Who pays for what?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by marineman227, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. ok so i'm just starting my first band and have a few questions. Mostly who should buy what as far as band equipment. We know we will need a PA but who would be responsible for buying it. I was thinking just take an even split but then who takes it if the band were to by chance break up. That kind of thing. We don't have a "lead singer" as in a solo person, our guitarist will be doing the singing mostly so we can't really stick him with it alone. I almost would like to buy it alone so i can have it if i ever need it anywhere else or if i move on to another band. Also looking down the road a little more if we start touring in the summer like we are hoping to we are thinking about buying a band van to haul the gear and get us around but who would fund that. If i could afford to just go out and buy another vehicle i wouldn't be buying a van and i wouldn't be giving it to the band. that kind of stuff i would like to know what you guys do thanks.
  2. Well there's a couple of ways.
    You all could buy different parts of the pa. Like onbe gets the speakers, one the poweramp, etc... But obviously the prices of some things are more than others.

    You could all pitch in an equal part and just sell it for (a heap) less than what you paid for it and then split that up. Or if someone wanted to keep it to themselves they could buy the parts of it or whatever. (Starting to sound like the sharemarket!)

    Theres probably a bunch more things to consider though, so keep asking around, ask local bands what they do and such.
  3. I got to drop a few thousand on the PA (all Peavey - awesome gear) for our band because the guitar player bought a bunch of recording gear and the singer and drummer don't have jobs. I like having the whole thing myself because I can take it to other gigs if I need to or do sound for other bands. I'll also always know where the thing is - there's not a chance in hell I would trust a singer to remember to bring a head and monitor to practice...
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    In Lovesjones, the drummer has just bought a neat little PA set up. It cost him about £1000. The dealio is that the band hires it from him for a nominal fee rather than going to a third party (say £50 or so a shot for a pub level gig - more for some other situations but certainly below the market rate). He also gets to use it for his other projects on the same basis and, if I want a decent PA at a good rate, I know who to turn to.

    It won't be long before he's paid for it and can then use the rental fees to cover storage and also future repairs. In the short term he knows his bands will have a decent PA and in the longterm he might turn a profit; meanwhile, certainly compared to one or two of the systems we've had to hire, the band certainly doesn't lose out.

    If someone can stump up the cash, I think this is a better solution than going for shared ownership.

  5. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    In my last band we shared the cost of the PA, totaled up what it would be, and since we all had jobs, split the cost over 5 people. When we broke up, we thought about splitting it up equally to recover our inputs on it, but then we took a glace at the pratical side of that and said screw it (what could you do with a pair of speakers, or a head and cables, etc. etc.?) Yeah, it'll cut down on cost next time, but not really worth it to us, and, how do you decide who gets what, what's worth how much, etc. etc). So, we sold it and divided how much we got between the 5 of us, just as we did when we bought it, and called it fair. Just my $0.02. PAs can be expensive, so I'd say share the cost.

  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Welcome to the issue that breaks up more bands than any other....MONEY!!!

    Yep, you need a PA and a van to haul it but hey, that stuff aint as sexy as a cool new guitar or an amp stack or whatever so many bands shortchange it. If you guys are SERIOUS you set a budget, everyone kicks in and you buy the stuff. Often someone will balk at putting up $$$ and there goes the band :rollno: A good PA and reliable van will cost you more than the band is going to make for some time (unless you guys are going to play a lot of weddings :D ), it really is an investment towards the future.

    This is one reason why it's harder to be in a "democratic cooperative" type band. In a "leader plus sideman" band, the leader will own all the stuff and that takes care of it.

    You can sign an agreement about how to buy out anyone who leaves and NO they don't get their inital share, the gear gets depreciated over time (typical depreciation for tax purposes is 5 or ten years). Most bands won't last 10 years, so choose 5 years...after a year you get back 80%, after 2 years you get back 60%, etc. When a new member comes in they can choose to buy in OR the original members take over full ownership.

    The alternatives:

    -- one person owns it all (and you can demand some reimbursement like $X per gig, or all repair bills covered by the band, whatever) or like F.O.C. wrote above each guy buys some of the PA and you have to deal with replacing the gear if the person leaves the band

    -- rent a PA and van when you need it and it gets paid out of your gig income (will be more expensive in the long run, and if gigs don't pay enough the rent will be out of your pockets)
  7. Thanks for the quick replies, i'm the only member of our band not in high school still so i'm kind of leaning towards just buying a PA so i have it and then maybe like you suggested have the band pay for repairs or upgrades to the original system or whatever but nobody else really has money for anything and they will all need to upgrade their gear before we start playing live shows anyway so that's where their money is going. The van i'm not real worried about because we will just all drive our own gear to the first shows probably until we start touring anyway if we even make it that far. Just looking for input.
  8. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The one time this has been an issue, the band (a trio) split the cost three ways on a PA. Then I left the band. I looked up the prices for what the gear had gone for in ebay's completed auctions took out the top and bottom auction price, averaged the rest. Split that in 1/3 and accounted for tax. The other two guys covered it. It was pretty painless and fair for everyone.

    If I were doing it again I'd have one person buy every piece of the PA individually and then take it if/when they leave. It's not a big deal to turn around and resell the stuff. Oh, and don't forget instrument insurance (which covers PAs usually).

    As far as vehicles go, I don't think joint ownership is a good idea unless you've all entered into a LLC or something to keep it legal and documented. If you're not going to go to that trouble, you can have someone buy it who is most likely to need/afford something like that. There is some official rate established by the IRS for what is considered a per-mile amount you can write off on your taxes. It's measured in cents per mile. Most of the bands I'm in, when we go out of town the people who are driving will note their odometer readings before leaving and after getting back so they know how far they drove. Then what they get paid is based on the IRS's cents per mile. I forget offhand what it is.

    The reason for the cents per mile rather than just paying for gas is that if you're driving 600 miles in a weekend, you just put 600 miles worth of wear and tear on your car and tires, plus you are 600 miles closer to needing an oil change. It may not seem like a big deal but it adds up. When people start going on tours and recording albums and other things that stress musicians out, having every angle of that stuff covered is important to avoid stupid petty arguments IMO.
  9. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Do you really need a PA?

    I've been playing for about a year with my band- every bar we have hit already has one.

    At house parties we just use a spare guitar amp and plug the mic into it.

    Seems like a lot of money to spend on something you might not use that often.
  10. A real PA sounds infinitely better than plugging a mic into a guitar amp... they're also nice to have for use with rehearsals.

    In my original band, the singer and guitarist have each bought components of our PA - it's used for practice exclusively for now as we only play good live music clubs, but may be upgraded soon in order to play shows with it if we venture into pubs.

    In my cover band, the bandleader owns the PA and all the other relevant gear. He gets all the gig money, and pays us musicians a salary.
  11. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    This thread itself has demonstrated the complicity of the "band" owning the equipment by the posts of those who advocate it. It would be a hard sell to get me to commit to a project where equipment is expected to be jointly owned. You are inviting trouble when you get involved in something like that. Assume ownership of practical equipment yourself or, let the other guy do it.
  12. 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
    I own three of my band's four PA systems. I like it. If I leave the band, so do my PA's. Of course they could always rent them from me. BTW, I don't charge the band to use my PA's. They just have to help me tear down.
  13. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Every band breaks up eventually. Plan on it.

    If most of your band is in high school, and you haven't even gigged yet like you say, then I recommend that you NOT purchase a PA for gigging, and rather rent PA for awhile for live shows. If your band is still together after a few months of live shows, then discuss purchasing a PA. I can't tell you how many (well, MANY) bands I have heard who broke up prior to gigging heavily, as that's the time when personality and musical/life differences rear their ugly heads.

    If you want to buy it for yourself and keep it, then go ahead, its a decent option. But please consider renting for awhile before having everyone go into a joint PA purchase.
  14. It's a great theory for the band to jointly buy the PA, then if one person splits, he gets paid his/her (depreciated) share. But in the real world, that ain't happening often. Usually everybody else in the band (or the band fund) is basically broke. They don't have a few hundred bucks or more to give to the poor departing soul (who may not be leaving on the best of terms anyways). Thus breeds a lot of anger, fights, etc....

    I'm partial to having the band leader own the PA. Myself, though I'm not leading a band right now, I own two PA setups, a small one that's OK for practices and a decent sized one. As a side gig, I use the larger one to run sound for a friend's band so I've made some extra money off of it. But for me the main thing was that if I'm in a band that needs a PA, I've got that covered, I eliminate the PA controversy--and I can have more control of things. :D

    For what it's worth: I encourage anybody that's serious about starting in a band to buy themselves a decent little PA. A six input powered mixer that can run a set of main speakers and a set of monitors, and a few mics. For less than $1500 you can have enough of a PA to run practices (or auditions) :) as well as small paying gigs. (Many of my first gigs didn't even have monitors, just a crappy 4 input head and a lousy set of main speakers).

    For example, if you are auditioning for a band, and you are competing with somebody else who is just as competent if not more, sometimes having a PA can be that extra little advantage that helps you get the gig. Or you want to start your own band, now you've got the PA and it's a lot easier to hold auditions.

    And another 2 cents worth: I believe some bands are guilty of buying waaay more PA than they need. (I guess they think that makes them Kiss or the Stones) For a lot of bands, most of their gigs can be handled by a small PA, if not, then rent a bigger one for those special events. Think about it: a band will tie up $10,000 in a PA, plus another $10,000 in a van, for gigs that don't pay didly-squat? :meh:
  15. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Your typical PA consists of more than just a mixer, amp & speakers (mains)... There's monitors, mics, stands, cables, transport cases/racks, etc... Transporting, setting up and tearing down the PA is also a considerable investment IN YOUR TIME AND LABOR. You may want to establish some ground rules with the rest of the band to ensure YOU don't get stuck with all of the work. Last but not least, keep in mind that since it's YOUR equipment, you'll probably take the extra precautions to make sure everything is handled properly and safely stowed away after a gig, but it most likely won't be a big priority with your bandmates. That means it's up to you to make sure they (at least make an attempt to) treat your gear with the same respect that you would.

    I've lost a considerable amount of gear (to both damage and misplacement) because the people helping me pack up have not payed attention to what they were doing. Having been there before, I can tell you that if these things aren't worked out, it will eventually breed contempt on your end.

    - Frank.
  16. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Here's a few thing's I've done to help keep things organized...

    - I purchased a few cheap roller luggage cases (I have several different sizes for different things). These are great for storing and transporting things like mics, mic and speaker cables, extension cords. I even use one for a powered mixer that I own. I've also tried to make sure that everything has it's designated place so that it's easier to tell if something is missing.

    - You may want to check out some wheeled golf bags/cases to hold your mic stands. I haven't done this yet, but it's on my "to do" list. Currently, I'm using a keyboard case to transport my stands.

    - Go to Radio Shack and buy a few packs of their multicolor velcro wire wraps (http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=278-1676) for your mic cables. Make sure you get 2 of each color for each cable (one for each end). It'll make it much easier to know whose mic is connected to each channel, plus it's easier to wrap your cables afterwords.

    - Get similar single color wire wraps (I purchased a bunch at Home Depot) for your speaker cables and extension cords.

    - Make sure you stock plenty of Gaffer tape to tape down cables on the stage. Microphone windscreens start to dent when stands are tipped over from your bandmates tripping on cables. It also wreaks havoc on your input jacks.

    - You may want to pack a few tools. I have a small accessory bag that I keep assorted tools like screwdrivers, hex keys, a soldering iron, electrical tape, extra connectors and things like that. You never know when you'll need to do some field repair.

    - Cables... Unless you're planning on buying a snake to run all of your cables back to your mixer, make sure you buy some 50' mic cables in addition to the usual 20' or 25' ones. Same thing with speaker cables. MAKE SURE YOU GET EXTRA CABLES as backups!!! AudioPile is a good source for cables and accessories. If money is tight, Steel Sound has great prices on budget mic and speaker cables.

    - As I said before, establish some ground rules for setting up/breaking down the PA. One of mine is that the PA is setup FIRST, before anyone's personal gear (we leave the monitors and mics disconnected till every thing else is setup so no one trips over the cables and yanks them out while setting up their own gear), and the PA is the FIRST THING packed up.

    - Assuming you don't have a soundman, you'll have to decide who'll manage your sound. If it's one of you on stage, give some thought as to how and where you're going to position the mixer to allow easy access to control the sound while you're playing. Nothing worse than getting a round of feedback during a song and not being able to react to it quickly.

    I hope you find these somewhat helpful.

    - Frank.
  17. Thanks frank... That's the kind of real show experience i need in on. not that the rest aren't helpful but that not only tells me what i should do but helps figure out how to go about doing it. All those small things like the cable wraps and the tape that you wouldn't think of until it's too late for your first couple of gigs is really what is good to know
  18. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    I'm currently playing in two bands. In one of them, we have our own sound guy who owns and runs all of the PA equipment. While we help out with setup/teardown, he's pretty much in control of everything (which makes life real easy).

    In the other band, we use my PA gear and I pretty much manage the sound from up on stage while we're playing. I play both electric and acoustic guitar in addition to bass in this band, so I have quite a bit of gear to bring to a gig even before the PA is taken into consideration. The band consists of two female vocalists, one male vocalist (plus myself and another guitarist sing backup), two guitars, bass and drums. Besides vocals, we usually run the guitars, bass, kick and snare through the PA just to fill out the sound a bit. Because this band plays mostly at coffee houses and smaller venues, I've been able to whittle down the PA to a fairly compact package that's easy to manage. These days we're using a Behringer PMH5000 powered mixer (400watts/channel, 12 mic inputs + 4 stereo ins) into a Dawn 510 Satellite/Subwoofer speaker system. The Dawn setup is ridiculously small and easy to transport (although it sounds incredible for our purposes) and truly eliminates the need for monitors (We also have a set of Yamaha 15" cabinets for some added throw if we play outdoors where the Dawn has a tougher time covering it). I have a roll-up camping table that I place the mixer on near my corner of the stage so that it's easy to access. Since the subwoofer is right in front of the mixer, I only need two short (5') cables to go from the mixer/amp to the sub. Then I use a 20' cable (although a 10' would do) to connect to the satellite on my side of the stage, and a 50' (which runs around to back of the stage) to the satellite on the other side. The satellites are usually positioned about even with us at opposite ends of the stage about 6' high on the stands. During sound check, if we experience feedback at the levels we want to play at we adjust the position of the satellites as necessary.

    - Frank.
  19. kansas666


    Sep 20, 2004
    Our guitar player owns the pa and lights. He doesn't charge us anything to use them. But he doesn't have to setup, teardown or load in and out. He just shows up, plugs in and plays. Any repairs are paid for by the entire band.
  20. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    I've played in plenty of situations where there was a house PA, some where there was only a vocal PA, some where we had our own PA, etc. In my most recent gigging bands (all-original rock bands Lohio, Dogwood Tree, and Distraught's Son), we have stumbled upon the best possible scenario (IMO):

    Tell the club owner that rather than paying you to play, they are just in charge of paying for the sound guy (which you should already have lined up as a steady soundguy) AND an ad for the show on the radio (if they don't already do this). Then tell them you'll play for the door (just pay someone you trust $20 to run the door). Set the cover around $5 or so. This way:

    1. The club owner gets off only paying about $400 or so, which is very reasonable, considering they might normally have to pay out $450 or more for a cover band.
    2. The sound guy gets paid guaranteed, regardless of the unexpected "slow night".
    3. You don't have to worry about haggling the price from the club, and you don't have to worry about paying the sound guy, because these are already worked out (LESS HEADACHES! :)
    4. This gives you a major incentive to get off your butt and PROMOTE your show, as you get paid based on the amount of people show up and pay the cover!
    5. Club owners will absolutely LOVE YOU if you bring a huge crowd, as their beer sales will be through the roof, and will probably be willing to give you a little something extra as a tip. (Once we brought a great crowd and the club was so impressed that they gave us an extra $200)

    With a good crowd, you're able to pay any openers you have, even if they don't expect to get paid. Also, you don't have to worry about getting a PA, a van, loading in/out, setting up, and running your own sound (Again, less headaches).

    The club owner is happy because of low cost and no b.s. The sound guy is happy because he gets paid guaranteed, and can count on your band as good steady work. Your openers are happy to open for a good, professional band, and in many cases they're ecstatic to get paid. You and your bandmates are happy because you have very few responsibilities or b.s. to deal with other than loading in your amps/instruments and actually PLAYING. Also, you will make out alright in the financial end of things, which makes everyone happy. AND if you have an opener or openers, you might only have to play a couple hours, which is awesome.

    Sorry for rambling, this is just a method I feel very strongly about and highly recommend. There is no arguing over a jointly-owned PA, no arguing with club owners, no problems with soundguys, no b.s. whatsoever. And I've never run into a soundguy, club owner, opening band, or bandmate who had a single gripe about this system. Has anyone else done this?