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  • PA owners/operators/band member

    A lot of you on this board have mentioned that you own the PA for the band you play in. My question is this. If you own the PA, transport and set it up as well as operate it do you take a separate cut or fee for the equipment. I am a single act and have thought about maybe going to a duo and was wondering how this all works. BTW, I own all of the PA equipment.
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  • #2
    A lot of you on this board have mentioned that you own the PA for the band you play in. My question is this. If you own the PA, transport and set it up as well as operate it do you take a separate cut or fee for the equipment. I am a single act and have thought about maybe going to a duo and was wondering how this all works. BTW, I own all of the PA equipment.


    I generally don't ask for a cut. Sometimes the band decides to give me some extra if the gig paid well, or if there was a particularly long drive. From my perspective, I bought my gear out of frustration with having so many bad experiences with low-end hired sound and/or poor house systems; it was my decision to buy it, so it's not their responsibility to fund my equipment.

    Others may feel differently - if it's your gear, you have the right, IMO, to ask for compensation similar to outside costs. Whether or not you decide to force the issue is up to you.
    ...but, this one goes to eleven.

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    • #3
      In the duos that I've been playing in for the last year or so, the guy bringing the PA is usually the guy who hired me and who setup the gig.

      I don't play for tips only, but we usually split the tips in half (which can be substantial).

      However, for the house pay they usually just tell me how much I'm getting paid up front. If that doesn't work for me I decline the gig. But I assume (hope, actually) that they are either taking a larger split or okay with not taking a split for management/PA/etc, because it's outside of the scope of my job.

      Of course, these are smaller gigs without a lot of PA support, but maybe relevant to your question to understand yourself as contracting other musicians and paying them accordingly rather than splitting up a take in some kind of even way.
      My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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      • #4
        Yeah, I'm in that category. Every situation is different, and the only firm rule is "don't let yourself be taken advantage of... too much." Because if you're supplying and running the PA as well as playing in the band, you're always going to be dealing with something the other band members aren't dealing with: i.e. the distraction of having to keep one ear on the PA, and the other ear on your playing.

        In a larger group, say 4 band members and up, one thing that's worked for me in the past is just to treat the PA as another band member. The PA gets its share of the proceeds, so I'm making double what the other band members are, but I'm also making it possible to play gigs without anyone else investing a dime of their money in gear, besides their instruments.

        That idea doesn't work so well in a duo, because the other person is only getting 1/3 of whatever you're making on a gig. For duos you can adjust the ratio to whatever seems fair to both of you. I've done as much as a 60/40 split when I'm providing all the PA gear.

        There are other arrangements too. Right now, one of the duos I'm playing in has a 50/50 split on fees, which can be substantial because we focus on weddings. The reason is that my duo partner is a gung-ho marketing type who gets us the gigs. He finds clients, deals with the sales pitch and contracts, and makes sure we get paid. I provide the PA and don't have to deal with any of that side of the biz, which is a fair trade-off for me in this particular situation. In a different situation where my partner wasn't doing that much heavy lifting outside the actual performance, it might be different.

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        • #5
          We are a 3 piece. I own ALL the gear including the PODxt Pro that the guitarist uses. The system (me) takes an additional 1/4 cut. The system has been paid for and I do regular upgrades. I like owning the gear because I'm a geek and they like not owning the gear because they are lazy. It's a win-win.
          "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson

          Band promo shots on railroad tracks were cool in 1981...

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          • #6
            I am a single act and have thought about maybe going to a duo and was wondering how this all works.

            It's really a matter of what works for you. I've been a single who has taken on partners occasionally. If it's just a singer I'd usually pay them less. There was one very talented singing guitar player who I wanted to keep around, so I split the take with him even though it was my gig and my equipment.

            So keep an open mind about it.

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            • #7
              I'm in a band because I like to be in a band. We do about 10 paying gigs a year and charge too little. I just split it evenly between all members. Sometimes we hire someone to run our (my) PA. They usually get paid more than we do. (What is left after that we split.) 2 members are father and son in college. Dad just gives the son all of his take as he figures he is gonna give him the money one way or another. (The son is the best drummer we've ever had.) For me I lose money every year because I spend more upgrading my PA then what we will ever get back in gig money. At least I have a good day job to support my band habit.

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              • #8
                I just did a three year stint where I owned the PA and played in the band. Previous to me providing the PA, the leader either rented the gear himself from Long & McQuade (probably the cheapest rental rates in North America) or used an outside tech that had his own PA. Neither method worked very well, so I offered my PA and services. My price was based on what it would cost from L&M and then adding set-up and transportation of the equipment. It worked out to about what a sideman's share would be. I didn't get rich but I was in competition with two other alternatives, so my price had to reflect that if I wanted the gig.

                When I do a duo... it's usually me doing the singing and fronting, so I just factor in what I would like to see for everything I do or provide, and offer the other person a set amount. If it's a cooperative group, then my price is (again) usually set by what L&M charges. It's the sad but true reality that I've griped about before.

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                • #9
                  do you take a separate cut or fee for the equipment.


                  No, in-fact I refuse pay of any kind (I even refuse comp drinks or meals). Because:

                  1) The $5, $10, maybe $20 even share that I might have coming my way for what our band typically gets paid per show... that even cut is... well... laughable... both for the "value" of the product delivered vs. what the market will bear, and based on what the going price is for the cost of the support services necessary to deliver that product. Hence: I refer to our "gigs" as performance opportunities.

                  2) I can stay as busy as I want providing the sound, lights, and teching for $1K - $2K per show for the same thing (but with more latitude) that I provide for the band I play in for free.

                  3) As an unpaid amateur (in my pay to play situation... being brutally honest), there are big picture tax considerations. BTW: Where I live, the population density is approx. 2 ppl per sq. mile. "Finding" a better group of players to hang out with is not viable.

                  4) This plays into the band thang: Q: "How's the band project going?" A: "It's complicated."

                  5) No... I'm don't see that I'm part and parcel to sliming a profession, because that profession has been thourghly slimed beyond recognition in this region by many more at the hand of racing to the bottom, and my stance is actually raising the bar... by improving the quality of the product we deliver (by magnitudes), and I don't let money get in the way.

                  My intent is "pay forward"... of which the results, I may never see, but those who follow in my footprints may be able to capitalize on.

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                  • #10
                    If you go over to Back Stage With The Band you'll find a recent thread I started there (June maybe?) that discussed this. Lots of opinions.
                    Signature?

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                    • #11
                      I pay myself 50% for PA for my solo gigs so I really come out well for them!
                      tlbonehead@yahoo.com
                      www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy
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                      - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds & looks good. $250 + shipping. SOLD
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                      • #12
                        I own a complete PA (MixWiz, Yamaha Club S115V Mains and SW118 Subs, Yamaha SM12V Wedges (4), QSC RMX2450 amps, DBX DriveRacks (2 - 1 for mains, 1 for monitors), Lexicon MX400 effects, all the necessary cables, etc. - basically everything except mics and mic stands (I expect everybody to provide their own)). I do not charge groups that I play with for the use of my PA. There are several reasons for this ....

                        • I made a unilateral decision to purchase my rig - primarily because I was tired of dealing with systems that were typically kludged together from pieces that were in poor repair and/or poor matched and/or cheap gear. Because I hate when somebody else makes a unilateral decision and suggests that I need to help pay for it - I can't in good faith do that to anybody else.
                        • I retain total control of my rig - and use it how I see fit (including using it with other bands that I play with). I don't want anybody evening thinking that by paying me for the use of my PA - they have any say in what I elect to do with it. (that includes what components I add or remove, who else I allow to use it, etc.)
                        • I retain control over how my rig is used. I happily accept requests and suggestions etc. - but I have the final say in the technical aspects of how the PA is setup and operated.
                        • Quixotically perhaps, I perceive it as "leading from the front" - sending a quiet message to my bandmates that says "If there's something that you want to see done - don't just make "suggestions" - take some personal initiative and make it happen.
                        • I don't take money, because I want to be perceived as a bandmate who pulls his weight and then some. I don't want anybody figuring that because they've chipped in to pay a token fee - we're all on equal footing in terms of sweat equity.
                        • Lastly I bought the PA and make it available to the bands that I work with - simply because I can.
                        The only thing that I expect from my bandmates is that they help with the loading and unloading at the gigs - and that they treat my gear with a little respect. (I've never had any issues with any of my bandmates with regards to either of these things).
                        The SpaceNorman

                        www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
                        www.souldoutrocks.com

                        Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
                        Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
                        Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

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                        • #13
                          I don't charge for that. (Or the website and maintaining the fan list.) On the other hand, the bandmates pitch in during end of night packing. I normally set up 3 hours prior to a gig and because I'm alone, I do it alone. (Not for the next few weeks while recovering from surgery, but normally. Things haven't been normal for the last two weeks.)

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                          • #14
                            Sometimes I take money on the bigger paying gigs,but if it is a small lower paying gig,I'll provide for help loading up.

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                            • #15
                              I own all the PA gear in my group, don't take more than an even split. I think even suggesting such an agreement could cause more damage in our very harmonious band than the few bucks would be worth. I make my PA $$$$$$$ as a sound man for others. With the band, it's all about avoiding conflict. Especially over such a paltry amount of money.

                              A&H GL2800 console, BagEnd Crystals over D-18's, 12"and 15" BagEnd and EAW wedges powered and processed by QSC, Klark, BSS, Symetrix, Valley, Sabine, Peavey and BagEnd INFRA.

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