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UK How much should bands charge?

Deni-C 12 Mar 03 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 12 Mar 03 - 07:01 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 12 Mar 03 - 07:23 AM
Pied Piper 12 Mar 03 - 07:28 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 12 Mar 03 - 07:50 AM
Sarah the flute 12 Mar 03 - 08:04 AM
Brakn 12 Mar 03 - 08:27 AM
Dave Bryant 12 Mar 03 - 08:40 AM
Brakn 12 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 03 - 08:46 AM
Maryrrf 12 Mar 03 - 08:51 AM
JohnnyBeezer 12 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM
Deni-C 12 Mar 03 - 10:27 AM
Pseudolus 12 Mar 03 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 12 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM
Deni-C 12 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,noddy 12 Mar 03 - 11:50 AM
breezy 12 Mar 03 - 12:04 PM
Deni-C 12 Mar 03 - 12:23 PM
fiddler 12 Mar 03 - 04:58 PM
greg stephens 12 Mar 03 - 05:47 PM
Roger the Skiffler 13 Mar 03 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born again scouser) 13 Mar 03 - 04:05 AM
Deni-C 13 Mar 03 - 04:57 AM
The DeanMeister 13 Mar 03 - 05:31 AM
breezy 13 Mar 03 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 13 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM
fiddler 13 Mar 03 - 03:01 PM
Folkiedave 13 Mar 03 - 03:41 PM
jimmyt 13 Mar 03 - 04:10 PM
C-flat 13 Mar 03 - 05:03 PM
Skipper Jack 14 Mar 03 - 09:19 AM
reggie miles 14 Mar 03 - 09:43 AM
Les from Hull 14 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM
jimmyt 15 Mar 03 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,baby custard 15 Mar 03 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,BigDaddy 22 Jan 12 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,BigDaddy 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 22 Jan 12 - 04:31 PM
Mo the caller 23 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 12 - 10:46 AM
paul vaughan 23 Jan 12 - 10:53 AM
Mark Ross 23 Jan 12 - 03:21 PM
paul vaughan 23 Jan 12 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,BigDaddy 23 Jan 12 - 11:53 PM
paul vaughan 24 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM
breezy 24 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM
Tootler 25 Jan 12 - 04:57 AM
paul vaughan 25 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 12 - 05:27 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 12 - 05:33 AM
paul vaughan 25 Jan 12 - 06:13 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 12 - 09:48 AM
Tootler 25 Jan 12 - 06:21 PM
TheSnail 25 Jan 12 - 07:14 PM
melodeonboy 26 Jan 12 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Deni-C
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 06:14 AM

As a spin off to the thread, 'Booking sucks!' I'd like to know how other bands get around the thorny problem of knowing how much to charge for gigs. They vary so much.

Now I don't want to put people off by asking too much, nor do I want them to see us as cheap. At the moment I say negotiable. (We also do charity gigs for free, like most bands....)

I've got the Musicians Union advice on rates for musicians, but I've got no way of knowing about the finances of particular festivals etc... and we're certainly not a 'name', although we still have to pay band members etc....


What do y'all do?
.
D


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:01 AM

As a rule of thumb I usualy charge the venue at the rate of a minimum of £50 per musician i.e. duo £100, trio £150 etc + expenses if you have to travel far, petrol etc. This most of the time for 2 x 45 minute spots. Worthwhile if it's a pub to build in some free drinks as well. Fetivals are different but use the above rule as your starter.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:23 AM

I think that the MC is about right there. However, my experience is also that the amount per player seems to go down as the size of the group increases - I've heard of soloists playing for £80, duos for £100 and trios for £120 and there is a 6 piece Jazz band currently playing in Beverley for £60 and a couple of drinks each!!

Roger


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:28 AM

I think a sensible way to work this out is to imagine this was you fulltime job, at £50 a day for a five-day week you get £250. Do you think this is a reasonable salary?
PP


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:50 AM

It also depends on the venue. If it is a pay at the door gig, then the price can be higher. If it is a free entry pub gig then the licensee is hoping to cover the cost of the band by selling more beer - I reckon a pub needs to sell an extra 150 pints to cover a £100 artist fee (allowing for what the margin is on a pint to the licensee of a pubco - about 60p on a £2 pint. Allowing for three pints per person can your act attract an extra 50 people into the pub?

R


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:04 AM

We charge £60-£100+ per musician depending on the event. That buys our company for the whole evening!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Brakn
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:27 AM

Also it would depend on how often they are going to give you a gig. I usually work on a fee of £120 and then either discount it or add to it depending on distance travelled, time at the venue, how long actually played, return bookings and lastly "what can they afford".


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:40 AM

With some of the bands I've heard, it's more a question of how much should they have to pay their audience to stick around !


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Brakn
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM

And.....are you going to fill the place or empty it!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:46 AM

Its not just the crowd you pull into a pub on the night. If its a regular gig then you are contributing to the general ambience of the place that draws in regulars. Its a slower build, but more sustained.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 08:51 AM

So far this seems somewhat comparable to the US and its the same problem here - fees seem to be all over the place and it's very hard to know what to charge without pricing yourself out or going to cheap. I try to feel people out "What's your budget, etc.) or quote a fee that's a little high but say "I can work with you...etc.".   There's also the question of exposure, type of venue, etc. that comes into play.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: JohnnyBeezer
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 09:29 AM

I've been discussing this self-same topic with friends quite recently. You obviously have to discount "NAMES" even reasonably local names, but as a rule of thumb, I know of good musicians in the midlands area(remember we've all spent a lot of our time over the years trying to master our instrument and giving good value for money)
who, as trios and quartets, go out for £450/£500 per night sometimes + exes depending on distance. Is this fairly common in the rest of the UK?
Johnny N(Just making ends meet)


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Deni-C
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:27 AM

On the cheerful side, I asked for a figure the other day and said we were negotiable, and the venue offered £150 MORE. I was shocked but said thank you!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Pseudolus
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:30 AM

I played solo (acoustic and vocals) for years but recently took on a partner (bass and vocals) and we definitely do NOT get double what I used to get. I would average $200 (US) solo and now go between $250 and $300 as a duet. Less money but a LOT more fun!!!


Frank


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:50 AM

Although the 'Plastic Paddy' pub boom has busted in the UK they did do one good thing, the various pub groups i.e. O'Neils, Scruffy Murphys did give good fees. I remember going into Scruffy's in Doncaster to offwr the services of my duo, asking for a guide to fees to which the manager replied 'We're one of the bad payers we only pay £165 for a duo' to which I replied (but not too eagerly) 'We'll do it for that this time'. that then became our 'benchmark' fee.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Deni-C
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 11:19 AM

We've just expanded from a duo to a four-piece and are afraid to scare prospective bookers off by quoting huge fees. I know you wouldn't expect a trademan to work for what we do, but we do have a lot of fun, and on those nights you sell a few CDs you do suddenly begin to see the proverbial light.

we have do pub sets, festival sets, folk club and classic pop and blues sets to be versatile enough to work and even then I work more or less full time when we're not playing, just doing publicity and promotions. I have seriously considered becoming an agent, reasoning that while I'm making all these calls I might as well double my returns.....

A pub landlord we know has failed to rebook most of the bands on his giglists. The one's he kept on were the ones who would work cheaply, in some cases for as little as £30 for a duo, which makes the rest of us look greedy for asking for £150 for a three-piece.


Festivals are a good case in point. Lots of local performers do them for nothing. We've been asked what do we charge for a day in which we would do 2 x 45 min sets. However it means driving for 3 hours and being there for a full day.

the MU recommends travel expenses, hanging around time, setting up time in addition....where does it end..?

Deni
Mad Rush


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 11:50 AM

We ask the venue how many they can hold and what is their typical entrance fee and working on that you can estimate how much they can afford based on a normal turn out and we think about 80% of the take is fair to both. This means you might get a few small clubs and get paid very little but get a return booking if they like you and as they can afford you.We are not "Big" but do have a following which is growing. Logicaly if you are starting out you will not get a big club to book you so you start at a few small clubs get £20/30 and get used to working an audience then a support spot for a Name.
We know many decent acts who work for peanuts or beer just because they enjoy it.
Dont forget if the clubs cannot afford to book anyone they die and so do you with nowhere to play.So dont be greedy.We also go back to the places that first booked us and although can charge a lot more than we first did play for next to nothing as thanks for giving us a break.I am sure many others do the same.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: breezy
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:04 PM

If music is your hobby and passion why be paid at all?
If I work solo then I work harder than if in a duo or group.
I am ready for the organiser to make me an offer.
As an organiser I want you to play for a % of the door take.
If the guest pre-sells thats fine but if you cant sell tickets in advance for them then they can be paid much less.
If as a peformer you can fill a venue then you can be justified in asking for a fee.
If not then you have no right to expect anything more than you are given.
Any performer who takes more than the eveing takes is selfish and greedy and will contribute to a venue eventually folding.
Any peromer who expects venues to 'save' for a big night needs the ego pricking.
We are not an essential service.
We have our uses but we are not that important.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Deni-C
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:23 PM

I don't think most people would object to playing for a percentage of the door take...

Our club holds around 50 people but our door charges are very low. We've been criticised for this by big name acts, but as I say, if we can subsidise the performance out of the kitty, then who does it harm?

Unfortunately, lots of people think if you don't charge a fair amount you must be no good.....

D


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: fiddler
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 04:58 PM

Well it all depends what the gig is:-

Weddings always try and get me for 50 squids per head but ehn spend over 200 per head on teh tent the usher the Mast eof ceremonies.

Undercharge and you rob yourself - they are paying for all the hours of paractice the upkeep of the kit the petrol for transpoirt the driving ttime there and back (last year I drove 3 hours each way to one gig).

Teh other old hat 'well we only want one hour' It is still an evening without any other income. Even if it is a hobby you actually owe it to the professionals if you are competing with them to charge a fair price or you destabilise the local market.

Tehre is no right answer - find out what the gig is first - how many people what is the venue etc. THEN and only THEN make a judgement call - I goofed last year (DEcember) and did a wedding in the Reform Club in London - Pall Mall no less) 60 squids per head - they must have paid 10K just to get the use of the building. Still we gave them a hell of a night and they loved it - whcih even when you goof it like that you still must.!!!

Thats my two penneth anyway.

Hugs n all!

A


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 05:47 PM

Face the fact that as a professional musician (if you are) you are competing with people who are doing it for the crack and already earn a fat salary as teacher,librarian, social worker or whatever. This is not a problem dustmen have, there is no queue of people wanting to be a dustman for £30 a day (and bring your own van).
   But in the end it's supply and demand and the market place. If you can put £500 of ticket sales in the club. you'll get something like 80% of it, plus whatever profit you can make on the CD sales. That's how it evens out. Unless of course you have connections with the subsidied world of funders/arts boards etc, in which case the sky's the limit and you're paid according to how brown your nose is prepared to get.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 03:24 AM

When I was enquiring about hiring our local club for a private party I was told to expect to pay £450-£550 for the sort of bands I was thinking about (jazz singer plus quartet or four-piece blues band). In the end my first choice has come in at slightly less than this despite being well known.
The discount is contingent on me promising not to get up and join in!
I have no idea what Folk groups charge.

RtS


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born again scouser)
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 04:05 AM

It all depends. I used to play in a Cajun band based in London. We played all over the country as that was where the audiences were. Besides playing we would provide dance workshops and our own (well, my own) PA. If the venue supplied the PA we'd charge a little less, partly becaouse we could then travel in one car.

Often, playing a gig would mean leaving London in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday or right after work on a Friday and not getting back until 3 in the morning if we weren't put up somewhere. So you're talking about a 10 hour day without taking travelling expenses into account. We'd gross on average £60-£70 per head and then you'd be paying for petrol, instrument repairs and strings, car depreciation etc. Not an exorbitant fee. People still objected to paing it, though, and even tried to wriggle out of it after signing contracts. By the end we were mainly playing in London for less money but we'd got a lot of our time back.

Like I say, it all depends, partly on what you get out of it non-financially. But you must bear in mind that if you have a well-paid day job which allows you to play for next to nothing you are undercutting professional musicians who depend on music for their livelihood. What's the word I'm looking for? Oh yes...scab.

Finally, I used to work for a florist. When you're booked for a wedding they are probably paying a lot less for you than they are for the flowers, the dress, the food and the booze. So bear that in mind when you're negotiating.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Deni-C
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 04:57 AM

Breezy said, 'If music is your hobby and passion why be paid at all?'

Well, why not???? a lot of venues won't trust you to do a good job unless they can see you've a professional attitude. Charging a fair rate while not undercutting helps them to know others have trusted you to deliver the goods. It's a helluva job getting a venue to even try you out. anything that helps is fine by me....



Thanks all for stacks of info, which I'm sure others will find a good guide.

I agree it's very bad to undercut professional musicians.

I only play music, I have no other source of income and I also have band members to worry about, who are certainly not rich.

Scab, yuk, what a thought.....


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: The DeanMeister
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 05:31 AM

In my experience, as people have said, it depends large on the venue and type of event. As a general rule, we no longer go out for less than £45 per head, and stay within a one hour radius. Why travel 3 hours each way for £60??? Daft. There are plenty of gigs more locally. I would sooner play down the road for £40 a head than travel all night for a few bob more. Local pubs etc are generally happy to pay us this for a good night's craic. However, be prepared to ask more for weddings and bigger clubs. They can afford it, and are expecting to pay more for quality entertainment, and will often pay double the usual money.

I have a daytime job, as do most of us, and I play for the craic. However, I expect to be paid for the entertainment we provide. There is a fine line between devalueing what we do by undercharging, and pricing ourselves out of the market by overcharging. Be prepared to play the little venues (which are often the most rewarding) for less money, but don't let the larger better funded venues take the piss. You have to be flexible. I'm with the MC Fat on this one. How the devil are you, incidentally Fat Boy? Coming to Beverley this year?


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: breezy
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 06:35 AM

'the work will go to where the money is low.'
Thats why all manufacturing takes place in Eastern europe and in the east,India ,china.
No one has a given right to any level of pay.
There are more redundancies on the horizon in the car industry in the midlands.
So dont price yourself out of the maket by demanding too much, we only play music, its art for art sake.
No-one books anyone without doing a reference check on them first unless they dont care.
And dont go by the CDs get to listen to them perform live.
See you at Burcot Village Hall, near Bromsgrove, Worcs., Eng on Sat 12th March when I'm supporting 'Hearts of Oak' at a charity gig 7.30, pay on the door.
Sat 20th Sept same venue with Johnny Collins and George Papavgeris


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM

Yep, fees certainly do vary! I 'retired' from a 4/5 piece R&R band about a year ago and we were getting from £150 to £300 for 2 x 1-hour, very sweaty, spots. Bearing in mind we had about £20K's worth of gear to lug around, it's a crap ROA (Return On Assets for you non-accountants).

That said, we enjoyed what we did and we'd have played for nowt (frequently did if it was a Charity gig!).

Now I do mainly floor-spots solo in Folk Clubs where I get bugger-all money-wise, but the appreciation I get from the audiences is worth millions.

Johnny


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: fiddler
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 03:01 PM

This is really old chestnut - Sad to see but not unexpected that it has not gone away. I make a good proprtion of my income from playing and calling and managing a small dance company.

The business never looks after you. Look even at some of the big names who have ended up penniless. The MU does its best but cannot win in a buyers market place.

Speaking of redundancies PEL - yup it could be as good as if we don't get some changes to it.

I pay tax and VAT off my fees but I actually make more because of the tax breaks on the car and the equipment.

And I never work for free..... even charities should offer expenses - which could be as little as free beer all night but it is the principle - I could work 7 nights a week for charity but who would pay the mortgage and feed me. I suffer for my art but will not kill myself in the process.

I think I am a realist I hope you don't hink I am mercanary.

A


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 03:41 PM

There is an excellent article in the latest edition of "Direct Roots" written by "Show of Hands" and I guess they don't do too bad as professional musicians. It's called "From the Albert Hole to the Albert Hall in Ten Short Years".

I recommend everyone wanting to "get on" as a band, duo, or solo to read and inwardly digest. One of the things they recommend relevant to this dicussion is "wherever possible work for a percentage." The logic is that you can negotiate around ticket prices and build gigs that way with return visits, rather than play for a good fee to an empty room and never get asked back again.

They have a total of "eight rules" and speaking from the other side of the fence so to speak, as a booker, then they all make sense to me.

I have recommended them to others.

Another comment of theirs regarding fees which I also agree with is that there will be an occasion when you might have to play for "not very much". It means you can support well-known bands so good audiences see you, get exposure at festivals even though you are working for nowt or next to it.

Here is a story from many years ago of a folk/rock band that were offered support to a big star. "How much?" they asked. "£8,000 for the whole tour" was the reply. They did not think it was enough but their agent persuaded them it would be good for their career. So they rang back and agreed. "Great" said the big star's tour organiser, "Put your cheque in the post!!"

And finally many ceilidh bands charge nothing for playing - but £350 -£500 to set up and take down the gear.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk
www.holmfirthfestival.com


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: jimmyt
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 04:10 PM

We are an American Folk Quartet performing 1958-65 vintage music, and for the first time in my musical life, I have found the right niche in music, that being an audience that loves the music we play (they are 50-65 years old) and they are glad to pay to hear it. We either play for free if it is something that is a good cause or just a room that we want to play (good acoustics, no need for sound equipment), etc. or we may charge $1000 for 45 minute set if it is an acoustic nightmare requiring lots of amplification (got a gig next saturday in a theater that holds 1200 people) We have to pay for the equipment and we hire a sound man to lug the stuff in and out as well as set everything up, get sound check, and keep us monitored fot the show. So far, it is working out great. But then again, we don't want to work too much.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: C-flat
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 05:03 PM

The band I'm with now retired from the club scene some years ago where a good night would bring in close to £1000. However it was gruelling work and as a bunch of middle aged men we will now go out for anything ranging from £150 (if we like the gig/landlord/beer) to more usually £250-£300 (which is about all you can get a public house to stump up, and then they would expect to know the band and wether they can draw a crowd.
If approached, we would usually ask what/who the gig was for and the price would reflect. Recently we were asked to play at a wedding but our experience of weddings isn't great as we're a fairly loud band and although the young couple who booked you think it's a great idea, old Auntie Nellie and Great Grandad, who want to sit and have a chat, are sometimes less impressed.
I was making this point to the groom-to-be, who was most insistant we played, and he mistook my reluctance as an attempt to hike the price. Quite out of the blue he offered £750+travelling expenses+(and this was the clincher)"as much beer as the band can drink until they fall over"
I took him up on the offer, but not before he understood that we're NOT background music and that Mum and Dad (who presumably were paying for it all) were happy to have a live band in a marquee in their back garden.(It turns out they live on a farm so no neighbour problems)
The young man has since written to confirm the arrangements and I,for one, am looking forward to it!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 09:19 AM

My group is mainly acappela with the occasional concertina accompaniment.
We get around a bit which means our travelling expenses are quite high - given that we are six in the group. All our takings are put into a pool (we don't do a share out between the members). So we ensure that we have enough money in the kitty to cover all costs. We base our fee on at least covering all expenditure and making a profit where possible.

Where we are able to boost our funds is on the local circuit. We find that this arrangement works quite well.

Like most of you we enjoy singing and are not too concerned as long we are not out of pocket. We are often called upon to do gigs for charitable causes.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: reggie miles
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 09:43 AM

jeez, jimmyt where do you guys work, on fantasy island and when's the next boat cuz I wanna go there.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 10:14 AM

It's a good job that MC Fat doesn't charge 'per pound'.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: jimmyt
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 10:15 AM

Reggie, I think the whole key is that we are playing an entire evening of music that number 1, there is a large audience that really really wants to hear again, and number 2, NOBODY is playing it! We play this genre because we really like it, not because of its commercial niche. We found that out accidently. After our very first performance, I bet 100 people came up to me and said they hadn't heard anything like this since the 60s (except for the occasional "nostalgia group on tour." PM me if you would like to discuss it, but it is wonderful to play right in to the sweet spot of your audience. Probably lots of folks will say, well, that crap is shallow, its folk lite, it was never relly folk, etc. Fact is, call me shallow, I like the music, but I love entertaining, and this "crap" , folks, is entertaining.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,baby custard
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 12:03 PM

My family are professional muscians i.e, if we don't get gigs we don't get food. they've been at it for over twenty-five years and recently we've noticed a big drop in ceilidhs etc, but it doesn't help when there are hobby bands going out for peanuts and taking our work i.e, when people ask our price which is perfectly reasonable, they point out that they can get a cheaper band, cheaper by a couple of hundred. It's a free world and they can charge what they like, but for proffesionals it means we have to put our price down to get work, this isn't at all fair. when you're doing it for a living you can't afford to put prices down. Take care baby custard x


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:40 AM

Refresh, please.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 AM

Ready to start gigging again. Used to get $360 USD for three of us for 3 45 minute sets. So $120 per person or basically $40 per hour for each of us. This was at a Celtic-themed local restaurant. As a duo, two of us get $100 apiece for doing a two-hour Irish thing for a small Catholic Parish (pre-St. Patrick's day luncheon). On St. Pat's day we used to get around $100 per hour for each of us in a four-piece ensemble. This was in the mid-to-late 1990s in Michigan. So what's a ballpark going rate these days? Thanks in advance.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 04:31 PM

c-flat-i bet those who want to talk will have a better chance with a band than with the usual wedding disco!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM

It's a free world ......... this isn't at all fair.

I give away apples from my tree, and take books and clothes to charity shops too. Thus threatening the livings of greengrocers, booksellers and fashion industry workers.

But when trying to find out what an enquirer can afford to pay for musicians and callers at a ceilidh I do explain how much work is involved before and after the 1-3 hour 'slot'


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:46 AM

This can actually be quite a thorny Issue. I host a weekly open mic night and charge a nominal £30, which I pass on in turn to a couple of regular players and sometimes use it to pay for printing and such.
Now, does this mean I'm a bit of a mug for basically working free of charge, or, a saint for making something happen and helping to keep a pub alive when there are so many closing down?
Also, what is expected of bands/performers beinng paid to play small scale venues (pubs basically)in regards to publicity?. A landlord I knew recently stopped having live music because, in his words, the bands did nothing to publicise their own gigs.
Do we as performers need to be more proactive when playing these type gigs or is it up to the licensee to publicise his/her business?
With the Live Music Bill having been passed (see whole other thread) this could be a great opportunity for small scale performers to earn a few quid or it might fall flat on it's face if people get too greedy!

Thoughts?

Paul.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: paul vaughan
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:53 AM

Sorry, that was me above.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:21 PM

This was posted on Facebook recently;


WHY LA CLUB OWNERS ARE TOTALLY LOST AND SOME ADVICE FOR THEM FROM A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN
by Dave Goldberg on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 9:53am
AS I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR GIGS LATELY, I've never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue's promoter. The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band's responsibility to make this happen, not the club owner.Just the other day I was told by someone who owned a wine bar that they really liked our music and would love for us to play at their place. She then told me the gig paid $75 for a trio. Now $75 used to be bad money per person, let alone $75 for the whole band. It had to be a joke, right? No she was serious.But it didn't end there. She then informed us we had to bring 25 people minimum. Didn't even offer us extra money if we brought 25 people. I would have laughed other than it's not the first time I've gotten this proposal from club owners. But are there musicians really doing this? Yes. They are so desperate to play, they will do anything. But lets think about this for a second and turn this around a little bit.What if I told the wine bar owner that I have a great band and we are going to play at my house. I need someone to provide and pour wine while we play. I can't pay much, just $75 and you must bring at least25 people who are willing to pay a $10 cover charge at the door. Now wouldn't they look at you like you are crazy?
"Why would I do that"
they would ask?Well because it's great exposure for you and your wine bar. The people there would see how well you pour wine and see how good your wine is. Then they would come out to your wine bar sometime.
"But I brought all the people myself, I already know them?"
they would say. Well maybe you could make up some professional looking flyers, pass them out, and get people you don't know to come on out.
"But you are only paying me $75, How can I afford to make up flyers?"
You see how absurd this sounds, but musicians do this all the time. If they didn't, then the club owners wouldn't even think of asking us to do it. So this sounds like a great deal for the club owners doesn't it.They get a band and customers for that night, and have to pay very little if anything. But what they don't realize is that this is NOT in their best interest.Running a restaurant, a club, a bar, is really hard.There is a lot at stake for the owner. You are trying to get loyal customers that will return because you are offering them something special. If you want great food, you hire a great chef. If you want great décor,you hire a great interior decorator. You expect these professionals to do their best at what you are hiring them to do. It needs to be the same with the band.You hire a great band and should expect great music.That should be the end of your expectations for the musicians. The music is another product for the venue to offer, no different from food or beverages.When a venue opens it's doors, it has to market itself. The club owner can't expect people to just walk in the door. This has to be handled in a professional way. Do you really want to leave something so important up to a musician? This is where the club owner needs to take over. It is their success or their failure on the line, not the musician.The musician can just move on to another venue. I've played places where for whatever reason only a few people have walked in the door on a Saturday night.The club owner got mad at me, asking where are the people? I turned it around on him asking the same thing? Where are all the people? It's Saturday night and your venue is empty. Doesn't that concern you?What are you going to do about it? Usually their answer is to find another band with a larger following.This means the professional bands get run out of the joint in favor of whoever can bring in the most people.Eddie Mechanic who has slaved all week fixing cars at the local dealership also plays guitar. Not very well,but he's been practicing once a week with Doctor Drummer, Banker Bass Player, and Salesman Singer.Usually they just drink beer between rehearsing a few tunes in Eddie's garage, but this week they answer a
craigslist ad and line up a big gig. Well they don't sound that good, but they sure all work with a lot of people everyday. All these people can be given a flyer on Monday and after being asked
"are you coming to my gig?"
everyday all week, will most likely show up on Saturday night. So mission accomplished, the club owner has packed his venue for one night.But here's where the club owner doesn't get it. The crowd is following the band, not the venue. The next night you will have to start all over again. And the people that were starting to follow your venue, are now turned off because you just made them listen to a bad band. The goal should be to build a fan base of the venue. To get people that will trust that you will have good music in there every night. Instead you've soiled your reputation for a quick fix.I think we as musicians need to fight back. Sure you can get mad about it, but that won't do anything.We could all agree not to play those for the door gigs,but you know that isn't going to happen. But what we can do, is explain to the club owner that it's not in their best interest to operate their business like this.There is too much at stake for them not to be truly invested in the music presented in their venue.Convince them that if they think that live music is important to the demographic that they are trying to reach, then they need to reach out to that demographic in a professional way.If you asked a club owner,
"who is your target demographic?"
I doubt they would answer
"the band's friends and family."
But yet clubs operate like it is. Another example, I answered a craigslist ad for a nice looking place in Beverly Hills. The ad read…
"looking for a high energy jazz band, if you can bring the band and have a following, I will put you on stage."
That logic seams to say that they think musicians in a jazz band know lots of people living in Beverly Hills. And the people those musicians know,have lots of money to spend. Those are two pretty big assumptions. Good luck finding that combination. Even if you find that combination, are you going to find it every night? Because friends and family of a professional musician won't come out that often. They can't. This is what we do every night.Would you expect the chef's friends and family to eat at your restaurant every night? How about the dishwasher, the waitresses, the hostess? Or how about the club owners friends and family? You see,when you start turning this argument around, it becomes silly.I've started arguing with club owners about this. It happened after I played a great night of music in LA.We were playing for a % of the bar. There were about50 people there in this small venue, so it was a good turnout. At the end of the night, I go to get paid, and hope to book another gig. The club owner was angry.
"Where are your people?"
he asked.
"All these people, I brought in. We had a speed dating event and they are all left over from that."
I pointed out they all stayed and listened to the music for 2 hours after their event ended. That was 2 more hours of bar sales, because without us, you have an empty room with nothing going on. He just couldn't get over the fact that we didn't walk in with our own entourage of fans. Wasn't happy that we kept a full room spending money. Right when we were talking, a group of people interrupted us and said
"you guys sound great, when is the next time you're playing here again?"
The club owner, said
"they aren't, they didn't bring anyone."
I went home that night bummed out and sent him an email. Telling him most of what you are reading here and how his business model and thinking is flawed. After a lot of swearing back and forth,because I'm guessing that musicians never talk to him as a business equal. He eventually admitted that what I was saying made sense. BUT, that's not how LA clubs and restaurants work. And he has bands answering his craigslist ads willing to do whatever it takes to get the gig. It's been a couple of years now since that conversation. I called his bar, and the number is disconnected.So there you go LA club and restaurant owners.The advice is free. But you'll most likely ignore it because
"That's not how it works"
. But if more musicians kept telling them the same thing, perhaps it would start to sink in.
About Dave
I'm a professional jazz musician , trying to do my thing in a world that could care less about art. So I try to have a good sense of humor about it all. I also have a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter, which always puts things in perspective. I also have lot sof interests outside of my music. That said, you can always check out my website to hear my music and see where I'm playing next.

I tend to agree with a lot of this.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: paul vaughan
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:45 PM

Thanks for that Mark. It's interesting to hear the viewepoint from an american perspective and there are some very valid points made here.
However I think there are issues which are probably peculiar to the english/british pub scene. The problem as I see it is that most english pubs are run by large breweries or pubcos whose sole purpose seems to be to squeeze every last penny out of the business to the cost of the poor beleagured managers. There are very few independant pub owners anymore who are in a position to manage their own businesses without interference from a higher authority, which means that it is often difficult to even speak to anyone who is able to make any decisions regarding live music.
I started hosting an open mic night mainly to give myself a chance to play and I realy enjoy it,but, it is a fine line between having a bit of fun and being taken advantage of! I do think there may be opportunities in the near future to take advantage of the Live Music Bill and get music into some smaller venues. Maybe if musicians can pitch the pricing right we can drive out some of the huge TV screens that blight so many of our pubs these days!
Which of cours brings us back to the original question, what is the right price?


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 11:53 PM

Here's the sorry tale of a folk ensemble here in the mid-west USA: In the early nineties we formed a band primarily to perform at a local Renaissance Fair. We developed quite a nice following and began accepting additional gigs at weddings, receptions, Irish pubs, private parties, etc. I landed us a nice weekly gig (Saturday nights) at a local Scottish-themed restaurant, doing three 45 minute sets. Have a drink and mingle with the patrons between sets. The owners of the restaurant were a Scottish-American couple who believed that live music should be a part of their regular offerings, right along with the Single Malt Scotch, Scottish ales, bridies, haggis, etc. Sadly, after a few years the restaurant sold, the owners retiring to Florida. The new owners were a young couple who wanted to get into the restaurant business. They had no interest in the Scottish theme and couldn't understand why anyone did. First came the end of Robert Burn's Day. The rest was soon to follow. I pointed out that we consistently brought in large parties of people who always ordered dinner, top-end ales and whiskies, etc. Mrs. Owner said these large groups took up tables that could be turned over more quickly, possibly netting more profit. The new owners both had degrees in accounting. Such folk are sometimes called "bean counters." They eventually decided that if business was good they didn't need music and if business was slow, they couldn't afford music. Thus ended a delightful, eight or nine year regular gig.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: paul vaughan
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM

Thanks Big Daddy,

I think that pretty well sums up what's wrong with an awful lot of businesses today! Too many accountants running things and not enough people with the imagination and vision to see past next months balance sheet. I know the books have to be balanced but surely you need take a long term weiw as well?
I dunno! maybe that's why I'm not a businessman and just a humble lorry driver doing an open mic once a week :-(
Still doesn't answer the question though, just what is a reasonable amount to charge a small venue for an evenings music?


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: breezy
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM

Not letting on.

Depends on so many variables.

I dont like to see any club or organisation making a loss on any given evening.

Good luck to anyone trying to make a living, but I would say 'Dont give up the day-job'


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:57 AM

At the end of the day you have to charge what people are willing to pay.

We have just picked up a ceilidh booking because the band that had been doing that particular booking regularly had priced themselves out. They were asking beyond what the organisers felt they could afford.

Big Daddy's story is not unfamiliar over here. I know of a folk club that had to pack up because the new owners did not want them. The fact that they produced regular business well above that of an average evening in the pub did not seem to weigh. The problem with accountants, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, is all too often, they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. The folk club, btw, found new premises and are carrying on happily.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: paul vaughan
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 05:07 AM

Hi Tootler, would that be Lewes Folk Club by any chance? I've never been there myself but the story was in the papers! Quite an own goal!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 05:27 AM

That did happen to the former very successful Lewes Arms Folk - now the very successful Lewes Saturday Folk Club (at the Elephant & Castle). I won't recount the saga here - Valmai and Bryan who run the club are both Mudcat members and can tell it far better than me.

As far as musicians' fees are concerned, I've been playing a long time - all kinds of music - and I've drawn a line between playing for fun and playing for music. How I cross that line depends on the venue and my motivation. So, if I'm asked to play solo at a function for, say, an hour and a half or two hours (max), then I'll charge between £50 or £75. If they don't like that fee, then I don't play. However, if it's a genuine charity, for a cause to which I'm sympathetic, then I'll play for free or for expenses. If I bring in other musicians to make it a duo or trio, then the rates multiply accordingly.

Music, for me, is essentially fun, and I tootle along to sessions and singarounds and open mics regularly, and do odd floor spots in those local folk clubs that will have me. If it's not fun, then it has to be for money and, if there's neither money nor fun, I'd prefer to be at home playing an instrument.

As far as the ceilidh band I play in is concerned, we charge around £600 for a local wedding/birthday - and most of our work is for functions such as weddings and birthdays and local organisations. We also have a "mates rate" - around half that - for charity functions and friends' parties. With 7 of us in the band, including the caller, and some travelling quite a distance, totally free gigs are out of the question. Nevertheless, our basic philosophy is also that we're in it for fun rather than money.

So - it's a fine line between doing what you love doing for the hell of it, and not underselling yourself as a musician.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM

I've drawn a line between playing for fun and playing for music

... should of course read I've drawn a line between playing for fun and playing for money (!)


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 05:33 AM

Forgot to mention one other facet of music and money - teaching.

I give occasional lessons by request. I'm pretty strict about this. I only teach adults. I charge £25 per hour, which includes any music, tabs, mp3 examples, etc. I give the pupil work to do after the lesson. If that work isn't done, then there are no further lessons until it has been done - thereby not wasting my time and the pupil's money!


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: paul vaughan
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 06:13 AM

Hi Will!,
Thanks for the info, it's helpful to have some actual figures to go by!
I've seen on another thread that you are at the Royal Oak tomorrow night, is that right? If so I will come along after work for the last hour (assuming you finish at 11pm).
By the way, I was thinking about whether I was charging enough for the open mic I do, but of course I'd forgotten about the friends I'd made since starting it!!!
I think I'll adopt a new pricing structure:-
Weekend solo gigs-£100, Lessons-£25, Making new friends-Priceless!!

P.S. You are still welcome to come along on a wednesday night! (especially with that tenor guitar)


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 09:48 AM

Yes - I'm playing with Alan Day at the Oak tomorrow evening - and it's usually an 11pm finish there.

Quite agree about the 'priceless' bit - one of the joys of music-making!

Wednesday's have been really busy recently - but I WILL get along to the Ark... :-)


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 06:21 PM

To Paul Vaughan,

No it wasn't Lewes. I live in Middlesbrough.


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 07:14 PM

Interesting to know that the story has been repeated elsewhere. It was a terrible wrench to leave the Lewes Arms where the club had been for over twenty years but we've landed on our feet at the Elephant and Castle. Bigger room with excellent acoustics. Because of a prior booking for the room, we had to go to The Crown when we booked Will and Alan but it was still a great evening.

I must make it clear that it's not just Valmai and I, We Are A Committee of.. several.

See you tomorr... er tonight, Will. Paul, if you want to say hello, I'm the short, fat, hairy one.

Bryan


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Subject: RE: UK How much should bands charge?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 05:45 PM

"So - it's a fine line between doing what you love doing for the hell of it, and not underselling yourself as a musician."

Exactly, Will!


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