9% ??? Seems kinda Low to me
Heres the "contract" at a funky little dive-bar gig in lower West-Side L.A.:
"You can load in from the back entrance in the parking lot behind the bar.
We have a Mackie soundboard, monitors, speakers and a PA (snake box with XLR inputs). We do not provide mics, mic stands, or cables. You can use our PA for all instruments. If you choose to use a stage amp, please know that we might require you to adjust the volume. We do NOT have a sound board operator. Getting everything connected and setting the levels will be your responsibility. We do have a list of instructions about how to best operate our board and we expect you to follow them. Again, you are welcome to come in and check out our setup ahead of time so you'll know what you are working with and what you may or may not need. The drum riser doesn't always allow enough room for a full kit and the room doesn't necessarily require a full kit, so please take this into consideration.
XXXXXX - XXXX'X holds about 125 people maximum so we insist on keeping the volume at a tolerable level. We are a bar that has bands, not a concert venue. You will have to follow our lead on what is an acceptable volume based on the crowd that is there. If the patio is full but the bar is empty, its too loud.
We pay 9% of the bar ring during the time that you play and will take 50% off your tab (drinks and food).
The 9% can turn out to be a good amount of money if the right promotion is put into the show.
There is no cover, free parking, and drinks start at $4 so its easy to promote!"
Everything sounds kosher to me except for the 9% part. That seems kinda low. We can usually draw 65 -80 peeps on a Friday nite. Is it worth it?
If that's on top of a guarantee, that's freaking great!
If it's just that and you're the only band of the night, that's freaking great!
If it's just that and you're playing a half hour set...well...just make sure your friends wait till you start playing to order I guess.
All 80 people buy $4 drinks, one drink per hour, and lets assume that you play for four hours. (Do they subtract your break times?)
80 x $4 = $320
$320 x 4 (hours) = $1280
9% of $1280 = $115.20
So you decide. Are your friends heavy drinkers?
Thank you for your indulgence,
The high end looks to be something like $90 an hour with a packed house and 2 drinks an hour. 125 * $8 = $1000
$1000 * .09 = $90 per hour
9%? Is this a 4 hour bar gig or an opportunity to showcase your originals? Are you allowed to work a tip jar? I do some gigs with relatively low base pay per man ($30-60), but it's a given that people tip the band, especially for requests, so we still usually clear $120 a man for the gig. Based on Cliff's math above, I'd say only in LA is this a good deal.
Yes, my numbers are hopefully on the low end. But if you can rock a tip jar and party with your friends all night, it could really be fun. Some of those funky dives in LA can be a blast. But the bar manager is definitely not doing you any favors. The bar has to make money too. At least it's a gig. That's better than no gig, I guess. ;)
A gig like that would definitely have to have a big fun factor for me. I've been known to play for kinda cheap if there's a lot of fun involved. :D
I played for $60 last night just because it was close, with good friends who are excellent musicians, and it was really fun.
Thank you for your indulgence,
One thing does come to mind, how overpriced are the drinks at this bar? Are we talking $10 for a Budweiser like most of LA? That could potentially raise you up to maybe $60 a man.
When you say you draw 65 to whatever, is that in addition to the regular patronage? That's pretty decent.
I'm thinking if the place has its own rep you should fill it to capacity and make out fine. $4 beers don't last an hour.
I would definitely do that at least once if it is a place you want to play. See how it goes.
A) We had an average night and made $300. Not bad. Keep working it.
B) We killed it, full house and made $150. Screw it. Find a new room or negotiate.
C) Lame night and we still made $400. Duh. Great deal!!
I would use the one night as a test for the room, especially as bass cliff says, it is a fun gig. Can't miss with them.
I'm doing a gig in Philly for a 5 band night and your pay id whoever mentions your band on the way in. Small room so 1/5 ain't much. We'll advertise the hell out of it and see how it goes. If we kill it, I'm guessing we get our own night and maybe have a minumum number set.
Unless your band is HUGE, you have to start rooms like this.
Sounds about right for LA. I'm actually surprised that they're willing to pay at all. It's rare to get paid to be in an originals band out here. Good luck mate!
You may also want to confirm which tills they will counting for your 9%. For example, will they only give you 9% of the main bar's till, or does it also include the back bar, patio, restaurant, etc. If they are only paying you from one register, it could be worse than you think. If they are paying you from all tills, it might be better than you think. I guess it depends on the place.
In my view, if it's really 9% of the entire till with no monkey business, it's probably an equitable balance between the bar and the band making money. The limit is the seating capacity of the venue, which neither the band nor the bar can readily control.
Hey thanks for everyones input!!
Sometimes being presented with a massive reality-check is what is needed.
The venue is really a restaurant with an adjacent "bar area" in a separate room. Ive been told the food is relatively good there and most of the patrons go there for the prime rib dinner. The bar area where we are to play doesnt really have much of a built-in crowd.,, maybe a dozen or so "regulars".
I think BassCliff's math is reasonable, we could probably do a little better, but not much.
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