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Lamontsdad

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The musician's union, at least in my locale, is non-existant. Furthermore, most venues around here won't hire union musicians.

I have had a few gigs where union representation would have been helpful, but again: I have a feeling this particular venue owner would not hire union-represented musicians. This clown stiffed my old band not once, but twice. My band leader was equally a clown, because he wanted so badly to play this joint because he drinks at that bar and it is two blocks from his house. He would have done anything to play there. Looking back, I should have refused to play gigs at said venue after the first time we were shorted. (I did after the second tine) The owner shorted the band $150 off of our negotiated pay because we didn't bring enough of a crowd. Of course my old band leader was an idiot, but that is for another thread...

The saddest part of this scenario is that it was so hard to get into the union in my locale. They only would let people they thought were "good enough" into the union. Venues started hiring non-union bands at higher wages (at first), then the genie came out of the bottle. Furthermore, people who were in the union in its heyday have told me was that it was pretty weak by the 90s. Also, with increasing DUI arrests and a lack of good public transit, the money isn't there to pay bands unless they can bring in a crowd.

Maybe it's different in other geographical areas. I would love to have had a union representing me in a few scenarios. But around here, you negotiate a fee, hope that you're not playing to a bunch of empty chairs, and you hope that you get paid at the end of the 10-2 gig. Of course then there are the other factors: hoping that you don't have a bunch of drunks demanding you play the Doors, Gimmee Three Steps or Freebird, along with hoping you're not jumped during load out. I think I talked myself out of ever playing with a band again, the more I write about this.
 
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DrummBumm89

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Still not mentioning the 15 piece band enough. There is not a venue within 100 miles of me (Not counting Stadiums and Arenas) that is going to say $3,700 is chump change. Wedding bands don't even make that much around here.
 

bpaluzzi

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Still not mentioning the 15 piece band enough. There is not a venue within 100 miles of me (Not counting Stadiums and Arenas) that is going to say $3,700 is chump change. Wedding bands don't even make that much around here.
If they can't afford to pay 15 members fairly, don't hire a 15-person band.
 

DrummBumm89

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If they can't afford to pay 15 members fairly, don't hire a 15-person band.
Or, the band members realize they are getting paid less because they have a 15-piece band while the competition has smaller bands.
I can promise you the venue doesn't give a damn if there's a 3rd trombone.

This isn't 45 songs and 4 hours at $50 + a burger here. I don't know what metro area has $4,000+ entertainment budgets even pre-COVID.
 

DBT

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If they can't afford to pay 15 members fairly, don't hire a 15-person band.
Then they will just shop for a 4 PCS for $500 to $600 or less . Now we’re right back to square one . Go ahead and hold out , by that time the steady gigger’s will have surpassed what you will still be holding out for . Least we forget doing it for the love and passion .
 
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boslaw

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I believe in the idea of labor solidarity and not undercutting your fellow workers. The guy who out and out said he didn’t care pretty much grossed me out.
Great. Post your hourly rates here, then agree that you will not take a lower rate, no matter the circumstances.

In fantasy land, that sounds great, but that's just not reality. I have no interest in hurting people's livelihoods or "undercutting" anyone here, and I'd be happy to pass along info about gigs I've turned down. However, I cannot allow other people's compensation needs to factor into my own personal decision making process, nor should you. If you choose to take a low paying gig for personal reasons (1st gig in 30 years, you really want to play with the bassist cuz he's awesome, whatever) then that's your personal decision - sorry if you stole the gig from me because you were cheaper but I can't really be mad at you for that. You gonna feel bad about it? I doubt it.

Despite all that, as I've said numerous times, the fact that many of you (but not all) think I sold myself short is helpful and useful information and absolutely what I was looking for when I started the thread. How would I know what market rates are after 30 years of no gigs if I didn't ask people like yourselves? Information is power.
 

Houndog

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Great. Post your hourly rates here, then agree that you will not take a lower rate, no matter the circumstances.

In fantasy land, that sounds great, but that's just not reality. I have no interest in hurting people's livelihoods or "undercutting" anyone here, and I'd be happy to pass along info about gigs I've turned down. However, I cannot allow other people's compensation needs to factor into my own personal decision making process, nor should you. If you choose to take a low paying gig for personal reasons (1st gig in 30 years, you really want to play with the bassist cuz he's awesome, whatever) then that's your personal decision - sorry if you stole the gig from me because you were cheaper but I can't really be mad at you for that. You gonna feel bad about it? I doubt it.

Despite all that, as I've said numerous times, the fact that many of you (but not all) think I sold myself short is helpful and useful information and absolutely what I was looking for when I started the thread. How would I know what market rates are after 30 years of no gigs if I didn't ask people like yourselves? Information is power.
Market rates differ , depends on venue type , size , specific location ..

I don’t remember ever seeing that info put forth??

In my state not all bars can serve mixed drinks , they are beer only .
They pay significantly less …
 

boslaw

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Market rates differ , depends on venue type , size , specific location ..

I don’t remember ever seeing that info put forth??

In my state not all bars can serve mixed drinks , they are beer only .
They pay significantly less …
My post was in reply to the person calling me gross for saying I can’t be concerned with what other people make.
 

Houndog

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My post was in reply to the person calling me gross for saying I can’t be concerned with what other people make.
Ok , but you’ve never listed specifics and that can significantly make a difference.
That’s what I’m asking about ..
 

Houndog

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Ok , but you’ve never listed specifics and that can significantly make a difference.
That’s what I’m asking about ..
I also agree you need not concern yourself with what others make …
 

Whitten

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However, I cannot allow other people's compensation needs to factor into my own personal decision making process, nor should you.
Ever heard the phrase 'united we stand, divided we fall'? That's how collectivisation works, like unions.
Wealthy entrepreneurs love it when employees just do things to suit themselves, their own circumstances.
Someone mentioned above that a local promoter won't hire 'union' bands? Why? Because he can get non-union bands cheaper and boss them about.
Someone also mentioned rates.
I'm earning about half per day what I was earning in 1986 - before all the McCartney and Dire Straits hoopla.
Everyone I know is the same. That's the way the industry has gone. We've accepted it and are getting on with it!
No one else in society works for half their 1986 wage, but we do it because we love our job and we love music.
But we should still advocate for better pay and conditions.
 

Lamontsdad

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Kcmcc

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I'm not saying it's inherently "Gross" to take a gig for low money, if for example you're broke (which we have clearly established you are not) and absolutely need whatever you can get just to keep the roof over your head or put food on the table, then hell yeah, do what you have to. I am saying that it is gross to explicitly NOT CARE about how your economic decisions affect other people, which you doubled down on. That IS gross. You don't necessarily need to make that the only factor in your decision making, but to simply not care is unfathomable to me.
 

boslaw

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I'm not saying it's inherently "Gross" to take a gig for low money, if for example you're broke (which we have clearly established you are not) and absolutely need whatever you can get just to keep the roof over your head or put food on the table, then hell yeah, do what you have to. I am saying that it is gross to explicitly NOT CARE about how your economic decisions affect other people, which you doubled down on. That IS gross. You don't necessarily need to make that the only factor in your decision making, but to simply not care is unfathomable to me.
I just find it utterly, entirely, completely unbelievable that whenever someone offers you a gig, you stop to think about how your acceptance of that gig affects others. You're either happy with the $, or not and you move on. Simple? Yes. Gross? I don't think so. But you're entitled to your opinion I guess.

Anyway, I'm done. I think the thread has officially been drained. Thanks everyone for responding. Off to check out some gay pigs.
 

McLovin’ me Ludwigs

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Yeah, thanks for the advice, this is all what I was looking for. I'm sure I'll have a blast playing in front of people again. They've already asked me if I'd play another gig with them mid-Jan at a casino and I put the breaks on because I want to see how NYE goes. At that point, if I decide to continue on, I'll be negotiating better everything and I've already told them I'd only be interested as an occasional fill-in, rather than their full time guy.

This is a wedding, event band and that's not what I'm looking for at all. I've got a pretty demanding full time non-musical job already so occasional low key bar gigs in cover bands is my ideal sweet spot (for now - who knows) and I know I won't be getting paid much for those.
Brother, have fun and play your ASS off! Its new years eve! Play for the sheer joy, play for the excitement of gigging, be joyful in the simple fact that you have a gift to be shared with an entire room of those who cannot do what you do.
The money is a perk!
I would play for free if its music that makes me smile during every, and laugh after every song.
Get to it and have a great time.
 

jeffhowe

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1st gig in a very long time. New Year's Eve. Three 45 min sets (45 songs). 15 piece band. Boston area. What's the going rate for a drummer? Just curious if I'm getting paid fairly.
On NYE, I wouldn't even consider it for under $500. Out of town? $750 plus room/meals/etc.
I'd rather stay home for less!;)
 

FlowTom

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It's the tavern gigs on St. Paddy's where you've really got to put in for adequate line of duty combat pay.
 
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DrSkillet

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It seems a bit low to me even taking into consideration the size of the band. I'm guessing the band leader is taking a bigger cut than the other players but I would still expect twice that amount for this type of NYE gig. I play in DC which I think is a similar market and playing at that price point lowers everyone's standard of living.

I play professionally but I also have a day job. I try to take into consideration what the market rates are and try not to undercut people who are gigging full time by too much. I usually play gigs of this nature to support my music gear habit but a lot of musicians do these types of gigs to pay their bills. Dropping the going rate by undercutting people who do it for a living hurts the industry as a whole.
 
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