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Do you ever set a tip jar out at shows?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by STRINGSLINGER, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Like the title says, have you ever set out a tip jar during a show. What is your take on it. Is it tacky, is it OK, does it depend on where you are playing at. And if you have, how was it received by the crowd?

    I am asking because we have an offer to play at a new (to us) venue and they will only pay us roughly half of what we usually get for a show of the same duration.

    Thank you for your input.
  2. Ummm.

  3. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Of course - with band business cards, etc. And it should be something attractive and labeled.
  4. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Depends. We find our tip jar is our CD sales as of late. This way they get something for the tip.
  5. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    I play mostly in blues bands and it's pretty common in my circles to put a tip jar out. However, it's typical to clear it with the venue first as it is not universally sanctioned. As far as participation in tipping by the crowd ... it's all over the place. One of my bands got $400 in tips one time (but it was a holiday weekend and there were two fans who REALLY dug the band who most generously contributed a C note each ... and yes, both had a pretty good buzz going). It's funny how the tipping goes ... there's not much rhyme or reason to it. We often make more in tips at joints that levy a cover charge ... you'd think that you'd make the least in tips at those places. I think the big differentiator is whether it's a "listening" or a "pick up" type of venue ... places where they are really listening often tip better in my experience.
  6. grinx


    Mar 24, 2003
    Raleighwood, NC

    we also put out a Tit jar

    leave us singles in the tip jar or shows us yer rack

    Society of
  7. bassistjoe93

    bassistjoe93 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    Yes! But don't put out a cleaned up peanut butter jar with "Tip" written poorly with a Sharpie. Make it a nice jar, a cool jar, a jar that makes listeners say "man, I wanna put my hard earned money in that jar"
  8. Absolutely! Especially in your situation where you will be making less than normal. Funny thing is that sometimes even if we forget to put one out someone will come up and put money on the stage or in the drummer's bass drum.

    We are playing an outdoor gig this coming Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. and it will be near 100 degrees! You can be sure we will have a big tip jar out for that one!
  9. Thanks for all the good info thus far. However I should elaborate a little.

    We are a cover band of the "everything" variety. I have mentioned placing a tip jar out to the members of our band before and judging by the expressions on the other members faces you'da thought I was speaking Klingon.

    The venue is a non profit organization, the local VFW. The Chaplin / bar manager is a good friend of mine and he is the one booking us. He doesn't have to much of a problem with a tip jar as long as the jar doesn't find its way wondering around on our break's as they also do lots of gun raffle's at this place.
  10. Keep the jar on the stage. Passing it around IMO is tacky.
  11. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Depends. One group I played with in NYC had a steady gig at a nice venue. The guitarists very attractive and personable daughter would frequently see the show, and walk the tip jar around the place. When she was there the tip jar overflowed. When she wasn't, it didn't. Personally I didn't see anything tacky in having her walk it around the room.
  12. At bar and dance club gigs, we always set out a container of some sort with the word "TIPS" on it.

    At upscale events (corporate functions, weddings, etc.), never. In my neck of the woods, that is definitely considered tacky. If the client thinks we did a good job, they know how the gratuity system works, and we usually get a gratuity at the end of the evening.
  13. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    We have an old accoustic, long since unplayable, that we use. It is stringless, and even has a chrome coin slot robbed from some ancient coin operated device. The folks just put the bucks in the sound hole, and we take it out through the trapdoor we installed on the back. Customers seem to like it....
  14. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010

    We snagged one of those metal buckets bars use for beer specials. We painted our logo on it, and set it up on the PA mains (right next to me, so I can protect it).

    We offer requests if you tip, we'll give away a free drink (well drinks) if you write your name on a dollar bill then make a big deal about pulling out a dollar, and we'll give away 1 t-shirt a night the same way.

    We actually had a guy request Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, waving a hundred dollar bill, right after we hit the last note of Don't Stop Believin'. So, we played it again, back to back.

    We would actually make enough to allow us to eat and drink for free (if at a bar) and also paid for gas money. The pay split was about an additional $50 per night for our 5 piece band.

    Edit: Never at a corporate gig or private party. Tips for these will usually be paid by the event coordinator if so inclined. If not, we don't get upset, as the payday for these is typically higher than a bar gig.
  15. Epic :bassist:
  16. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    In NYC tip jar is the rule, basically, to the point that one is pressed to use the house tip jar in order to suggest one's legitimacy, so to speak. Sometimes the owner or gig organizer will be kind enough to take it around, but if they doint do that, you'll need to have your most attractive and socially gifted band member go up to the tables and chat up the patrons seated at tables with jar in hand to score a few bucks, because nobody here is going to walk up to the stage and put a few bucks in that jar.

    I suppose it all depends on the vibe of the place and local habits....
  17. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Of course it depends on the venue, but not putting out a tip jar when appropriate is like throwing away money.

    It's also useful for the "Play Freebird"/"Play Sweet Home Alabama"/"Play so and so" type of unruly patron. You can now say, "Sure, we will play that if you put a $20 in the tip jar". Most of the time it will shut em up. If they do put a $20 in the jar, they are probably so drunk you can fake your way through the request and they won't know the difference. The rest of the audience will be amused at how you've taken the annoying drunk person to the cleaners.
  18. davidjackson


    Sep 10, 2011
    Never on my watch!

    I know there are massive differences across different cultures when it comes to tipping, but in the UK it goes down like a lead balloon. I know tipping is much more common and expected in the States and other countries but it doesn't work here as far as I'm concerned.

    The deal is that the guy who owns the bar wants me to drink in there rather than somewhere else. To make that happen he puts on entertainment which he pays for. The model for him is that he sells more drinks to still make a fat profit after he has paid the band. The band are happy because they get paid.

    Where on Earth does me paying the band extra come into that?

    I have been in bars where the band send somebody round with a pot and it not only ruins the atmosphere but just makes the band look money grabbing and desperate.

    If we do extra well (i.e., bring in far more people and sell more drinks than the bar owner was expecting) then we sometimes get a tip from him. That makes sense from my perspective. I don't want to be hassling my audience for more cash on top of what they are already paying for the drinks. I want them to relax, have a good time, and come to see us in the next place we play so we get another tip from the bar owner there...
  19. fishdreams

    fishdreams Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    Fantastic idea! Thanks-I'll keep that in mind...
  20. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    You bet yer butt we set out a tip jar. We pull 20 Grand out of that thing over the course of a year.

    Got $192 out of it last night.

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