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Should band members split tips equally?

DBT

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Neither have I. Just the thought of having one makes me feel uncomfortable.

If I did have one, if all of the expenses were paid and whoever booked the show got a little more, the tips should be spread equally. The leader not doing so shows a side of his/her character that I would not want to be around let alone play with.

If I decided to play with them anyway, I would need to be paid a livable wage. It would then be their band/business and they could do whatever they pleased in all cases be it even playing the gig in the first place. They can decide whether doing the show or not is worth the risk of the profit or possible loss that may at times even lead me to making more than the leader.
Well said . That can be applied to anything someone does to make money . Whenever I was offered a tip at the end of the job it was usually added in to the final payment , I would give it all to my employees to split . In this case being different everything should be a equal share , including gas and flat tires . A Musketeers attitude : one for all , all for one .
 

Olderschool

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But let's face it guys...an be brutally honest. While we may be all musicians and and a part of the gig, an argument can be made that since us drummers are usually not equally important, we deserve less tips. I know...it pains us to admit this but more times than not it's true.
All of us have local bands that are known by the front man and often rotate drummers...right? Any competent drummer can fill in and most of the time, and the crowd doesn't care...right? I mean...in a usual bar band, much of the time, the guitarist and singer (many times the same person) are the ones the crowd focuses on and then ones that carries the song. They are the ones the crowd comes to see (an argument can be made for the Bass player if he sings and there isn't a keyboard player to handle the bass line). But if you go out to a bar to see a certain band/performer you want to see the singer guitarist that local band is known for. Now before you flame me let me repeat, I am talking about the norms. Of course there are outliers and examples that contradict this but more often than not, it's true.
As much as it pains me to come to this realization...I have to admit it. But that's OK. I have the mentality of a drummer and don't desire the spotlight. I do play as a guitarist most every week (not a singer) and that same mentality follows me then. That's because my first love is the drums and always will be. That's a good thing :)
 

notINtheband

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The region of the US where we play a tip jar is common, regardless of how the gig is structured.
We are paid well by the venues, often the events are ticketed, and there is till a tip jar on nearly every stage placed there by the venue.
Tips are not the main source of the bands pay in any situation we play.
With that said we regularly split ~$200 on any given night in tips.
It’s ALWAYS done evenly, not even a question.
On rare occasions someone might mention the bands sound system is in need of some new cables, in which case we always wave off the tips to be placed in the bands petty cash for just those situations.
But none of us depend on a dime from tips so it’s never a source of discontent.
The day it’s brought up that someone asked for a disproportionate share of the tips is likely the day the rest of us would start looking for another band.
But this isn’t of concern for any of us as we are friends first and bandmates second by now.
I can’t imagine playing it any other way these days.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I've been in situations like that, and if it bugged me enough or I didn't think it was handled well, I simply stopped working for that band leader.
The problem is when they surprise their side men with it after a show instead of being up front when hiring.
That's not how a band leader focused on retention runs the ship, IMO.
That said, some band leaders aren't concerned about retention at all. To them I say, "Good luck with that revolving door of hacks, buddy."
 

dale w miller

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But let's face it guys...an be brutally honest. While we may be all musicians and and a part of the gig, an argument can be made that since us drummers are usually not equally important, we deserve less tips. I know...it pains us to admit this but more times than not it's true.
All of us have local bands that are known by the front man and often rotate drummers...right? Any competent drummer can fill in and most of the time, and the crowd doesn't care...right? I mean...in a usual bar band, much of the time, the guitarist and singer (many times the same person) are the ones the crowd focuses on and then ones that carries the song. They are the ones the crowd comes to see (an argument can be made for the Bass player if he sings and there isn't a keyboard player to handle the bass line). But if you go out to a bar to see a certain band/performer you want to see the singer guitarist that local band is known for. Now before you flame me let me repeat, I am talking about the norms. Of course there are outliers and examples that contradict this but more often than not, it's true.
As much as it pains me to come to this realization...I have to admit it. But that's OK. I have the mentality of a drummer and don't desire the spotlight. I do play as a guitarist most every week (not a singer) and that same mentality follows me then. That's because my first love is the drums and always will be. That's a good thing :)

I agree in the original scene that unless you are Tommy Lee or Neil Peart, a band where in a few cases the drummer is the star, it’s all about the singer and songwriter. I’m not in the cover scene, but my close friend had a band that the name was worth more than the players. By the time he was long done with them and the band fizzled out not a single person from the original lineup was in the band including the original leader that had them playing up & down the East Coast.
 

Stickclick

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I suspect last night my band made $ 3 in tips. I'm not going to complain if the front man takes the tip money.
 

pwc1141

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I get the gigs normally but the guitarist is the front man and the trio is named after him. The places I play have a tip jar and if its enough to split sensibly it's equal for all but only after using some to give the guy who has helped us load in. There is normally one who does and he will get all the tips if it is not worth sharing around. Our bass player needs the money the most and sometimes I will just split tips between him and the guy who helped us. That is OK with everyone as we have talked about it. Talking solves such issues.
 

Squirrel Man

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I've never been in a position where playing was a business, it was all for fun. I can't imagine playing in a band with a controlling "band leader". Life's too short.
 

drums1225

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I'm not uncomfortable with the concept of a tip jar, but I'm not particularly comfortable with soliciting tips. In my experience, tip jars are mostly employed when the establishment pays well below a reasonable rate. When I ran an instrumental jazz-funk quintet, we entered "tip jar world". We are all professional musicians and were playing music we either wrote or chose for our own satisfaction, so money wasn't the focus, but the gig pay offered was fairly insulting, considering the prices for food and drinks at one particular establishment.

When my 4pc. cover band plays private events, including weddings and even backyard barbecues, each member makes a good day's pay, or I wouldn't book it in the first place. Upon final settlement, we almost always receive a significant tip of at least 10 to 20%, often more. As the bandleader, I take expenses and very small cut off the gig fee; any tips are split equallly.
 

varatrodder

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All tips should be shared equally. Actual pay for each member may be different, but that's something that is worked out separately.
 

bellbrass

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I think it really depends on the band situation. If there is a bandleader who books all of the gigs, owns the PA, owns the equipment trailer, and otherwise spends more time and assumes more risk than the other members of the band, then I think he/she deserves more than the other members - but not 100% of the tips. Tips are extra, and the money situation should have been worked out as an agreement amongst band members, so tips should be distributed equally, even if band pay is not.
I was briefly in a band many years ago with a band leader. We practiced at his house, he owned the PA, booked the gigs, etc. He stated up front that, should we make tips, he would get 100%, since he "did all of the work." That did not sit well with me at all (nor the other members). Needless to say, that band did not last long.
I think that if the band is paid well, then a big chunk of the tips should go to the club/bar staff. I have found that this really works out well for the band. Club management knows when this happens, and how the band is perceived by the staff figures a lot more into whether or not you get asked back than you might think.
 
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JazzyJeff

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In a previous band, we used to drive a couple hours to southern Virginia for a show at a restaurant about 4 times a year. It paid about $150 per member, plus the band leader always took more share for booking. The deal the BL had in place with the restaurant owner for the job included the restaurant owner getting the band tips. Most passed around tip jar in history….
 

Kcmcc

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In a previous band, we used to drive a couple hours to southern Virginia for a show at a restaurant about 4 times a year. It paid about $150 per member, plus the band leader always took more share for booking. The deal the BL had in place with the restaurant owner for the job included the restaurant owner getting the band tips. Most passed around tip jar in history….
Restaurant *owner* should NEVER under any circumstances get ANY tips unless it’s from a table they actually waited on or a drink they served at the bar.
 

Dtucci

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I front a cover trio from the drum kit and we always split the tips equally. If there's an odd dollar (or 2), we leave it in the jar until the next show. I believe that when you are on stage as part of a band, EVERYONE is contributing to the show and should share equally in the tips. I once subbed for a cover band who used their tips to finance recording of their original music. They didn't bother letting me know about this policy until after the show. I told them that they could do whatever they wanted with THEIR portion, but they needed to give me an equal split. They though for a second, then counted it up and I got mine. And YES, I did play with them sporadically afterwards, and they made sure to make a big deal about handing me my portion.
 

hardbat

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I commonly play gigs that collect hundreds of dollars in tips in addition to our pay. In every case the tips are divided equally. I agree, a leader who keeps them all, goes on the poopie list.
 

McLovin’ me Ludwigs

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In my experience tips are usually split evenly, but sometimes a little extra is given to a member who had to drive farther or put in significantly extra effort to make the gig. If it’s an issue, the better time to discuss it is before the show, rather than after when the cash is in the leader’s hand.
Yes. That woukd be us.
Remember “ im the drummer, im the first to arrive, the last to leave, and always accused of never being on time…”
Thats my tshirt quote i had made
 


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