How many tips?
Well, got a call to play an impromptu gig Friday night---just for tips, no real pay---and for fun, of course. I said ok since I just felt like playing. Figured we'd get maybe $30 apiece if we were lucky, maybe nothing, but I didn't care at the moment. Damn if we didn't get $100 apiece!! We were a four-piece, so there musta been $400 in there. Wow, I never expected it. So, it was a fun gig that paid a fair bit as well.
What do ya's usually get in the tip jar? That's a record for me.
Realize that when you play for tips only, usually people put the word around during the gig that you are in it basically for free and the tips come much easier in that situation. I wouldn't count on $100 as some sort of typical situation..........
I can't remember exactly how much, but one of my old bands had a crazy lucrative night many years ago that we never repeated. We played a not-as-formal-as-you'd-think gig for a local congressman's fundraiser. It wasn't one of those over-the-top "$2000 per plate" things, but more of a personal party he threw for some award he got, and he asked people to donate as much as they wanted.
The congressman personally tipped us $50 to play a song he liked (I can't remember which one), and someone else tipped us $100 for something else. That gig was CRAZY unusual for us, and we walked away with over $200 (I think) per person. Including our fee for the gig, we made something like $800 per person. It was a good, mellow gig, but paid really well.
The amount of tips you get often depends on how well y'all sell and mention your tip jar during your show. It really comes down to if you have a good front[wo]man who's good at hamming up the tip jar without seeming pushy or too desperate.
Also, when I was in a band that sold CDs and shirts, we typically made way more with that then through tips. Often if you charged $10 for a CD or $15 for shirt, people often tossed in a couple bucks with that. Typically with one older band I was in, we'd sell an average $50-75 (total, not per person) worth of merchandise per show, sometimes a whole lot less and sometimes a whole lot more. If we only sold 3-4 CDs, it was a SLOW night.
Another side note: If you have a good looking shirt, it'll sell to people who don't even like your band. It's also my experience that it'll sell even better (specifically with the ladies) if it's a really 'cute' shirt. We paid a pro designer who we liked something like $100 to give us a shirt, and it paid itself back many times over.
my gig pulls about $150 a night out of the jar 5 days a week. I've seen it brush up against $500 3-4 times a year. $200+ will happen a couple times a month
It so happens that the front man at this show does a solo gig at the place every Wednesday, so there were folks in the crowd who were familiar with him. Plus, he was in a really good mood, and yes, he mentioned that we were playing for free often. he even walked around during the breaks carrying the tip jar and acting silly with folks. Point is, we were a likable group that night, and everyone was having a real good time. We also played a ton of requests for the crowd, most of which we were familiar with, but also got some good laughs trying to play some we didn't know. It was a fun night for sure.
And no, I don't expect it to be the norm, or ever happen again. Matter o' fact it's the very reason I started this thread. I was amazed (after 50 years as a gigging musician).
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