Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Pay Per Man

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Pay Per Man

    I've talked to a few venues who have a policy where they pay a band based on how many people are on stage. More than a few bands tend to think this way, too. Example: "I need $100 per man to play here." I suppose this makes sense if you're used to the idea that each chair does one thing - drums, guitar, vocals, whatever . . . . . But what if one chair covers more than one function? The guitar player sings; the keyboard covers bass? I'm putting together a trio that covers drums, keys, guitar, bass, and vocals. Shouldn't we be paid based on what we have to offer as a band? Makes no sense to me that a guitar trio with a front singer should be paid more, other things being equal.

  • #2
    I've never approached it that way when negotiating pay...that would be crazy. Why can't my outstanding four piece band get paid as much or more than an outstanding [or mediocre] five or six piece band? I don't sell on headcount, I sell on quality.
    Last edited by daddymack; 01-03-2017, 10:41 PM.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by senorblues View Post
      I'm putting together a trio that covers drums, keys, guitar, bass, and vocals.

      All at once, every song? How you do that?

      FWIW, we never charged per person. (This, back in the olden days.) OTOH, we also never wanted to charge anything less than something that meant the gig was worth each performer's time. IOW, our minimum was based on our own idea of "per person" value.

      -D44
      Last edited by Drummer44; 01-04-2017, 09:48 AM.
      ************************************************** *********************************

      Old guy, just trying to play through the arthritis...
      - Balance is a virtue; loud for its own sake is not... and loud won't fix bad
      - I may not interpret ridiculous, crazy, or stupid the way you intended
      - Common retail products are never awesome (thermo-nuclear probably is, though)
      Assume the requisite list of stuff...

      Comment


      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment
        Actually, I did that years ago in a trio, our drummer would play keys with his right hand....usually when I took guitar solos. There was also a song where I played keys and guitar simultaneously. All three of us sang, too.

      • AJ6stringsting
        AJ6stringsting commented
        Editing a comment
        The OP of this post is probably Getty Lee of Rush, in cognito 😱👍

    • #4
      There are a couple of ways to look at this. The most important is start with the ring. If the band and/or the venue can't attract enough clients on a given night who are willing to spend money, the band can't expect to get paid much.

      But . . . and I've run into this a few times . . . some venues have this notion that everyone should be paid the same. Not bands - individuals. You can argue that it's the entertainment package that draws, regardless of how many guys are on stage. I guess some venues have some sort of idea about fairness and paying everyone the same. Where else could it come from?

      Anyway, it's had for me to explain to these people that I'm covering three chairs - keys, bass, and vocals - and expect to be paid according to what they're hearing, not the number of heads.

      Anybody else run into this?

      Comment


      • #5
        I can't see a club owner saying, 'well, let's see... you have a seven piece band, so I'll pay you $700, but if you fire the second guitarist and the percussionist, I'll pay $500'? Nonsense. Budget is budget, and per man should have no rational part of that equation.
        If this were true, I'd be hiring more horn players...but it isn't, in my experience. Most clubs set a per night 'fee', and that is what you compete for. If you have a 5 piece band, or a 4 piece, the $ is the same.
        "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
        "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

        Comment


        • senorblues
          senorblues commented
          Editing a comment
          Let's flip the argument. A lot of guys won't play out for less than $100. So a trio with a front singer needs $400. It's the musicians, not the venue, that thinks that way and they should have a minimum below which they won't pack their gear. If the venue has a $300 budget, he can expect to be looking at mostly trios. If I bring in my drums/keys duo, don't you think he'd want to give me $200, and if he does, I'd be inclined to add a third guy.

          Back in 60s, my drums/keys duo split the difference. Less than the other bands, but more per man. Full calendar. . . . .

        • daddymack
          daddymack commented
          Editing a comment
          There really is no flip, you are jsut thinking this all wrong! Budget is budget. All the club wants is live music that won't chase customers out. What the band wants is to get paid. AS A BAND, it is their decision what they will accept, how it works out per man has nothing to do with the club. The club is not paying each individual member [they don't want to issue that many 1099 forms], the yare paying the band/leader, and how the money splits is none of their concern.
          Show me a club that has a strict policy that they will pay $100 per man, and I will show you a closed club in six months. But I will definitely want to book my seven piece Jazz/R&B band in there as long as it lasts.

      • #6
        I've never heard of venues paying "per man". I have been in bands that kept members to a minimum solely to increase pay per man.

        Comment


        • daddymack
          daddymack commented
          Editing a comment
          exactly! In 1999 I pared down our 7 piece band to 5 piece for that reason... well also we just didn't need a singer and a second guitar...

      • #7
        I think I have an answer to my question. Most of you have never heard of "this venue pays per man" concept. I'd never heard of it either. I don't know who thought this up, but it doesn't serve me well.

        Comment


        • daddymack
          daddymack commented
          Editing a comment
          Did a venue manager actually say to you that they pay x amount of money per man? Or is this some localized misconception?

        • senorblues
          senorblues commented
          Editing a comment
          Strange as it may seem, I've heard it straight from the horse's mouth from several venues, both band and solo/duo. Where they got this model is a mystery.

        • daddymack
          daddymack commented
          Editing a comment
          Book my seven piece band in there!!!

      • #8
        The only time I've ever played in place that paid per man was as a member of the house band at a big all-night honkytonk. The owner was fond of saying "musicians are a dime a dozen" - and he got his money's worth.

        Comment


        • AJ6stringsting
          AJ6stringsting commented
          Editing a comment
          The club owner sounds like a genuine SKINFLINT !!!! 👹😣😯😤
          Last edited by AJ6stringsting; 03-12-2017, 03:16 AM.

      • #9
        i've run into this with my band. we went from a trio to a 4 piece back to a trio. When we were a trio the 1st time we got no extra pay when we became a 4 piece but when we went back to being a trio the bar owner wanted to cut us $150. I said if you are paying by person my wife will play tambourine... there is your 4th member.... LOL

        We never went back.
        www.ostrichhat.com

        Comment


        • #10
          I have heard of clubs that pay per man only in that they will pay a five piece band $500.00, and in order to save money they will pay a three piece band $300.00. In reality, the club has a max budget of $500 and the price goes down from there.

          The only place I have ever been paid per man is at festivals based on AFM rates. Then you get paid per man, but they like to book smaller acts.

          Regarding doubling, and the lack of extra pay for doing it, that's why I'm concentrating on solo stuff these days. I used to get calls (still do I guess) from guys that couldn't sing or front. They would want me to come in and sing, play guitar and generally get the crowd in a frenzy. This was all for the same pay as that guy who shows up late, looks bored on stage, and does one thing (often badly). Never seemed fair to me. In fact when I'm a sideman, I don't mind if the leader or front, takes extra money - makes sense to me.

          The way I see it, if someone is saving the band money by doubling, they should get a little of that savings. I rarely see it work that way though. If there's another way of dividing the load that's fine too. The drummer books the gigs, the sax player brings the PA, the guitar player who doesn't sing gives the doubling singing keyboardist a ride - that's different.

          Comment


          • daddymack
            daddymack commented
            Editing a comment
            Union gigs are a very different thing, where the minimum rate is pre-set, and yes, always per man.

        • #11
          I was on a circuit in the late 70s with a five piece band. The soundman was an equal partner so it was a six way split.

          A genius friend of mine who played guitar, sang and used pedals to play bass teamed up with a drummer who also sang and formed a duo. They carried their own gear and ran their sound from the stage. They were very good and played the same circuit as my band.

          For the clubs on the circuit, my band and their band (duo) produced the same result so we got the same pay - the difference was they each got half and we split it six ways.
          As a human being, you come with the whole range of inner possibilities
          from the deepest hell to the highest states.

          It is up to you which one you choose to explore
          .

          Comment


          • #12
            Outside of union gigs? It's hard to make it work that way. You can always ask and a sympathetic club owner will at least understand your situation and maybe toss you a couple of extra bucks, but it's not like he can charge a higher cover or raise drink prices because he's got a 7 piece band on stage instead of a trio.

            ​And even on a bigger level---it's not like Earth, Wind & Fire can charge higher ticket prices than Rush just because they have more people to pay.

            ​Hopefully with more people you can put on a better show/draw more people/sell more drinks and therefore justify a higher price than a duo. But that's only in a perfect world, right?
            ______________

            Comment


            • #13
              Back when I was playing clubs I had to explain to more than one manager that the band was my business and it wasn't a communist utopian society where we all got paid the same. I had several just assume because we were 4 or 5 piece that we needed 4 or $500. When I explained to them that I booked the band have all the PA lights saying play guitar pick the song list, handle the pay taxes and 1099 the bandmembers they understood it on those terms. The band is my business and the musicians are my contracted employees. I certainly was not going to work for $100.

              Even back in the early 2000's the writings on the wall and we began to pair the number of members down due to pay. The least amount I made in the band was an easy Thursday night regular gig. I would make 175 and the other guys would make 100 for three sets. I can't imagine leaving my house for $100 for a gig. The last time I did that was probably 1991 when I got out of the Army and I was trying to establish gigs.

              Comment


              • #14
                It's not uncommon around here. It's a way of setting minimum wage. The good bands get more than minimum wage. If you are an unknown entity, the club will put you in on a so-so night and pay you as little as they can. Offering $100 a man is their way of telling you what their minimum wage is. They don't want to see anybody making less than a hundred bucks a night. BTW, it's only the better clubs that pay that well.....sigh.
                Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

                Comment


                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So, hypothetically, if the Police came to play they'd get $300, but if U2 came in they'd get $400...and if the Beatles came in they'd get the same $400, but if the Stones came in they'd get $500? ..what happens if EWF or Tower of Power or Chicago get booked? Just freaking ridiculous.

              • #15
                "So, hypothetically, if the Police came to play they'd get $300, but if U2 came in they'd get $400...and if the Beatles came in they'd get the same $400, but if the Stones came in they'd get $500? ..what happens if EWF or Tower of Power or Chicago get booked? Just freaking ridiculous."

                Get serious.

                If you're making more than chump change at this point, it's because you are a draw. There are far too many rooms that aren't willing to pay for a "better" band - assuming one exists - because their experience tells them that the ring for that night won't exceed their costs. So instead they let mediocre groups play for next to nothing so they can at least advertise that they have "live music". Doesn't matter who or how many. I understand that quite few of you won't leave the house for $100, but up here, you'd starve. There are talented guys who've lived here forever and play for less than that because not enough people show up to see them. Maybe it's their fault . . . or the venue . . . or nobody's fault. People just aren't as interested in musical entertainment as they used to be. Look at the online calendar's of the best groups and tell me how many nights per month they're playing out. . . . and tell me what you think they're making.

                Comment


                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Apparently you missed part of my point.
                  Yes, I was dropping names somewhat facetiously, but it was all about headcount and quality. Police: 3, U2:4, Beatles:4, Stones: 5...etc
                  All those bands would draw, yet based on the headcount theory, the Police [or Cream, ZZ Top, or Beck, Bogert & Appice, etc] would get paid less...makes no sense at all.
                  I agree most bookers have no ear or eye for quality, and that gig $ is not what it should be, or was even a decade ago. But draw is draw, and if I put a band in a room that doesn't draw, they don't get booked back.
                  But if teh band draws and the bar makes its nut+, then what is the difference how many people are on stage?
                  Last edited by daddymack; 01-16-2017, 12:58 PM.

                • senorblues
                  senorblues commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I think the point is that being paid on a per man basis is only an issue when both musicians and management are negotiating to determine what a previous poster referred to as current established minimum wage. When the venue is confident that the act will draw, minimums and head counts are irrelevant. As we all know, the pros, semipros, and hobbyists are all too often competing for bookings in the same small local venues. The sad thing is that a lot of local hobbyists can draw at least as much as another more obscure group of better musicians, but are willing to play for very little. As sventvkg reminded us, you can make your case that you are in fact a pro, but we know that isn't 100% effective.












              Working...
              X