Opening act

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jonas_24112, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    Got asked to open for a local popular band. They are selling tickets and collecting at the door. We would be playing one full set to open. What is the usual pay or what is reasonable to ask for?
  2. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Originals stuff? It's probably up to them how much they want to pay you guys out after they get the door money (unless there is a promoter involved, then its up to him).

    Bring a lot of people, put on a great show, and hope for the best. Don't burn any bridges if you don't get what you think you deserve.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Work something out with the money people for the headlining band asap.

    In my last band the BL did not think opening acts should be paid.

    As a matter of fact he didn't think his own band members should be paid. He felt he was the only that should get paid
  4. As Spinal Tapper said it's up to them. I'm in a new original band and we've played for nothing, we've sold tickets (once), we've played for anywhere from 33-100% of the door, and at some places we've been paid well when we've had no draw at all. With originals it's assumed that you're just looking for exposure and anything else is an added bonus. These bonuses increase (sometimes significantly) if the venue owner/promoter likes you, but if they haven't seen you play yet, just take what you can get and be happy some more folks will get to hear your music.

    EDIT: BTW - where are you located and how good is the music scene? That will make a big difference...
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    When we have done this we work out a flat rate with the opener before the gig. If they are doing all the work (tic selling) and its their gig...dont expect much.
  6. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    We got shafted by a headlining act one time. They were a touring act from some other region and didn't even bring fans.

    It was a near sold-out show though, mainly thanks to us bringing a TON of people. The promoter gave them like $1600 to distribute how they felt to the 2 other bands, simply because they headlined. Lucky for them, they're a two piece drummer/singer hipster duo, I think they're also a bf/gf. Pretty bad music too IMO.

    Anyways, at the end of the night they paid us $175 (we opened the show and brought most of the people, btw) and the supporting act like $300 who, in their credit, did bring some people.

    That left them with $1125. Around here, that's a PRETTY heavy paycheck for a 40 minute set of original music to split between 2 people.

    It was a total shaft, and we were pretty pissed. But that's how it goes sometimes.
  7. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    You opened for the white stripes?
  8. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Ha. They were no where NEAR as awesome as the White Stripes :D

    Crappy-electronica-girl can't play drums-hipsters with bad haircuts-catchy hooks-singing like a 5 year old backup vocals type stuff.
  9. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    You worked for him too?
  10. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    How did you know what the pay scale was?
  11. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    One set opening act for an 80's Live Karaoke Band. They don't play out very often, but usually have a good draw.

    I told them to book us and we'll work out something. I'd prefer a percentage of the total take, but since we won't be selling any of the tix, I somewhat think it's wrong to ask for that. So, I'm leaning towards a flat rate. Since they would be providing the back line and it would be giving us exposure, I don't want to ask for much.........

    I'm thinking I'd like to ask to open earlier and play two sets, $100 flat rate (we are a 4 piece) so we can at least buy some beer each and free admission for our spouses......Does that sound reasonable?
  12. IME promoters/venue owners booking original acts rarely budge on the amount of time you'll play, so asking for a second set is a stretch. I don't think $100 is unreasonable...
  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Been there done that.... think of all that great exposure :rolleyes:
  14. Short answer -

    In my experiences, you really need to just ask. Be right up front with the band/agent/promoter/venue thats paying everyone, and just say listen, we're wondering what pay, if any, we are going to get. If you get any other answer than "What do you guys normally get?" then discuss it further with the band. If you get the "What do you guys normally get?" answer, then think about all the paying gigs youve done, and work out a good median number.

    Long answer -

    You really didn't give us that many details. What kind of band are you in? How many shows have you done? Do you guys have a decent draw? What kind of band are you opening for? What kind of venue is it? Whats the music scene like there? Is it a local show?

    All of those are important factors. It would just be pretentious if you went and straight up asked for 100$ at a small bar show when you guys cant get anyone in the door, and have 3 shows under your belt. You have to think about it all. If its a local gig, does the pay really matter all that much? Ive played shows locally opening for bigger bands for free, just for the exposure. Hell, Ive driven half way across the state for the same kind of shows. Venue matters alot too. Bar? Social Club? Concert Hall? Most different venues have a different pay ranges.
  15. Great answer! I was thinking along the same lines, but since the OP didn't give much info or answer my question about the local scene, I figured his band must be identical to mine, and agreed with the $100 figure. :)
  16. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    OP here> We are a cover band, they are a 80's Live Karaoke Band. We have been together 3 months, have played 1.25 gigs (one was 1/2 a set during another popular local cover bands gig, the other was a full small bar gig). Not sure what our draw would be since our small group of fans are also fans of the main act (small town lol). Venue is a small bar, top capacity is probably around 250 people. Scene is small town. Gig will be Thanksgiving Eve, and I'm thinking this will be the top draw in town that night.....most likely a rough crowd, but large numbers.

    In all honesty, I would play this for free just for the exposure, but I cannot offer that until I talk to the rest of the band next week. I'm just using the board to find out what is typically normal.

    As a caveat, the BL is the band agent of the main act, who also works as a booking agent for regional talent, so it was really a surprise to have him ask. It could lead to other things, ya know?
  17. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
  18. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    What was the name of the headlining band?
  19. Am I reading this correctly? Your band leader is the booking agent for the headlining act?
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Exposure is great if you know there will be exposure.

    How many people do you think you will be playing in front of?
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