Pay scale?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Stingray5, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. For anyone who plays in a top 40 band, does your band have a pay scale? If so, what is it or how is it determined who gets paid what? Or does the money get divided equally among all members and the horn players & keyboardist take home the same as the lead singer, guitarist, bassist, & drummer?
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    When I played in a "popular" top 40 band in the late 80's, as many as 4 nights a week, everyone in the band earned the same. Sound and lights were paid first, as well as the agent's fee, then we simply divided the rest equally. There were typically three different pay levels depending on the venue. I'm sure pay isn't as good now as it was back then, due to DJ popularity and Karaoke, but I used to pull in at least $100 a night minimum.
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    We all get paid even. But at a few crappy paying jobs, the guitarist and myself got paid a few bucks extra, because we had the longest drive. (it was a few minutes drive for the lead singer and drummer, but about 50 minutes to an hour for me). I kind of felt wierd about it, the times is happened. But if we get booked at a place where I live, and the same happens, I'll take the cut this time.
  4. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Let's say we get $400 for a gig. Right off the top, the drummer gets $200, to pay for the snake cable and mixing board that he bought, without asking anyone first if they would like to help him pay for it. The remaining $200 would then be divided five ways -- between the singer, the guitar player, the drummer (yes, even thought we're helping him pay for his gear, he gets paid as well), myself and the sound guy. I don't mind paying the sound guy as much as each of the actual band members, but I do mind paying the drummer twice (although no one else seems to see my point). I only get gas money (I haul everything but the drums in my van), if there happens to be money in the tip jar -- as long as I am the first one to find it. Otherwise, it goes for beer during practice (which again, I don't get to be a part of, because I don't drink at practice).

    :( I'm sad now.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It all depends on how the band is set up.

    Bands that are cooperatives tend to do even splits. Bands that are set up as a leader with sidemen will break up the money as the leader sees fit. When I take sideman gigs, I expect the leader to tell me how much he will pay me...I don't ask what his take is.

    Curious about why you are asking, why shouldn't a horn player get the same as a singer? Sounds like there's something you aren't telling us ;)
  6. I'm in a band where the leader (singer) pays himself more than the rest of the band. I'm fine with that since he's the one who very actively markets the band, advertises, haggles with event planners/club owners, hires good sound guys, and generally makes my life pretty easy. He also pays our guitarist to chart new tunes, which I feel is money well spent.

    I've never asked him what he makes. I figure that as long as he holds up his end of the deal so well and I get paid $150-300 per gig, what he makes is none of my business.
  7. How could you tell? ;)

    2 things. I'm new to the top 40 scene so I'm unfamiliar with how it works, and I used to play a lot of musicals when I was younger (local town stuff) and there was always a pay scale. Piano got the most, then bass & drums on down.

    My current situation is this. Singer/rhythm guitarist, bass, drums, female vocalist, keyboards, lead guitar, and horns (currently 1 sax & 1 trumpet). The thing is, the horn players don't show up for rehersals and play on only about 60% of the material at gigs, opting to fiddle with percussion instruments or walk off stage during non horn pieces. My problem is that they get the same cut as me. The $$ is divided equally. I didn't know if this was standard and I'm just being greedy, or if the horn players should get less considering they're doing less work and putting considerably less time into it.

    I'm asking this now because we're going through some restructuring and me, the singer, the keyboardist and the female singer are getting together tomorrow to discuss changes (new drummer, lead guitar). I want to know if it's appropriate to suggest the pay scale.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    You could suggest it, if it's really an issue. Here are my financial issues with bands I play with:

    What are you paying "me"?

    That's it. I agree to play for a specific amount and the rest is inconsequential. In the two years I've been with my main group I've yet to hear anyone ask "what did "you" get?".

    For one thing there are too many variables to worry about. Suppose your regular keyboard player has an emergency and you need another player. What should they be paid? Should each soundperson be paid the same, regardless of the type of gig? Did someone do extra work you aren't aware of?

    As long as I only have to:

    1. Show up.
    2. Play.

    and don't have to worry about booking, musical direction, advertising, discipline, etc. I'm fine. If I did more, I'd expect to be paid more.