Asking a "Headliner" for Part of the Door

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Cacklingjackyl, May 5, 2004.

  1. Some time back my step-brother called me and asked if we wanted to open for them in a couple of weeks from today. He needed to know in a hurry, so I called my band members and we hastily agreed. We opened for them last month at another place and it worked out OK, but they got the door and we did not get anything. Note that we are just started out and that we have done most of the gigs we have played so far for free(just for the experience, practice, etc.). We have a following of about 35-50 people that will come watch us almost everytime we play, while my stepbrothers band does not enjoy such a regular following. When we opened for them the 1st time, the bar was packed. Alot (I dare not say all, but most), of the people there can to see us play. When my brothers band started to play, many people left. No doubt, it was getting "late" (they started about 10:30 pm), and it was a restaurant, but our band and some girls with us were the only ones left cheering them on.

    My self-proclaimed "band leader" has now decided that we should ask for some % of the door. We passed on a few flyers at a local festival this week, and have alot of people planning to show up. We estimate about 50-70 people. I feel funny about doing this because 1) we agreed to play the gig without worrying about $$$, 2) they actually got the gig, and 3) they were good enough to ask us to play. On the other hand, my brother's band knows that we can get a few folks into a bar, and I feel like they could be using that to their advantage. Should I feel funny about talking to my brother about getting a portion of the door?
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    If you already agreed to play for free, you're obligated to do so. In the future, start asking for your cut.

    Good luck.
  3. We agreed to play, but $$$ was not discussed at the time. I am positive that they assumed that we would play for free (as we did before), because they did not mention $$$ either. It was such a quick thing because the club owner, for some reason, had to know immediately. I consulted the band and told my brother's band yes. At the time, we were happy just being able to play, now Mr. Band Leader wants to talk $$$. I guess the lesson is obvious, we should have negotiated something before we agreed to play, if we wanted to make some dough-- Music Biz 101.
  4. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Money should ALWAYS be discussed BEFORE the show. If the show is over, it's too late to argue. If it happens again like this, maybe mention something as you are all packing up for the night. Now it's far too late to demand any money. Chalk it up to a lesson learned for next time.
  5. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Im not sure but here locally in Dallas the door person will keep a tally of what people came to see what band.

    Have them ask each person that comes in which band they are there to see, and then they keep a tally. Not only does it guarantee your fair share of the door but it also shows the club how many people YOU bring to possibly set up future gigs. Then you can have your step-brother's band open for you.
  6. Fastplant,

    We have not played the 2nd gig yet, but we did agree to it without discussing money.
  7. You can use this gig as a setup for your next gig. if you bring up $$ now and say you wan to get paid you might look like an ass. but if you say "hey, just FYI we're starting to bring a fair bunch of people and next time we're going to have to get paid" then it serves as a lead in when he asks you next time. think investment over current $$ and the answer is clear.
  8. Something that might be better than a couple dollars, is now that other band owes you favor. So if down the line you need someone to open for you free at the last minute you can bring up this deal, or if some of your gear blows up suddenly you can ask to borrow. Sometimes favors are more important than a couple dollars.

  9. Good point. I think that's probably the best thing to do.
  10. no4mk1


    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA

    For an original band trying to get gigs, sometimes the money is the smallest part of the equation.

    One of our gigs this month is an opening spot for a more established band (that we owed a favor to) at a decent bar in our neighborhood. They called us and asked if we could do it for free, and we said yes. We are just getting going, and have not been able to get a gig in this club since we are unknown. Doing this gig will get us exposure to not only the club, but many potential fans as well. They scratched our back, and we scratched theirs. We're all happy. :)

  11. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Gigging Rule #1: Always, ALWAYS discuss money up front, or don't discuss it at all. Better yet, always have it in writing.

    Gigging Rule #2: Never, EVER play for the take at the door. Never accurate, never reliable, always problems.
  12. Unless YOU collect the gate...:)
  13. no4mk1


    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I agree with #1.

    #2? Well... Around here (Seattle) as an originals act, unless you are a well established act, that's the only way you're ever going to be paid.
  14. I wouldn't ask the headliner for a cut of the money. I would chalk it up as a favor and use your exposure to get your own gig. If a lot of the people are there to see you it shouldn't be too hard to convey that to the club owner.

    You can do a lot more for yourself if you don't try to nickel and dime everyone. Doing a couple of favors should pay off bigger dividends down the road.
  15. Well, there has been a turn of events here. The date for the gig was pushed back a week, and we are not available to open for my step-brothers band on that day. For some reason, they could not play the gig that night. Now the club owner, who has heard us play before, booked us as the "headlining" band. So we will get 100% of the door after all.

    This bar allows us to assign a person to take up $$$ at the door, so as long as we can trust a friend to do it, we should be good to go.
  16. Very good! Hope it all goes well, and from now on it'll be easier for you to negotiate $ as that ice has now been broken for you!
    Best of Luck!