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Pay for cover band gigs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ding_man, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. ding_man


    Dec 24, 2006
    Celina, OH
    Pay varies a lot. From $0 with a open tab (ha) to hundreds of bucks a piece. To even close 1k a piece at weddings and corporate events.

    I'm a music student and have playing around my hometown and my college town "professionally" for awhile, but usually one off gigs, jazz, musicals, parties, and random stuff. I've never had a working cover band together except for small gigs and one off things (cause thats not what a lot of people in my position want to do.. heads up their ass till they need to make bread. Rocks fun too!)

    I finally have a trio together. I can sing ok and I'd consider myself a pretty tight bass player especially with this drummer. The drummer has so much pocket that he makes rock songs groove like it was Tower of Power. The guitarist is the most "rock" oriented player and hes really great and also has some pipes! I'm pumped to have this group together. Any other cover band I've had (that never took to this level) has had holes that this band is covering.

    However, the drummer recently has gotten this professional musician attitude where he won't play a gig for less then a hundred bucks. I think this is fair, but I was trying to tell him theres probably going to be decent gigs (fun, open tabs, and in town) that might pay 50-75 a piece.

    Anyway. Considering your area what does your band charge/what do bars tend to pay?

    I think the considering the sound we have (especially with three cats) that 100 bucks is more then reasonable, but I'm not sure if we're always gonna get it.

    I just wanted to have a little open chat about this stuff. Especially from guys that are actually trying to make part of their bread from this.
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Here the going rate is $800-$1200.00 a weekend.
  3. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    We run $750-$1,000 a night...
  4. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    In Nashville it's usually $50-$100 a person plus tips for a four hour set, no breaks. I don't play in Nashville much.

    Out of town anywhere from $100-$400 a person, per night. Depends on the club and the band.
  5. Noonan768


    Jul 6, 2009
    St Johns, FL
    We typically don't set up for less than $100 a man.. But there are exceptions. If it's a good opportunity to promote the band, we'll do it for free. We've played some festivals and benefit shows for free knowing we'd get lots of promotion. But typically we make $500-$800 a night. Sometimes ya gotta give it away to get the name spread.. Tell him you are banking on more money in the future to sacrifice some here and there.
  6. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    I've always run by the maxim that "if I'm not being told I'm too expensive at least twice a month, I'm not asking enough". Given that, I rarely get less than $150/$200 a man when booking my jazz band.
  7. masterFlash


    Jul 6, 2009
    In our 5 piece band we usually shoot for 100 per player per set, but will go as low as 50 per player per set. Each set is around 50-60 minutes.
  8. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    In-town gigs (Columbus) we go for 125+ per man. Out of town (Cleveland, Toledo, etc.), $200+ per man.
  9. 3tsb


    Nov 17, 2009
    DRAW! DRAW! DRAW! What is your draw? In Chicago, if you don't draw, you don't get booked. Tell the club that you want $1000.00 because 200 people will come to see you play and 10 show up, you'll never play there again and word gets around quick. If the club has a natural draw, we'll get about $700.00 for two 50 min. sets. Now, my friends band who have been playing this city since 1987 draw about 600+ per night. Their singer made it to Hollywood on Idol (he's 28), but never even hit the Hollywood stage, but was featured on the Chicago audition show. They now always max. the clubs 1000+ and they get about $4000.00 per show minimum. Bottom line is it takes time to build the draw and the big pay check. We're starting festival season here in Chicagoland and we've actually booked a couple $2500.00 gigs. I don't think I can quit my day job yet, but it's enough to at least make my car payment.
  10. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    We work out on a steady basis..every weekend and minimum is $100 per man for a 6 pc....all different types of variation on the evening..sets, backline, load in..
    we are just happy to be working ...lots of great bands in the area....
  11. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Huh, I've never, ever been to a club in Nashville where the band played for 4 hours straight with no breaks.

    For bar gigs, we get anywhere from $350 to $700 for a 3-4 hour gig......with breaks, plus tips and some sort of tab. We don't set up at a private party for less than $1200. Weddings start at $2000, but we rarely do weddings.
  12. In the DC Metro area, I played in an agency-affiliated cover band that made from $350-$500 total for a 3-set show. After 15% for the agent, this meant $85-$110 per member in the 3-piece. The band was, overall, embarrassing to watch on stage (IMHO) so I presume that a better act would have made more money.
  13. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    It used to be $100-$150 per man when I was doing a blues trio. Now that I'm doing a 7-piece soul/r&b revue, it's more like $80 a man. The soul band draws a way bigger crowd, but the money has to be split 7 ways.

    Parties and weddings are a different story though, it always ends up being at least $200 a man (plus $75 for my PA rental fee), and that's with the same soul revue. Corporate gigs usually end up being more than that. I pretty stoked that it's getting to be party/wedding season. :D
  14. ding_man


    Dec 24, 2006
    Celina, OH
    This kind of restores my faith in some things. I'm happy so many of you will not play for less then a bill a piece. A lot of you are getting paid a lot more then I realized.

    Close to what I thought it was, but maybe you guys are just all in great bands that bars are willing to pay! :D
  15. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    It certainly took a long time to get there. I played for a lot of years for $30-$50 bucks a night, and it sucked. Now I'm happy to have a real pro band and can demand that kind of money.
  16. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Band pay in west central PA has not changed in 30 years. The best bands still get $300 to $600 a gig depending on many factors. Being a 3 piece band is an advantage for us since we make as much as 5 or 6 piece bands. The downside is that with less places having live bands, less people going out, and the bad economy, we have to travel a wider geographic area to get the same money we used to get locally. We perform mostly at private clubs and festivals since they have no problem paying a set fee. However, we always play for a set fee even at regular nightclubs.
  17. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    That's what all my friends who do Broadway are always complaining about. Like I said, I don't play in town much.
  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

  19. Over here...£30-80 per person in a duo
  20. bnutz


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Pay in Los Angeles varys wildly depending on the venue and cache of the band. It seems pretty much in line with everywhere else in terms of club gigs which are anywhere from $350-600 for four hours of music (with breaks- lowfreq33, BTW I've heard the same thing about no breaks and tips only on Lower Broad).

    Corporate gigs, weddings and parties are another matter. A good band can easily get $2,000-3,000.

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