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Thoughts on how to pay band members to record a CD.......


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  • Thoughts on how to pay band members to record a CD.......

    Just like the title says..... I'm looking for thoughts and suggestions.  We are getting ready to record our own CD of originals ( They are my originals ) and I am wondering on how I should go about paying the band members for the finished product.   My original thought is I just pay them a flat fee per song for the recording.  That way, once it is complete and I am able to sell copies at out shows, I am not having to deal with splitting the profits.  To me, this seems like the easiest way.

       I am not opposed to having the band members having a vested interest in the sales of the cd's either where they get a small percentage of each cd sales.  It just seems easier to me if I pay them up front for their work and then I am the only one having to deal with the sales end of things.

       I'm open to suggestions on what other people have done.  Keep in mind that this is not on any "grand scale", just small quantities at our shows, and possibly some local airplay.   Any ideas ?




  • #2

    I like to be paid by the hour or a flat rate per day.


    • MartinC
      MartinC commented
      Editing a comment
      You might want to consider if your band members performance will help sell the cd's at your gigs. Even if you pay them a per song rate for the recording, they might feel like they should participate in sales at live gigs. It also depends on what they are earning at the gig. If they get 50.00 and you sell 40 cd's, that could be a problem, especially if some of the members are featured performers. But in general, I think you pay them per song and you own the cd. I paid side men, but not the band members. I put up the money, but I gave them some of the proceeds from the sales. Also gave them cd's to sell or hand out as they pleased. And publishing royalties. The cd also doubled our per gig fee, so the members benefited from that as well.

  • #3

    If it was me, I would prefer to get a portion of sales vs. flat fee if I was a band member who was putting time in to do the gigs and continue to promote the stuff.  It might ultimately be best for you too because if you pay the guys a fee up front where is the carrot stick to keep them motivated other than the music? 



    • New Trail
      New Trail commented
      Editing a comment

      Since you're using the band that plays with you all the time I would suggest a small amount per member to record the entire CD, really just enough to cover their expenses, but then part of the proceeds from CD sales....that will encourage them to sell CDs.  I know of one local band that sounds similar to your situation (band leader wrote and owns the songs, and paid for the recording) that did a CD and the band leader told the member he would give them each $1 per CD sold after the costs were recovered, but he never did it, and it caused hard feelings to this day.  My point?....whatever you agree to with your bandmates, follow through.

  • #4
    If they are your band already and know the songs than a fee per song to record or a flat fee per project each would work.


    • SaintJames
      SaintJames commented
      Editing a comment

      So all the songs were written 100% by you? As a lead guitar player, it would be hard to convince me that I didn't contribute ANYTHING to the compositions. I would consider myself something more than just a session player if I'm a full-blown member of your band. And no, I'm not one of "those" lead guitarists, LOL.

      I'm not trying to say that that OP is a cheap skate or anything - I know that kind of arrangement works for some people - but I personally wouldn't want to be involved in a band situation like that. 

  • #5

    I don';t want to be a wet blanket here, and I'm not trying to be, but realistically, the chances of any CD you make turning a profit are minimal anyway. I have seen this topic come up repeatedly over the years here and it's pretty much always the same. 


    When I did my CDs ( I did 3 with the band)  I told my guys this: "I'm paying for the studio, the CD, the printing, the artwork, all of it, since they were my songs. I'm asking you to play on them because the increase in revenue we get from it performance-wise and promo-wise will benfit all of us. I will be lucky to recoup my expenses, but it is something that as a songwriter I feel compelled to do. If you don't want to be part of the project, that's fine,. I can't pay you up front, but I can give each of you 25 CDs to sell or give away or whatever it is you wish to do with them."


    They all agreed and did it. And after the first two CDs were done, we went from playing little dive clubs at 60 bucks a guy to doing mains stage festivals in a 500 mile radius and opening for people like John Mayall, John Hammond, George Benson, Fabulous Thunderbirds, etc  at an average of 225 a guy + rooms + hospitality for a 90 minute show (We had six guys) . We were THE BAND in the area for nearly 4 years. So they benfitted greatly from the experience. I shut my band down in 2004 and some of them went on to play with other good bands, getting the gigs because of the reputation they got in the area.


    The point I'm making is that they will likely earn more money out of the deal than you will over the long run, so i would present it to them as such.  And truthfully, most of the musicians in my band were just excited to be part of a recording project they could feel proud of and didn't cost them anything to do. 

    http://www.patcoast.com"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."-Christhee68" 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."- FitchFY


    • Potts
      Potts commented
      Editing a comment

      BlueStrat wrote:

      I don';t want to be a wet blanket here, and I'm not trying to be, but realistically, the chances of any CD you make turning a profit are minimal anyway. I have seen this topic come up repeatedly over the years here and it's pretty much always the same. 

       <snip> <snip> <snip>


      First of all great story- that's pretty cool to hear stuff turn around like that. Secondly..everything you said in your post is spot on and probably the best advice I've seen in this thread.

  • #6

    Flat fee per call [3-4hrs] or per day. Remember however you need them to sign a "Musical Services Agreement" which states the conditions of the transaction and that you retain all rights etc.