Is it common in the USA to...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by crguti, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    pay to see a cover band?
    I live in Scandinavia, and unless you play in a tribute band, nobody give a damn about cover bands.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    Let me answer a related question...

    It is "not uncommon" for venues to have a cover charge, which is basically their way of covering their overhead for people who come for the music but don't buy anything. Some or all of this typically goes to the band. This is especially common for venues who put on multiple-band shows, IME.

    Actual ticketed events are fairly rare, except for very small venues that may have limited seating.
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  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yes it is normal. Not every spot though.
    JimK likes this.
  4. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    In the Houston, Texas area it is most uncommon to pay for entry to see a cover band, unless it's a special event. There are a couple venues that book a lot of tribute bands, and they sometimes charge a cover.

    That being said, there are quite a few bars/restaurants that have bands, mostly on weekends, with no cover charge.
  5. I think it depends on the area. Where we play around Central Wisconsin, it's uncommon to have a cover charge. In some cases the venue will raise the price of a beer by a quarter but even that is uncommon.

    That being said, I think the pay rate is lower around here than in larger cities too.
  6. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Goes both ways here. I guess it depends on whether the venue owners think they can make more with a cover or without. It doesn't seem to chnage how much we are paid either way.
  7. five7

    five7 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    Tribute is cover music.
  8. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Same thing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas.
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  9. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Good question! My stinky little bar band plays in places that have no cover charge, a few that charge $5 or less, and one place that charges $10 (it's the only place we play that has live music seven nights a week, so I guess people are expecting to pay). I don't see any rhyme or reason to it.
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  10. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    Indisputable, but tribute bands generally put on more of a show, often approaching theater, than your average general cover band. Some people find that worth paying a cover to see. My wife is very interested in "seeing" the band, whereas I frequently couldn't tell you later what they looked like.

    On the other hand, I can tell whether they can play. I do somewhat "follow" a couple local cover bands, but probably not to the point of paying a cover. I don't generally care for tribute bands, but there are exceptions.
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  11. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    Often but not always. The idea is that the venue is providing a service (entertainment). In restaurants it's usually free, unless it's a dinner theater. I remember visiting Canada, where I saw a great power trio in a pub, playing covers. No charge.
  12. In my neighborhood (Denver, Colorado) there are a few clubs that will charge (around $10.00 on average) entry fee to see/hear a cover band. Usually, the bands are among the best in town with large followings, or the venue just has a reputation for consistently booking good bands worth paying for. These are usually dance clubs with big hardwood floors and nice lighting systems where people want nothing but familiar party music they can dance and sing along with, and they want it delivered well. My band has played a few of these venues over the years, and they are a cut above the average and the patronage is very enthusiastic. They often have very good built in sound systems and knowledgeable sound techs.

    But at most venues in my area there is no door charge for cover bands. Management generates revenue through the mark-up of alcohol.

    Interestingly, cover bands don't really make much more in the cover charge venues than the non-cover charge venues.

    We also have a couple of large-stage venues (Herman's, The Toad, etc.) that are set up for international/national acts, and they also host local multi-band bills. The local bands they bring in range from originals to covers to hybrids (often on the same night), are not all party bands, but they always charge a cover at the door. The distribution system for that door revenue is usually kind of sketchy and unverifiable, the subject of many threads here on TB.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  13. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    there's one (very popular) venue near us that we play occasionally; they charge $5 but you get a ticket for a beer, so it evens out for the customers. Nobody balks, they do that every Friday and Saturday and they have a large, regular crowd.
  14. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    What a great idea. What's the name of the place?
  15. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Cruizers - in Grand Junction, CO. Owner is very supportive of live music.
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yes, it is common. In many parts of the US nobody cares about local originals bands. They have to play for free, or even pay to play.
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  17. Yeah and not to mention you have to pay to see some guy with turntables as well it somehow all falls on the guise of live entertainment
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  18. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    We've had venues charge from $5 to $8 for one of our (cover band) shows. As a band, we prefer venues without a cover charge but I don't get the sense any of our fans have balked over having to pay.

    I remember visiting a jazz club in New York City in the late 70s/early 80s and being outraged that they charged both a cover and a two-drink minimum. I was young and naive, but that was life in the big city back then. I can't remember the last time I went to a venue that charged a drink minimum.
  19. Same here, except no place wants an originals band no matter the price. It drives patrons away. I laugh when guys want to start an originals band.
    It was common around here in the 70's for venues to have a cover charge. Nowadays, almost never.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  20. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Some do, some don't.

    There's one casino we play that does 1/2 off drinks during soundcheck hour. Now that's smart marketing... it loads up early, and then they tend to stay.
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