What would it be worth to you NOT to have to haul any equipment to a gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bwardmusic, Dec 1, 2013.


  1. bwardmusic

    bwardmusic

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    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    I have a question...what would it be worth to you to show up at a gig with your bass, and have the PA set up, a suitable, high quality bass amp and cabinet ready to go, the microphone set up, and the PA all ready to go? Would this influence how much you would accept for to play a gig? In other words, how much value does having someone else schlepp, setup, and tear down the gear provide for you in terms of dollars?

    The reason I mention this is that I'm trying to open up some new markets for jazz in my town. These are places that currently don't offer live music of any kind. I am willing to go in low once to help the venue see the power of the hosting live music to generate sales.

    So, because of the low price on the first gig, there won't be as much pay per man. Therefore, I was thinking of offering to haul the drums, the PA, and any other piece of gear the musician would not want to set up himself. This could potentially make the gig more attractive to the contractor musicians I'm working with.

    This means a bass or guitar player would basically throw his bass, backup bass, and effects pedals into his car, show up 1/2 hour before the gig, play, and then go home. No tear down other than his effects and guitar. The drummer would also have the same benefit. Kit provided and set up -- he brings any desired pieces if he wants, but essentially has no haulage to speak of, no set up, no tear down.

    What would this be worth to you as a bass player, in terms of money? $50? $40, $30? Nothing?

    Just curious.

    [NOTE: let's not get distracted into a conversation about how going in low ruins the market for other bands -- I'm trying to expand the market through some introductory pricing, not bring existing venues' pay scale down. I would raise the price on the second one. If you want to discuss this, I'm happy to debate that part of this in a separate thread].
  2. eloann

    eloann Supporting Member

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    If the travel is short that leaves only the fun part. I'd do this for free anytime - especially with music that doesn't require much rehearsing. Of course drinks and a decent meal will still be expected.
  3. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    I have done shows where everything was provided. They were usually large outdoor festivals and I enjoyed playing them. I prefer using my own gear because I find it easier to dial in the sound that I want. The majority of the places I play are large enough that the PA and sound engineer are provided but we bring our own amps. We have a set price and do not play for less regardless of whether we bring our gear or not. The only time we discount our fee or play for free is if the show is being held to benefit a worthy cause.
  4. bwardmusic

    bwardmusic

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    [edit: post mistakenly posted]
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  6. David Jayne

    David Jayne

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    I could see the PA being provided being a good selling point. Maybe a drum kit minus snare and cymbals, maybe.
    For Jazz gigs most drummers, bassists and guitarists will prefer their own, easily dealt-with small rigs so this idea, while nice isn't going to turn many heads IMO.
  7. modulusman

    modulusman

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    montana
    How much set up and teardown is there for a Jazz gig?:confused: I would imagine these are small backline and speaker on stick PA gigs
  8. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

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    Jun 6, 2011
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    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Nothing or not much - but, it would depend on the job and if I was responsible for hiring the sound reinforcement company or if its the promoter/venue/client responsibility.
  9. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

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    IME, some musicians will complain, no mater what. Taking the schlep out of play as a target just changes what they'll complain about.

    If I were a freelancer working with you, I'd expect that you'd have the PA set up. I wouldn't expect backline for the sort of casual you describe, and not every freelancer will appreciate backline. And do you want to take on the headaches for something that might not be appreciated?

    Instead, get a roster of tight players, build a rep, and get better gigs.
  10. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet? Supporting Member

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    I never feel like I get paid for a gig for "playing". Seems I get paid for hauling gear, setup, and teardown. :)

    I would agree with what others have said. You are trying to generate a market where there is none. Local musicians should be willing to aid in this as it would be in there best interest as well.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

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    Just because I'm not lugging PA gear doesn't mean I'm worth any less, IMHO! If I normally get $150-$175 per gig, why would I accept $50?? I don't know what you typically pay your guys but if it's in the same ballpark......maybe. For me, taking a $100 pay cut is unacceptable. I charge $50-$75 hr for studio work. I'd rather stay home or hit the studio.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Antennae Support Specialist Supporting Member

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    Quite a bit. Of course, whoever is running the thing would have to do as good a job as we do running our own. We have "special needs."
  13. Jim Nazium

    Jim Nazium Supporting Member

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    To answer the original question, it would be worth $50 to me not to have to bring my big bass amp, and another $50 not to have to help load, set up, and tear down a PA.

    But, as someone else noted, I've never needed any of that for a jazz gig. All I've ever needed is a small combo amp. Not having to bring that isn't worth anything to me, because I like the sound and it's easy to carry.

    Finally, I admire what you're trying to do, but I think that "playing once for less money" isn't likely to suddenly lead to more money the next time. If the bar / restaurant customers were clamoring for live music, the owners would know that and they'd have bands already.

    Good luck.
  14. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    New Zealand
    I can see the no haul aspect making it easier to find 'volunteers' who would do the gig at a discount only because they trust you to give them more proper paying gigs.

    But trying to attach value to the provided backline because it's an underpaid gig isn't clever. Personally I always prefer to bring my own gear anyway.

    I'm picking you're trying to come up with a number to offer your regulars, their regular gig fee less the nebulous no haul discount, which is coming out of your own pocket for the most part?
  15. sparkyfender2

    sparkyfender2

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    Nov 25, 2013
    I would take less money in order to avoid a heavy load in or out, but for a light setup, maybe such such as jazz, unplugged country, or folk, not so much........

    But as for myself, I still need the pay. Part of the reason I would be playing out.
    Everyone has their own priorities.

    Good for you on trying to to expand the market for live music. I must admit, several years ago, the band I was in tried a a "play cheap once" in order to get two different clubs to schedule live performances on a regular basis. It turned out to be an exercise in futility, but we did not regret the trying.......
    Good luck!
  16. bwardmusic

    bwardmusic

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    Sounds like a dud of an idea...but that's why you have a discussion forum -- to bounce off these ideas. The biggest test is when you actually implement it though. You are right, the promotional gigs will come out of my own pocket with the contractor's band. I'm trying to figure out how to reduce costs.

    Sparkyfinder -- why didn't your low cost promotional gig work? Did you not draw a crowd? Just curious.
  17. dukeisdog

    dukeisdog Supporting Member

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    I always prefer to use my own rig, the packing up and setting up is only part of being a musician at this level. No worries, I'd rather take care of my stuff myself and know that I'll be getting the same tone night after night.
  18. BassCliff

    BassCliff

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    May 17, 2012
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    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    Although a thoughtful gesture, I'm not sure providing the backline/PA has tangible worth. I always get paid the same whether or not there is a backline and/or PA provided.

    When I have booked my own band into a venue with a tight budget (introductory rate, benefit, favor for a friend, whatever) I have played for free so that the rest of the band can get their regular compensation.


    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
  19. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass Supporting Member

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    I would not appreciate the backline, and I suspect most would not, guitarists, bassists, drummers. Singers already do nothing anyway. :p

    We set up a full PA for every show and that's a lot of work, but I don't like the PA discount. It's like if I hire a guy to dig a water line at my house, he gets there and I say "how much discount if you use my tractor?" He's not there to give discounts, he's there to make what he makes and he's not interested in making less. He does his job, he wants his regular pay. So while not having to set up the PA would be nice, I would rather work for a few more minutes and get the full pay. Tear down, now that's a different story... :D

    How much discount would I accept for walking in with MY rig, but not touching the PA? $20.
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    I know this is going to sound snarky, but it's really how I see it.

    I'd pay 10 bucks for you to leave the electronics at home.

    For jazz gigs I haul an upright bass and a tiny amp. I'm of the opinion that most bands have a strong tendency to play too damn loud, even jazz combo's playing in restaurants and bars. For this reason I tend to look at a PA as more of a liability than a benefit.

    Another observation is that jazz players have already cut their overhead (gear, setup, transportation, rehearsal, etc.) pretty close to the bone, in order to rationalize the relatively low pay of jazz gigs. Offering a service that makes a business process more efficient is a good strategy, but not when that process is already nearly 100% efficient.
  21. Groove Doctor

    Groove Doctor

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    Sydney, Australia
    Uprights are so fussy with amplification players would prefer to bring their own IMO.

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