What's a reasonable guarantee to ask for if doing a solo/looped original/cover gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Coreymcd22, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Coreymcd22


    Apr 1, 2013
    Upstate, SC
    I realize this question is relative to what part of the US you live in due to cost of living, but I'm relatively new to getting paid to play music. All the bands I've been in have been all original sharing the bill with four other bands at a punk bar and getting paid a total of $20.

    I've recently started working on some looped compositions that would work in a variety of different atmospheres as well as some renditions of recognizable funk/jazz songs. This is something I could see as being somewhat lucrative but probably not as much as say, a full-band all cover gig. Being realistic I'm not expecting to get paid alot, but the places I'm going to inquire with should be able to throw me a little gas money and hopefully a little more (I would think). I've seen solo guys in the corners of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops but I've never known what kind of guarantee they get. I've got about two hours of material ready so I would think that should be worth something.

    So what would be a reasonable amount to ask? I don't want to ask for $100 and get laughed at or ask for $40 when I could have made more. The only paid gig I've done in the past everyone in the band got paid $100 and we didn't bring much of a crowd, but again that was a full band. I live in a city where that's a good amount because cost of living is so much lower than say, NY or LA. Just trying to get an idea, thanks.
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Musicians are notorious for being underpaid, to not paid, to paying to play. They did it to themselves.

    I'd ask $10,000.00 per performance.
  3. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Ask for $150 for four hours and let them argue you down to $100.
  4. Coreymcd22


    Apr 1, 2013
    Upstate, SC
    Right now I'm working with just about two hours of material so I'm thinking of asking for $100 to see what happens, there are plenty of places to try around here. Anything in particular I should know about talking to bar/restaurant owners? Most places around here don't actually have a booking person per se.
  5. For 2 hours of background music at a restaurant, I wouldn't expect much more than $50, but you could certainly ask for more. You just need to be able to convince them that what you offer is worth it. It is entirely dependent on the demand for live music in your city and the attitude of the restaurant owner / manager. Some people see the value of live music, some don't. Prove that you can entertain and keep people in their seats & ordering drinks, and you'll be in a good position to negotiate a regular gig with higher pay.
  6. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    Well, if you're playing along with a record, that's not really live music.
  7. Do you sing too - or just play with bass loops?
  8. Coreymcd22


    Apr 1, 2013
    Upstate, SC
    Percussion and rhythm parts on bass, some melody on guitar, due to EQ'ing and effects I've got songs, even some covers where I can play every part on bass and make it sound cohesive, there aren't any backing tracks.
  9. If you sang good too you could ask/get more money. Anyway, it really comes down to how well you can sell your services (marketing). Also if you're good you should be able to pickup at least $100 at a good bushing spot.
  10. If you cant sing its a pretty tough shot - especially with the looping. Most people who loop or play with backing tracks are singing and playing guitar or keyboards. Not saying it cant be done, just don't know if its marketable...
  11. Coreymcd22


    Apr 1, 2013
    Upstate, SC
    I haven't been on TB in a while and I thought I would update this dead thread since what I was trying to do actually worked. I've found a couple of small venues around town that are ok with me just doing instrumental pieces with bass, guitar, effects, and my looper. The pay has been between $50-$70 with all of them so far, which I realize isn't usually what someone takes home from a paid gig but it's still nice to get enough to help fund the project, especially since I'm getting to play what I want. Coffee shops, wine bars, and culture centers seem to be good bets, I just thought I'd pass it along in case anyone else was thinking of doing something similar.
    Seanto likes this.
  12. waveman

    waveman Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    Cool. there is a guy I work with that hosts open jams for this kind of thing. I never asked if he got paid for it. I have been thinking of doing my own spin on this as well... but I would need time to come up with some real compositions, rather than just me jammin'.

    Maybe you can find some other acts to share the bill with and do this as an opener at some more popular clubs?
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    My buddy did Starbucks for $25 / 2 hours.
    Instrumentals with looping.
  14. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    $50-75 is better than sitting around, looping in your bedroom, like 75% of TB. Good work!