What is the going rate for a one nighter?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Dave44, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. What is the rate for a five piece band for one night or two. I'm just curious because I remember getting about $75.00 to $100.00 each a night about 20 years ago and the rate has not changed since then. No wonder I've never been able to make a decent buck out of all this. By the by we are not a union supported band and to tell you the truth I've yet to meet a musician like I "semi-pro" that was in the union. Please don't send in the union police on us were just lowley guitar bums havin' some good clean fun, well most of us are clean, and it still is after all these years fun.
  2. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    My band made between $300 and $400 per gig and included free beer all night long (summer, 2001). We were a four-piece. Everything got divided four ways, until we took on a sound guy and the drummer bought some gear. After that, $100 was taken right off the top and given to the drummer, to help pay off said gear and the remainder of the money was then divided five ways (drummer, singer, guitarist, myself, sound man) -- the drummer got paid twice.

    Towards the end of my run with them, we maintained the same pay scheme, but our going rate dropped to about $250 a gig.

    Man, now you've got me all depressed! :(
  3. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    The going rate in my area is 50 bucks for a BJ... I dont know about an all nighter, iwill have to look into it:D
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    It really depends on the area of the country, the type of gig, the quality of the band, and the quality/size of the venue.

    Right now, my 5 piece band plays Top40/80's covers, medium sized "nice" clubs and we get on average $750 a night.

    Last year, I played in a blues/classic rock band in "grungier" bars and we made $350/night.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Man. I'm playing the wrong music. I play Metal, and make precisely zip, regardless of where I play.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    - How much do you love/need to do it???

    - How much does the audience like what you're doing???........(i.e., does it put butts on the dance floor/in the seats???)

    - What's your overhead for getting to and from the joint?

    - What do the bands that play week after week in your market get???

    Hell, if I'm playing what I love, I'll do it for almost free. But luckily, others dig the damn out it too, so we use a sliding scale according to the numbers we can get to pay a cover charge and whether they drink like fish.

    I agree with you - the "union" scene is for jerks in many markets....uninspired. "time clock", players at mediocre wages (unless you're a big dog).

    Bottomline, what I'm saying is - graduate your demands according to what you can offer the person writing the checks. It's a
    building" process..............but I'd still play for free if everything else is right.
  7. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    along these lines.....i got some offers last night, from a couple of different bands....and the one guy asked me what i charged per gig....i had no clue, as ive never really been in a situation before where i was a hired bass player, like this. i told him what he sees fit, according to how well i play, and its subject to negotiation if i feel im not getting paid enough. im living in san diego, and thats where ill be playing. any ideas on how much i could charge? ive got probably half a dozen or so more calls out right now, and if people call back, i'd like to be able to give a ball park figure. ive been playing for close to ten years, in a lot of different styles, which i know will figure in.
  8. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    yeah but the 'cuz nobody likes you. :D

    Just kidding.. you should start demanding money brendan.. say pay me or we won't play... and if they won't pay you.. at least you tried.. you aren't loosing anything that way either :)
  9. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, the problem is they say "Alright. later" and we don't get a show. We're not in it for money, but it'd be darned nice...
  10. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Wow, I bet you make lots of money.
  11. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    based on the conflicting opinions and my own personal experience, there really is no "going rate". I've found that some clubs pay more than others for exactly the same thing. The only constants I've seen are these

    1. One nighters generally pay a slightly higher rate than multiple nights at the same club, unless of course the one nighter is on an off night ( weds., thurs.)
    A friday might net you 150, but a fri-sat will get you 130/ night.

    2. Week nights pay less than weekend ( see above)

    3. As you draw better, yer pay'll go up.

    4. Your pay should not go down. Never accept the old " You guys didn't draw so hot last time, howza bout knockin' the price down?" If a club owner will even consider having you back, you did well enough.

    5. Things like festivals, county fairs, special events pay better than average.

    6. Thankgiving kicks ass. Memorial day weekend does not.

    7. NEVER run a "band" tab!!!!!! Beware the Blues Brothers syndrome:D
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I play in an oldies band. Specifically, we play 50's, 60's and 70's rock.

    We make $350 - $450 a gig, depending on the night of the week and the class of the joint.

    I love playing in my originals band too, but we have yet to have a paying gig.
  13. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    Business is slow now that Ming Lee moved into town. The 65 year old woman stole my business and i want it back!!:rolleyes:
  14. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Comes down to how much your time is worth to
    you. I figure it by how much hassle it is, and
    how long I'll be out of the house. If I don't have
    to do anything except show up with my rig and
    play, I figure on $15/hr and that INCLUDES the
    time it took me to drive there, play the gig,
    pack up and leave. Figure 30 mins to get there,
    30 mins of setup, 4 hours there, 30 mins to pack,
    30 mins driving home, that's 6 hours. That's a
    $75 gig to me.

    If the gig is guaranteed to suck (like weddings),
    I ask for double or triple that depending on the
    situation. Parties and clubs, I use the $15 rule.

    The minimum I will play anything for, under
    any circumstances, is $50.

    YMMV: I have a real job and don't depend on
    gigs to eat.

  15. Same as around here. the best you can hope for is to play your asses off, get a reputation that will bring in the punters, then start demanding cash.

    Or, do what we're doing. Book a hall, contact any interested bands, sell your own tickets, arrange everything, rent a P.A., amps or whatever, and take a large cut of the door for yourself. Like, 50% for your band and 25% each for the other two. We're not even headlining, but it's our show and our sweat to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Brendan - Just don't get discouraged if your heart is in that music.

    In the 70's - my band played original punk, got kicked out of many places, I ate Ramen as a steady diet because we weren't playing "70's dance music", and I had to check into the hospital for anemia due to what little good food & health care I could afford. In due time, it all paid off when our band was signed, we went on tours with some big dogs, and I found myself scuba diving in the Carribean between tours.

    If you want regular money, play what the people with money going to the clubs want when they get out of the office. My excuse is that I'm an older guy now and have had my run, so I do it.

    My only concern for you is that "metal" isn't exactly an excitingly groundbreaking new, musical genre that brings in the big bucks until the band breaks on a national level.

    All I'm saying is that - don't sell out and play whatever makes your heart pump.
  17. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Rick, believe me, if there was an opening for some blues and jazz work, I'd take it. But Gard can vouch that PSL is not what you would call a musical breeding ground. More like a wasteland. So, when faced with no paying music, I do what comes second: the music that I love.

    PanteraFan has the way things go down well, only down here, it's we're getting the call to support. It's not a bad gig, we draw about 50-100 people on our own, and in a town that 200 is a huge show, that's something, but money goes to other bands, to cover renting the clubs and halls and whatnot, so the money just never sees us. However, that's changing, since I got in contact with a record label, and are now going to work out a demo show (us supporting) and then it's a touring/show deal where we open up for more established artists, and they send artists to us.

    We gonna see any money? Not much. Right now, this is the buisness of spending, not making money. However, merchandise should really help and/or make up for the lack of money coming from the actuall gig.
  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I appreciate what you are saying - I used to live in Boca Raton and it wasn't exactly a "vibrant" musical scene (unless your "nose dust" and BMW let you appear to be a big deal at the local coochie nightclub). Hell, we thought Prt. St. Lucie was the "boondocks."!!!

    Your heart will tell you what you must do, even if it means playing bass wearing a powder blue tux behind Wayne "Neutron" in Vegas.

    There's nothing wrong at all with getting into the corporate world as long as it allows you the time and means to do what you want, musically, even if it's only a few hours a week.....(hell, the corporate exec's usually have the best gear!).

    All I'm saying is that when you get to a certain age, some of these musical doors won't be open to you any longer. Whether you look back and have regrets when you are 65 is your personal matter. Just consider that the younger you are, the more options you have, and decide where your regrets may appear one day.

    It's a bumpy ride, but I don't look back and see many "shoulda's" or "coulda's."
  19. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Boca hu? You might be familiar with Lake Worth then. We're talking to indie record lable down there about shows and whatnot.
    You speak of doors no longer open with age. How about not being able to do metal in years to come. I'd rather spend my time playing for little money at this point. Mostly because *right NOW* fun is more important than money. Besides, I work and have school aside. Money is not a prevailing factor. Again though, it's a perk.

    I'm perfectly willing to strap on a suit and tie. I'm nowhere near good enough to play corporate gigs, given my poor music reading ability (though I'm working on it!). And generally poor playing. That, and there aren't corp. gigs around here. It's the boon docks, remember?

    Right now, the driving thing in the band is bigger crowds, thats really it. Money aside, we like to play in front of people. We'll play for 10. We like 100+ better than 10.

    And Rick, about musical doors: I'm not headed down that road. I'm headed down the Teaching path, which, given the hours is perfectly suited for music, really.
  20. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Then get out there and lay down the funk!!! No club owner refuses a band that puts "the trip in the hip" IME. Cold blooded reality - you're selling good times and drinks, not "art".....and you know what I've found???...it can be a lot of fun!!!! Just ask Cassanova!