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Band Finances - the 5 "W"s

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thewanderer24, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    Right now, my band has just started getting some regular gigs, and, as such, we actually have a little money in the bank. I am just curious to hear how you guys usually divide up the money.

    Do you usually just split it up after each gig? Keep it in an account to be split up later (this is our current situation)? Does it automatically get reinvested into needed equipment and such?
  2. Randumb


    Feb 2, 2003
    Baltimore, MD
    Straight to production costs. theres no ifs ands or buts
  3. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ideally, one of your saxophonists is a retired accountant.
  4. Even better...when the bassist is an accountant. :D

    So here are some questions for you: What do you think you will need in the future? PA equipment? Gas money? Do you think your band members will be financially responsible and able to cough up cash when the band needs it?

    I say it can't hurt to keep a band fund so long as the accounting is always up-to-date and monitored by all of the bandmembers.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In the past, we have split the money evenly among band members and counted the band fund (kitty) as a band member. For example in a 4 piece band, we have traditionally split the money 5 ways - 1 for each member and 1 for the band kitty.
  6. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    In my opinion, there really is only one good way to handle band money. You make a decision up front, either all income from the band with be immediately split between the members (presumable in equal amounts, although you could agree to any proportion), or all money will be pooled to be used to fund band projects, and band projects only. In other words, no loans, no stipends for strings, amp repair, new drum heads, tubes for an amp, etc.

    In my band, we pool all money and I just keep a simple spreadsheet showing income and payments...exactly like you'll find in a checkbook. We pool money to be used for our website, recording projects, etc. This way, everything is very clear from the outset, and you can avoid all of the potential problems that involve band money....being used for a non-band purpose that doesn't equally benefit all members, one person getting a disproportionate share, etc. Your band will run a lot smoother if you run it like a business...which is what it is. By eliminating as many causes for arguments, you can devote more time to enjoying each other and the music you make together.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes - that's exactly what my band does and keeps proper accounts - we have a quarterly meeting and decide how much to pay ourselves after deciding what to spend and invest.
  8. cjgallen


    Oct 19, 2001
    It's easy, I just watch the guitarist blow the money on overpriced stickers and t-shirts for the band :rolleyes: Actually that's his own money. As far as "band money" goes, we don't have squat :p
  9. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    If I were in a band that was making a bit off moolah (i pray i will be someday) i reckon that the money should go into one bank account that every member should have access to.

    BUT, the money should be spent on production, and it should contribute a little to each person, say if the drummer wants a new double kick pedal, or whatever, the band should pay half. In that sence i mean half (or a little less) should come out of the band bank account.

    Or if the drummer wanted to pay it all himself, that would be just dandy (please refrain from any drummer jokes here :D :rolleyes:

    Thats just my cents though...
  10. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    We just divide it up equally. Not that there is much to divide up, the clubs here don't pay very much. If I was doing it for the money I would have given up a long time ago...
  11. I say divide it equally, immediately, and forget the band fund. Here's why: let's say the band fund has been used to buy a new mixer. Then the band breaks up. How do you divide the mixer??? Uh, one person gets the mixer, another gets the mics, another gets the monitors???? No matter how you slice stuff up, somebody's gonna feel like they got shafted. Then things get really ugly. And let's face it, bands do break up. Even if it doesn't break up, people come and go. What if you leave--and you know there's a grand or more worth of your "pay" tied up in band equipment? What then? Fat chance of seeing your money! You'll be lucky to get any equipment either.

    In my bands, everybody contributes their equipment for the use at the gig, after all, it is supposed to be a group effort. If they quit, they take their stuff. That's one reason I have PA gear, if I am supplying the PA it does give me a little bit more clout as far as band leadership. (And let's face it, a band's got to have a leader.) I don't volunteer the use of my PA unless the other guys don't have one...in which case I supply the PA but I "run the show" soundwise. And the PA goes home with me, as does all my gear (with rare exceptions).

    Cynical? Probably, but twenty years of band experience has gotten me a little battle-hardened.
  12. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    We pay the sound guy, who owns the PA, his $50 (he's our friend) and split up the rest evenly between members of the band. I've never been a fan of things being owned by "the band" instead of individuals in the band.
  13. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've had a bad experience in the past with buying equipment as a band, and I won't do that again. When the singer of a band I was in years ago left, he took the monitors as his share of the PA, and left us without any.

    When our keyboard player in my current band, who owned the PA, passed away 2 years ago, I bought a PA myself just to keep from having those kind of problems again.
  14. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
  15. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    when we do covers with The Nerve what we usually do is pay the drummer (cuz we use several) $100, and then split the rest with me and Randy (my guitarist) because we do all the business work involved. I usually get around $20 extra for doing the driving.

    my other cover bands the musicians usually get $100 each (cuz the lead singer is paying for our accompaniment) or we split evenly.
  16. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    We put the cash in a kitty. That money is used to buy gear as we need it. But it goes in a circle, I got the band to buy a mixer and it's mine. The guitar player got a new line 6 amp from the band fund. the drummer got heads and rings for his set. It just goes out to what we need. When the band fund buys it, it will spend $500.00 and the rest is up to that person. But they get to keep the gear.
  17. My band has been putting some money asside in a "band fund". The past few gigs we have actually put the entire amount into the fund. However, sometimes we just split the cash. We recently were thinking of opening an account just to keep better track of how much we have and for safety reasons (leaving all that cash in one person's house could be baaad.) Anyone out there have experience with having an actual bank account for band money? Did you put it in one person's name? Have each member as a "signer" on the account? Use an existing account?

    As far as things purchased with band money, I think that if an agreement can be made prior to the actual purchase, it can help with problems down the line.

    I think too that money from a band fund can go to other non equipment things that may be hard for one person to fund alone. Such as money for a small tour, creating a quality recording at a studio, etc. I know some bands here locally that seem to have been able to push there careers in music farther by allocating money for future endeavors.
  18. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    How the money gets divied up varies. When I was in high school bands and college bands, we all got an equal share.

    Now that I have a more professional approach to it I feel differently about that.

    1. If you're the band leader you are IMO entitled to a larger cut of the cash.

    2. If you are the one who provides the rehearsal studio then you should get a slightly larger portion of the funds

    3. If you are the one who booked the gig then you should get a finders fee and take home a little more than the others.

    More often than not though the band leader is the one who does all three of those things. But sometimes he does'nt.

    Thats why I like the freelance routine. I set my price they either say ye or ney to it. I dont have to worry about band politics.

  19. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    That would be great, but I haven't had that happen too many times. You would be surprised how many singers I've auditioned that didn't even own a mic...
  20. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I know exactly what you mean. So many singers expect everything to be provided for them. They don't want to spend any money on gear, they don't want to help set up, they don't want to strike, they don't want to drive. I'd go on but that's a different thread.

    My band has a couple monitors that are owned by "the band". I don't like the idea of group ownership, but at the time none of us wanted to own the monitors or put up all the money for them. They weren't that expensive so even if the band breaks up we're not losing too much.

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