How Much Do Local Bands Get Paid At Shows?

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Hollywood FLOSS on Facebook
Hollywood FLOSS
Most of us go to concerts, stand in the crowd and gaze in awe at performers onstage. While we're there, we might even become a little green with envy. Lights, cameras, confidence and everyone's attention - who wouldn't want that? Rocks Off, however, would like to point out that it's not all glitz and glamour. These hard-working men and women, put in long hours and diligently toil for your love and affection, oftentimes without much payoff - literally.

"Every band has a different deal for every show," says Omar Afra, Fitzgerald's partner and Free Press Houston publisher. "Sometimes the bands make the show free and get a cut of the bar, that way we're totally in business with one another. It's a you-do-well-and-we-do-well mentality."

Depending on the deal they makes with the venue, Afra says, the band can end up getting as much as 80 percent of the bar. But what he says some bands don't like to hear is the hard truth: If people don't show up to see an act perform, its members aren't going to get paid much. That's just business, folks.

"Ultimately, there's a correlation behind how much bands make and how many people they bring," Afra says.

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Tax the Wolf on Facebook
Tax the Wolf's Mario Rodriguez: "I've noticed that if too many people or promoters are involved in a show, then the money always seems to disappear a lot faster."
Anyone who understand the existence of overhead costs should know that much. But what about bands' beginning asking prices?

"As a solo act, I usually ask [for] at least $50 to $75 a show, unless I know the promotional opportunity outweighs the money value," says local rapper Hollywood FLOSS. While FLOSS occasionally performs by himself, he usually plays with a full band.

"As a rock band, [we ask for] $300 to 600 - more members and the work put into the show causes the rates to go up."

Understandably so. Never mind the effort put into coordinating schedules, the difficulty of which is usually determined by how many people are involved. When on tour, prices continue to rise, because bands don't have the luxury of eating and sleeping at their own homes. And gas prices have gone up, too.

"The money is equal or a little bit greater in out-of-town areas, because they understand you have to pay for travel and ways to get to the venue," FLOSS says. "They want you to feel comfortable and tell other acts about the venue."

But it isn't all about money. While every act expects to collect a different amount per gig, almost all of them are willing to play for almost nothing if the incentive is right.

"An average pay would be around $200 for a well planned out show, but sometimes we play for less, or for free, if it's a very good lineup, venue or (the proceeds go) toward a greater cause," says Tax the Wolf lead vocalist Mario Rodriguez.

"We've gotten really lucky when we book our own shows, because we see a lot more money in our direction. It all depends on choosing the right places and dates.

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