Feb 18, 2019

Let’s Discuss: Fees! How Much Is Live Music Actually Worth?

Musicians often complain about small fees in the music industry. Rarely musicians say stuff like: “What a great show and the payment was awesome as well.” So why there is such a gap between expectations and reality? Coming up: 5 questions for self-evaluation.

Why Am I Actually Doing This?

A hobby for some, a real job for others. Although both types of musicians share the love for music, they differ in the economical necessity of making music as well as in the time they invest into it. So here’s a question you can ask yourself: Is it in fact necessary to earn a lot of money with a hobby, if music really is my passion? Are high fees really that important to me? Or another question that could be of use: How much do I actually have to earn to make living with my music? In the beginning it’s really helpful to increase your awareness about the reason you’re making live music for.

How Far Did I Get Yet?

As a musician or a band, you need to ask yourself where in your career you are right now. If you’re still in your rehearsing room-phase where the stage view you know best is still the one from in front of the stage, you better not set the bar for fees in the music industry too high. Whereas, if you already have a gig history and you’re able to draw people to your show, you can definitely raise that bar.

How Many People Actually Know Me?

Speaking of attracting people: Empty venues are the nightmare of every musician as well as every promoter. So how many people are actually gonna come because of you? Are there only some regulars at the bar that would have been there drinking their beer either way or are your tickets sold like hotcakes? As soon as your filling the venue with a paying audience, talking about higher fees in the music business becomes a lot easier.

Why Do I Play That Gig?

Not every gig is paying well, still, you should play as many as possible. On the one hand, you gain a lot of on-stage experience and on the other hand, you gain fans. A lot of live experience and a good fanbase are vital! Even as an experienced and well-known artist, small gigs bear the chances to try out new sets or new songs in front of an audience.

Instant Riches With Gigs?

Fact is, promoters budgets are highly varying. Small town clubs most certainly do not have pockets as deep as a company that is searching for a band for their next business party. Of course, there are wishes of venues or shows to play and sadly quite often the reality isn’t matching up to your expectations. At this point, musicians and bands should think about which type of gigs they are willing to play. And one more piece of advice: Just because you once got a fee that was markedly above average, that fee shouldn’t become your “minimum wage”. That simply would not be realistic.

One thing is for sure: No gigs, no money. So you better start searching your next gigs on gigmit right now.