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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Shimmi, Apr 5, 2016.
I'm glad someone made sense of the mess. Bye Brad!
Sounds like too much work for too little money.
Do you have gigs booked for the future? Better iron this out now, those are your leverage.
The Band Was formed 7 months ago with craig, originally I got him started at
$150 a gig. Then he continued is project with one other member cody, then the fiddle player clair.
ATM we are playing a small town of just 6,000 its our hometown we hit pretty much every bar and many of our fans come from Oshkosh/Appleton/Stevens point area in Wisconsin. I could have been getting gigs in much larger cities already but I didnt want the band to play any larger gigs until they are 100% solid on sound and stage presence which they are just now getting to. Our first bigger city gig(pfft if appleton counts lol) is the 28th
then a festival in may and then another in October.
No one is a trained Musician, but I have seen Craig play circles around "trained" musicians he just has a natural talent. Cody is pretty good but no where near same level, clair is phenomenal on banjo but her violin playing can use a lot of work.
I'm looking for all sorts of fish to fry. However the reason I wanted to be a band manager in the first place is to help musicians get from point A to point B. I know a lot of extremely talented players that have no business working as fry cooks in this tiny town. I believe there are great potential bands on the streets, but they dont have A, gear B, image/direction/know how and C places to play.
I want to jump start the music scene, so far have 3 bands signed on.
Like when I ran into Craig and Cody, both very talented, but no way to get started. What really urks me about this brad situation is he knew Craig for like 10 years and never offered any of this to him or tried to even get a band together.
That's another reason why I need help with contracts, if this was the first band I'm def going to be more prepared for the others and work out a solid arrangement so im getting enough credit/money
Sounds like a few problems are happening here.
a) Unclear boundaries. If you get 15% of bookings, you need to spell out how leads work. If there is a lead it could go to you to close the deal unless there is a really good reason for it. You need to spell out whether you get a portion of every lead even if someone else closes the deal, arranges for the band, interacts with the client during the delivery period etcetera, or if the person who finds the lead and closes the deal gets it. I favor the latter as finding gigs is the hardest part of playing in a band. Any way you can incentivize band members to be entrepreneurs can get your booked more often than if it's a one man show.
b) Lack of appreciation for your sales and promotion work.
Big problem in most bands I've been in. For most people, sales and promotion is not fun. There is rejection, a lot of computer work, and it FEELS like work. The gig is only the tip of the iceberg. Now, this group wants to give the PA guy a guaranteed $60 while you do all the hard work. It's easy to buy equipment and haul it (by easy, I mean simple -- a sure thing). On the other hand, it takes a lot of skill to find suitable clients, negotiate, and close the deal. Yet, your band is placing a higher value on the simple part and leaving you to be the doormat for the band.
Remember what they say "Without sales, nothing happens". You band needs to understand and respect that.
c) Brad. Sounds like this guy is out for himself. He's weasled his way into getting the fixed rate for the PA by dropping coin to outdo you, and he's also stepping on your boundaries for bookings. Good managers respect boundaries, even if it means sitting on your hands when you KNOW you can go forward and do the job of someone else. But if you do that, you make the person who's job it is to do the work demotivated, disempowered etcetera. Delegation, and boundaries require discipline and it seems like others in the band aren't showing that discipline. This problem is partly amplified by the lack of clear boundaries or division of labor regarding who does all the booking.
Frankly, I would never have agreed to a fixed rate for hauling someone else to haul the PA. The PA hauler gets a percentage just like you do. That way there is money left over for the band and everyone shares "equally" (according to agreed upon percentages).
All I can say is you better hope "Brad" doesn't book some gigs that actually pay or you will be gone. Time to start asking for some real money.
Booking is mainly me, but everyone in the band finds gigs.
Had a talk with Craig about the pay/band situation and it looks like Brad is doing a fine job burying himself.
From the conversation I had the band wants me back on sound and they just want to rent equipment from brad.
They want to add an extra $20 to my cut and give brad $40 for the equipment to rent, when we need it. which I'm going to talk to craig about just flat out buying brads mixer(they originally went in 50/50 so why we're paying to rent equipment we already partially own is beyond me) But I'm more than ready to write him a check for the remaining 50%
After the mixer all we need is better mics, we could rent brads but I would rather just buy a set and not give him anything. That way I get 15% plus $20 for mixing and we're thinking of having everyone pitch in for advertising costs.
The best news today is brad recently got a violin and wants to "jam a few songs" at the next show.
So now hes gunning for Claires Job... this couldnt be more perfect. Claire seemed to be the only one against me and now he's going to try and upstage her. Check mate.
He is a really good musician, but I know for a fact it doesn't matter how good he is, because Clair is half the face of the band and I doubt shes take kindly to brad taking her spotlight. Craig feels the same, we are all friends with brad but hes kinda digging his own grave and got greedy. I'll update you guys the second things are for sure!!
I pitched that it wouldn't be a bad idea to give whoever books a gig and extra %. However it was turned down, craig argued that the band should want to play/get gigs and not have to have incentive outside of that. Which I thought was a great point to make.
I appreciate this post! Really hit the nail on the head on the selling aspect of it.
One thing I found out yesterday is apparently Brad told everyone I already agreed to 10% before I talked with the band. I wasn't sure how he got that, but nothing surprises me at this point.
I spoke with Craig and I mentioned to him that we all took a bigger cut before Brad, an essentially the biggest improvement in sound happened after the upgraded mics so realistically we were all taking a huge cut just for 2 microphones.
I also mentioned, as the band was aware, that Brad didnt complete full setup, nor was he on the sound like he should have been since we were paying him. Apparently Craig, and Claire already discussed the possibility of getting me back on sound and just giving brad a flat rate for renting and we all help setup. So things seem to be improving but still needs to be written down.
That's great if everyone really DOES go out and book gigs. In my experience, gig bookers are a rare breed, and generally not appreciated. They end up doing a ton of the hard work for nothing in return, netting less than the rest of the band after their time invested. Then they get burned out, the band stops gigging, and the musicians join other bands, hoping to get more gigs.
Perhaps you're in a band that is statistically unusual, where everyone is a gig booker. That is a gold mine if that's what has happened, but in my experience, that almost never happens.
And when you do have a gig booker, he tends to form his own band because he also wants to hold the reigns!
It sounds to me that unless your group is in fact unusual in its sales orientation, the band has made the cardinal mistake of focusing all the effort on the operational side of things (musical quality, songs learned, gear) without feeding and watering the sales and marketing function. You can tell what is important to a band by where they are spending their money. So, if you're giving extra cuts for PA stuff and the gig bookers aren't getting anything incentive-wise, it sounds like you might end up with a great band that never gigs.
Time will tell if I am right, however -- you will know soon who is a gig booker and who isn't. Just ask them in rehearsal what they did last week to promote the band see what they say. Or what their plans are this coming week. Blank stares? Comments without substance? Silence? A rehash of contacts they have in the wings that never materializes? The same list of action items that never gets done? Statements that "we aren't ready yet"?...
If so, these are what I call employee musicians who want to show up and get paid (and they are valuable too, just not in getting gigs). But if in response to your question, they start describing the clubs they went to, the emails they sent, the research they did on events/music festivals, how they grew your facebook by 50 people this week, networking contacts they made, then you know those are the guys who are going to help promote the band. In my experience, gig bookers book gigs as soon as the band forms, even if there is not enough material to even do a gig -- off the strength of three songs on Youtube, for example. And then, with a gig and money on the table, the band gets really motivated to be ready for the gig.
In my experience, there has never been any more than 2 gig bookers in any 4-5 piece band, and one gig booker is the norm.
I have a rule now. I don't expect people to be gig bookers -- I advertise for one person to help me do that, and they normally have to show they have a sales or small business background. And I now take a bigger cut off the top and then just tell the musicians what the pay is. If they accept it fine, they don't have to know the total -- I know my needs and what it takes for me to put in so many hours a week of business networking, rejection, boring internet work to stay motivated. So I make sure I always get more than the rest of the band, where possible. Sometimes I take nothing if the gig doesn't pay well or I need to motivate the band. I gave up on the consensus model a long time ago on matters of pay as I found I was always doing all the work while others imposed pay structures on me that left me earning less than the rest of the band after all my time and effort.
I let offer and acceptance rule the pay structure -- I offer a gig at a certain rate of pay, and they can either accept or reject it.
I'd probably take it one step further and tell him the band either wants to buy out his half - or he can buy out theirs. But either way you're not going to "rent" it going forward.
Consider: A band without a mixer is still a band. All it needs to do is go out and buy another mixer. And there are plenty to choose from. But a person who owns a mixer, and isn't in a band - or doesn't have a band renting it from him - is the proud owner of an expensive door stop.
I'm sure that proposal will get him sufficiently pissed that he'll either take the money and walk; or walk and take the mixer - and then try to stiff you for your half because you "burned him." How you decide to handle that (if it happens) is your call.
But either way, he'll be gone. And that seems to me to be the first order of business. Because guys like Brad have got to be shown the door. And quickly.
Or so I think anyway. Luck!
Perhaps you could help Brad start his own band, and manage that too.... just a thought, he already has his own PA now?
Gig Bookers need their own thread. I copped shade last band for suggesting I lob 10% on the top of future gigs (if I could get it) and pocket it for all the time I spend getting gigs. This was after securing a once-a-month, forever, gig of which I took and continued to take, no extra cut at all, as well as 100% of the gigs the band had played so far. Some people just don't seem to realise that work done to secure gigs isn't done with non-time.
It's not unusual to continue getting a commission on a sliding scale for "forever" gigs. The deal one of my bands had with one of our managers was: 15% for the first two bookings. 10% for repeat bookings following the second gig for the first 6 months following. 5% after that for an additional 6 months.
That was fair (I thought) because he continued to get commissions from the repeat booking. But it also put a definite time limit on how long they would continue - so it kept him motivated to keep looking for other venues rather than line up a dozen local "go nowhere" repeat venues and then just sit back and collect forever.
Again, if the musicians don't know the total, then you can take whatever you want -- just be fair about it in case they find out some how. Like the owner spills the beans. And for your conscience.
I think you deserve your straight cut to perpetuity -- to compensate you for all those gigs where you can't get anything for yourself due to low pay, or just to keep you motivated and in the game. I learned long ago that you have to look after yourself, because hardly anyone else will....
The consensus model of band leadership was fine for a while, but after I found I was doing all the work, the contractor model I'm on was the only way I could stay in the game...
There isn't an issue of booking gigs. 9/10 places want us back right away, its just a matter of getting our foot in the door and having a good turnout. Everyone's booked a gig here and there(except for one), some more than others. I gave them a script to use when talking prices if they ask for it. But other than they having a personal connection with owner most the time they just hand off the band biz card and that has my number on it so I can take it from there.
The main gigs I've been booking are 4-6 months from now for larger events and gatherings. I'm hoping to get summer into next year booked and continue long term because months have been flying by.
I say gig booking is much easier when you have a price in mind and know what you're worth, I remember first doing it in one of my original bands and I barely had the stones to ask for drinks let alone money, then I learned to ask $150, which still isn't worth bragging about but at the time for me it was. Now I can say any price without even batting an eyelash, its just something you need to learn to be comfortable talking about.
Reminds me of this band I saw play last week, bluegrass, phenomenal sound, perfect volume everything was fantastic, blew my band out of the water.
So I go to the bar owner and ask him if this is the type of music he likes bringing in and I offer him a business card. He hesitates and mentions he cant pay much, which is why he has this band and he tells me they only getting $250($250 for an all night gig, plus hosting an open mic...I thought I was bad), but they understand cause there's not much of a crowd. I told him if his biggest concern is people we can easily triple the audience on our bad night. I offered a 3 hour set for $300, drinks, and 10% of till, and if he wanted us to stay longer we can play it by ear. He seemed hesitant at first but when I mentioned our average show turnout he was interested.
It just blows my mind how a band that good can low ball themselves (6 people splitting $250 for an all night gig and hosting open mic...) plus they were talking about getting back from touring florida...
I've tried, he's an amazing drummer but everytime I bring it up he says he wants to be a recording artist. He'll start "projects" or jam. I've pushed him and told him any band he involves himself would be that much better. I guess he just has to control every instrument. Either way most I can do for him is album art or maybe show him some online outlets but he has soundcloud so really all he needs.
I feel if a musician doesnt play shows or want to play shows whats the point?
That is the same way I think about 7 people splitting $300.00.
Sounds like the usual delusions of grandeur and narcissistic "I can do everything" mindset that's so common in the music world. Especially among those that don't actually do it - just tell everyone who will listen how: "I would if I could just find the right people."
As far as doing shows, it all depends. There's two different worlds in music. Live performance is interactive theater. Creating a recorded work is more like doing a painting. When a painting is finished, people don't expect to see you keep on painting. Once it's done it's done.
But a straight studio only non-performance music project isn't commercially viable any more. People will just download and share whatever you record these days. The time when you could do like the Beatles and continue to release albums long after you ceased public performance is largely a thing of the past. Musicians today have pretty much resigned themselves to going back to work for a living.
it sounds like you have it together on the promotion side of things, and that the whole band is doing their part in getting gigs. Great job -- your sales approach is exactly the same as mine -- I don't even talk about the music with restaurant owners, I talk about the draw. I talk about strategies to boost sales while they are there, etcetera. When they want to know about the music, I mention our website and vidoes and that's the end of the discussion about music -- good music is a given.
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