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  • Counter to conventional wisdom- go figure

    So I played a place this weekend I've played for two years. Crowds are usually fair to good, as it's a restaurant, bar and has a section for private parties. I usually average 15 bucks a night in tips on th low end to 30-35 on the high end.

    This weekend was dismal- there was a huge 3 day blues festival in town and a big bluegrass show Saturday night as well. Friday night I had about 15 people. Last night I had about 8 in the bar area all night, and a birthday party way in the back with about 20 people. Yet on both nights when I counted my tips I was surprised- Friday night I got 46 dollars, Saturday night 62. Combined with my pay, that's not a bad weekend. One would think the bigger the crowds the better the tips, but my experience has been the opposite.The bigger the crowd, the more "background wallpaper" I become and the less they listen to me if they consider me at all. My worst nights for tips have been on the nights with huge crowds.

    Its a dilemma for sure-, I want tip money, but we need crowds to keep the gigs coming. I'll take the gigs over the tips, but I just thought it weird to be that way.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

  • #2
    I'll take crowds over tips just for my own sanity. I absolutely HATE when I don't get people participating or the venue has a light night. If I had 8 people in a bar on any given night I would have packed up and went home with a reduced amount. I'll NEVER let the venue lose money on me. That line of thinking has always guaranteed that I get return gigs.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.justdarrell.com" target="_blank">Just Darrell Web Site</a></div>

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    • #3
      Give me a decent crowd of seventy or eighty and I have no nerves but put me in front of seven or eight and I get butterflies can't really explain it, but like you I would take a crowd everyday of the week. Cheers Steve
      Cheers Steve
      my website http://www.macthehat.com/

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      • #4
        I prefer a big crowd but will take whatever comes by. I've had good and bad tip nights on quiet nights but usually have more fun with a full room.

        When the crowd is small, I seem to have more difficulty calling the next song. That is unless there is a table or two that are actively engaged with the band. When the dance floor is full, I can usually tell by their faces and postures when it's time to play another fast one or slow it down, or do something else.

        It's not the crowd's fault, it's a personal thing with me.

        Notes
        Bob "Notes" Norton
        Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
        Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
        The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

        Comment


        • #5
          I never look at it as the venue losing money on me. It's not a watering hole or a dance club. Its a restaurant. Even the bar is set up like a dining room. Clearly, by the amount of tips I got, I'm able to hold the crowd that shows up and they like what they're hearing. But if the venue is relying on the guy in the corner with a guitar to bring their customers, then they have some serious problem in the kitchen or with their service. A quick trip to Yelp confirms that their customers only give them 2-1/2 stars. Some reviews are stellar, and others are awful. This has been their problem- inconsistency in product and service. They're trying to turn things around, but once you get a bad rep its hard to overcome. I'm doing my job, and I'm not going to take a cut in pay because their chef or waitresses aren't up to the job.
          Last edited by BlueStrat; 03-31-2014, 10:59 AM.
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

          Comment


          • #6
            As a patron, I find I'm more likely to tip a musician on a slow night. A), I usually feel like we're getting more 'personal attention' from the music and B), I probably at least subconsciously figure that nobody else is going to tip the guy, so I should. If the place is busy, I figure everybody else is tipping, so I'm less likely to do so.

            I never thought about it, but it's possible that a lot of other people have the same attitude.
            _________________________________________________
            band websites:
            http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
            https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
            https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
            http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

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            • #7
              I'm with Potts--I will take a pay cut. It doesn't reallly matter if you are doing your job or not, if you refuse to play ball with certain places you will eventually lose the gig. I am only doing 4-5 a week right now. One place I have been at 7 years and one 6 years---all year long including off months--and its because I adjust accordingly when it comes to getting paid less when they arent making much money.

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              • #8
                Well, that's your prerogative, and I won't fault you for it. I just don't see it the same way. If their crappy food or service costs me money, then I want a say in how the place is run. They don't ask my opinion and I don't give it. Should the beer or wine vendor cut their price because the guy's business is inconsistent? Should the janitorial service or the electric company cut their rates because the food isn't up to par?

                I'm not "refusing to play ball" with the owner. I'm playing ball by the rules he established, as a contract entertainer hired to perform for a set rate he offered and I agreed upon beforehand for his customers' dining enjoyment. That's what I do. and I do it well. It's worked that way with this place for two years so far. And so far, the guy has never indicated that he regrets paying me what he pays me, so I'm not going to offer to take less because of his other problems, He may offer me less in the future and I will decide then if I want it or not.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  I always say, "If the crowd is good, it's the band ..... if the crowd is bad, it's the food."

                  I dislike places that hire a band in the hopes that the band is going to draw a crowd. Too much pressure on one item in the total picture.

                  I've always felt it's the band's job to entertain the patrons so they have a good time, stay a little longer, and feel like they want to return -- and not to draw them in in the first place.

                  Some gigs I don't even put out a tip cup, other gigs I rely on the tips. It depends.

                  Even in the best places, some nights are going to be crowded and other nights are going to be dull.

                  If I make great tips on a slow night, I appreciate it. If I make great tips on a better night I still appreciate it. And I can't figure out why and when people tip.

                  Although I do know certain songs when requested pull better tips better than others.

                  The Saxophonist's most requested song over the years has been "Yakety Sax." This song seldom brings in a tip, and when it does, it's usually $1 and sometimes $2 -- I've never received more than $2 for playing this one.. The tip is appreciated but not required.

                  In my career the second most requested sax song has been "Night Train". This usually gets a tip that typically ranges from $5 to $10 and I've gotten $50 a couple of times and $60 once.

                  The best night was back in the 1980s when I was doing the cruise ships. We had a request to learn "All My Ex's Live in Texas" so we bought a copy while in port to learn. The very next week the entire cruise ship was rented by an insurance company for all the people in Texas and Oklahoma that wrote over a million dollars in insurance that year. First night we had a request for "All My Ex's" and I told them I didn't know it but would learn it by Thursday (figuring the days I could get to the stage in the day to sequence and practice it). Night after night the same thing.

                  We cranked it out on Thursday, and that night we made over $400 in tips. The Texans were a party bunch and appreciated the special attention. I didn't tell them we planned to learn it that week anyway. Why spoil the party?

                  Notes

                  Bob "Notes" Norton
                  Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                  Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                  The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't willingly take a reduction in pay. When I book a date, I often turn down offers for the same day, so I'm not going to lose money just because I am honouring the slower gig. The other reason I don't take pay cuts, is that when business is really good, I get a pat on the back, but no extra money - so it's clear to me that I don't share in the profit or loss. The third reason I don't offer to take a cut is that I often can't - literally. Many of my solo gigs are booked by an agency. I don't have the right or power to bargain prices, and in fact all of my agent booked gigs are paid through the agency. I never get paid from the venue on an agency gig.

                    On a side note; last week I got a call from an agent around 3:00 pm, three hours before a gig. She said the room had blocked booked the date, and didn't need me. Now sometimes when this happens, the venue just says they will "make it up to me", which is what they wanted to do this time as well. However the agent said she wasn't going to let this one slide and was going to charge them full price, because it was such late notice. So again, I had no say in the money end of the deal, and if the venue says something to me, I can just play stupid - not a hard thing to do

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                    • #11
                      [QUOTE]Should the beer or wine vendor cut their price because the guy's business is inconsistent? Should the janitorial service or the electric company cut their rates because the food isn't up to par?[/QUOTE

                      Hey I igree with you but (for my situation) it doesn't work like that. The music is the first thing to go when it's slow

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                      • #12
                        Maybe the 8 people tipped out of pity. It's like pizza delivery guys getting more tips if it's raining out.
                        Winner of best guitarist in the house. (my house)!

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                        • #13
                          Oh yes, I forgot this was a tipping thread. I too get better tips when it's slow. As others have said, it's partially the extra attention, partially the ability to fade into the woodwork (on both sides) and maybe partially pity.

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                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=fingerpicker;n31107070]
                            Should the beer or wine vendor cut their price because the guy's business is inconsistent? Should the janitorial service or the electric company cut their rates because the food isn't up to par?[/QUOTE

                            Hey I igree with you but (for my situation) it doesn't work like that. The music is the first thing to go when it's slow
                            It may well be, but like I said, this isn't a bar or dance club where the music is the attraction. It's a restaurant where the food is what brings people. Thus, I can't take a cut in pay because they have management issues.The music in restaurants doesn't make them much money except in keeping diners there longer than normal. In fact, when it's busy, they often ask me to take more breaks so people will get up and leave so they can turn the tables over. Why? because the money is in food for them. And if that's he case, then like I said, if they can't get people, in the door, it's a kitchen problem, not the guy in the corner with the guitar, and my taking a cut in pay won't make a bit of difference if they make it or not.

                            I agree if it's a bar or a dance club, I might be more inclined to assume more responsibility for their turnout. But not a restaurant.
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

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                            • #15
                              Some restaurants like having someone entertain people that are waiting to get a table too.
                              Winner of best guitarist in the house. (my house)!

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