Band expenses

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by vqlt, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. vqlt


    Mar 15, 2011
    My son just joined a band and we are now learning of the expenses
    (Video, photo shoot, EP, etc.)
    What are considered reasonable for expenses and can any be tax deductible?
  2. generation zero

    generation zero

    Jul 24, 2012
    That depends on how serious the band is, for both questions. Most of those services can be had for next to nothing, or for thousands of dollars... It depends on what you are willing to spend and how much quality you want/need from the finished product.

    As for tax deductions, I'd consult a tax pro to be sure, but I would think there are two possibilities. If you claim any income from music as a hobby, you should be able to write off any expenses up to but not exceeding the amount you claim in income... Which would basically be a wash, because with no income you get no deduction. The other route would be to set the band up as a business, which would allow each member (as an employee) to deduct what would now be considered "work related" expenses, like instruments, strings, lessons, studio time, and so on. Save all music related receipts, and by all means talk with an accountant or tax preparer before taking any tax action on your own.
  3. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    Usually, bands that are doing it more for the fun of it, try to get alot of things done for cheap or literally for nothing.
    My bands tries to use a network for most things! The brother of my wife is media desinger and does parts of our artwork for nearly nothing - in exchange we keep telling everyone who did our artwork and have his banner/name everywhere.
    The girlfriend of our singer is tattoo-artist and does other artwork and photoshoots. Luckily, she does it for the fun of it :)

    For video shoots, we plan to contact the local school for media design. There are enough students in need of hours for projects. we need a video, they need working hours and experience :) Perfect match
  4. agree with this totally. if they are just starting out and funds are low, i would suggest finding nearby (if at all possible) recording/video schools and being someone's guinea pig. usually both parties benefit from this arrangement. if they are playing out then shirts and similar merchandise can help raise money for video and music. best of luck.
  5. vbchaos beat me to it! my situation is similar, we have a friend/manager that does screen printing, hd video and records demos. this is a huge help!
  6. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Bless you for supporting your son.
  7. +1. Amen
  8. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    He will likely spend way more on the band then he will ever make in return. Thats no different from any hobby.
  9. aggrokragg


    Dec 18, 2013
    If this is a starting hobby band, google search anything and everything they are looking to do with the word "free". All prior posts talking about having a network are 100% correct, and there are almost always outlets for bands to get services for huge discounts or next to nothing. You can pretty much guarantee that if you're looking for something on the cheap, there are plenty of others on the internet that are too.

    Of course, the best investment they can make is a good space to practice in as much as possible.
  10. file as an artist, declare some income from music, and deduct everything and show that you are operating at a loss. You can deduct the losses from your taxable income to offset your AGI.
  11. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Just joined what band? Who is saying there are all these expenses? Is this a school band and the music department is telling you this? Has he signed to a record label and some agent or manager is telling you this? Or is it a garage band with some buddies and one of the other kids is saying they need to do this? How old is your son? Information is a wonderful thing.

    What's a reasonable cost depends on what you're talking about. Kids launching a garage band shouldn't be spending much of anything, just a facebook page and DIY promo, etc. Different studios have different price structures when it comes to recording an EP - some charge a flat rate per song, most charge an hourly or daily fee for the use of the facility, etc. If this is a record label launching a huge campaign to get your son's band on the radio, on the other hand, yeah, it will cost a lot. My understanding there is that they usually pay for it up front but then the band owes it back, normally out of whatever money they make (e.g. if the label spends $10,000 promoting a song and the song makes $10,000, the band gets nothing; if the song makes $20,000 the band gets $10,000, if it only makes $5K the band is $5K in debt).

    As far as tax deductions go, ask a tax professional, but I believe the rule of thumb is that business expenses are deductible, so if the band is a business, yes.
  12. vqlt


    Mar 15, 2011
    the band was established a few years ago. They were auditioning new bass players and my son was offered the position. ( no pay as the band generates little revenue) in the past the band shared expenses equally and they want to continue that arrangement. the band manager who is the singers mom provided a spreadsheet of expected expenses for 2014 based on past expenses. I will be asking for receipts for tax purposes if applicable. expenses include $3600 for EP, $3500 for video shoot, etc. I'm hoping for these prices we are talking professional services. My son has been in other bands with typical expenses such as banners, business cards, etc. I guess I was caught off guard by the cost of stepping up to the "major leagues" (well not quite yet). I guess if the band is serious about reaching the next level the cost involved are part of the process. He does have an entertainment permit do we need to form an LLC or similar for tax purposes? I know the band manager deducts expenses related to the band so it seems like band members should be able to do the same
  13. vqlt


    Mar 15, 2011
    he is 16. no record label yet. will be playing showcases this spring
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'm sorry, but no way would I pay into all that.

    I'd be saying, "son, you need to get a job."

    $3,500.00 for a video shoot?

    They generate no income? They will be playing showcases?

    Man, I need a PIECE of this business!
  15. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    A good lesson for a young band would be you can do a video shoot when you have saved up enough gig money to pay for it, or alternately, everyone in the band chips in x-amount of their OWN money to make a video. Or a demo.

    I've been in non-parent supported bands since I was 15, and that's really how it works. You probably paid for the gear, lessons, have helped move gear or even driven back and forth from practice and gigs to help. That's plenty.

    Even now, in my early 40's we're looking at hitting a decent studio for my current band's EP. I had to have the finances talk with everyone to explain that it would be waiting until we had banked enough money (while covering practice room rent, etc).
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    PS. Video shoot? Why.

    I know plenty of bands who are successful and productive professional operations that never did a 'video shoot' nor will ever.
  17. taikatsu


    Oct 3, 2012
    Without knowing too much about the band, I'd say this:

    He's sixteen (aka, capable of getting a job). When I was younger, we'd pool a little money together while playing any show we could get our hands on, and print T-shirts, stickers, etc, and sell them at said shows. That money would go toward recording expenses.

    Honestly, the likelihood of him being signed to a label is slim, especially when considering that in a year or two he may change his mind about the whole thing. Also keep in mind, that the "major leagues" appreciate bands that are tight, have a good group of fans, and are prolific - even if the EP's and such aren't top notch. There are a lot of studios out there that are pretty affordable for an EP. WELL under $3600 for four songs.

    Also, are those numbers in total, or per member?
  18. vqlt


    Mar 15, 2011
    Videos are for their youtube channel with approx. 12k subscribers. Youtube videos average about 300k views (always wondered if these #'s can be faked).
    they try to offset cost with merch. sales
    I'm not naïve and do realize there is some fabrication of the truth from the manager
    however I do want to be supportive of my sons dream to be a musician.
    just wondering if these cost are typical for bands that are trying to make a major push
  19. pipFunk


    Feb 1, 2005
    In the UK here, so things a little different.

    The expenses would seem a little steep from what I've experienced.

    My son's band did an EP for £300, using a professional studio and engineer, mixed and mastered. 4 tracks recorded in 2 days.

    They have done 3 or 4 videos with guys they were at college with, all for zero cost. Again they were taped in a day... My favourite is footage shot by mates at a festival.

    Their first album release, of 9 songs at a quality good enough to be released by a decent indie label cost £3000 to record, master and mix. It was recorded in 3 days.

    The honest truth is that you can pay as much or as little as you like, I guess. Be aware that you can expect an awful lot of BS from people though, especially those who have something to gain!

    Welcome to being a band dad, seeing your kid up on stage in a band is even better than the primary school nativity play!
  20. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    A decent local demo studio can be found fairly cheap. Home recording setups are now more prevalent than ever. I wouldn't suggest any 'high school' age band spend 100$ an hour for what really amounts to something to sell to friends and/or a demo to get gigs and interest.

    Some of the costs/activities appear to be sort of 'vanity project' type things in my opinion.