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Do you charge a band to fill in if they're not getting paid?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassnomer, Feb 11, 2016.


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  1. Bassnomer

    Bassnomer Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Lakewood, CA
    Let's make this short. My brother and I are musicians of about 10 years, him drums and myself bass/guitar. We have a recording studio that records bands in the area, and some of them have been asking us to fill in at their live gigs in the area. Usually these bands aren't getting paid at their gigs, though I can say that my brother and I are good musicians that will learn the material and play it on point and perform well. I don't want to keep giving our time and skills away for free, though I know that these bands don't have a large budget for these things. What would you TB'ers do in this situation? Thanks!
     
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Why on Earth would you play for free? Maybe a drummer can fake it so $100 would be OK but you'd have to learn the songs too. I'd say $100 plus $25 per song that you have to learn would be minimum but good luck getting that LOL.
     
    Sgt. Rock, twinjet and spaz21387 like this.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    If they aren't getting paid, it's unlikely they can pay you. Look at it as a chance to make connections with people who hopefully will continue to use your studio. It's up to you - but whatever you do, you should be consistent.
     
  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Yah, do it for the "exposure" LOL :facepalm:
     
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    When you have a business - one that the musicians use (hopefully), that IS exposure.

    I have a friend who sells real estate, and is also a painter. When he gets a listing, or sells a house, part of the deal is he will paint the rooms for free. He trades a painting job worth a few hundred for a commission that can be 5 figures.
     
    jp58 and Duder like this.
  6. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    It depends what you WANT. If it's having opportunities to get out and play in public and you don't need the money, why not? Would you be working paying gigs if you passed up these opportunities? Do you enjoy doing it? Does it bring in business to your studio (networking opportunities, etc)? If it's not worth it to you, then just say no. As much as we talk about it here in TB, money is NOT the only motivator or reason to play music. What's right for me might not be so for you. I play plenty of paid gigs every month, but manage to do a few free (or nearly so) sit-ins and sessions too. The two out of three rule applies ... Good music, good money, good company. Give me any two (but all three is best!)
     
  7. Megalon

    Megalon

    Jan 2, 2016
    You obviously charge people to record in your studio so just add 'performance fees' to your rates list. You've been playing 10 years so you are probably pretty good-no pay no play.
     
  8. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Yeah exactly - it exposes to the world that you'll play for free. :D
     
    dralionux, obimark, salcott and 2 others like this.
  9. You should be getting paid, full stop.
     
    JackANSI and Sgt. Rock like this.
  10. Some people like to play, some people like to get paid.
     
    Matthew Barrack likes this.
  11. I'm a believer that a band that WANTS to play for free, should have the right to play for free and not get crap about it.

    But I don't understand why anybody would want to "fill in" for free unless maybe they're newbies who are starved for stage experience. You don't even get "exposure" since it's not your band.
     
    obimark likes this.
  12. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    I do plenty of fill in work, I play for free by my choice from time to time. Many calls I get, the first thing I hear is, "this is a big show for us, but we aren't getting paid." Me, "well I would be happy to help, my rate is _____." Them, "but we aren't getting paid." Me, "my rate is ______, if it is such a big show it should be worth it." It takes about 2 seconds to find out how big the show really is. Bars that give away too many free drinks will go out of business sooner than ones that don't...
     
  13. jnuts1

    jnuts1

    Nov 13, 2007
    I have done a bunch of recording for some crappy bands and they always want me to be on the gig too (usually their only gig) but always say they have no money and can't pay. so I don't play
     
    jtharp likes this.
  14. Bassnomer

    Bassnomer Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Lakewood, CA
    Thanks for all the responses, guys. The way I see it is that it's fun, but we need to be payed for our time and travel. At the absolute minimum I want the gig(s) to not come out of our pocket at all. The way I see it is if they need the people there on stage and it's important to them, they'll pay. Just like bands pay for gear and props even if they're not getting paid for the gig.

    It looks like this band is going to do a full length in our studio soon, so I have no problem cutting them a discount on the performance fee. I just want to charge a reasonable fee so people don't expect it to be free for them in the future.
     
    longfinger and Joedog like this.
  15. twinjet

    twinjet AJ, you're the MAN! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    I'd tell them they're SOL, because I have bills to pay!
     
  16. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    Charity:
    Who is benefitting from your philanthropy?
     
  17. Bassnomer

    Bassnomer Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Lakewood, CA
    Very true, and gas here in LA sure isn't dropping like the rest of the country.
     
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yeah, once you head down that road, you'll get a rep for playing for nothing. Never play for free!
     
    Sgt. Rock likes this.
  19. twinjet

    twinjet AJ, you're the MAN! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    There's a happy medium to be found... Alaska always has had higher gas - and a lot of it is our oil! But gas has gone down to $2.20/gallon. BP and ConocoPhillips have been laying people off on the slope. I work a contract for them that assures another five years of service, but...

    Anyway, I don't mean to derail!
     
  20. Bassnomer

    Bassnomer Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Lakewood, CA
    No need, thanks for the info!
     

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