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Funding the Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by greenfretless, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. greenfretless


    Jan 15, 2012
    I play in two bands, and I'm the main leader and visionary in one of them, and in the other one, the leadership is shared between three of us. I tend to be a shaker and a mover in that band too.

    Well, both bands needs investment to pull of the higher paying corporate gigs and weddings and festivals we want to do. We need subwoofers for the shared leadership band (we don't want to rent for reasons I won't go into), as well as marketing materials. For my visonary band (the one I lead pretty much alone) I've already put money into a website domain name, hosting after my free hosting service wouldn't let me point to it anymore, high quality pamphlets, business cards, CD's and classy envelopes that fit our personna. I don't want to have to keep doing this on my own dime and taking only a playing musicians share, and unfortunately the club circuit doesn't pay enough for me to take a leader's fee.

    Have you come up with any ways of funding the band so that it doesn't fall all on one guy that doesn't tick people off -- especially musicians who just want play and earn money, and not be involved in the business end of things?

    Or do you think the investment comes with the territory of being a leader in the group until the band can command enough money to pay everyone fairly AND give a decent leader's fee?
  2. Skarekrough


    Aug 7, 2006
    Well, the thing about doling out the cake for the gear is that when you walk away from it you can take it all with you.

    If you want to be in a band then there will always be business. Even if it's something like walking into a situation and paying out for a portion of the PA.

    Best bet is to come to an agreement before a single nickel is spent. It sounds like you've already gone and thrown some money around, which is unfortunate. Your best bet is to sit down with the other band members and talk about a strategy for investing in what you need and seeing if what you have spent already can be included in that.

    For short money....eh...look at bar gigs.
  3. CrashCarlisle


    Sep 13, 2011
    In my band, the 'band' gets an equal cut of the money. Anything spent on band needs comes out of that fund.

    Also, the understanding is that if a person leaves the band, they don't get a 'cut' of what was purchased with band funds.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't think there's any one system, different bands work different ways. Individuals can meet individual expenses, or you can have a band fund, or whatever else.

    I do think that the one rule is that everyone must be crystal clear on how the money works before anyone starts spending. You can say to them, "I'll foot the bill for the subs (or whatever) but I want an extra cut of gig money until they're paid off," as long as you do it BEFORE you spend the money.

    But no one's going to be happy if you come in saying, "I decided to go ahead and buy these subs, so now I demand that you give me an extra cut." Money already spent before the band agrees on how revenue will be split is gone.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
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    Since you're the leader, define your terms up front and how much of a cut goes to you for being the band leader for:
    1)ongoing band expenses
    2)booking gigs.

    Then hire people who agree with your terms. IMO, you need to step up your leadership instead of trying to spread it around.

    With your current band mates, while they are not exactly sidemen (getting paid for rehearsal and such) they've made a choice to not be bothered with the business side of the band).

    However, attempting to reduce your band member's gig pay based on what you've already done, may possibly tick them off and create a major rift, possibly blowing up your bands. Talking about past accomplishments and money spent probably won't be productive because to your band mates, you're changing the rules of the game in the middle of the game.

    Also, just because a band member wants only to play music, earn money and not be bothered with the details doesn't mean that they shouldn't pay for it.

    I suggest taking more control over your bands by:
    1)trademarking band your name, if possible.
    2) do not give any business information (website passwords, email addresses, venue contact info, etc.) to other band members.
    3) compile a list of substitutes for each member so that when anyone can't make a gig or quits, your band can continue and not lose gigs.
    4) Buy the PA subs and other equipment yourself.

    Then have a band meeting and let them know about your goals to obtain higher paying gigs. Then let everyone know that going forward, based on your investments (time and money) you'll be taking the BL's (bandleader's) cut of $XX from all future gigs.

    As far as what's a "fair" rate of pay, if your band mates complain or threaten to quit because they won't be making enough money, I suggest you explain to them that you need to make a profit too, not just them. Getting higher paying gigs should take care of that. If they actually quit, then as BL you'll have to find people to play for the money you can pay them.

    IMO, your past expenses are sunk(non-recoverable) costs.

    However you say it, band members may quit. As BL you need to replace them
    Don't let the other members get you to start listing exactly how much you're spending so they can start nit-picking you and make comments about how you're spending too much. That's not the point. The point is that you're the BL doing what the band needs and you need a return on your investment, whatever it is. Plus, your band mates can't have it both ways: ignore the business end of the band and criticize it at the same time.

    In the long run, if you can't get your investment to pay you a profit, maybe you'll need to find another band where you're one of the band members who only play and get paid (and have lots more free time). :eek:

    Here are a few business management links to check out:
    ~Band management
    "Leading" a band
    Band "funds"?
    Gig pay

    This thread has many management tips in it: If I only knew then...
  6. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    If you guys are sharing leadership, then promo materials should be paid for jointly since they will pretty much only be used for that band. As far as the subwoofers, there's 2 questions to ask. First, does everyone agree that you need them? If so, then discuss how you're going to split the cost, and how to deal with the subs if/when the band breaks up. Question 2 is whether or not you're into the music biz for the long haul. If so, consider buying the subs yourself. If it's going to be too much hassle to store, maintain, haul, and set them up, you could ask for an additional cut from each gig or work something else out. Otherwise, consider the subs as an investment into yourself, knowing that you'll use them for a long time in other musical endeavors.
    In my 20s, I knew that I will be playing in bands for a long time, so I was able to make investments in music gear that I could use not just in the band that I am in, but also for other bands, current and in the future. This view cut down my issues I'd have with gear keeping the band from moving forward, people not being able to chip in their fair share, and the animosity and drama that goes along with it. As long as I could afford it, and I could use it in other bands, I'd front it myself.

    Welcome to the world of owning a business. Most businesses lose money in their first few years, and bands are definitely not an exception. You are just joining the many owners of businesses who do the right thing and pay their employees even though they are bleeding on their balance sheet. And if the business takes off, you will be reaping a greater share of the profits.
    I'm assuming it's an original band. If so, are you the main songwriter? If so, then you stand to make the bigger portion if the band takes off, so look at your costs as an investment that you will reap a majority of the profits on. If you're not the writer, then, I'd rethink your investments.

    IME, people who don't want to be involved in the business end of things usually don't voluntarily pony up cash out of pocket either. They may be able to be talked into a portion of their cut from a gig towards expenses. Depends on the people involved.


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