wants to play for peanuts or free then tell him to go sing at open mic night some place. If your band is going to be professional, charge what a professional charges. Flexibility in negotiations is acceptable but don't sell out under any circumstances. You and your other band members need to clarify what is acceptable and unacceptable pay.
This is a HUGE problem in Jacksonville right now. We were booked to play somewhere for a hundred bucks and free beer and were undercut by another band.

Thanks for the input and the warm welcome! I'll update when I speak with them as to how it went.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If you brought in 142 people....there's your justification/leverage to the bar owner right there. You can say that he got the "introductory" offer, in the interest of the bar owner, for hiring you. Now that you're a proven crowd draw, if he wants a repeat of the attendance, he will have to pony up. Otherwise another bar will get the 142 people.
 
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