Payday for touring

veecharlie

Senior Member
Hey guys,

I'm wondering what's the average you get paid here in Europe per hour while touring?

I have gigged around for €20 an hour or equal compensations (nothing as serious as a tour, neither something very pro..), but I was offered up to (! yea up to) 50€ a gig for two weeks, with no guarantee of pay, no contract. I feel kind of robbed. As business woman, I first of all want papers black on white and an agreed terms&conditions + payment hourly fee. Like this I even risk to get the tax on my door asking where the rest of the money went (I have a VAT nr for this too). I also don't say to my employees "Guys, my customer didn't pay you guys also don't"

How can be people even accepting this?!
Wondering what's your experiences and your thoughs...
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
"Up to 50 euros a gig, wow! Where do I sign!" Please say that was your reply :). I hope you told this person where to go. How many gigs are we talking? Sounds like you'll be getting a wallet full of 'exposure' there!

Don't look at it as feeling robbed, more like dodged a bullet.

I don't think many working drummers would get out of bed for that. Some people don't think that musicians have to eat, drink and pay bills like normal people.

Every gig I do has a signed contract confirming start/finish times, food/drink rider and most important of all fee. Everybody knows where they stand. If there's no contract we don't show. Only takes one person to try and screw you out of cash for you to never trust the public again.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
"Up to 50 euros a gig, wow! Where do I sign!" Please say that was your reply :). I hope you told this person where to go. How many gigs are we talking? Sounds like you'll be getting a wallet full of 'exposure' there!

Don't look at it as feeling robbed, more like dodged a bullet.

I don't think many working drummers would get out of bed for that. Some people don't think that musicians have to eat, drink and pay bills like normal people.

Every gig I do has a signed contract confirming start/finish times, food/drink rider and most important of all fee. Everybody knows where they stand. If there's no contract we don't show. Only takes one person to try and screw you out of cash for you to never trust the public again.
Lol. Agree. Of course I said no, I countered with my conditions... let’s see what happens. Talking about 15 shows of which I’d even have to figure out how to get my own drumkit all around. They aparently had people agreeing to that but man, that’s even less of what I used to make back at Burger King when I was a teenager!!
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I can't speak for Europe or even in the States, for that matter as things vary so much.

In my neck of the woods, bands are usually on contract for each venue with a written guarantee, either through an agency or self-booked like we do.

The range can be quit a bit based on following or the type of event it is. Weddings are particularly lucrative but they are all-day affairs so the 'per hour' works out a little less. But food and drink more than compensate. A typical Saturday night gig is nice income with a couple hours travel time to and from included.

We don't actually go on tour. We play all around on the weekends. Many of the places are multiple times a year and we've yet to have problems. Certainly, there have been some duds but the booker always pays. We're very lucky to play in an area that supports live music, even if it's just cover bands. The scene is strong around here, thankfully.

I think the only answer is to have paper signed before loading up the van.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I can't speak for Europe or even in the States, for that matter as things vary so much.

In my neck of the woods, bands are usually on contract for each venue with a written guarantee, either through an agency or self-booked like we do.

The range can be quit a bit based on following or the type of event it is. Weddings are particularly lucrative but they are all-day affairs so the 'per hour' works out a little less. But food and drink more than compensate. A typical Saturday night gig is nice income with a couple hours travel time to and from included.

We don't actually go on tour. We play all around on the weekends. Many of the places are multiple times a year and we've yet to have problems. Certainly, there have been some duds but the booker always pays. We're very lucky to play in an area that supports live music, even if it's just cover bands. The scene is strong around here, thankfully.

I think the only answer is to have paper signed before loading up the van.
I can tell you that in the US at least it isn't always the case. There are a number of local venues where the "contract" is basically you get paid per draw, and only if you draw at least a certain amount too. Back in my younger days, late teens to early 20s, playing in originals bands I ended up doing a lot of those types of gigs... and basically getting paid anywhere from nothing to barely anything.

Events are usually different and carry some kind of contract though, but venues are hit and miss.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
I can tell you that in the US at least it isn't always the case. There are a number of local venues where the "contract" is basically you get paid per draw, and only if you draw at least a certain amount too. Back in my younger days, late teens to early 20s, playing in originals bands I ended up doing a lot of those types of gigs... and basically getting paid anywhere from nothing to barely anything.

Events are usually different and carry some kind of contract though, but venues are hit and miss.
True, however we are talking from a band that already has a steady fan group and touring for a couple of years....
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Lol. Agree. Of course I said no, I countered with my conditions... let’s see what happens. Talking about 15 shows of which I’d even have to figure out how to get my own drumkit all around. They aparently had people agreeing to that but man, that’s even less of what I used to make back at Burger King when I was a teenager!!
So in essence you'd be paying to play. I wouldn't leave the phone on the hook in a hurry! Still plenty of idiots that will jump at the chance.

For 2 weeks of solid gigging and travelling I'd want about £300 in cash a day (more if it was through the books) after travel/food/accommodation/gear upkeep. 15 gigs in 2 weeks that's a lot to put your body and kit through so it would have to be worth my while. Got tired reading it!
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
So in essence you'd be paying to play. I wouldn't leave the phone on the hook in a hurry! Still plenty of idiots that will jump at the chance.

For 2 weeks of solid gigging and travelling I'd want about £300 in cash a day (more if it was through the books) after travel/food/accommodation/gear upkeep. 15 gigs in 2 weeks that's a lot to put your body and kit through so it would have to be worth my while. Got tired reading it!
Yes exactly! also To take in count, I also would be doing this with health problems, so I’m spending a lot of extra hours preparing and everything to be fit then. How do you normally manage gear for a tour? Lots of people told me they just rent/ask the venue as they don’t want to take risks of getting stuff stolen, and just bring the essentials. But this band wants me to bring my own (which I’d have to spend extra €600 to either rent or finish mine that I’m building)
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I can tell you that in the US at least it isn't always the case. There are a number of local venues where the "contract" is basically you get paid per draw, and only if you draw at least a certain amount too. Back in my younger days, late teens to early 20s, playing in originals bands I ended up doing a lot of those types of gigs... and basically getting paid anywhere from nothing to barely anything.

Events are usually different and carry some kind of contract though, but venues are hit and miss.
In my early original music days, we were lucky to get paid. Especially on an 8 band "festival" where we play at 2 pm. We never wrote songs with the hopes of getting paid. The practice to performance ratio was 50-1 too back then. Nowdays, it's 0-100 as we're all seasoned enough to just play. And covers are easy to work up when you're just slammin out 2 & 4. The payday is certainly better. The 'work' is still up there, though. We self-produce so it can be long nights.

A bunch of 40-somethings playing classic rock is an easy sell around here.
 
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Blisco

Senior Member
Yes exactly! also To take in count, I also would be doing this with health problems, so I’m spending a lot of extra hours preparing and everything to be fit then. How do you normally manage gear for a tour? Lots of people told me they just rent/ask the venue as they don’t want to take risks of getting stuff stolen, and just bring the essentials. But this band wants me to bring my own (which I’d have to spend extra €600 to either rent or finish mine that I’m building)

It sounds like a provided gear could be sketchy. The norm is your own cymbals, pedals and snare. All easy to carry. Can you accept a terrible drum kit with worn heads and broken hardware, or the potential of it? Is it truly the drummers touch that makes the sound?

Personally, I would prefer the comfort of my own gear. If you can pack those essentials and maybe a couple of spare hardware pieces, you might be able to get by.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
It sounds like a provided gear could be sketchy. The norm is your own cymbals, pedals and snare. All easy to carry. Can you accept a terrible drum kit with worn heads and broken hardware, or the potential of it? Is it truly the drummers touch that makes the sound?

Personally, I would prefer the comfort of my own gear. If you can pack those essentials and maybe a couple of spare hardware pieces, you might be able to get by.
That’s why normally in a contract you specify the conditions and the gear you would need. Indeed, as you say if it’s just agreed with words it can be as bad gear made out of jars and paint bottles up to a decent kit. Too broad...
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
If this is a written contract, then points can be negotiated. Write & submit your revision. Negotiate. You have nothing to lose.

If it’s a verbal contract, walk away. Even if their music is perfect, ‘cuz it’s a Siren song.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Yes exactly! also To take in count, I also would be doing this with health problems, so I’m spending a lot of extra hours preparing and everything to be fit then. How do you normally manage gear for a tour? Lots of people told me they just rent/ask the venue as they don’t want to take risks of getting stuff stolen, and just bring the essentials. But this band wants me to bring my own (which I’d have to spend extra €600 to either rent or finish mine that I’m building)
Man this offer is getting better and better! I hope you were wearing a corset when speaking to this band to stop your ribs from breaking from laughing so hard!

I'm a weekend warrior doing weddings/functions so we're self contained with our own gear and transport. Even when I've done weekenders (if I've played Scotland and done a gig on the way up and another on the way down) I always take my own stuff.

One thing I'd always check is support bands assuming they can use your stuff (alarm bells debt alert!). I don't have to deal with this usually doing functions but the answer is always the same..........don't have the gear, don't book the gig.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
As a hired gun, you should not be expected to participate in the artist's variable revenue. You should make an agreed-upon figure - period - and get it in writing. The term "up to" is also very troubling. If they can't even guarantee a small number like 50 euros, that's a bad sign.

I can't imagine what fringe benefits would make that figure worthwhile anyway.

Bermuda
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
As a hired gun, you should not be expected to participate in the artist's variable revenue. You should make an agreed-upon figure - period - and get it in writing. The term "up to" is also very troubling. If they can't even guarantee a small number like 50 euros, that's a bad sign.

I can't imagine what fringe benefits would make that figure worthwhile anyway.

Bermuda
Totally agree. Seems at least I’m not the only one that thinks this way... I was getting worried because otherwise music is really a waste of my time and money...
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
Totally agree. Seems at least I’m not the only one that thinks this way... I was getting worried because otherwise music is really a waste of my time and money...
Reading through your replies to comments (health problems, etc), it sounds like now is not the time for you to be looking at touring.

In my experience, an organizer that can't/won't answer questions, confirm details, etc., is laying the groundwork to screw you over down the line.

I got burned once on a tour. That was enough. I don't do anything without clear agreements in place. Ambiguity is the enemy of the hired-help.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Dealing with bands that are touring, but independently funded, is tricky. You don't need a formal contract, but do get an email spelling out the details -- something in writing. Let's say it's a two week tour, and some gigs there will be a backline kit. You don't know what condition the backline kit will be in. Often, getting the backline kit into shape is more work than setting up your own kit.

Charge a fee per gig -- whatever a local pub gig pays in your area. You can come down on this number if you want, but it's good to start with a high, but not ridiculous, price for each gig. Then, charge a per diem, so you have money to eat food and buy toiletries and hygiene products. Bring a cooler and buy food from markets, rather than eating at restaurants, to save money. Collect half of the money for the gigs up front, in cash, preferably. You don't want to clear your calendar, and then, poof, the tour is cancelled, and you get nothing.

Understand that there are musicians who just want to tour for the experience of traveling and playing music, and they might be okay with not getting paid. Not everyone has the same goals.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Because you are asking a forum about this should give you some pretty good insight into how you are feeling in your gut about it. :)
 
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