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Price / Charges for Playing

Discussing a charge for a band to play can always be relatively difficult during the negotiations process. There are several things to consider when doing it. This may include:
  1. Number of band members
  2. Skills / reputation of the ensemble
  3. Equipment to be supplied - P.A. for example
  4. Distance to the gig
  5. Expenses incurred by the band to put the gig on
  6. The frequency of the gig - e.g.: one-off gigs at parties etc. versus regular weekly / monthly gigs
  7. The relationship between the band and the client - e.g.: you might want to charge a cheaper rate for friends of the band
  8. The status of the venue. For example bigger venues have more people to entertain OR sometimes you may feel more inclined to play at a place that you believe has a lot of potential but not a lot of money and thereby hope to get greater returns at a later date.
  9. The band fits the bar and the bar fits the band. Sometimes it just works out that way.
On previous occasions, when negotiating with a venue that doesn't generally present live music, I  have  suggested a deal where the charge for the band was calculated based on the number of clients turning up at the bar. This would be resolved by counting the number of people at the venue during the break between sets for example. This means the publican generally won't lose - as they will only pay if the band successfully attracts people to the venue. It also means the band can do well if a lot of people show up.

This sort of arrangement is OK in the initial period in order to get a regular gig started but over a longer period there were complicating factors - being:
  1. Even if the band only attracts 10 people - this could be considered very good during the wet / low season when most other places are empty.
  2. Over the longer period the bar's reputation is enhanced and thus attracts more people outside band playing times.
  3. What if the publican throws a party and invites all his friends? He is supplying the people and then having to pay for it
  4. What if the band starts to buy new and better equipment for the gig?
Generally both the band and the publican need to be flexible and reasonable with each other. If it means there is a regular gig every week then it is good for the band, good for the publican and good for the live music scene in general. The Hellhounds have been fortunate enough to have had a good relationship with Edvin and the Velkommen Inn for over a year now. In the beginning we started out as a 'pay per customer' thing but Edvin was kind enough to agree to a base amount to accommodate for indiscriminate "environment factors" affecting customer numbers. In the end things have worked out well.

I know Charlie and Patrick have had a good relationship with the Barbados - having played regularly there now for several years. I am not altogether sure of the circumstances - may be they could fill us in?

As a general round-up I would suggest the following charges for bands:
  1. $50 per band member for one-off event gigs
  2. $20 per band member for regular gigs
  3. $20 for the supply of a simple P.A.
  4. $50 for a full P.A. set
  5. All with discounts on 'good relationship' gigs
If you have any thoughts or comments on payment for gigs and what the general level might be then drop a line to the Leng Pleng blog ;o)

1 comment:

  1. This is a quite tricky thing.
    It seems to me that the bar owners around the town are loosing business for the moment. Some of the more popular bars, for a couple of years ago, are now very quiet and it seems to be the same for S'ville and SR.

    I fully agree to the suggestion of the charges above, but i can, at the same time, understand if some of the venues cant pay this on a regular basis to keep live bands on stage every week.

    So, sure we want to get paid for what we are doing, but there is, for the moment, a risk that we will price ourselves out from the business.
    At least with some joints where the number of custmers has dropped.

    To get paid "On The Door" as well as percentage of the beer sells was a popular payment method for the small blues clubs in the states before, i dont know by now though.
    The difference was that often the club owner did all the advertising, local radio, newspapers, flyers and posters.
    Here i suppose that you have to take care of that by yourself.

    This is, whithout question, a very important matter to discuss, thanks Ted for bringing it up.
    I hope to see a discussion here on Leng Pleng in the next days about peoples reaction and opinion on this, cause its a quite important matter.

    "Little Duke"


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