What Do Bands Make at Shows in S.F.?

Categories: In Print

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The Phenomenauts at Great American Music Hall
Gig pay: Perhaps, while standing inside a club, sipping a beer, and staring up at the stage, you've wondered: What is that band making for this show? You know you paid $15 (or $25, or $40) to get in, but how much will the band see at the end of the night? Here in San Francisco, where a decent burrito costs $8, and a month of rent for a decent apartment runs at least 200 times that, how much does a live gig pay?

The answer: It depends.

Talking to club owners, bookers, and the musicians who play local live venues, what becomes clear is the vast range of amounts musicians get compensated for their performances. Their pay depends on the size of the club, the kind of music, the price of the ticket, the number of acts on a bill, whether it's a weekend or a weeknight, how much money the bar made, how well the show was promoted, and what deals were negotiated in advance -- plus, of course, how many tickets were sold. But here's one thing we can say in general, for most local live venues: If you're not the headlining act, you probably aren't getting paid very much... [continue reading]

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8 comments
Christine LeDoux
Christine LeDoux

Sadly, it's universal that money to be 'made' band/artist-wise is in the commercial sector. Add to that illegal pirating and downloading/stealing from indies/original artists & bands and you have a very, very crappy climate for them/us, the original artist/band.

Blake Ritterman
Blake Ritterman

Majority of door money should go to touring bands. Shame on homeboy in 'Brazil' for starting shit with the band on the road. Clearly never toured before.

Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver

The SF Bay Area has the some of most expensive union costs in the country. This keeps some touring acts away just due to budget constraints. As Gregory Hill stated earlier in these comments, "it depends who [expletive] you are really." Tribute bands can "net" a few dollars in the nightclubs. Original music acts without record company tour support spend more money to promote their shows than they will make. I often wonder whatever happened to the term, "Salaries & Expenses" which is what we used to get paid to do "benefit" shows.

Patrick Carroll
Patrick Carroll

Saw this and thought of you Brothertiger, teen daze, London Grammar, SOHN, Deptford Goth, Work Drugs!

Dallas DeBurger
Dallas DeBurger

They obviously don't make much cause most play in Oakland.

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