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A Message to Club Owners

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by fivestringgecko, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. I hope this is in the right section... mods, please feel free to move if needed. :)

    Why LA Club Owners Are Totally Lost And Some Advice For Them From A Professional Musician

    I'm not in LA, but this message seems pretty universal and something both my bands have experienced in Denver. One of the horn players in my funk band sent it out to the rest of us and I thought it would be worth sharing. It stung a little bit to be reminded of our last gig... our 11-piece funk band got hired for $200 for a 4-hour set. They did end up also giving us a small cut of sales "because they liked us so much," so we ended up with about $30/person.

    I can understand economy issues and musicians wanting to play so bad it hurts (I'm one of them!), but I agree with the author... there has to be a point where we as musicians have to stand up for ourselves. I especially liked the author's example of turning it back around on the club owner.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Advice? Tips?

  2. ACNick

    ACNick Guest

    Oct 23, 2012
    South Florida
    Nice article, thank you for sharing. Someone on this forum (I wish I could remember who, to give credit) mentioned in another thread that the venue only sees a portion of what the band does for the gig. They don't see the time spent practicing, the players investment in gear, transportation... there is a lot more that goes in to playing those gigs than just the four hours on stage. And for hobby musicians, like myself, playing those gigs means sacrificing a friday/saturday night that I could be spending with my girlfriend, family or friends.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    Me personally. I would never audition or get involved with an 11 piece band booking $300.00 shows.

  4. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    They also don't recognize the fact that many of us went to college to learn what we know, musically. And then want us to play outdoors with no cover, and look at us funny because we say we can't do that, especially for $75 for the whole band (heck, even for $300 apiece---there's too much at stake to risk it).

    I think it should be turned upside down to where playing music is one of the most lucrative jobs there is. I mean, folks who can't play find it almost magical that any of us can play. Of course, anyone can learn to. But, it takes a lot of time and work. There should be good recompense for all we've done to get to where we are.
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Excellent point.

    However, do you know what's sad in my opinion?

    There are musicians that don't see or take their time, investment in gear, gas, wear and tear on cars, rehearsal time and all the time and effort they have put into learning to play.

  6. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I'm 59 , been taking lessons on and off since I was 15.

    My current teacher is a Milwaukee legend and has a degree in music.

    He charges $20.00 for 30 minutes. I always give him $30.00. He's a great guy.

  7. Well, I wanted to be in a funk band and I get to play a lot of Tower of Power, so I'm happy. :bassist:

    We're all professional musicians, but the band itself is still new and that was my first gig with them (their third or fourth). I wasn't stoked about the $, but every band has to pay dues right? I'm willing to put work in to make a band go, so hopefully we'll start making more when we build our rep.

  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I understand to a degree.

    Pay your dues, I'm not sure about that. Your providing a professional service regardless.

    As long as your willing to work for $6.80 an hour that's what clubs will pay you.

    I'm in a 4 piece cover biker bar band, equal split band. We have a $400.00 minimum. This is a business, we have no problem telling bars and clubs that were a little to expensive for them and maybe we could do business another time.

    We've actually gotten calls back with the owners changing their minds and willing to pay our minimum fee.

  9. You know, I agree that it is sad that we all as musicians don't get more compensation for what we do to become giggable musicians, but at the same time, when I got into music I knew i was going to be in a similar situation as when I realized that my dreams as a 4 year old to play in the NHL were pipe dreams...Getting paid good money to play music is not a sure thing.

    I went to college for philosophy, I'm not crying about not having millions of dollars waiting for me to spew my thoughts on levinas' theories of time love and ethics, and if you went to college for music you should realize that not everyone wants to slave away at something they hate to pay you to do something you love.

    Not every venue is in the position to do a crap load of advertising
    Not everything that is popular is bad, maybe your band should be more appealing to the masses in a capitalist economy if your goal is to succeed in a capitalist economy
    I work at a place that is basically a family fun center and we hold music events on the weekends. We are struggling economically, and the musicians realize that playing at our place is not a way to pay the rent, but rather an opportunity to play out.
    What happened to being grateful for someone giving you a place to play? This thread reminds me of the kid crying because he got a 16 gig ipod instead of the 32 gig.

    Some venues probably make bank and still pay poorly, but not all.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I can respond to that;

    Because some of us are professionals providing a professional service. We are not in this for "fun" anymore than that club owner is.

    Were looking for business opportunities not a place to play for $6.80 an hour.

  11. Wellllllll... I didn't say I was going to play that cheaply for long, and fortunately the guys in the band are all on the same page. ;) "Pay your dues" probably wasn't the right way to say it. And yeah, $6.80/hr is too cheap... I also did the math and that's why the article stung more than a bit. Also why I posted this article... The more people that see it, the better. My 11-piece funk band can't get a decent pay if the next 11-piece funk band pays for free.

    On the other hand, like MoreWatts said, I'm happy to be in a band I love and be out playing.

    Fortunately, I do play freelance musical gigs that pay (reasonably) well, and my gospel band (12-people) has a $1k honorarium to play. For that band, the rhythm section gets paid a little and the rest goes back into the band for things like recording sessions and travel.

    So that raises the question... If a venue owner offers such a low price, do you guys just flat turn it down? As a band, how do any of us get out there playing if no gig pays enough? Does anyone have any advice for getting better pay per gig?

  12. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Like the article said, alot of us just want to play and will sacrifice the money, especially when you are a weekend warrior like me with a day job. However, I have gotten much more stringent with my "rules"...we are providing a professional service that the venue is benefiting from. Its a business transaction and you have to handle it that way.
  13. burnunit

    burnunit obsolete Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Lord have mercy.
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I got a place to play ... home. Any time I want. Bars are in business to make money, and what keeps them makin' money night after night is the music on the bandstand. Can't blame them for not paying more than they have to ... bands will play for jack, and drunken dancers don't seem to care whether the music's any good or not.
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    I can address both questions.

    Yes, we diplomatically decline the offer and follow up at a later date. We don't burn bridges.

    From what you have shared with us, your band needs good agency representation.

    You should be doing corporate work and casino work with a $2,500.00 minimum.

  16. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

  17. Sadly though, it seems like there are less and less of those types of gigs Blue. I've seen several threads, mentions, rumors, etc of "cutting back" and economy issues leaving less money for things like holiday parties, let alone for bands. I'd love to make $2500 a gig!


  18. You sound like someone that also supports "pay to play" venues. :rollno:
  19. I hear you. But don't sell yourselves short, either. Sounds like you guys have an awesome band, and all your hard work and planning is worth a lot more than what you were paid. There's an aspect of music that's a business. It's a FUN business, but still a business, and we all should have at least some reasonable minimum standards when it comes to pay.
    One down side to playing for cheap: If the word gets out, you'll get lowballed by OTHER club owners.
  20. Pet, I agree for sure. It hasn't really come up in discussion yet, but Blue's suggestion of a band manager is a good one and something I've thought about. I'll do some research on that and present findings to the band. Right now, the drummer is our "agent."