Hey, soon im gonna leave school and get a job somewhere giving guitar lessons too, but I was wondering how much you guys get for playing around pubs and cafes and places like that?
where i drink at its about £50 depending on how good the band are and how many people are in. Its about £100 more if the gig is arranged through an agent. but thats just where i'm from.
depends - i play in two bands:
the latter is my "real" band, playing our own material, and we generally earn Between £0 and £50 for a gig, but 'popkiller', in which we play covers can be hired starting from about £250 up to £1000 depending on the venue and our agents cut (man, I love getting paid to play!), plus gets WAY more gigs, cos there is more of a market for that sort of thing. sadly.
£50 for a show? Jesus, not much money between you all. My Mum's friend's husband is in a band, and his bang makes normally between £200 and £300 per gig. That's split between four people.
Last edited by AdamDK at Feb 9, 2007,
It all depends, when I was touring we would get as little as $20 to pay for gas, or as much as $1500 for sellnig out a big venue.

It depends on the size and place.
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yeah, until you're at least a little famous around town, be expecting little to no money. a band i tech for is playing their first gig next month and they're doing it for free. once they have some local fame, that's how much they'll be playing for.
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like i said, my covers band gets paid loads - thats cos we get booked for venues where people dont go for the band, but "live music" pulls in punters, who just want to hear stuff they know and can dance to. With original music, you are trying to promote a product (your music) that noone knows, so sometimes you have to give free samples!
I generally bring in $60-$100 by myself. We have a 5 member COVER band and places generally pay us $300-$700. I was actually making more money when I was playing in an acoustic duo. In that group, I would walk out with $130 ish plus tips.. tips were generally between $35-$75. That was for each of us. I live in a "rural city" and most bars start out paying $300. I know of some bars that pay an insulting $200 for bands to start. I also used to be in an originals band that gigged frequently, however the gigs paid $0-$100 for the entire band... pathetic. Most unknown bands make their money off merchandise!

We once played this redneck bar and were so mad because it only paid $200... but the kick was.. we ha an unlimited drink and food tab.

That was their mistake, because we ended up running up a $500 tab. Our bassist alone drank $150 worth of alcohol and some guys in the band were ordering things like steak dinners.

I know of 2 well known cover bands in my area that make massive amounts of money. There is this one band that comes down from Philly and makes $1,500 for the entire band on a MONDAY night at one bar. They also gig 3 times a weekend during the summer. I also heard a rumour that there is this one band in my area where the members make $100,000 each every year.... and that's just gigging.. not including their other jobs. However that band has been together for about 13 years and is very well-known and advertised well.

You also have to be careful with some places. I was once involved with this HUGE local band festival last year at a widely known bar in the area. I was in a band which was one of about 20 other bands there. NONE of the bands... no matter how big or good made ANY money. I wouldn't even say it was good exposure; even though there were a lot of people there... no one was really selling any merch and most of the bands were known to begin with in the area. Anyways... the bands made $0, the soundguy made $1,000, and the entire bar/restuarant made $22,000. Do the economics.
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yup, its all about merch.

Dont expect to make enough money to live on, my band makes enough money to go to the next city and play another show, and if we're lucky, we get moneys to eat.

Theres not money to be made for just playing music unless youre in a cover band, or youre very well recieved.

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basically like he others have said it depends on many factors...here in rome i got paid 59 € for one night...plus i got free drinks and a free dinner...it was nice...but in order to be taken seriously you HAVE TO HAVE A DEMO!! i managed to do it once, earlier on without a demo, but only becaused i faked a voice pretendeing to be a manager sayin "good evening i'm (my name)'s manager, and he said he'd love to play an improvisation at your pub" and they said "who?" i said "are you kidding? (my name)! do a google search once in a while, he's ****ing famous" and he went "are you sure?" "allright if it's a problem forget it" and so he said "oh, no! i was just kidding of course i know (my name)! we all love his music!" ..i could barely stop holding in my laughter and so i said "very well..how's thursday night?" he said "uhm....lemme check....uh yeah that's ok." i said "make sure you have a black russian waiting for him, he always need's one before playing..." he said " *hesitates" o...okay..." and then i said "oh and be expecting tons of people..but don't tell anyone (my name) is coming or they ****ing tear down the place" and he said "*hesitates x4* o...ok, no problem!" so...that's how i got my first gig in a pub...kinda film-ish..but mtv made taught me well..these poor gullable italians...;-)

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depends on the scene, depends on the popularity of the band, depends on the venue, and it depends what other bands are on the bill.

you'll probably make at least 50 or 100 bucks at the crummiest of dives... although my old band was one paid something like 20 bucks to do an hour-long set, run and set up our own PA, and do our own promotion. it was gay.
*adds more:

Please for the love of god, never play for free at a bar. The only exceptions I will allow for that is if you are doing a benefit of some sort, an open mic, or some kind of radio promotional thing. I was once involved in a show at a bar in which our set was to be recorded and played back the following night on the local station. The radio station was very well known so we got double that night: New fans and radio promotion. The only downside was the person running sound had no clue what they were doing and ALL of the bands sounded terrible.

Anyways, playing for free in bars is an insult to yourself and other musicians. That is one of the reasons money is so low for starting bands in most places. I once worked at a bar where my boss though $200 was adequete enough for a band..... think again. That's 40 bucks each for the 5 member band I was in... and some of them had to pay $15 in gas just to get there.
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yeah, doing free gigs is okay if it's for charity, or for a really good trade-off like radio play. but just walking into a bar and accepting a free gig is pretty dumb. Bar crowds don't appreciate origianl music as much, and rarely even stay for the whole show.