View Full Version : Pay Rates for Gigs

12-25-2008, 11:12 PM
I'm curious to hear the going rate of pay you can expect for playing a gig if you are part of the local musicians union?

I'm also curious to know what bands are asking these days for pay when they gig in bars, performing Friday and Saturday nights, regardless whether you are in the union or not. What do you get paid per person?

I am also interested in hearing what you charge for a one night stand.

I have not played in a bar since Dec. 2004 - back then, the singer in our band was negotiating pay rates and he was charging the rate of pay I was getting back in 1989!!!!! I told him we were receiving way too little because other musicians had told me what they were getting paid and it amounted to $20 more per person. He told me I was wrong and we could not expect to get anything above the rate he was negotiating.

I hope to god the bands in the Soo are getting paid better than what the standard rate was years ago!

Looking forward to your replies; Merry Christmas, seasons greeting and all the best for a successful and prosperous 2009.

12-26-2008, 09:35 AM
Regular bar bands which was usually about 4 members for me, between $75 - $125 a man on average in local bars. I usually adjusted prices based on the venue size and PA availability. There's a couple bars in town where you can get yourself a considerable bit more by providing your own sound ... those can get to be nice payouts even if you decide to spruce the rest of the members with some added cash on top of the already $75-$125 (just make the other members load all the gear that you bought) ;)

If you're thinking the standard entry pay of "50 bucks" back in 1990'ish ... it would seem that standard low has become about $75, so ya ... about 25 bucks more.

Been able to milk quite a bit more if the band was a "themed" or "show" band too and of course local corporate gigs pay very nice.

As for what the union can negotiate I couldn't tell you, and even though my view of them is a bit sour I still think they couldn't "demand" any better than what the owners are willing to pay. I haven't been with them since about '98.

12-26-2008, 10:47 AM
A 50 person band ( 4 players that get paid ) and 46 booze swilling roadies, will get you a decent paying gig anywhere in this town. Other than that, good luck.

Bar owners don't want to pay for entertainment unless you bring your own crowd with you.

Hard to get decent wages when there are people in this town who will go in and play for free or next to nothing.

12-26-2008, 01:14 PM
5 piece Bands like mine have a hard time getting good pay. 4 piece and less make better.
I agree with Ollie but I think the lowest is $65. We played rotary and made $50 but that was only 1 hour show(good pay). We do Christmas parties and Weddings. Charging $500 for three sets(30-35) Songs.. But makes for a long night setting up at 3pm and taking it all down at 2am..Your not going to get rich, but its a fun hobby..The union in my opinion. FORGET IT!

12-27-2008, 08:50 PM
If your giggin' as a hobby to get out and play, don't bother with the union. If your giggin' for a living (on the road, festivals, doing tv stuff) then get in the union, your union dues will be far less then the union fees you have to pay on union gigs. Plus when you do tv stuff you get the union rate which is pretty good. List everyone as a vocalist as well, you get more cash.

If you wanna make any kinda cash as an amateur (not being your level of talent but being the fact you are not playing music as your profession) it would be doing corporate gigs. They pay very well, the venue is usually nice, tech/gear is provided (foh) and you are usually out of there by 12:00. Pays well........gotta claim it.

The bars are paying peanuts but its still enough to get us out have a place to just let it out and get paid for it. Corporate gigs pay well but must be polished to survive. The bars we can just jam!

Keep it live.

Fat Boy
01-04-2009, 05:22 PM
Generally expect $80.00 per night per band member. At least in one club in town. Paid the band last night so I have first hand knowledge> :)