Payment for Performances

Posted: June 10, 2013 by Kimberly Weiss in Support, Promo, & Tips
Tags: , , ,

Most performers and bands just love to write and play music for the sheer fun of it!   There’s just this awesome feeling you get from music, whether it’s just from listening to your favorite jams or it’s writing, playing, or performing, music has the amazing power to produce change!

SNAG 4-20-13When you get that performance bug though and start considering music as a full or part-time career, or even just a hobby, you usually have to start considering how much to ask as payment for your performances, and that can sometimes lead to, how shall I put it… challenging(?) conversations with yourself and/or your fellow musicians about the “value” of music.   Payment for performance is not the sole determinant of your music’s value by any means, but let’s face it…  it sure helps us continue to have the time and energy to keep writing and playing music!      However, the payment for your performance almost inherently “says” something about how well you did and how much you were (or weren’t) appreciated and how much you value your own performance, so we usually can’t help but infer some level of “value” upon our music/craft, creating a great setup for some deep and intense discussions about the value of different art forms.  I won’t go into that today, but it’s pretty safe to say that everyone has a different opinion about what the “value” of their music is, so how do you determine your band/project’s performance rates?

While you now ponder the “value” attached to your music and performances, here are just a few ideas to consider to figure out how much you should get paid:
1.)  Ask friends or family members who you know perform music what they get paid, how often they play, where they play, what type of music they play, etc….
2.)  Call a local venue that you’d like to play at and speak with the person who books bands.  They’re usually going to tell you straight up how their acts get paid….usually based on either the venue sales for the event or based upon the amount received for cover charges or a set amount or some combination of those payments.
3.)  Check out and find out what other people in our area are charging for events.
4.)  If you’ve played a venue multiple times and drawn excellent crowds most or all of the time, consider negotiating a higher rate or additional perks or special deals at least once a year.  Don’t be stubborn or arrogant about it and lose your gig or good connection, but don’t forget that your good performances and hard work deserve to be rewarded!
5.)  You don’t have to take EVERY gig.  If it’s not going to provide sufficient overall value (pay, good feelings, good networking, etc…) for your project, don’t take it!  You’ll only devalue yourself, your brand, and your music by taking a show for less than what you know you’re worth.


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