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Does this sound right? It doesn't to me

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Busker, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Just wondering about this scenario....

    Say a band plays a club for $300 and a portion of the door. This is the first gig the band has played at this club, and if all goes well, pay will supposedly increase for subsequent gigs. The portion of the door the band gets comes after, and only after, the bar recoups the $300 paid to the band.

    So essentially, the bar gets the band for free (right?), plus makes money on the booze sold.

    Seems to me this is win-win for the bar (unless we draw like, only 3 customers), and only IF the band would draw over 100 people @ $3.00 per head, would the band get more money.

    Oh, and the band would have to provide their own door person to collect the cover charge.

    Is this normal for the business?
  2. NO!!! That's definatly a bad scenerio to be in! If my band was offered a deal like that we would not take it. It's flat rate or nothing here.
  3. Vanceman


    Feb 14, 2007
    So. Cal.
    You're gonna make $300 + part of the door, right? Take it. That's a whole lot better than paying to play. Chances are you will never see more than than base amount. btw, if you only bring in 3 customers, you probably wont be asked back. I, personally, was responsible for bringing in 15 people at our last gig. Felt good, too.
  4. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    I agree. Guaranteed rate or no play. And NEVER play for free.
  5. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA

    Never played in Los Angeles, have you...?!?!?!
  6. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Yes, if we only bring in 3 customers, we won't get asked back. I was kinda kidding there, I think we can bring more than three. But we have to bring in more than 100 to make any additional over the base, which might be tough.

    BTW, I wasn't responsible for booking this gig. I don't think I would have agreed to this scenario. BUT, if we do good and make the bar money, they will want us back, and we will have a bit of bargaining power, then.
  7. This used to be a common practice here in mid-state PA and was normally referred to as "versus the door." (i.e "We're getting $600 versus the door...") You're guaranteed a minimum, covered by the bar, which is to the band's advantage in the event of tanking, sucking, drawing nobody, or all of the above. If your door exceeds that minimum, it's yours. As Vanceman noted, "versus the door" puts some responsibility on the band to promote themslves and draw. "Plus the door" is all but long gone in this region, although I'm playing a plus the door gig tomorrow night, first time in this particular bar. That is a rarity here, where "Guaranteed Sh*t" is now the most common form of payment.
  8. I like versus the door OK, and you are getting a guarantee; it is $300, which may or may not be acceptable to you depending on what you are used to making. Around where I am, that is pretty average pay for a small bar band at 100 seat venue. By providing your own ticket taker, you ensure that you don't get screwed by the venue. By being to lazy to provide the door guy themselves, the bar is agreeing to take the risk of failing to collect from you, vs. the other way around. How is this a bad deal?
  9. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    I guess its not a bad deal, but neither do I think its great. In the past, we've played for $450 minimum, but more often, $500 or a little better.

    But different venues have different ways and means I guess. And, if we do good for this place, we should make more next time.

    One band I know? They agreed to play for the door only at this one venue last fall. I was supposed to fill-in on bass for that gig (I played with this band in the past and knew most all of the material), but they got this other guy because he was the singer's friend and squawked about not being offered the gig. I bowed out and was glad in the end. The band probably did very little if any promotion, played to a practically empty house and split about $40 for the night! It was a bar in a small town about 30 miles outside of the big city, and I guess the regulars weren't too hip on paying the cover charge, and the band drew no crowd from the city. Oh, and it was on the same night as a BIG regional college football primetime game that everyone wanted to watch, and that game didn't end until about 10:30 at night. Now that's a bad scenario.
  10. Is this entirely hypothetical?

    Before making the decision, you may want to consider the following:

    1. What's it going to cost you/ the band to hire a door man? Will the door man report honestly?

    2. Is the cover actually $3.00 a head.

    3. How many people does your band honestly draw on a moderately slow night? Is this number greater than 100 (or whatever it takes to recoup the $300)?

    Versus the door in this case does not seem bad; maybe a bit less than ideal. i say go for it if nothing else better is available.
  11. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    were all playing the "get noticed game" atm so we dont really have a "rate" yet plus we play anywhere regadless of cash

    but we've found the best way of doing it is the bar opens as normal and we charge 2quid per head the bar takes all the booze money and we take the door money

    we've had bars in the past ask for a percentage of the door takings but at the end of the day we fill most venues and the bar never charges entry on a normal night so why the hell should they take our door money?
  12. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    I agree with Vanceman et al. - you are guaranteed $300. If you are ok for playing for $300 and the possbility of more if you bring in people, go for it. Worst case you play an empty room for $300 right?

    The bar only gets you for free if 30 people pay the $3 cover. If less pay the cover, they lose money on the band (of course they make money on the drinks those <30 people have, but who knows if that's even enough to cover the operating expenses above and beyond the band for that night).


  13. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    No, its not really hypothetical, but I did write the first post that way. A friend of the band booked this gig for us. He now works with an entertainment company, and has helped us get a couple of gigs in the past. But I was surprised when I heard the terms of this one. We have never taken a gig for less than $450 flat before, not since I've been with the band at least.

    1. The door man (or woman :) ) might not cost us anything. My wife said she might be willing to do it, and I and the band trust her I think. :D

    2. The band leader (for lack of a better term) told me they were trying to decide on a $3 or $5 cover. I advised him to go for the $3, since I thought a lot of people might decide to go elsewhere when faced with a $5 cover. We were both thinking that more people paying $3 would be better than fewer paying $5.

    3. I don't know how many we actually draw. Kinda hard to figure that one. We've played to some fairly packed houses more often than not, but how many came because of us, and how many would have been there anyway? I don't know that. Truthfully, I don't think we have that big a draw yet. Our gigs have been too few and far between - we've been doing only 1 or 2 gigs a month for months. Its not like we've been out there a lot, being seen and heard somewhere every weekend. Hoping that is going to change.
  14. Fnord Explorer

    Fnord Explorer

    Feb 3, 2008
    Man, you guys have it good. Around here, if you are an original act, you generally only make off the door and that's only AFTER the soundman is paid first. Then you generally have to split the door with two or three other bands.

    I'm more or less happy if my bar tab is paid for. I've played some big money gigs in the past but they aren't frequent and no one here gets a guarantee.
  15. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Although this band does do a few originals, we mostly do covers, so I guess we're a cover band, for now.
  16. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    Nope. Only Houston & New Orleans.

    Our time should be considered more valuable than to 'gamble' with. So, guarantee or no play. :)
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've only every played one gig where we played for the door, and the band leader was wise enough to post one of our more dedicated fans at the door to collect the money.

    $300.00 is $300.00. If you are willing to play for that much money what do you care how much the bar makes??

    We always play for a set rate and a bar owner may give us a bump at his discretion, but as long as he pays the agreed upon price I'm happy as heck if they had a good weekend. That's my job. Bringing patrons to his club.
  18. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    a $300.00 guarantee for an unknown original pop/rock band would be a great deal here in Seattle. In my band, We rarely break 100 bucks between us.
  19. Vanceman


    Feb 14, 2007
    So. Cal.
    +1. $300 just happens to be the going rate around here. I'd love to get $450. :) When we first started, we played for half the door, after the booking agent took the first 15 patrons. I usually made $5.
  20. butchblack

    butchblack Life is short. Do good. Find and do what you love.

    Jan 25, 2007
    Waltham Massachusetts
    A lot of variables here. How often is your band playing for $450-$500? Twice a week, twice a month, twice a year? If twice a week then it only makes sense if you really want to get into that room. Twice a year, it's a paying gig with a reasonable (far from great) rate. How big is your band? Do you have to rent equipment, travel far, hire a sound person? Are you an established regional band that will draw on name alone? You also mentioned possibly getting more at future gigs. IMHO it sounds reasonable unless your real busy. OK paying gigs are hard to come by here in the Boston area and you only get better as performers by playing out.

    My 2¢

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