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What's the going rate to tour with a pro?


zeronyne

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Does anyone know the typical compensation rate when touring with an A-list up and coming pop/rock artist? Let's say a Michelle Branch or higher? I'm just wondering because I noticed that Kenny Aronoff is touring with M. Branch...it must have cost beaucoup lettuce to get him.

 

So what's the going rate these days, and what's the standard per diem?

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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I think it's a volatile market, different in different circles and usually negotiable ; } - Sounds kinda squishy and evasive doesn't it ; }

 

...One time when I was down at Sequential Circuits ages ago there were a few country cats there waiting on a top-priority synth repair, a day off from their Major Major Artist Tour. They hipped me to how bad Nashville-based tour players were taking it in the azz. The "country" entertainers NEVER went out on the road with the top studio cats and somehow the system got ghettoized totally. These guys were TOP travelin' country guys and they were just BARELY getting by.

 

It's better in rock, I'd hazard, and in other towns, where there is more crossover between playing tours and recording.

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clatteramy,

 

Yeah. Only so much room in the top studios. Very tough town for that, according to the Nashville cats. Further exerbated by the fact that many country dates are cranked out pretty quick and thus a few players can do a hella lot of tunes. WHen it's like that you don't need a super wide and diversified talent pool.

 

Other people I've talked to on the wwweb, including people I met through eBay, say that people are playing in non-top studios and in clubs for practically nothing, just hoping someday to get noticed and getting some uplift. I know a couple of killer musicians here locally, actually, that have worked in Nashville in the demo studio scene. They say there's more money doing rock dates in those studios than country...

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Back in the day... there was a five piece funk band playing the CT./ Western Mass. bar circuit (The Monster Band), and they were pulling in close to a K a week individually, as well as their day jobs; you know the kind with insurance and stuff (well, Drew really didn't have a day job).

I guess life on the road kinda sucks. :(

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Originally posted by zeronyne:

So what's the going rate these days, and what's the standard per diem?

Bottom line is that you're going to sign an agreement in which you agree to the NEGOTIATED rates and benefits entitled to you, for a specified period of time. If you have access to a good music attorney, pay him a visit to see if he can review that agreement with you prior to signing it. If you have other people representing you (personal manager), consult with them for advice and referrals, especially if they're on retainer.

 

My figures are a few years old and are based on what one of my drummers got from touring with Dick Dale, which is why I'm offering them as just a reference and not the actual amount. Remember, you're negotiating!

 

Rates: check with your local musician's union branch (Chicago) for the going rates. If you don't have your union card, you're missing out on potential benefits like health/dental insurance plan discounts. Rates are pro-rated based on location. You'll probably wind up with a weekly rate, based on 5-6 working days, for at least $1,000 (gross pay), more if you have references. This is BEFORE TAXES, and they may deduct that along with Social Security/Medicare/etc. so expect a net payment of 60-70% of gross.

 

Per diem: If lodging and meals are included in your package, your per diem will be less, say around $50/day; if not, it'll probably be more like $100/day. You may or may not be entitled to perdiem on rest days (when you're not playing somewhere that day) or when traveling to and from your residence to your meeting place.

 

The really important thing is your punctuality, attitude and performance level. BE a professional 24/7, even at 3am when they wake you up to board the tour bus, and once you sign the agreement don't spend a lot of time whining and complaining about how much you're not getting or things like that. Bad news has a way of getting back to your employer, and you may wind up on a bus back home if your attitude is negative.

 

And take your vitamins; you'll need them. Nothing worse than running out of energy in the middle of a 90 minute set in front of a few thousand people.

 

"Are we negotiating?" "ALWAYS!"

(Keanu Reaves and Al Pacino, "The Devil's Advocate")

 

Good luck and Godspeed with your upcoming tour! Hope it leads to bigger and better things for you.

:thu:

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Originally posted by forceman:

Proof positive why I NEVER thought of music as a career. Hard to raise a family on that scratch.

 

Perfectly content to enjoy music as a hobby and let the pros slug it out.

 

Harsh? Well, I made this decision over 30 years ago..

 

Hats off to the professional musicians! :thu:

kinda hard to be a touring musician and raise a family. All the people that i know that do well for themselves with music are absolutely insane with their instruments and they are all single.

 

jason

2cor5:21

Soli Deo Gloria

 

"it's the beauty of a community. it takes a village to raise a[n] [LLroomtempJ]." -robb

 

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the last time I went out with a new country tour (and it was a no name that had a development deal) the deal was this:

 

700 a week retainer against 250 a show to a max of 1500 a week. If I was out more than 3 days it was 1500. 35 a day per diem. Taxed as 1099.

 

It was fun and one heck of a lot of work. The tourbus novelty wears off pretty quick.

 

We where all puffed up and strutting around some tuckstop getting fuel thinking we where all that...then in pulls like 11 semi's from the Brooks and Dunn tour. One of their drivers told us that The Neon Circus was rolling 24 tractor trailers and 9 tour busses.

 

Now THATS a tour budget.

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My friend plays guitar for Kasey Chambers and sings harmony (that's what got him the gig...) on her last two CDs. I haven't asked him what he's paid, but the key to the big dollars is co-writing. He's got a credit on her latest album which is going to set him up nicely.

Yes he's single with no family. Bloody hard worker too.

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A close friend has quoted me figures for various tours he has done which range from $400 a week to $6000 a week. This is depending on the famousness of the headliner, their generosity and/or their desperate need for a particular player.

 

And I've heard rumors about first call studio players getting over $10,000 a week.

 

But before you start counting all your money, remember that this work is always for a temporary amount of time and while you are gone you are out of circulation for getting any other gigs.

 

And there is no career track you can follow...everyone gets there in a different way.

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A friend of a friend is drumming on the road version of the Billy Joel broadway production Movin Out.

He told me the drummer was getting $2500 per week plus room and board?

Please dont take this info to the bank it is second hand .. but the guy usually is very truthful with me...

www.danielprine.com

 

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Originally posted by The Rickler:

So...

Is it who you know?

How insanely good you are?

Or just being at the right place, at the right time, with a combination of the above two...

I actually played a show with this drummer...he is a big obnoxious guy... I have no clue how he got this gig??? The way the story went was.. He was hired to do the NYC show...the producer asked him not to play while audience members filed into the theater. he continued to play after being warned and was fired ..he was then hired for the road show... :confused:

www.danielprine.com

 

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I don't know how many times I've talked to bands from Nashville and they say that the club scene really sucks down there. They almost have to pay to play in a club. Major oversaturation.

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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I done quite a few gigs with "name" artsists in a variety of settings and styles; some tours and some "one-off" sub gigs. There is no "set" rate, and all is negotiable. The higher your cred and profile, of coutrse, the higher your rate can be.

 

There is usually a negotiated "per diem" as well as a perfromance rate (for me this varied from $300-900 a night). Travel and lodging expernses are also covered.

 

I might note that in all cases rehearsals are also paid (and for me in just about all gigs I do I negotiate that rehearsals be paid as well..).

 

There is a famous story of a a VERY famous bassist, who I leave unamed...but you all know this guy...who was selected by a very famous operatic tenor to be the bassist for the tenor's North American tour quite a few years back. The bassist in question has impeccable cred, but is also VERY busy, and declined the offer due to other commitments. The tenor simply would not take no for an answer and, through their various agents, asked the bassist what it would atake for himn to do the tour (mind you this would be playing arco upright of operatic arias...) and the bassist sent back a ridiculaous sum in reply hoping it would end the negoitations once and for all. The sum was $15,000 per week plus expenses (for a six seek tour).

 

Needless to say, when the tenor toured, this well known and repected bassist was right there on stage, bow in hand.....

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Originally posted by Tenstrum:

I don't know how many times I've talked to bands from Nashville and they say that the club scene really sucks down there. They almost have to pay to play in a club. Major oversaturation.

I live in Nashville and can truthfully say if you want to make a living as a musician you should live pretty much anywhere else. there are very few venues where you can consistently get booked and make any money at all. Too many musicians trying to make the "big-time."

 

On the touring pay thing, I have a friend who has played piano with a number of touring acts and was the "unofficial" fifth member of a very successful major label country band (with a certain latin flavor). He played on tour as well as their albums, although he never offically became a member of the band. My understanding was that at their peak, he made about $75K a year from that gig. This really paled in comparison to what the "official" band members were making (we're talking platinum albums, national tours, TV, etc.).

 

So yes, Nashville touring musicians do routinely get hosed financially.

 

I understand Garth Brooks did pay his band pretty well though. There are always exceptions.

 

That's why I work in the correctional healthcare business and do music as a hobby. :D

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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Great anecdotes, everyone. I can provide a somewhat different perspective, that of a touring/working band that's on a major label (Capitol), but haven't "made it". My friend manages these guys, so I get a good deal of insight on how their business gets handled. The biggest shows these guys play on tour are large clubs. In NY and Philly these would include Irving Plaza & the Electric Factory to provide some perspective.

 

The guys in the band are typically living off of their per diem. They get between $60 - $100 per day while they're out. They usually wind up hanging onto that since there's some measure of catering at the venues for the band and the crew. In the case of the crew, they almost ALWAYS try not to spend their per diem in an effort to suplement their pay.

 

As for the band making money, they have to cover all of their expenses over the course of the tour before they get paid. This may include paying back tour support funds to their label, paying the crew, paying all of their expenses (accomodations, equipment rentals, food, bus/van, insurance, etc). So basically it's rough making money. There's a lot of cash that has to be laid out. However, a band also has more income streams than a sideman. They'll make money off of merchandising as well as ticket sales. Also, a good number of touring bands will make an effort to play "money gigs". These can include private parties and colleges. Both of these typesof shows are likely to pay better than the regular club date.

 

As for the ammounts of cash, it all depends on a few factors: how big of a draw is the act? How much merchandise are you selling? And finally, are you keeping your touring expenses down?

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