How much to charge for a gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by addylewis, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. Now my band have never really been paid proper money for a gig...

    I've been told we could get a gig in a new club who would pay us £250 ($500), but in order to get that paying gig we would have to play our first gig there for free...

    is that right? - I've been told at uni that some places turn bands down coz they ONLY ask for £250 AT THE FIRST GIG. Now, nothing wrong about doing a free gig, but the fact that my teachers son's band STARTED OUT on £650 a show and we're expected to do a free one to start out...something wrong there isn't there?

    We play about 30 or so rock'n'roll/"not done to death" rock covers and 4-5 originals...

    This place has messed us around a bit already and we've not even played there yet...

    We were due to play there last wednesday, and I booked time off work the previous sunday - the DAY before the gig they cancelled on us saying they couldn't pay us... they then tried to get us for a free "try out" gig on sunday, now we just wanna do some gigs before the singer goes back to cyprus but we were offered some decent money then they said we'd have to play for free coz the boss wouldn't pay us first time in - we turned it down on principal.

    Now if they get their acts together and pay us some proper money they can have us, but until then I'm not doing any free gigs for the bassturds, EVEN if it is our first one in the place - what you think, right or wrong??
  2. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Get their offer in writing, signed. Sounds like they're kinda dicey, anyway.

    As for what we make in our area...

    Unless you already have a following, its pretty hard to get more than $150-$200 for the band. When you do get a following, you can get anywhere from $300-$500, depending on what you play and where. If you have radio airplay, then you can usually get more. Cover gigs and weddings and such pay better than bars that feature original bands, but those bars tend to be more respected, so you get good exposure in them.

  3. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    If you guys have no buzz about you, you may want to play as a group at a local jam night. Be prepared to play 5-6 tunes. If they ask for more, tell them that you are available to be booked.

    I don't know how big your band is, but it used to be $100/band member/night. But now I've heard it might be lower in some clubs. That's here in suburban Florida. You're in the UK, right? I don't know anything about your local scene.
  4. Willem


    Dec 26, 2005
    We get around €75 a gig
  5. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    My band has done first time gigs sometimes for less money than we normally take however we are confident in our abilities to impress the owner and get another gig and more dates from the venue as well as push for more money. So maybe ask for £150 for the first night and if they want you back they can give you the £250 which I think is reasonable. Remember the venue owner is always taking arisk on a band he's never hear d before. Infact we only managed to get into a local venue after the guy who organises the bands there heard us by chance in a venue he was djing above. One thing though be wary one thing I've noticed is that if a venue starts screwing you around cancelling not confirming and the like the trend tends to continue.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, you know, it's your decision, but I'd play a free gig and call it a rehearsal if I really wanted to play someplace on a regular basis. No big deal. You've got to pay a little dues to get your foot in the door.

    I've played free for a friend's party and gotten as many as five paying gigs out of it. I've even offered to play the friend's place again for free just to say thanks.
  7. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You should charge eleventy billion dollars...
  8. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA

    finally! someone who understands what it's worth!!:hyper:


    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    I agree with band played for free at a banquet for our Pastor's anniversary and we got 2 very large (600+ people) state-wide gigs out it. The 2nd one is this Thursday and will be attended by the Governor of Iowa and the CIO for the City of Des Moines so we'll get even more exposure....needless to say, these two gigs MORE than made up for the free one. :D
  10. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    Bars and venues that never heard you play, might ask for a free gig at first. Its a risk for them to just pay you with out ever knowing how many people to show up.

    IF you want to get paid the first gig, Tell them how much you want, but also tell them how many people you can bring. Give htem a lower number than you actually think on the people, for if more people show up, then the more likely they will ask you back. Bars usually get their money from the drinsk they sell, not the band entertaining.
  11. Stingrayz


    Jan 15, 2006
    Hehe, i dont know about you guys, but i would gig for free to tell you the truth =) i just enjoy playing, and getting payed for the fun im having would be nice, but not necessary =P.
  12. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA

    it's risky for me to try a beer I never heard of...soooooooo, the bar owner should give me the first one for free to see if it's any good(subjective of course, but who cares!). It's a risk for me to buy without trying.

    "Bars usually get their money from the drinks they sell, not the band entertaining"

    if you don't see the relationship here, then you should stay out of both businesses.

    and for the rest of you guys who play for "free" ( there's no such thing unless you get paid for expenses) are setting your standard......and that's fine, some bands can get by on chicken wings and cheap beer.......but for the rest of us, cash is king.

    I have a minimum that we will go out for, if you can't pay that, then you can get one of these chicken wing bands.

    and you get what you pay for.

    and you get the (dis)respect you deserve for selling out cheap.

    you can get a lot of things for free...a plumber, an electrician to wire your home..even a doctor!

    uh, yes you can :(
  13. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    To me it's about going out, playing and having a good time.

    I'm not in it for the money.
  15. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA

    sweet! send me your CD...I'm having a big event this summer. July 4th. If you guys are good, you can play at the hall I'm renting. Load in/sound check is at 6:30 PM.

    any problem coming to Oregon?
  16. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    We don't have a cd, we're a cover band.

  17. we are basically in the same boat, a lot of classic rock covers and origionals thrown together... we got invited to play at a local small bar to open for the main band (ended up going 4th out of 5 bands). we were told to prep for a 40 minute set. the bar ended up asking us to stay up there for well over an hour due to the fact that we brought probably 100 people with us (friends, friend's friends, etc.) and that everyone was into what we were playing, we ended up getting out of there with three more gigs and about $300.00 total (we put it all towards gear).

    If you can garuntee a bar a good crowd when you play, and you deliver it, you are almost garunteed to make more coin per night....
  18. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    If the skill of your playing is worth nothing, then perhaps you shouldn't be gigging. I expect money for services rendered. I would never play for free in a place that is making money. Musicians that are willing to play for free cheapen the product and undercut the real musicians out there that are trying to provide for their families. What's next? Pay to play? Think about the long-term impact of your attitude. In the long run it works against not only you, but your fellow musicians.
  19. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Maybe you would feel differently if a gang came to town and decided to do what you do for a living for free because they weren't "in it for the money" and just wanted to have "a good time".
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Poop. I don't owe you a gig.

    That said, I always try to get the same thing the "pro" bands get (these are the ones where the players work at Guitar Center, not an engineering company). I play free whenever I want. You can too.