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How does a band divide up the money?


HypnoBassMan

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Hi Group,

 

Well, I'm taking the big step. My "bandmates" and I are thinking about going out and getting some gigs! We are going to start off by doing a house party at my house to just get things started. It will be the first time that we have performed together as a group.

 

Next we want to start playing some clubs or other house parties. At first we will just have to take what we can get.

 

But that brings up the next issue. How do we divide the money that we will make? Here are some issues. Our vocalist also plays guitar and piano on songs as needed. He may also kind of "manage" the band (he has the most experience lining up gigs). Our guitarist sings one or two songs, and I don't sing any at present but may in the future.

 

Should everyone make the same amount of money, or should our singer get more because he plays guitar, piano and will probably do the most to get us some gigs.

 

Thanks for the advice

HypnoBassMan

 

The deeper you go the better you feel! (True for bass and hypnosis.)

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"Band" to me usually means members in equality. One person may play more than the other but that should never mean they should make more. Divide the bread evenly. I had a guy in a band one time that booked our gigs and he wanted to take a little extra for himself. We thought that would be ok until we found out that he started with 10% and worked his way up to 50%. If you are going to let a band member book gigs and pay himself for it make sure you get a writen invoice from the person who is paying you with the ammout that is going to eack member and the ammount going to the person who booked. That way you always know what going on.
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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IMHO the money should be split fairly, i.e take the amount and divide it evenly amongst the members. Talent, amount of instruments played, who books gigs etc doesn't come into it. Many may disagree, but I'm just a simple red diaper kid.

 

Outside of my opinion (eh?) do whatever you folks feels right Hypnobass. Money issues can break up even the most relaxed of bands.

 

Most of all, enjoy those gigs :thu:

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Any band I've ever been in has used one of the two methods mentioned, ie divide up any surplus after expenses equally or plough it back into band equipment, recording etc. As a qualified accountant I always get saddled with the band treasurer role. The plus side is no band I've been in has ever paid taxes, although that is because most guys in bands spend so much on gear that they are not making a profit overall, even if they are making enough extra cash to fund their beer habits.
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We do a little of both as listed above. When we each need the money, we will split it up between us, but when we need the money as a band for recording, CDs, media stuff, we will but it into the "band account." We always split it up evenly. We have established through talking about it that we are equal. It easy and fun(I love actually making money... it feeds the terrible G.A.S. though)!!

www.geocities.com/nk_bass/enter.html

 

Still working on it...

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A band generally will split all money made from gigs evenly between all members; regardless of how much work they put into the group. Sometimes the 'band fund' is another member of the equal share for all. So, say you have a 4 piece rockin' teenage combo. You play a gig and make $100. Each band member gets $20 and the band fund gets $20. Equal share to everyone is ALWAYS how the bands that I've been in have split the money on a regular basis.

 

There are of course exceptions to the above rule.

 

Exception 1 - band purchases/investing

 

Sometimes, the band may decide that it really needs to own a . Could be a PA rig, a monitor system, a rotating drum cage like Tommy Lee had, a time share in the Bahamas, a pet fruitbat... you know, whatever. In this situation, it should be decided before the gig how much additional money (percentage or otherwise) the band fund is going to get; if not ALL the profits from that evening. Money for promo kits/advertising also fall into this category.

 

Exception 2 - hired guns

 

If you need to hire a super bitchin bassist ( :D ) to sub for your regular guy, or need a keyboard player for a specific gig, or whatever. You need to hire someone to play the gig who is not a normal member of your band. Odds are that this person is going to want to get a certain minimum amount of money. Sometimes this isn't a problem. If hired bassboy wants $100 for a night's work, and the 4 piece band is getting paid $2,000; ain't no big deal. If your same 4 piece band is only getting paid $100 for the gig; hired guy makes his $$ and no one else gets a damn thing.

 

There are other exceptions as well, the above two are just the most common. A whole new group of exceptions open up when you are a touring band. Hotels, transportation, gas, food...

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I like the method where you either give "the band" an equal cut to pay for expenses and future purchases, or give "the band" a straight percentage, like 10% of the gig money. There are ALWAYS things to spend money on for "the band."

Equipment, soft drinks, snacks, promo materials, gas money, parking, parking tickets because you unloaded in front of the joint, stolen equipment replacement, etc.

 

I also don't have a problem with someone getting an extra percentage for handling the bookings. A booking agent would get a percentage, so why not!

 

The thing about booking, is all of the work involved in it if only one person does it:

making calls

creating mailings and flyers

creating business cards

keeping track of the gigs

coordinating with all of the band members that the date is OK

probably finding a hired gun, in an emergency situation

etc.

 

If done as a team effort, then no extra percentage should be necessary, or if each band member has their own job title, then no extra percentage should be necessary.

 

In my former band, we were:

Rhythm Guitar: booker/rehearsal host

Keyboard: arranger

Lead Guitar: equipment handler

Bass: web designer/promo materials maker/lead sheet printer

 

In was not an "even" setup, but close enough. We were satisfied.

 

... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen

 

The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!

 

http://www.cybergumbo.com

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To determine how big a share a particular member of the band should get, calculate how well the gig will go off if that member doesn't show up. This system works very well if you're a three-piece band :D

 

My 3-piece split everything evenly. Which can be a pain to figure out when the club wants to pay us $500 for the weekend. (That's why I think $600 is a nice number. $600 can easily be evenly split by a 3, 4, 5 or 6-piece band.)

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Originally posted by music-man:

Plow it back into the band. Spend it on promo, recording, cables, PA equip, etc.

I agree, this is probably the best method for starting bands. Its what mine does and will probably give you the most opertunity to make more $$$ in the future, just so you can face the problem again.

 

If you are going to split up the money, i think it should be equaly. The "song writer could" always demand more and threaten to kick you out for taking "more than your share", but then he would be a dick no one would want to play with. ;)

We distort. You abide.
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Originally posted by orphan wells:

"Band" to me usually means members in equality. One person may play more than the other but that should never mean they should make more.

I beg to differ. I play guitar and keys in my band. I therefore have twice as much gear to buy as the average musician. Why shouldn't I make more?

 

Our band's earnings is not yet, but ideally will be divided up like this.

 

keys/guitar - 30%

guitar - 20%

vocals - 20%

drums - 20%

bass - 10% (if applicable. If on occasion synth bass is used, the remaining 10% is split evenly among the band members)

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How about dividing it up according to who plays the most notes?

 

Or having the audience vote?

 

Or just send the check to me and I will think of an equitable way to divide it up and mail it to your band members.

 

If you are the leader, you can pay anyone whatever you want. But you are not going to find a lot of bass players who want to play with you, Lord Jeebus. That's ok, you can play the bass with your left hand, I'm sure it will sound just as good.

 

Divide up the money equally. Take out expenses off the top. Any other way will lead to massive dissension.

 

Strings, drumsticks, and instrument repair are not band expenses, they are individual expenses.

 

If one person is booking the band, they should get extra. If you have handled this part of band business, you will know why.

 

Don't buy band equipment jointly, it will always cause problems when someone leaves and someone else joins the band.

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Originally posted by getz76:

What money? :D

 

Actually, if there is a bandleader/manager, that person usually gets a double share.

 

Maybe Mr. Malone can enlighten us with band-business knowledge.

 

Commence dropping knowledge now, sir...

Maury, whenever I see Mr. Malone I think somebody is talking about my dad. :D

 

Our local union scales call for 15% of total scale for the leader. In other words, if scale for a side-musician was $100 and it was a five piece band, the leader would make $175.00. Most situations I work in are leader/side-musician situations. Leaders are only obligated to pay scale but most of the gigs I play are above scale. When a leader calls me for a gig, I'll ask them how much it pays and if I don't like it I'll ask for more or turn down the gig. If I get what I want it doesn't matter to me how much they make. I understand that co-op bands are a different animal. There are certain situations were a band leader will charge the client union scale calculated with the leaders fee and split the money evenly. In co-op groups if the tasks are spread around and everyone participates in the different aspects of work that needs to be done then splitting the money even would be the way to go. Some bands will cover all out of pocket expenses that anyone incurred and then split what's left. Another thing that is done is to pay cartage to those that have a lot of equipment to carry. Did you ever notice how the trumpet player shows up five minutes before the gig starts and the rest of the band was there an hour early to load in and set up all their equipment?

 

There's definitely a lot of ways to slice the pie but everyone should be considerate of what others have to do that are not about the actual playing of the music and be compensated in some way.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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Interesting; booking gigs stinks. I have done it in both cover bands AND original bands. It's the pits. It's bad for cover-bands, as there is usually more money involved and if you don't have a good portfolio or references, good luck getting a gig. It's miserable for original bands, as the money sucks, you're in charge of bringing people to the door, and the venues are usually brutal.

 

Wedding bands are particularly insane; take a look at a wedding-gig contract! I've never been a full-time member of a wedding band, but I did fill in on a couple of occassions back in the day when my reading was up to snuff. In general, the pay is good, but dealing with a banquet manager, a bride, a groom, and the respective families - have fun as the booking agent/manager.

 

If you don't think the manager/booking agent should get a bigger cut, then maybe you should do that job. It might change your perspective.

 

Originally posted by Wally Malone:

Maury, whenever I see Mr. Malone I think somebody is talking about my dad. :D

Apologies for the formal address, but from your response, I am sure you took it as a compliment. ;)

 

Related - I'm still reacting to my current staff at work insisting on calling me "sir." The whole "sir" thing has 3 stages:

 

Stage 1: Surprise - Is there someone standing behind me?

 

Stage 2: Pride - Wow, I might almost be IMPORTANT!

 

Stage 3: Depression - Crap, they think I'm old or stupid, and they are just patronizing me!

 

The only problem is I'm NOT OLD... only leaves one possibility! :D

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Don't buy band equipment jointly, it will always cause problems when someone leaves and someone else joins the band.
Our "band" has gotten around this by buying stuff for different members...so far all we've bought is a mike stand for the singer. I s'pose we'll need a few gigs before I get my upright!
A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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Originally posted by Peter J Romano:

There are many ways to split up the $$$.

 

The best way to handle it is to talk it out with your band mates...and come to an agreement/arrangement that is suitable for you guys.

 

PJR

Wait a second! I'm supposed to talk to my bandmates?! :confused:;)

 

Wally's post really sets up a professional standard for figuring out payment. I think what he's written gives a good context for whatever path is chosen.

 

PJR's post (and others) are on the money (pun intended) about coming to an agreement together.

 

Connie's post about splitting the $$$ as well as the non-musical tasks sounds like a great system to me.

 

But, right now, Hypno, as you're just getting underway my suggestion would be to simply split the cash evenly with the caveat that you might need to alter the arrangement if you start playing out more regularly and thus need to purchase additional gear (e.g., a PA, or microphones, or a $3500 Sadowsky bass for the bass player ;) ...)

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Wally Malone:

Our local union scales call for 15% of total scale for the leader. In other words, if scale for a side-musician was $100 and it was a five piece band, the leader would make $175.00.

 

Maybe I'm just not getting what you're talking about. According to the Nashville local, the leader makes double scale. But he also typically provides PA and such. In your local, you have to add up the total amount and pay the leader a percentage of that? It seems like the leader gets screwed on duo and trio jobs...

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Wow! What a bunch of great information.

 

As I was reading the input from the group, I couldn't help but wonder if I would get the same response if I posted the same question on the

 

Song writers forum

Band forum or the

Guitar players forum

 

He hasn't asked for it yet, but I could understand it if our guitarist/pianist/vocalist/owner of the PA system/manager/gig getter, etc. wanted to get a little more than an even cut.

 

When we find a drummer (why is that so difficult?), we will have 4 members, and I think a six way split makes the most sense for now. That would make 2 shares for supper member (vocalist/guitarest, etc) on share for "the band" and one share each for the rest of the group. Anyway that seems like a cool way to start.

 

Then later on I can get that really cool dream amp, probably an SWR stack! :D

HypnoBassMan

 

The deeper you go the better you feel! (True for bass and hypnosis.)

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Again, I ask the same question: What money? :D

 

The only time I made anything close to a profit playing was when I subbed for a wedding band. I can barely cover my bar tab playing originals, even with the drink tickets! :D I feel like Jake and Elwood.

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We split all proceeds equally unless one or another of us has paid out for some band related expense like equipment or promo materials. Then that person gets all the money until they're paid back.

 

But it's all pretty informal, if we know the drummer could really use an extra hundred bucks that month to pay the bills, we'll give it to him and continue repaying investments next time. So long as you keep good records as to how much everybody spends and how much is paid back, it should be all right. We also do have a "band fund" where we toss in money to finance future projects. It helps to have a band bank account anyway, so you can accept checks for things like CD's, merchandise, or gigs paid by check.

 

I think the secret to having a happy band in terms of money is for EACH member to come down on the side of generosity. If there's someone in your band who's doing all the work (booking, management, promotions etc.) and you can't help with that work, offer to pay that person extra. They may or may not accept it, but the suggestion will be appreciated and will show that you appreciate what your bandmate does. If you ARE that person, though, I wouldn't DEMAND extra pay either. If you're really overburdened, you can have a talk with the band and ask for help, and/or for extra pay, but starting out a band saying "I'm the leader and I get extra money" isn't very good for the band's relationship unless it's established right up front that you're the leader and they're hired guns... which isn't really a "band" per se.

 

Another thing my band has done, which we didn't have to, was when we set up the publishing company for our songs, our drummer gets a share of the publishing, even though he's the only non-songwriter in the band. He may not have written the songs but he was certainly there working up the arrangements, putting a lot of work into learning the songs. It will never really be an issue unless we have a big hit song or get a song placed in a film or TV show, but again, the psychology of doing this is good. Basically we're saying we don't want our drummer to be left out in the cold financially or create a potential huge disparity of income between the songwriters and non-songwriters in a band - which has caused major friction in many a band. Bands have actually broken up arguing over percentages of money they haven't even made yet.

 

To our minds, not screwing up the band's relationship is the top priority. That relationship is what nurtures our creativity and of course the creativity is what fuels anything else that may happen for the band... so it's beyond silly to let something like money screw that up, especially at a point when there's hardly any money to begin with. Let it go, be generous to your bandmates and focus on the music.

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Hypno - while your question is most welcome here, you can also ask it at the For The Band forum, which Lee helps to moderate...

 

Many good ideas here. The "one cut for the band" has such a nice feeling to it. In my experience, I never made enough money to get any value from that (it would have taken years to save up for a monitor). Although I have done a ton of work for my band, I'm glad we split evenly. Like Lee said - we're trying to preserve a relationship.

 

We own a PA in common. New, it's worth about $300, so none of us sweat that very much....

 

Good luck moving out and playing gigs !!!

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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There are many ways to view it. If it's a songwriter or bandleader with sidemen, the sidemen ought be paid a flat rate regardless of $$ from the club. The bandleader keeps (or on bad nights, forks over) the difference.

 

If it's a band out playing covers and/or all generally co-songwriters, all regular bandmembers should get an equal cut (there might be times where you use backing players - in which case see the prior paragraph).

 

But within that context, I like the idea of a "finder's fee" for any gigs procured (in addition to their regular share). This gives everyone incentive to get the band booked. Typically, an agent takes 10-15% off the gross for lining up the gig. If you can give that to the bandmember who gets the gig, everyone's a winner! The difference is that an agent will take that 15% for every gig - even though the band (by doing a great job) is actually responsible for repeat bookings. So within the group, if the bassist gets you a gig and you become the house band maybe you give him 15% off the top of gig#1, 10% of gig #2, 5% of gig #3, and then just his regular share from then on.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Hi Tom,

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I posted $question$ here because I wanted a bass player's view on the topic. I bet if I search the Band Forum I would would find that this topic has already been covered. If not, I think I will post it there.

 

Thanks agian,

 

Da HypnoBassMan

HypnoBassMan

 

The deeper you go the better you feel! (True for bass and hypnosis.)

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Originally posted by Dave Martin:

Originally posted by Wally Malone:

Our local union scales call for 15% of total scale for the leader. In other words, if scale for a side-musician was $100 and it was a five piece band, the leader would make $175.00.
Maybe I'm just not getting what you're talking about. According to the Nashville local, the leader makes double scale. But he also typically provides PA and such. In your local, you have to add up the total amount and pay the leader a percentage of that? It seems like the leader gets screwed on duo and trio jobs...

 

Dave, locals set there own scales including leader fees, for example San Francisco is only 10%. Scales are minimums and many leaders make more than scale just as a lot of side-musicians get over scale in the casual market. You are right in ways that the leader eats it in smaller units. But if you run a big band and have to contact and deal with 14 or more other musicians then more should be made. San Jose's scales have a cartage for the sound system, again a minimal fee ($50). A local's scale should reflect somewhat the realities of their jurisdiction. It doesn't help setting scales above what the market will pay. In San Jose we have scales for many different situations. We have club & bar scales that are lower than the corporate/wedding/hotel situations, and even lower scales for coffee houses, Holy Ghost parades, etc. Scales can be introduced by a group of members to then be voted on by the membership at a general membership meeting. In the early nineties I introduced an original music showcase scale that was half of the regular scales.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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I currently play in a 5 piece band and we all receive 15% of the gross each (75%) with and extra 10% (85%) for the management fee to the member who takes on that role, the remaining 15% is used for band costs and buying stuff for our small studio.

 

We have an accountant now cause were've all been stung with tax bills before, they save far more than they cost.Get instrument insurance, It'll save your ass.

 

best of luck

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Originally posted by Wally Malone:

You are right in ways that the leader eats it in smaller units. But if you run a big band and have to contact and deal with 14 or more other musicians then more should be made.

Wally

OK, so if a 6 piece band were playing for $100 scale, the leader would make $190? And if a corporate gig wants a 20 piece big band, the leader starts feeling good...I'm not arguing with the way that y'all do things, just trying to make sure that I understand your system. I'm still trying to understand the system here, too...

 

There are all kinds of ways to split up the money, and I'm pretty tickled at how many folks have the wrong idea. Paying someone more because they sing a lot? Why not pay the drummer more since the goes through more consumeables (Sticks and heads) during a gig?

 

One easy way that we've also dealt with this situation over the years in 'band' situations (as opposed to leader/sideman situations) is that one member is paid a flat fee (or a percentage, if that works better) for providing the PA. if a band member books all the gigs, then expenses related to that are re-imbursed. If one person drives the band to the gig, then they're paid extra (for gas at least, and usually a little bit for wear and tear).

 

All these things can be worked out, especially if everyone in the band approaches it as a partnership.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Allow me to offer that "plowing it back into the band" is a bad idea, from my experience. The band breaks up (and it will, or personnel will shift)...and "I want my 1/5 of those cabinets we bought, and 4.7 par cans". Right. Better to have each individual member buy something..."Joe, you buy those monitors, I'll snag a couple of Crowns, Steve, you can get those par cans" etc...that way, when the band breaks up, everyone takes what is theirs and no one has a bitch to pitch.

 

Whatever is agreeable to band members is the route you should take. If one guy owns all the PA, lights, and truck to haul it around in, then he should get a larger share. How much larger is negotiable. By the same token, if he owns all that stuff and is comfy with an even split, then that's fine too.

 

We always gave an incentive of a 15% finders fee sort of thing for any band member that books an initial gig. That stuff isn't easy, and it demands time and the right contacts, not to mention some smooth talking.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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