Discounts/Extra Charge for Backline Sharing?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Alex O, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Sounds fair

    9 vote(s)
  2. That's greasy bud

    0 vote(s)
  3. I'm already doing it

    1 vote(s)
  4. Needs more though

    1 vote(s)
  5. Promoter wouldn't pay for it

    0 vote(s)
  1. Hey all, I just wanted to know if anyone has been making it a regular practice to charge a promoter an extra fee on top of your regular performance rate to supply a shared backline for the night when none is provided (or discount an inflated fee)?

    We're a small weekend warrior metal band with an average 20 person draw in areas within 2 hours of our home base (market pop of about 1,000,000 people). We sell merch at profit and charge a travel fee to break even, but have been thinking about offering backline services since we have desireable gear and just got a vehicle substantial enough to tow our own backline. A lot of bands here have no problem playing for nothing here or close to it (softening the market) but ask for gear last minute.

    What do you think Talkbass? Is this greasy, is there fair value in it, or does it need to be refined more?

    *Edit: I'm not considering charge performers, I'd charge whoever is paying out that night on top of our own bands cut*
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Firstly make sure your gear is bulletproof - a bass amp no more than 1/2 the watts of the cab.

    I doubt some sleasy-arse "promoter" is going to give you any $$$ but if you do play a gig where you need your own backline and some other band wants to rent one or more of your rigs that's cool. OTOH they're liable to get snarky about it IME - Maybe folks are less "entitlement generation" up there than here?
    Kitsapbass and Alex O like this.
  3. AngusHasMoxie


    Mar 11, 2013
    Easthampton, MA
    Formerly endorsed by Carvin, Basson and Dimarzio
    Might be a service you can offer other bands on the bills ahead of time. Tell the promoter (it might seem sleazy if you do it behind their back) and contact the other bands that are playing, tell them your band is willing to backline them for a price. Agree ahead of time, don't try to offer it the day of the gig. Way more legit that way. Plus, you can go back to the promoter and tell them that you're backlining band B and C, so they can write up a setlist that puts those bands together, which everyone will appreciate.

    There are definitely situations from my old playing days that the thought of dropping some dollars on a backline rather than having to bring a second vehicle to a gig would have been financially viable, along with not having to worry about loading in/out after (and before) a long, cramped drive to the gig.

    Also, that way if the drummer from xXxDecapitatedGoatCorpsexXx forgets that he needs to bring a drumset to a gig, you have some legitimacy to charging him (since you told them ahead of time) and you give the other bands a great excuse to say no :D.
    Kitsapbass likes this.
  4. You definately raise a good point! I certainly wouldn't want to seem predetory or catch anyone off guard. Rather I'd just offer it to encourage promoters to organize their own backline, or work with us to provide for everyone.
  5. Sounds like you might be creating a "Pay To Play" situation for the other bands. The promoter sure isn't going to pay for it.

    Personally, I wouldn't. Nor would a play if I had to pay for a backline.
  6. Hmm, seems to be a common thread here. I wouldnt charge bands (because pay to play is cancer) unless they ask, but since it keeps coming up I am curious why you and others think promoters wouldn't go for it?

    To me it seems like the same logic behind the rest of the service industry: if to provide a service I need specialized equipment beyond the basic tools, it's an extra fee. An example would be if you need a sign put up on your building that can't be done with a ladder, then you pay for bucket truck service. Or if you need a sound guy to supplement your house pa with his own gear, then you pay for the gear rental to supplement it.

    That's assuming there's logic in any of these situations though...
  7. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    There's no logic in the originals scene ;) .
    DirtDog and Alex O like this.
  8. Blaargh

    Blaargh Guest

    Apr 4, 2016
    We usually ask for some money when we provide a drumkit, but only that. It's a desirable kit and it's most likely to get damaged, but we don't for providing cabs or heads.
  9. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    The only wrinkle I'm seeing with your idea is that if you do strike a deal to rent out your backline to other bands, you'll have to arrive earlier and/or stay later during a shared gig event to fulfill that promise (which equates to more time spent per gig and potentially damaged equipment). It's not a bad idea but I'd make sure to write up a contract and to secure a hefty deposit in case a band destroys something and "can't" pay for it.
  10. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    GC does gear rentals, no? But they're corporate and can afford to lose gear. Plus, delivery isn't an issue of theirs. This might cost you more than it's worth, long term. Will this business idea make you enough money to be worth you guys breaking your backs, wearing down the vehicle and busting up your own equipment?
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Tough one. The promoter isn't going to pay for it. And the bands aren't going to willingly pay for it since the deal is usually the backline is provided by the house or not at all. And if some bands bring their own gear and opt out you may be in the difficuult position of breaking down for a set and then setting up for the next paying band.

    Sounds like a "good idea" that's going to end up being more trouble than it's worth.

    It may also put some ideas in the heads of club owner that are already furnishing a backline. They may see revenue opportunities and decide to start adding that fee as a supplemental gouge on top of their usual raw deal.
    DirtDog likes this.
  12. I think you'd find that many, if not most, musicians strongly prefer to use their own backline...they paid for that gear and are proud of their sound! If I'm told I'm playing on someone else's amp, I'm not pleased but go along with it because it is what it is. If I was then told I'd have to pay money for that situation I'd laugh and turn down the gig.
  13. If I was your drummer you would be providing the drumset. I will help you carry it and set it up for free. I will store it for free.
  14. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    It depends on your definition of back line. Are you talking all amps/cabs, drums & cymbals, PA gear including mics? What all are you referring to?

    My take is: If it's your PA gear, you are going to end up spending the whole gig there, right? You're going to let them use your gear - risking your financial outlay, right? You and your bandmates/friends are setting up and tearing down, right? Sound checking it, providing a sound man? If that's the case, I'd say yes. If you're providing all of it, I'd charge even more.