Does every one here get paid to play

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Now that I've got my first gig under my belt, I've been thinking of getting a band together so I can make money. Is there alot of money to be made?

    I played for free and I really don't mind playing for free except that I paid to play. What happend is that I paid to play in a workshop and for the money I paid, I got to rehearse at a music studio and the studio got us the gig. I'll do it again too because I had so much fun. I wish I would have done this as a young man instead of getting hooked on crack but thats another story. Any way, I would like to get a paying gig because there is nothing better in the world than to get paid to play. How can I go about this?
  2. Unless you are a full time pro, you will spend more than you make. Spent on the gear, travel, ect. How many $100-150 gigs would it take to buy that new bass, amp... I played full time at one time and I like the security of a day job.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Nope, don't get paid at all. I use my music to spread a message, so any money I put in it I hope will help improve someone else's life. It's worth it. If I get paid, so much the better.
  4. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I get paid every gig I do. However, with what I've spent on gear over the last 30 years, I doubt I've made a profit!
  5. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    yes, I play professionally

  6. You CAN make money playing music but be prepared - most of the good paying gigs I have worked were 100% covers. The best paying gigs are often not even 'gigs', but functions, ie corporate parties, weddings and stuff like that. Good money but you have to keep it bland. I have also made money at clubs / bars in various cover bands, which is more fun, but to make good money you need to draw, to draw you need to play what people want to hear so depending on your area and demographic you may well need to play some very crappy music, lol.

    A few bands make money playing originals, but they are far and few between...

    Good luck!
  7. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I play in a cover band and we all make about $60-$100 a gig each but we don’t do it for the money its just icing on the cake. Be prepared to deal with bar owners who renege on deals and don’t want to pay.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    Help me I can't get up

  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    There's money to be made by people who are hard working, dedicated, unpretentious, and have a good business-head on their shoulders.

    Gigging is helping to put me through college.
  10. I'm a semi-pro player ("weekend warrior") who plays about 75 gigs a year and I don't play for free unless it is a legitimate charitable function. A legitimate charity will give you a form (the name of which escapes me) that values the donation of your services so you can write it off at tax time. I have a difficult time with the concept of playing for free so that somebody else can make more money because of your effort and investment (in time and in gear).
  11. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    I currently make about 1/3 of my income from music. I won't play for free. I also won't spend more on gear than I expect to make either using it or reselling it.
  12. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    As a Christian band playing originals, it's tough. Back when we were playing almost zero gigs but getting paid for every one, I'd say, yes, it's important to get paid.

    Now we've got a ton more "free" gigs. I dunno. At this point, I'd prefer to play a lot of gigs over once every two months... but not coming out of it with $100 depleted out of the band account is nice.

    I was speaking to a promoter of Christian rock shows last weekend, and he's actually got a great perspective on this. He wants bands to succeed, but it's silly to pay $1000 for a band from out of state that nobody in town will come to see. He just put on a rock show Friday night with four local acts, and brought in about 100 people (not bad for around here). Of course, one band brought probably 30 in, and another brought another 30 or 40... so it's more about bands' connections than the "buzz factor" around the venue.

    A month previous, he hosted a touring bill - 4 bands - 2 from KC (about 3 hours away, joining the others just on this leg of the tour), 1 from Chicago, and 1 from Canada. He charged more at the door to help them since they were touring, but only about 30 people showed up. He still said that he lost money on that show, helping the bands out.

    As a Christian musician, there's an interesting balance between bringing your talents as a free offering and letting the church support its ministers. At this point, I simply ask a lot of places to help cover/cut down on our expenses (house PA whenever possible, meal/housing provided by the church), and then set out our merch and a tip jar (or a freewill offering, depending on the venue). As long as we're not LOSING money on the gig, I'm willing to do it.

    I do also like to give my bandmates a little money to cover time off of work or away from their families, if it's there, but they're usually great. My drummer refuses to take any money beyond what he spends on gas. "Put it back into the band," he says, and I'm happy to oblige.

    For what it's worth, I play for free. I just like to get paid for all the bloody hassles and expenses that go along with playing - printing posters, promotion, travel, hauling equipment, keeping equipment functional, strings, tolls, drumheads, replacing equipment in the middle of a tour, long days, long nights, etc, etc, etc... :D
  13. We're an original band, and typically we don't make a ton, but so far we're making enough to take care of "band" things like recordings and a website, and other incidentals. We do a few gigs just for that coveted "exposure" but we try to be practical too.

    When we started, we agreed gig money would go towards furthering the band. I have friends that knock down decent side money with their cover projects.
  14. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    That's a good way to put it. This is probably eventually going to be the circuit that I will probably end up getting into. My problem is finding dedicated musicians
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    While there are obviously people who make money playing music, I would wager that most here would actually be taking a loss if the added up all of their expenses compared to their revenues.

    If you're getting into music to make money, then you're probably doing it for the wrong reason. Chance are that you will never NET a dime.
  16. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I won't play for free. I get paid to play...gotta pay for the gear! LOL.

    Seriously, I often say...I really get paid to haul gear and set it up and tear it down...but I play for free! I'll always play music for free. It's the rest of the job I want to get paid for.

    Actually I now only play part time, but I do get paid pretty well. I picked up $300 for a simple xmas party Saturday night. It's a great part time job that pays better, and takes up less time than a real job. Expenses really are minimal once you have all your gear. It's the GAS that will eat up profits. :D
  17. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    there is no playing for "free"
    as soon as you go out the door you're spending money..
    gas, strings, batteries etc.

    if you're getting paid for expenses, then that's a free performance.

    If you don't get expenses, then you are paying to play.

    fwiw - I get paid to move gear, I throw the playing in for free :)
  18. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Absolutely, 100% correct.

    So breaking down this last Saturday night's gig...It cost me about $2 for gas. Drinks were free. I used an old set of strings I've had on my bass for quite a while now (and if I broke it down...would probably cost me around $.50 a gig).

    So, I spent a total of $2.50 and got paid $300. So I really only made a profit of $297.50.

    But then there's the gigs where I only get paid $100 but I spent $20 on gas and drinks...and maybe I bought a new set of strings for $30 (but they'll be used again on other gigs). Then there was the gig I had to buy new speakers, so I lost money on that gig, though in reality it still was not a loss if you actually count how many gigs those speakers will be used on.

    All in all, regardless...I make a profit every time I play. It's just a matter of how much profit. Of course once GAS hits me...well, there' no telling how many gigs I really do play for free.
  19. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    DaftCat's half-assed HOWTO on making money in a band.

    1. Cover bands make more $(Your mileage may vary).
    2. Don't gig for free.
    3. Don't drink at your gig(unless it is free).
    4. Avoid GAS.
    5. Take care of your gear.
    6. Learn to do your own setup.
    7. Don't wear expensive clothes(nothing shabby though) at a gig.

    That's it for now...

  20. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Well, no. However I suspect (thanks, cheez!) that there are a significant number that do. I love to play, but I'm too old to do it for free.

    EDIT: Except for the occasional good reason.