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They're asking me for money....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by eots, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I started playing bass with a guitarist/singer and drummer. They've been together for about 12 years on/off. We practice in the guitarists basement and he has accumulated a fair amount of gear (PA, guitar stuff). Together, they have a CD they've been trying to promote. Having spent money on recording and buying extra copies to give away at gigs and such. ( I haven't gigged with them yet)
    Enter 'ME'. I've been working on their material including some covers. They've even asked me to contribute some stuff I know that they might want to do.
    So today, Drummer/promoter calls me up and after a short conversation, asks me about contributing to the band to help cover promotional costs. Like $40-$100 or something to start. I was a bit put off by this. I had told him up front that I wasn't interested in making money at this, at least initially.
    Do you guys think this is out of line? I hadn't previously known these guys from Adam but had an ad thru the bassfinder at uglybassplayer.com. Not that that matters but I already travel the farthest (40min.) and of course have $thousands invested in my own gear. Just tell me I'm a cheapskate and I'll be okay.
  2. bassontherun


    Jul 9, 2005
    Although it's pretty common for all members of a band to absorb a percentage of the promotional costs, it sounds as if they may have hit you up for the scratch before you considered yourself this deeply involved with the band.

    If you are a committed member of the band (both you and they consider you a full member in every way) and you believe that the money will go to promotional costs as he states, they are probably OK to ask for the assistance. It may just be a case of bad timing (kinda like the first time a new girlfriend wants some drawer space at your apartment-- may set a funny tone if done ever so slightly too early).

    On the other hand, if you: 1) feel they hit you up way too early in your tenure, 2) don't believe that they will use the money appropriately, or 3) want to be in a casual band that has little or no overhead (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of these), you would be well within rights to discuss your discomfort with them. If you and they really aren't on the same page, you can find out early, exit gracefully and look for another band more in tune with your ideas. You'll generally maintain good band Kharma if you communicate well and follow your gut instinct.
  3. I have typically been asked, or volunteered, funds for specific needs, recording cost, promo costs, even helping pay for a PA (got my percentage back when I left) ... I have always payed close attention to where my money has gone.
    If you feel comfortable giving them money, watch where it goes. Start with a small investment, and go from there.
    They may be testing you for your commitment to the band. It is not uncommon to share operating costs for a band you are in, as well as making the investments to your own gig arsenal.
    If they are just looking for your cash ... you will be able to figure it out before you put to much into the pool. Pay attention! :eyebrow:
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Tell them to take it out of your early gig money.
  5. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    What he said.
    And that you'd also gladly contribute to the next CD that you're actually playing on and listed as part of the band.....not some other guy.

    Yes, I think they're out of line to ask you for $$ at this point.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't offer to give them any money until you find out what's in it for you. Are they going to cut you in a little on CD sales? Gig money? Is there any money to care? Sounds like they have a thing going on that you're joining, and if you are playing for free, no way I'd give them any money unless there was something in it for me. If they own the PA and paid for the CD, you can't expect an equal cut out of the gig, but if they're taking money from you, you're entitled to something.
  7. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Thanks for all suggestions and comments.
  8. It strikes me as a bit odd. They've been at this 12 years and they're asking the new guy to pony up money to help promotion?

    If you're a full fledged member, getting part of cd sales, with some time under your belt, maybe. If you were buying something tangible like PA gear. MAYBE. If you get your share back (pro-rated for depreciation) if you leave. But you aren't on the cd, haven't even played any gigs with them yet, the money is for "promotion"? ***? You don't even know if they're paying the money for booze or drugs. Worthy causes to be sure, but I'd rather know up front.

    You don't know these guys at all at this point. If it was me, I'd say I'm just the bass player at this point. Down the line maybe. Until you see them on a gig, they could be totally unprofessional, full of crap, whatever.

    Maybe I just have trust issues, but I'd say no. I'd be amazed they have the guts to ask you for money at this point. The odds of anyone making it big in the business are slim at best, looking at this as an investment, you'd be better using the $100 to light cigarettes.

    Listen to their CD, show it to your friends. Do they think it sounds pro? Are these guys just fooling themselves, and potentially you too?

  9. Here's my take.
    If it's an original band, then who get's the writing and publishing buckaroo's if said band "makes it". Chances are you'll be left out of this loop, unless of course you pen the hit.
    If your not one of the writers and you don't get a piece of the publishing then IMHO you should not have to endure the same financial risk. If the band gets somewhere financially you'll probably be paid as a performer/session guy and not get the real money which is in the writer/publishing royalties.

    This is a common schizim in bands, when the singer and/or guitar player who write most or all of the material are living in a house three times the size of the drummers.
    I'm not saying it's not fair. I certainly believe if you can write hit's then you are entitled to the bigger peice of the pie. That said, it's hardly fair to expect those in the band who have a lesser earning potential to contribute an equal liability upfront.

    Also keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a singer songwriter to get picked up and not the band. Often a producer has his guy's who he is comfortable working with and is not interested in the singers band, no matter how talented. You may get the road gig, but not get the record date. In this case you'll get nothing from record sales, only what you earn on the road. I've lived this scene a few times.

    Ideally a songwriter promoting their own tunes should be paying his or her band to do rehersals, gig's, etc. and it should be a known upfront that the publishing etc. will be theirs if and when it comes.

    Some bands will work out a deal wherein everyone get's a piece of the publishing or writing credits. In that scenario I'd be more inclined to taking the financial risk.

    If your good they are lucky to have someone who is talented and willing to put in the time on THEIR music. Is it your talent or wallet they really want? I'd turn the tables on them and tell them that you want money against any future royalties for your rehersals and gig's etc. and get it in writing!

    Now if it's a cover band working in bars, then I'd say take it off the top of your gig earnings. If they want money against gear i.e. a P.A. i'd want equity in said gear.
  10. mwm70


    Oct 27, 2004
    A happy medium in that contribution range is $70. Is that going to bankrupt you? You said that you were not in it for the money and also that they had a fair amount of PA gear. Alot of bands have a several hundred dollar startup cost for PA gear.
    The assumption appears to be that it is for the cd cost. Could it be that the promotional costs are for ads for gigs that you will benefit from? If it was me I would ask them what the money is going for and make my decision based on that. If it is for gig promotion then there is no question you contribute, and even if it is cd cost you may still benefit from that as well.
  11. Now wait a second, if their asking money from you, how is the band set up? In other words, are the band members employees, or is it more like a partnership? This is something very important to get clear.

    Any money from you would be purely as a donation to help out. Do they pay you to play in their band, to rehearse, and for gas money?
  12. Just pay, you'll get your money back and they'll get more confidence on your involvment on the project!