Getting Paid

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Xstr8edge, that's true if that's your only income. But if your band mates have other jobs, the band income is supposed to be reported along with your other income.

ok...that is what I thought...I would still venture to say that my metal band as a whole makes less than $3000 a year, but we only play out every 6-8 weeks on purpose...
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known Member
All revenue in the U.S. is taxable. You get various deductions, and might therefore avoid having to actually pay taxes, but it's all taxable.

I'm not sure how to feel about all of you guys and gals who are making so little money gigging. I get that we all love music, but it irks me that people are out there, good enough to be playing out there, and not getting paid properly.

Again, I'm new to drums. I've been making a living as a Bluesman, singing and playing guitar, for many years. If I stand on a streetcorner and do my thing, it averages out to $25.00usd/hour. On a streetcorner!

If you're good enough to play in a dive bar, you deserve more, not less.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Ours is a small-venue, bar or club situation... The band leader gets the money and spilts it accordingly. We know approximately how much we're gonna get for most gigs, its usually pretty similar. Occasionally, on longer trips, gas money for the truck needs to be deducted, rightly so. Not so much for more local shows.

Often times, any tips we get go to satisfy that gas fund, before any of us see any of it, and thats perfectly fine. The leader provides the truck and trailer, and doesn't expect more than occasional gas money, so that's more than a welcome deduction. We are gonna chip in a little, as a group, for some small repairs that the trailer needs.

As for food and drinks, sometimes food is provided. Some venues offer free drinks. Pretty much all of them provide free soft drinks. We are all on our own when any of the above isn't provided, including tipping. I wouldn't expect the others to pay for stuff I consumed, some of the others don't eat or drink at gigs.

Of course, we're all good friends. None of us would want this kind of stuff to damage the group, or our friendships. In the OPs situation, I think things need to be laid out a lot more clearly regarding how the money is handled.

I'm glad that I dont have that crap to worry about.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
On our last gig, I brought up the booking situation with our bass player and I asked point blank if our frontman/guitarist was taking a fee on the side for booking our gigs. I wasn't interested in the answer as much as finding a way to talk about band financials, but the response was no, they don't. Then he added the two of them have been going and putting the time in to find our gigs because "that's our job". I didn't get to respond to that before the frontman came and interrupted our conversation (we were in the middle of gig setup). I actually stated I wanted to help with the booking, but it was drowned out by the interruption.

Question: What would be a proper fee to give to a band member who is booking our gigs? Should it be a % of the gig pay, or a set amount? Keep in mind we're a new band, having spent 6 weeks getting our material together, and now about 6 gigs deep at this point. We also got exposure through the local open mics, so very easy to promote our material locally, although that lasts only so long, since there are only so many bars and clubs in the area, and our band's "newness" begins to fade. And if we agree on a fee, and we get a recurring monthly spot somewhere, does the bookee continue to get the fee? Thanks
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known Member
On our last gig, I brought up the booking situation with our bass player and I asked point blank if our frontman/guitarist was taking a fee on the side for booking our gigs. I wasn't interested in the answer as much as finding a way to talk about band financials, but the response was no, they don't. Then he added the two of them have been going and putting the time in to find our gigs because "that's our job". I didn't get to respond to that before the frontman came and interrupted our conversation (we were in the middle of gig setup). I actually stated I wanted to help with the booking, but it was drowned out by the interruption.

Question: What would be a proper fee to give to a band member who is booking our gigs? Should it be a % of the gig pay, or a set amount? Keep in mind we're a new band, having spent 6 weeks getting our material together, and now about 6 gigs deep at this point. We also got exposure through the local open mics, so very easy to promote our material locally, although that lasts only so long, since there are only so many bars and clubs in the area, and our band's "newness" begins to fade. And if we agree on a fee, and we get a recurring monthly spot somewhere, does the bookee continue to get the fee? Thanks
Expenses only, no fee.

If you recruit a booking agent, they should get 10% of the gross, recurring.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
On our last gig, I brought up the booking situation with our bass player and I asked point blank if our frontman/guitarist was taking a fee on the side for booking our gigs. I wasn't interested in the answer as much as finding a way to talk about band financials, but the response was no, they don't. Then he added the two of them have been going and putting the time in to find our gigs because "that's our job". I didn't get to respond to that before the frontman came and interrupted our conversation (we were in the middle of gig setup). I actually stated I wanted to help with the booking, but it was drowned out by the interruption.

Question: What would be a proper fee to give to a band member who is booking our gigs? Should it be a % of the gig pay, or a set amount? Keep in mind we're a new band, having spent 6 weeks getting our material together, and now about 6 gigs deep at this point. We also got exposure through the local open mics, so very easy to promote our material locally, although that lasts only so long, since there are only so many bars and clubs in the area, and our band's "newness" begins to fade. And if we agree on a fee, and we get a recurring monthly spot somewhere, does the bookee continue to get the fee? Thanks

I can see both sides of this one. If no one in the band takes a fee, that will go a long way toward building a team mentality. I once asked the band-leader for a very established local working band, and he straight up told me his band divides all the pay equally. They've been together for almost 20 years, with very few lineup changes.

OTOH, if you go out of your way to book a gig, it seems fair that you should get something extra, especially for wedding gigs, where you'll spend lots of time emailing and being on the phone with a client. But club gigs are not usually too much of a hassle (the budget is X, the hours are X), and are even less trouble once a working relationship has been established with the venue.

I've taken a booking fee for wedding gigs (about 5%), and I've been transparent about it to my bandmates, who all agreed it was fine. It's the transparency that's important, more than anything else. Human beings don't generally do well with uncertainty.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Expenses only, no fee.

If you recruit a booking agent, they should get 10% of the gross, recurring.
That sounds fair, thanks. Expenses would be gas for car and/or other transportation. It does seem odd that my band members have not mentioned expenses they've incurred in driving to venues to talk to owners about gigs.

No booking agent at this point.

And also odd they feel it's *their job* to find the gigs.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
That sounds fair, thanks. Expenses would be gas for car and/or other transportation. It does seem odd that my band members have not mentioned expenses they've incurred in driving to venues to talk to owners about gigs.

No booking agent at this point.

And also odd they feel it's *their job* to find the gigs.
I dunno...as I don't participate in the booking of our band, I try to do other stuff to help (promotion, merch display, etc) as the other guys are doing "that Job", so I try do make the things I do part of "my job", to spread out the work within the band.

Perhaps your guys feel similarly?
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I dunno...as I don't participate in the booking of our band, I try to do other stuff to help (promotion, merch display, etc) as the other guys are doing "that Job", so I try do make the things I do part of "my job", to spread out the work within the band.

Perhaps your guys feel similarly?
The drums are a labor intensive part of the band, so yes, maybe bands out there typically think the drummer has enough work on his or her plate. I mean my last gig I was the first to start getting my gear on the stage and the first to start teardown and load. I have been doing this on my own lately. But still, it's just another musician, another member of the team. They didn't get with me and tell me only *they* were finding/scheduling gigs. I had to dig it out of them after the 6th gig.

Interesting that our frontman got me paid right as I was finishing loading my gear into my truck. Question: Is it customary to have to wait til closing to get paid? Why not between the second and third sets? That way we don't have to sweat over the idea of begging to get paid if the owner decides we didn't do well enough. I guess it's possible there are venues that renege on pay if the band doesn't do as well as expected, but I don't have enough experience to know if those cases are all that probable in the average gigging band scenario.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Question: Is it customary to have to wait til closing to get paid?
That was always the situation when I was gigging. Our guitarist was the contact for booking, so he was the one who collected the money also. I dunno about the other 2, but I always made sure I knew what we made. We never paid ourselves, only the expenditures needed to travel. Anything left went into a band fund that we would use for merch, advertising, etc.

I dunno...as I don't participate in the booking of our band, I try to do other stuff to help (promotion, merch display, etc) as the other guys are doing "that Job", so I try do make the things I do part of "my job", to spread out the work within the band.
Same here. I made banners, drew logos and such, organized the loading and unloading of gear, did most of the driving, wrote set lists, hung fliers, sent out mailing list stuff, did pre-internet tape/cd swapping, and more stuff I cant remember. I also wrote lyrics and some guitar riffs.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I dunno...as I don't participate in the booking of our band, I try to do other stuff to help (promotion, merch display, etc) as the other guys are doing "that Job", so I try do make the things I do part of "my job", to spread out the work within the band.

Perhaps your guys feel similarly?

yeah...I am the load in/out guy; merch table guy, designated driver etc...I don't like socializing, so I leave that stuff to the others...I am good at behind the scenes logistics and grunt work
 

A J

Active Member
My opinion:

1. I'm not in it for the money. If I make nothing, I'm still happy.

2. I trust my band members or I wouldn't be in a band with them. I will never question a gig payment.

3. I don't like tip jars. Looks like begging.

4. I don't tip wait staff UNLESS I'm sitting down at a table, consuming food and drink and being waited on.
 

doggyd69b

Silver Member
All revenue in the U.S. is taxable. You get various deductions, and might therefore avoid having to actually pay taxes, but it's all taxable.

I'm not sure how to feel about all of you guys and gals who are making so little money gigging. I get that we all love music, but it irks me that people are out there, good enough to be playing out there, and not getting paid properly.

Again, I'm new to drums. I've been making a living as a Bluesman, singing and playing guitar, for many years. If I stand on a streetcorner and do my thing, it averages out to $25.00usd/hour. On a streetcorner!

If you're good enough to play in a dive bar, you deserve more, not less.
Our band was getting $800 a night and free drinks and food...that was 17 years ago, I had to break the band because I was moving to CA for a new duty station. We had only been together as a band for 3 months and practiced our 25 song set 15 to 20 times. Never had money issues , at that point we had 3 bars offering us even more to play there, I almost went awol it was very tempting.... that last gig was one of my most fun gigs with a bar packed to the brim. I haven't played live since 😕 maybe when I get to Ga.....
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace
Interesting that our frontman got me paid right as I was finishing loading my gear into my truck. Question: Is it customary to have to wait til closing to get paid? Why not between the second and third sets? That way we don't have to sweat over the idea of begging to get paid if the owner decides we didn't do well enough. I guess it's possible there are venues that renege on pay if the band doesn't do as well as expected, but I don't have enough experience to know if those cases are all that probable in the average gigging band scenario.
It’s usual, for a bar gig, to get paid at the end of the night, at or after closing. Hopefully you are getting some cut of the bar in your arrangement, and that takes time to figure out, after all the tabs have been settled.
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known Member
That sounds fair, thanks. Expenses would be gas for car and/or other transportation. It does seem odd that my band members have not mentioned expenses they've incurred in driving to venues to talk to owners about gigs.

No booking agent at this point.

And also odd they feel it's *their job* to find the gigs.
The expenses that come to mind are gas, printing costs for posters, and any sort of online ads (which I do NOT recommend for local gigs.) If the money is good enough, I don't even bother with expenses; I can just claim that on my taxes.

You're the drummer. I've never expected the drummer to incur any expenses or effort to book gigs. In fact, I can only think of one instance in my entire career when the drummer booked a gig. A bowling alley that was across the street from our rehearsal studio; we played there once a month for a couple of years.

The thing is, even when everyone else is doing their bit, and helping with load-in and load-out, you've got a very complex instrument to set up, and perhaps even tune on the spot. That's more than enough extra effort. And, you're literally the core of the band. I've performed without various players due to whatever, but no drummer? Never. That's a solo performance.

I don't think it's fair to ask the drummer to take on more responsibility than they've already got.

Really, the best person to deal with booking and payment is the singer, as a general rule. I've served as backup/reassurance to singers when I've worked as a sideman (guitarist), but they're the face of the act, and that's a natural part of their role, to interface with the venue and the audience. So, in my view, it really is "their job" to find the gigs and promote them.

EDIT: Yes, it is customary to get paid after the bar settles the till, whether you're playing for a flat fee, or a percentage.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Found a thread from 2009 that looks related. Talks about 1099 forms a little. If a single venue pays your band more than $600 in a year, the venue could send you a 1099 - which I'm guessing is their responsibility to send out, once they make a band payment deduction on their taxes:

 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Found a thread from 2009 that looks related. Talks about 1099 forms a little. If a single venue pays your band more than $600 in a year, the venue could send you a 1099 - which I'm guessing is their responsibility to send out, once they make a band payment deduction on their taxes:

Yes. A venue will have you fill out a W-9 form with your name, address, and SSN, so they can send the 1099 to you at the end of the year. In order to spread the tax burden around, one of my band rotates who get the check each time we play a certain club.

Also, it's $600 or more, not "more than $600".
 

someguy01

Platinum Member
Cash, no receipt. "I don't know what money you're talking about Mr. IRS man, we play for the love of music."
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Cash, no receipt. "I don't know what money you're talking about Mr. IRS man, we play for the love of music."
A decade ago, this was the norm for a lot of clubs. It seems that hardly any clubs do business this way anymore, though. People hardly use cash to get in or buy food and drink, so the club has to declare nearly everything it makes. Which means they want to declare as many of their expenses, too (which includes paying the band).
 
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