Should the PA owner earn more of the cut?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by d00by, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. d00by


    Jul 7, 2013
    NE Iowa
    Hi all, in my cover band I own the entire PA system. Thousands of dollars ive invested into this system, and I also run sound during shows and I play bass. Although ive never talked with them about me getting a higher cut, its crossed my mind a few times. What do you guys think?

  2. --Vissinger --

    --Vissinger --

    Jan 31, 2010
    What was the agreement at the beginning?

    While I agree providing the PA has value, did you value it before starting this activity?
  3. d00by


    Jul 7, 2013
    NE Iowa
    So we were a band previously and broke up because people were having kids and such, now that their family life is a little more calm we decided to start playing again. We had sold most of our old pa, so after we decided to start giging again I went out and invested in a pa, I had never thought about taking a larger cut at first and the band was ecstatic that I had I invested in a really nice system. But now that we are playing again ive been thinking about bringing it up to them.
  4. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Music Go Round - Aurora, CO (owner) We buy used gear!
    It's always best to figure it out ahead of time but I knew a band where the guy who owned the PA took 10% off the top before they divided up their gig money. Made sense to me.

    Good luck!
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I think it's reasonable. However, I've owned the PA in every band I've been in except one, and never brought up getting an extra cut. If I were to do that, I'd make the cut a lot less than what it would cost to rent a PA system.
  6. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Even though it would have been best to bring this up in the beginning, anyone who doesn't see it as "fair" for you to get more money is a douche in my book. Yes, you should get a cut for the PA. What that means is you get TWO cuts, one for your playing and one for the PA. So, if there are 5 of you, you get 2/6 of the money. Think of the PA as another man on stage and you get his cut. That is, of course, unless every other member of the band wants to fork over their percentage of the cost of the entire PA up front to earn an equal cut later.

    Because, of course, renting a nice PA (and someone to run it) around here would run you no less than $350 (and that's a pretty questionable PA to me).
  7. d00by


    Jul 7, 2013
    NE Iowa
    Hey thanks for everyones input! Although I dont think im going to request a higher cut, its nice to hear what other people do in the same situation. Owning the entire pa is definitely the way to go. Less arguments about the equipment and if we break up it stays with me and on to any new band I join.
  8. d00by


    Jul 7, 2013
    NE Iowa
    I couldn't have said it better myself! Haha
  9. Yes. Without a doubt yes. You've invested not only your time, but legitimate finances in obtaining said PA, not to mention hauling it and setting it up, then running it. Only to tear it back down. Be reasonable, but unless there is an alternative solution to solving your band's live sound needs, you deserve a cut for it.

    Traditionally is not the bass player's responsibility to cover the PA, including mics, speaker enclosures, cables, a board, out-board gear, etc...AND then run it too...

    Realistically speaking, we do often supply the PA, van, practice space, moral support, guidance counselor, and baby sitter, with little more than an honorable mention...:D

  10. soitainly


    Aug 21, 2012
    It depends on the band. If it is a hobby band mostly in it for the fun, I personally wouldn't. If it is a pro band, I think they should understand the business risks you take by supplying the PA. I don't know how to determine what a fair cut is, if the band made lots of money and you took too big a cut, then the band would be paying for the PA many times over. I would at least bring up paying for repairs and maintenance should that need ever arise. It does sound kind of unsavory to in essence rent the PA to the band.
  11. ronlitz


    Apr 20, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    You should get more, but a double cut seems pretty steep.
  12. Even semi-decent PA gear is EXPENSIVE. A functioning, well rounded PA, including monitors, are extremely important...ever heard a would-be great band through a terrible PA? The band suffers...a lot. If you provide a tool that enhances your (and thus THEIR) sound, you should be paid. Plain and simple.

    Either the band chips in equally for the PA gear...which I'm guessing is not going to be well received, or you get a cut for the PA/soundman and bassist. The PA should be treated as a member. Or how else will your sound be presented?

    As mentioned before...$350 for a PA and sound guy who is worth his salt is a STEAL.
  13. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    So you don't see thousands of dollars of investment, storing, hauling and maintaining an entire PA system as double the effort? IF you were in a band and someone else owned the PA, are YOU going to replace HIS mic cables? Are YOU going to have his Ashley crossover fixed when it breaks? Are YOU going to replace a mic stand when the things get reamed out by all of you?

    A double cut is a bargain if you ask me. What the OP should do is have the band rent a PA for about 3 gigs and THEN have the conversation. Or possibly the next time something wears out or gets broken he could present an invoice at the end of the following show. Sorry, but your saying "pretty steep" offends me. Your statement obviously comes from someone who has never bought/owned/stored/maintained a PA (or at least a good one anyway).
  14. soitainly


    Aug 21, 2012
    So if someone else joins the band and owns a PA also, how do you justify taking more of a cut in that case. What if someone buys a better mic, or monitor, or just about anything that would help the band. It just gets tricky.

    The first band I was in, we were renting and it was a big pain to coordinate that for every gig, not to mention trying to practice with no PA. I finally proposed that I buy a PA and they would pay me back with gig money till it was paid for, a loan basically. That worked out fine.

    When we disbanded, we could have just split up the equipment but it ended up with me buying out their interests. I was happy because I got a PA cheap, and they were happy because they needed cash at the time. In bands after that, I just supplied the PA, sure I could have made a big deal about it, but that just doesn't seem right. The only big problem is the extra work loading it out of my car, since I tend to store it at my place.
  15. stingraysvt


    Jun 20, 2011
    Pain and resentment.

    That's what you can look forward to.

    I let my old band (and myself) use my PA. We actually have a really nice rig, We've done sound for everyone from BB King to Grace Potter to Snoop Dogg.

    The first few gigs were no problem, gas was still cheap, and didn"t really take a toll on my cut, $20 if anything..

    Then gas shot up to $3,$4, almost $5 a gallon... we had a handful of gigs we needed support on at this point, but somehow we sat down and figured I would get several cuts on the gigs we used PA.

    So if we played Fri night with my PA support I got 3 Cuts, only if we made $XXX.XX or more, for what it's worth I think X=$800 (it was still several hundred cheaper than renting a comparable rig, Plus they weren't responsible for any blown speakers anymore like I had asked them to be and were pretty OK with whenever the problem arose), then if we played Sat night and used the house rig I got my normal cut.

    Til we played a Frat party.... and did I mention it payed fairly well? I walked away with something like $8-$900.

    Everyone was furious, My normal rental on the rig we carried was $800, so to me it looked like they got a deal on the PA. And I got my normal cut... They still made more than we normally did on a gig

    I was also the soundguy and light guy. And I played bass.

    So take assessment of what you want out of this band.

    1) You can suck it up and do it for free and not charge them and make them pay for repairs and general upkeep.

    2) You can store/sell/partout your PA to the point you feel you are at equals with your bandmates

    3) You say look, "I love having a PA to play through but if we were to rent this gear every time we played it would cost us $THIS amount, and (I understand / If) I can't be compensated for every gig, then at least work with me on the ones that are paying enough to be compensated so I can afford to keep upgrading components, Or see some return on my investment, or whatever your argument might be

    Be forewarned, Two bands I've had this problem with.

    Here were the Two outcomes....

    First band: the guitar player and the drummer went and bought a gig van, for $1600 or $800 each, all of a sudden we were "even". (my consoles at the time alone were $800, $1600, and $2500! We used all three on different occasions, want me to get started on the rest of it?)

    Second band:

    After paying me a triple cut on a nice gig, they went out, borrowed $9000 and bought a powered PA that didn't have half the balls my rig had, Then no matter what type gig we played we took the loan payment off the top which was almost $400, we were all making less money playing, I got sour because we were going out on a limb at this point to get some better gigs and plying some relatively uncertain markets for the door and took a beating on a few gigs, EVEN HAD AN OLD GUITAR PLAYER REJOIN US AND HE GOT A CUT OF THE PRE-LOAN AMOUNT!!! ie.. we made a grand, he got $200

    then we all split the remaining $400 or a hundred a man...

    Somewhere about $5000 left on the loan we split up and our singer took on the payments of the PA, so they got a $9000 pa for almost half price. (same said singer also took the band name and pays any incoming member a fixed price per gig $100-$150, and keeps the rest for their self so if they make $7000 on a nice door gig, and they have, they pay the other members their cut ie.. $150 and keeps the rest, but they foot the bill for everything van, trailer, hotels, meals, which adds up but still...)

    How do you like them apples?

    Good luck, my current setup in two other bands, the guitar player (in both bands) has a nice pa so we swap gigs carrying a PA at no cost to the other bandmates, my life is much happier

    Pick if you're wanting to run sound OR play in a band with your precious weekends. Makes the choice much easier.

    Oh and leave the Pa at home for a gig and see if your guys miss it.... ;) naa don't do that, that'll tick off the band leader in a heartbeat. I've got stories about that too!!!! lol!!!
  16. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    You're forgetting some important factors. The owner still owns the equipment, is using the equipment, and his overall share is higher since he doesn't have to hire sound.

    Double cut is way too much and you'd be less 1 bass player if you tried that with me. I've owned/provided/ran the PA for my band for 2 years. I took 10% off the top to cover the incidentals that you mentioned (maintenance, replacement parts, storage, etc). The band always helped me load & unload. I never needed to replace anything (I take care of my stuff). When I ended the band I sold the gear and recovered part of the initial cost. In the end I came out on top.

    I did provide the mic cable harness for the drums. But everyone brings their own mics, cables, and stands. Why wouldn't they?
  17. stingraysvt


    Jun 20, 2011
    I'll say this too I started itemizing things on my audio quotes, so say you carry this rig with you.

    2 Tops $50ea = $100
    2 Subs $50ea = $100
    4 Mons $25ea = $100 (maybe subtract the cost of your wedge)

    If this is the minimum rig you carry can your band afford to give up this per gig? or most gigs for that matter. if your gear is halfway decent these are pretty competitive rental rates.

    We actually started renting on larger / far away gigs so we didn't have to tear down, once or twice we used my Soundco and I had my guys there to setup/run/teardown the gear.

    Who provides the lights? Does he/they get a cut or want a cut?

    Tread lightly, not saying you don't deserve it, I've just been burned by folks who want something for free (or even worse see someone other than them doing better for themselves), that's why I offer up my PA for free with the new band, the guitar player has a perfectly good PA and offers his for free, no question... so I know he's in it for the fun of it not to gouge everything he can out of me , the other band member is my little brother so I know he's a freeloader! lol! at least I don't mind him using my gear, he at least helps me on gigs and other stuff.

    On a side note I love playing through my Pa because I know it sounds GREAT!!! I also know how to hook it up in under an hour with load-in help, I also know I can make just about any rig sound good with my live sound background, I just hate playing in a group that doesn't have their stuff together and sound is a pretty important part of that for me.
  18. d00by


    Jul 7, 2013
    NE Iowa
    You guys are all making very good points!!! The only thing I make each member provide for themselves is a mic, mic cable, and their own monitor. Drummer has his own mic kit and cables. But I figured why would I own the stuff that is specific for other members set up?
  19. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Just owning the system I'd say no unless the full, 'big' system was being used and not just some mains or monitors (assuming everyone was helping setup/tear down). If you're running sound, however, even if it's the small system, and especially if you're doing full setup and tear down, then you definitely deserve another cut. Now that said, if this hasn't been brought up until several months after the fact then you might be SOL. I can't see it going over well with the other guys once a precedent has been set. YMMV.


    In my opinion, you need to define what your PA actually is. A couple mains and maybe one or two monitors? Nah, not happening, especially if I'm helping set it up and figuring out sound with you. A big setup but I'm still helping you out? Maybe, but you have to justify why we need the big setup for our gigs in the first place. If you're doing everything and I don't have to lift a finger? Hell yeah you're getting paid more. You're doing more work.
  20. stingraysvt


    Jun 20, 2011
    I provided everything, mics, stands, cables, wedges, power distro, cords etc... some cases we paid a booking agent 10% off the top of gigs.

    If everyone has their own gear Mics, cables, stands, 10% to a full cut might be in order.

    Depends on the value of your rig, what would it cost you to rent it and be prepared to chop that figure in half to make folks happy with giving you more money.

    Don't forget the band leader might start asking for 10% of the top for booking the gig.