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  • #16
    Do you truly, honestly believe that The Stones, The Beatles, U2 and and The Police are playing for minimum wage? If you do....then I have some swamp land in Florida you might be interested in.

    Senorblues' comment about established local "pro-am" acts drawing better than pro bands is interesting. We have an act like that around here - they play out a couple of times a year, fill 100% of the seats, and make good money. Do they deserve to make more or less than an out-of-town act that fills 50% of the seats?

    Wes
    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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    • daddymack
      daddymack commented
      Editing a comment
      Do I think major name acts will play for $100 per man? Of course not, keep your swampland. Maybe 'The Donald' will come drain it for you

      That reminds me of the offer that Lorne Michaels made to the Beatles to reunite on Saturday Night Live. The amount was about $3000, IIRC, which was standard pay back then for bands to perform on a network program [because, your agent would tell you, you didn't do it for the $, you did it for the promotional value].

      My point being that differentiating quality bands by headcount, in fact the whole concept of a 'minimum wage by headcount', is ridiculous from a business standpoint. Around here, they pay by the night of the week and book based on draw. If you can't draw, you won't get a Saturday, or Friday, which are the $$ nights.
      I can also see where a road band, not necessarily a name band, but a regional, could easily be outdrawn by a top local band, which is why you usually try to get the best local band to open for you.
      Last edited by daddymack; 01-16-2017, 05:10 PM.

  • #17
    Are you mad? The concept of minimum wage has always been inextricably tied to headcount. To suggest that it is not is simply wishful thinking.

    Imagine for a moment you own two identical restaurants in the same market. In each restaurant, you hire a team of dishwashers. Imagine that one team has three dishwashers, but the other team has five members. You pay each team minimum wage, and they work the same hours.

    Do you think you will spend the same amount of money in each restaurant?

    Wes
    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

    Comment


    • daddymack
      daddymack commented
      Editing a comment
      I fail to see the relevance of this analogy to a band that is a single performing entity, not individuals performing a service.

    • senorblues
      senorblues commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm also missing the dishwasher thing, but also the reference to the opening act and groups that travel. Different circuits. I'm looking at local bands playing local bars and restaurants.

      I know we've beat this one to death before, but with regard to getting paid according to draw, yes, of course the venue should expect to pay more if the anticipated ring is higher. If, OTOH, they're paying everyone "minimum wage", it's because they don't expect the entertainment to make much of a difference. What they're missing, from my perspective, is that it's their fault. People expect the music to be uniformly mediocre and attend accordingly. Now if the place is packed regardless, then they can make a case, but if we're talking about a small town bar, that's not usually what's happening, is it?

      Or maybe the Saturday night crowd doesn't care and/or can't tell the difference. . . .

  • #18
    Okay, so how would YOU calculate minimum wage for unknown bands?

    The minimum possible band size is one person. The minimum wage for one person here is $11 an hour. That's $44 a night. So the minimum you're willing to pay in your establishment is $44 per band?

    Scale for my local is set based on number of hours performing, and the number of people in my group. What's it like in your area? I think it's $34 per person per hour, with a two-hour minimum. It hasn't changed in years. *grumble*

    I always thought that N-dollars per person was a fine way to calculate minimum pay. I know of a place that pays $250 for untested acts, regardless of act size. I won't work for that kind of money, but I might if I was a solo performer. When I play there with my five-piece.....I negotiate a much more reasonable wage. The negotiation starts with "I know $250 is what you pay for untested acts...............but we are not an untested act".

    I don't understand why this is so difficult to understand.

    What they're missing, from my perspective, is that it's their fault. People expect the music to be uniformly mediocre and attend accordingly.
    Times are tougher in the bar industry than they used to be. Bars are cutting expenses, sometimes in stupid places. The clubs with a per-man minimum wage are usually the *better* paying bars, because at least they have an idea of a reasonable minimum wage. I have seen bars pay "musicians" with beer. I have also seen those bars go out of business. Don't ever get fooled into thinking a per-man payment scheme is a maximum wage, nor a requirement to work at said establishment. If you don't like the minimum wage.........negotiate something better. But you're not going to walk into Joe Schmoe's Wine Bar that seats 50 and walk out with $5000 in your pocket. Even if your name is Sting.

    Wes
    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

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    • #19
      99% of gigs in Los Angeles/So Cal are non-union. Bar owners here pay a flat rate, they don't care if you have two people or seven, and trust me, consideration of a 'minimum wage' NEVER enters into the equation. They expect you to bring in a certain amount of trade beyond their usual, and if you don't, the odds of a another booking are slim to none. But they have literally tens of thousands of bands to choose from, making this a very competitive market, and therefore driving the pay level into the ground. Yes, I know of some bands that have played for their bar tab plus tips.
      I am doing 'songwriter showcase' gigs for tips [and exposure...yeah, huh...the songwriter I'm backing is a fairly well known film score writer and arranger]. I'm breaking in a 'new' band currently and we have to charge a cover in order to make any kind of $. This used to be a much better market, but drunk driving laws, smoking restrictions and the crappy economy have taken their toll here. Legalized marijuana is going to cut into the bar take as well.
      I also have my 'corporate legacy band', which works less frequently these days, and even there we have seen our average 'per man' take slip over the last 8 years, but we book as an entity, and then we calculate whether we add to the horn section or not.
      I don't know the markets you guys work in, but that is the sad truth about working here in the new millenium. I've worked the big clubs [Whiskey, Gazzari's, The Mint, Wong's, Starwood, Roxy, Harvelle's, as well major hotels] as a frontman, sideman and a sound man for decades, and was in the BB Kings/Universal opening act rotation for national acts. What I do [and have done] is more than a 'run of the mill' bar band...but making a living here as a musician is fast becoming impossible below the 1% line [First chair studio and rock stars]. Houses here start at half a million. Gasoline hovers between $2.50 and $4 a gallon, parking can be $5 per hour, and commutes are typically an hour each way...not a musician friendly environment anymore.
      Last edited by daddymack; 01-20-2017, 02:50 PM.
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      • #20
        We just try to get the most we can; 5 pc band, plus a share for the soundman who doubles as setting up all sound stuff, unloading, hauling it there. Of course, everyone helps everyone whenever possible. Everyone gets same $. We are an average 3-5 gigs a month band.
        If I was in a "professional" band, where one guy did most everything, for a living (hence, professional), I would expect this guy to get more, since he has the most to lose. Sort of like a contractor vs. subcontractor.

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        • #21
          Originally posted by daddymack View Post
          99% of gigs in Los Angeles/So Cal are non-union. Bar owners here pay a flat rate, they don't care if you have two people or seven, and trust me, consideration of a 'minimum wage' NEVER enters into the equation. They expect you to bring in a certain amount of trade beyond their usual, and if you don't, the odds of a another booking are slim to none. But they have literally tens of thousands of bands to choose from, making this a very competitive market, and therefore driving the pay level into the ground. Yes, I know of some bands that have played for their bar tab plus tips.
          I am doing 'songwriter showcase' gigs for tips [and exposure...yeah, huh...the songwriter I'm backing is a fairly well known film score writer and arranger]. I'm breaking in a 'new' band currently and we have to charge a cover in order to make any kind of $. This used to be a much better market, but drunk driving laws, smoking restrictions and the crappy economy have taken their toll here. Legalized marijuana is going to cut into the bar take as well.
          I also have my 'corporate legacy band', which works less frequently these days, and even there we have seen our average 'per man' take slip over the last 8 years, but we book as an entity, and then we calculate whether we add to the horn section or not.
          I don't know the markets you guys work in, but that is the sad truth about working here in the new millenium. I've worked the big clubs [Whiskey, Gazzari's, The Mint, Wong's, Starwood, Roxy, Harvelle's, as well major hotels] as a frontman, sideman and a sound man for decades, and was in the BB Kings/Universal opening act rotation for national acts. What I do [and have done] is more than a 'run of the mill' bar band...but making a living here as a musician is fast becoming impossible below the 1% line [First chair studio and rock stars]. Houses where start at half a million. Gasoline hovers between $2.50 and $4 a gallon, parking can be $5 per hour, and commutes are typically an hour each way...not a musician friendly environment anymore.
          Since you're in L.A., I got a question.
          Is Gina Zamparelli and Michael Fell still involved in the music scene in L.A.
          Those were some great people to work with 👍
          Last edited by AJ6stringsting; 03-12-2017, 03:19 AM.
          How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

          Comment


          • daddymack
            daddymack commented
            Editing a comment
            Gina Z is doing more on historic landmark preservation over in Pasadena, but I believe her company is still putting concerts together. The only Michael Fell I know is a harmonica player from Van Nuys....
            Last edited by daddymack; 03-12-2017, 10:50 AM.

          • AJ6stringsting
            AJ6stringsting commented
            Editing a comment
            Last that I heard, M.s. Zamparelli was buying Perkins Place in Pasadena.
            I really really hope she can save Perkins Place.
            Last edited by AJ6stringsting; 03-13-2017, 05:54 PM.

        • #22
          Originally posted by onelife View Post
          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.

          I always include the sound man as an equal. Many many times I never carried a big PA to do shows and rented. It was factored in to the cost of doing business.





          _____________________________________
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          • #23
            The "pay per man" thing is a holdover from the heyday of the musician's union. That is how union contracts were presented. There was a minimum of X number of dollars for each man and a bump for the leader. Few think this way anymore, but it is still a reality in some places.

            I like to hold the line at a hundred a man at least, but this just isn't the reality anymore. Most place here have a set budget for bands somewhere between 300 and 500 a night, and that's it, take it or leave it. A band's options are to 1) take it, 2) gig about once every two or three months, 3) become a private party/corporate show band, or 4) pack it in. We are considering adding a couple of horns again, mostly to up our value as a regional commodity, but locally we aren't going to make a dime more for two extra bodies. We are thinking longer term to get back into the festivals and events scene.

            It is maddening, because Friday night I played a bistro solo for 150 and I made 52 in tips plus they fed me dinner. That's a 200+ dollar night for three hours sitting on a bar stool with a guitar. Last night I did two hours for a hundred plus 24 in tips plus a very nice penne pasta plate. But a band? 9-1 for 300 bucks, two beers and if you're lucky they'll throw in a burger.

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            • daddymack
              daddymack commented
              Editing a comment
              as you know, things are worse money-wise here in LA, and so my main band went with your option 3) over ten years ago. But last year I got the itch, put a bunch of people I know together [three from my main band, one from a project I'm co-producing] because I thought having horns would be nice...we are a great sounding R&B/jump/jazz/blues band and we make squat...sometimes, you do it for the music more than for the money.
              I could make five times the money playing solo, but it is like working in a vacuum, whereas with a 7 piece band, there is so much going on, the challenge of herding those cats, and the musical prowess of the guys I put together just moves me to a higher plane...we are the host band for a pro jam once a month [at the moment], and we get some great people, road warriors, studio session guys, etc. sitting in...I have a video from our last show linked over in Cool Jam.

            • senorblues
              senorblues commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't think the union scale model is carrying over here because as far as I'm aware, it was never applied to top 40 bands, at least not in any circuit I played after the mid sixties. I was a member of local 734, but don't recall them ever doing anything for my bands - ever.

              What I think has happened is that the pay has gotten so low, that like you said, guys got to the point where they decided that they personally weren't packing their gear for less than $xx per night. It wasn't long before venues understood that and decided to pay them - each of them - only their stated minimum. A lot of guys talk about $100 dollars, but it doesn't take more than a few very hungry or very egotistical guys to pull everyone else down. I'd say the minimum here is now more like $50 - and yes I've heard more than a few pros say that. I don't have anything on the books at the moment because for under $100, I'd rather host a jam at home.

            • TIMKEYS
              TIMKEYS commented
              Editing a comment
              I think it boils down to are you doing it for the money or the music or a little of both. Pro track singers make the money here. Not much in expenses, and a voice and persona that can carry the room. They are past the point in popularity where they need a band.

          • #24
            We have a set price. If asked why, I tell them we have "a lot of mouths to feed" (6 of us including sound guy). If they want us, they usually pay it. If not, we simply don't play there. Some venues have opted to pay us but have us less frequently, which is fine. We have one venue that calls us only once a year. For some venues, we are their largest draw so there is no quibbling. Other venues that have hired us regularly for years get a little price break.

            We figure we are worth what people are willing to pay. If a venue doesn't want to pay us, then we aren't worth much to them, but they also aren't worth much to us.. The key is to find venues that consider you to be worth what you're asking. That usually doesn't happen at places that depend on bands to bring people with them. That usually happens at places that people already want to go to.

            We are lucky to be in an area where a lot of places still have bands.
            Last edited by mstreck; 07-13-2017, 01:01 PM.
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            • #25
              Bars we take what they offer. Not much you can do about it. On our own we charge a lot more
              PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

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              • #26
                I may sound a bit harsh or insensitive, but it sounds like some of you guys need to re-examine your set lists, practice/rehearse more, or select a different hobby if you want to get paid more. Although, I recognize that the venue often has an advantage in negotiating gig pay. I have been in hobby bands for many years, and it seems like having a good, dynamic vocalist, and selecting songs that are liked by an audience and yourself is imperative to breaking out of the $100/man rut. My $.02.
                Everybody is terminally ill.

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                • senorblues
                  senorblues commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What's the population of the town where you live? How far is the nearest urban area? It's foolish to try to tell people in other markets what they should charge because the size of the venues that hire music, more than any other variable, will limit what venues can pay you. Where I live, there are no decent sized rooms. A lot of places are seasonal only and for a lot of them, you set up outside and hope the weather holds.

                  I do agree with you about set lists. You have to know the clientele of the room, and you also have to understand what they, and especially the venue owners and bookers, are used to. I moved from DC to a small town, so anything with R&B roots is high risk. They're expecting Tennessee Ernie Ford's Sixteen Tons. No I'm not kidding.
                  Last edited by senorblues; 09-14-2017, 05:30 AM.

              • #27
                Private parties, 5 piece. $1600 - $2600. $300 - $500 a man and I get an extra $100 for providing and running the sound & light rig. Been doing some $2000 gigs here & there. Whatever we can get.

                We will do a gig for $1000 on the low end for house parties etc. Sometimes someone might play for free so the others get their $200 nut. Like we played a gig for my buddy, I did it for free because he's my oldest friend and has helped me out here & there. Our drummer played for free for another gig. That way they get the gig for $800 and everyone else gets their $200.

                Usually a bit of a stripped down rig (skip the light rig)
                PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

                LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox

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                • #28
                  Like I said, bar pay is bar pay. Usually between $600 - $800 which is why we don't play bars often
                  PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

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                  • senorblues
                    senorblues commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I don't think there are any bars in the state of Maine that pay $600.

                • #29
                  Our local venues pay $800 flat fee. One place includes a room, the other 2 rooms I think.

                  The 2 venues where I provide sound for work like this.

                  Usually 2 original bands, $10 cover
                  Band keeps 100% of the cover
                  Each out of town band gets 2 hotel rooms
                  Each band gets a $75 tab for food or drink tickets
                  The bar pays me $400 (with lights) $300 without lights or $200 for SOS and a monitor for singer songwriter solo gigs. The money they pay me isn't from the door. I also get a $50 tab. I don't drink so I eat supper there the night of the gig and I'll get breakfast when I'm tearing down the next morning. I'm also their go to tech guy for any issues with their installed gear.

                  So it works out pretty good. I provide a receipt for the night to the bar.

                  The next town over pays $600/night. The city 3 hours away pays between $400 - $600.
                  Last edited by StratGuy22; 09-14-2017, 11:07 AM.
                  PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

                  LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox

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                  • #30
                    I've had plenty of venue try this on me and in scenes I played in. I never caved to it. All I had to do was explain that I own all the gear, book the band, hire all the players, and run it like a business. Ask the owner/manager if all his employees get the same pay. That ends the issue quickly.

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                    • senorblues
                      senorblues commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That's an answer to a different question. First off, I'm finding that a lot of venues here have someone booking bands who just got out of HS. Hard to tell how hard and fast the rules were for who to hire and for how much. I'd like to be able to make my case directly to the venue owner, but often I can't get access to them. In any event, you're addressing an issue which I would have thought was none of their business - how to divide up the agreed upon amount. I do agree that your point addresses the concept that this is work, not just a chance to get out of the garage and play for your friends.
                      Last edited by senorblues; 09-17-2017, 09:31 AM.












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