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Cover band pay: how much are you making?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Schizoid75, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Schizoid75


    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    So I did a couple of quick searches and didn't really find what I was looking for. Pardon me if I've missed this thread somewhere. But I'd like to see how other cover bands are doing pay-wise and see if my band should be satisfied.

    We're a 4-piece cover band, all 1980's hair metal with a few other metal and classic songs thrown in. We play around Columbus, OH. We've been together about 2 years, though all of us have played the local scene in various bands for at least 4-5 years, some up to 20 years.

    This year we've been able to get many new venues (places we haven't played previously) to pay $600 for our initial booking and $800 for subsequent bookings. We typically hire the PA, so that's $200 off the top. So we make $100 each at the first show and $150 each at the subsequent shows.

    We're cutting our existing relationships a break and most of them have moved up to $700/gig for 2014, $125 each after sound. And the numbers change for shows that have house sound, but we end up with about the same take home.

    So, what's everyone else pulling in? Are we doing okay?

    If you chime in, let us know where you're located.
  2. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    fEARful koolaid drinker
    Unless you have a HUGE show with audiences numbering in the thousands, I think you're gonna find you're doing just fine.

    I play in the western suburbs of Minneapolis and we generally get between 600-800 per gig. More for weddings of course, but that's only cause I'll shower before those shows.
  3. SonnyBassPlayer


    Nov 29, 2013
    Wow, very lucky... I've made 15 gigs with my old band in my lands, we were a trio with 90% original songs in the setlist, we took the amps, we took the people. We gained 30 euros in one year, and discounts on hamburgers. Italy vs punk rock 1-0
    Oh, all bands of course got the same here, all of them.
  4. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    You're doing good for club work. There aren't many clubs that pay any better than that for local, unknown, or cover acts. Keep up the good work. We play about one weekend a month in a really nice club and make about the same as you. Putting together a "fast-paced, Las Vegas style show" can get you work in larger events, shows, corporate parties, amusement parks, etc, (like this: Queen Mary Christmas Party-The Kelly Rae Band and Knott's Berry Farm gig 08/13/13) that pay even better -- 2 or 3 times more. Break a leg!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  5. Good thread, I'm always curious to learn stuff like this. It seems in almost every industry everyone thinks they're not being paid enough, and are paying too much, but very rarely do you actually get quantifiable data about anything, so any discussion about it, to me, becomes moot.

    We're a Newcastle, Australia-based covers band, and our bread and butter gigs are usually in the $700-$900 + tax (venue pays GST). Agent takes 15%, then split 4 ways. I've been in two bands with the singer, who also owns PA (HK tops and subs with a presonus desk), and he took $100 off the top for PA hire last band, but this time it's just a straight 4-way split. Weddings and functions are usually ~$1500, and corporate work has usually been $2-3K, when we can get it.
  6. Don't expect to make money with originals around here, i've always played for free. Cover bands are a different story. Dove vivi?
  7. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I live and gig in Athens, Greece. Covers (punk, rock, hard rock, rock and roll)
    We're lucky if we can get 200 Euro per 2 hours show. For a 3 piece band, that's 63 Euro a piece. I'd prefer to be a 4 piece band, but that's less money each.
    And that's IF, at the end of the night, the club owner doesn't decide to not pay you or to magically lower the agreed on price, which is quite common here.

    On the plus side, most times the venue provides all the amps, drums, pa, etc.
  8. Hell, for full production provided *I'D* nearly play for that. If you're talking originals, that's doing pretty well
  9. Sydney, Australia based three piece covers band and we're about the same, $600 - $900 + GST for most pub/club work, and $1500 plus for private functions. Our booking agent only takes 10%.
  10. Trekksug


    Jan 25, 2013
    well, i live in norway and we earn about 1600$ a night. 2450$ if we need to provide the PA, because that's a sucky sucky job. :bag:
  11. Yeah ours is 2 agents in one, it's weird; they both take 7.5%, but we're theoretically getting twice the market reach. I will qualify that by saying we are in no way getting twice the market reach, look at others' gig rosters in the area.

    Although that's actually really good to hear about Sydney. We looked into working down there a little while ago and were told that it was more like 5-600 a gig because there were so many more bands to fill it, might have to make some more inquiries. If you know, are the venues agency-locked, or are they ok with dealing with other agencies/freelancers? What venues are your usual haunts?

    (Sorry for the diversion, but this still seems thread-relevant)
  12. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    You're making money? If we look seriously and objectively at this as a business and figure everything into it (buying and maintaning gear, travel, clothes, time, PA rentals, promotion, rehearsal space, ...) for most of us the real question is "How much does it cost you to play music?" ;)
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I'm moving to Norway.
    Typical bar $400.
    Agent gets 10 %.
    Trio $120 ea. Lug our own P.A.
    Wedding/functions are dominated by D.J.'s
  14. We are based in South-West Sydney, we try and stick close to home if we can. Moorebank to Picton area, a lot less bands than inner-city and the pay is usually a bit better. We have travelled up your way in the past but we asked a fair bit more for that one.
    A lot of the venues around our way are locked in to booking agents, some are not. A couple have tracked us down and booked us just from word of mouth.
    I have played around most parts of Sydney in past bands and the pay has varied dramatically. One gig at Leura, in the Blue Mountains, netted us $32 for the night... it didn't cover the fuel costs to get there!
  15. Here in the great Northwest of the US, we get between $400 - $500 per night, 10% for the agent, so there are alot of three piece bands... the split is better. Corporate and weddings can be three or four times that, depending on how many specific requests are made.
  16. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Damn. Now I feel inadequate. My 3 piece makes $300-$500 per night. We basically want $100 minimum per man, but more is always better.
  17. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    A heck of a lot less than playing golf! It may not be a lucrative business, but it does pay to enjoy the hobby. I've tried both, and golf costs a whole lot more! :D

    Every time we play a wedding, I remark how we get to come and play fun music, eat their food, drink their beer, watch their ladies dance... and at the end of the night they give us money!

    To the question, I'm slightly embarrassed to realize that we're working a little cheaper than the average represented in this thread. We've been talking about raising our minimum, just have to screw up the nerve to do it. $400 to $600 for typical 4 hour gigs, more for weddings, usually around $1,500. Midwest US.
  18. Lichtaffen


    Sep 29, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Hi there. We're in the southern New England area. We just formed a 3 piece playing Soul covers from the 60's-70's. I wouldn't consider us "good" yet, but we're working on it. Just played a gig in an upscale restaurant this past Saturday and made $300 total. We brought our own PA, nothing was provided. We were hoping to make double that when we get established and better, but after reading this thread $300 does not seem so bad.

    Gas prices are a major factor. Playing gigs near home nets us more money in the long run.
  19. Central New Jersey, Covers, Small "Bar & Grills", $300 to $400. 4-piece, bring the PA.

    Competition is fierce around here. There's just so many bands venues can pick the cream of the crop. (IE: Who brings the most people!)
  20. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
    Medway, MA
    I play in 3-5 people bands and we supply our own PA/Sound. I consider anything over $100/pp take home a bonus in this current environment.