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What is the best policy for dividing gig $$ if one band member owns & can rent FoH & Mon gear?

Charge for gear rental at 50% discount (band expense comes off the top), then divide remaining funds amongst players.
- 10 (47.6%)
Bring ONLY your own instrument(s) (or mic); tell band to rent FoH & Mon gear from 3rd party.
- 2 (9.5%)
Share everything you can that contributes to the band's gig - at no charge; divide gross evenly.
- 6 (28.6%)
As Option [1], but offer a bigger discount (smaller rental charge).
- 3 (14.3%)
As Option [1], but everyone is responsible to supply their own wedge (or IEM); FoH remains a collective burden.
- 0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 21


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Author Topic: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.  (Read 9556 times)

Shane Ervin

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Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« on: December 28, 2016, 12:12:26 pm »

Assumptions
  • most band members do NOT have a wedge or IEM of their own and would need a rental from somewhere
  • some band members have much more invested in their instruments (e.g., saxes, multiple keyboards), than the singer who owns only a mic and an acoustic guitar
  • no other band members are familiar with production "norm" that, while backline is the responsibility of the performers, PA gear expenses are a collective burden.
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Shane

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Alec Spence

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2016, 12:40:43 pm »

Always a divisive issue!

Think you have to accept that each band member has a different investment/liability as a given.

Provision of PA is at a different level, though.  Of course, no-one will complain if you provide PA at no cost, but I suspect you don't fancy being used as a charity.

The way we ended up was to treat the PA provision as an additional band member.  So, for a four piece, each member took 20%, so the PA providing member ended up with 40%.  Which is actually still cheap for the other members, given the cost of PA provision.

Didn't stop other band members trying to short me, mind.  Like trying to deduct an expense from the "PA member share", rather than from the top.  Cheeky gits.  The easiest counter to this is to suggest that you'll have to reduce the PA provision accordingly, like subtract the mixer from the provided package...
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 12:43:38 pm »

Assumptions
  • most band members do NOT have a wedge or IEM of their own and would need a rental from somewhere
  • some band members have much more invested in their instruments (e.g., saxes, multiple keyboards), than the singer who owns only a mic and an acoustic guitar
  • no other band members are familiar with production "norm" that, while backline is the responsibility of the performers, PA gear expenses are a collective burden.
\

The PA system benefits the entire band - it's a necessity to perform and as such it's an overhead expense of performing.  If it's used at rehearsals (or just the monitor rig) it likewise is used for the benefit of the *band*.  If the band needs to rent gear and members have objections to the fee you'd like to earn from your investment let them get quotes from other suppliers.  If there are lower bids for *equal* gear and service you can decide if you want free of the burden of providing PA or you can match the lower price or perhaps negotiate some other fee with your band mates.

Individual back line instruments, accessories and supplies are the result of the individual's choice of instrument and are his/her personal responsibility.

As for you last bullet point, where do these people think PA comes from?  The Sound Fairy?  If you leave a mic under your pillow you wake up to a PA system?  Without a PA system, how will the band perform?  Only in bars with provided systems (yeah, sure)?

Way way back when I had an Econoline full of Community horns, a Peavey Mk IV-24 and a dozen mics I worked for an even cut of the gig (I wasn't playing in the band) and yes, it seems odd that I made a comparatively huge investment in hardware and transportation considering the front man who spent his money on wardrobe and a cheap mic.  I had to adopt a flat fee plus transportation (the first 50 miles were included in the service) that always was more than a 'cut'.  I lost one band over this but replaced them fairly quickly IIRC.  I still didn't make enough to do a good job of keeping my gear up or replacing stuff as needs changed.  A few years later I sold off my gear, doubled down on accounting and business education and went to work managing other peoples businesses and trying to not make the same mistakes over and over.  I've partially succeeded ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Lyle Williams

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 01:37:37 pm »

Why is providing the PA different to providing instruments?

Each of you brings talents and equipment (capital) to the venture.  The level of both talent and equipment will have different values (commercial and aesthetic.). Maybe your vocalist brings nearly no gear, but maybe people are showing up for the vocalist and not the bass player?

If this is a hobby band, I'd recommend not charging for the pa.  It's just too divisive an issue.

If this is a working band seeking to make some fraction of a living out of playing there needs to be frank discussion and an agreement reached.

Would you feel ripped off if the vocalist showed up one night with a $5000 mic and demanded the band fund it?  Put youself in others shoes. 
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Jay Marr

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2016, 01:41:24 pm »

Why is providing the PA different to providing instruments?

Would you feel ripped off if the vocalist showed up one night with a $5000 mic and demanded the band fund it?  Put youself in others shoes.

I'm not understanding these two points?  Who are you saying should provide the PA?
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Jay Marr

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 01:55:42 pm »

If this is a hobby band, I'd recommend not charging for the pa.  It's just too divisive an issue.

If this is a working band seeking to make some fraction of a living out of playing there needs to be frank discussion and an agreement reached.

This is pretty good advice.

I have had this discussion with many of my friends that are in a similar situation to me (band leader for a weekend cover band)....and we all agree - if you play with the same group of guys every week (and you are already friends, or become friends), then charging money for PA is eventually going to cause problems (as many above have mentioned).

My band has evolved to a bit of hybrid of the solutions you noted above.

I provide FOH speakers, Mixer and all cabling (for FOH)....and I run it all.
But the guys do contribute to more than just their bass/guitar/drum rigs.

If the guys want a monitor they must bring it themselves.
If they want a vocal mic (and stand), they must bring it themselves.
As it stands now, they all bring their own cables (for mics, wedges, etc.), but I do have a trunk of cables if anyone needs something.
The one exception is that I provide drum mics....but that is mainly because I own some, and my drummer is poor.

I have found that by the other guys being responsible for their 'stage experience' it makes things much easier on me, and it makes dividing the money evenly, more palatable for me (even though I've spent tens of thousands on PA gear over the years for them to use).
I don't mind buying and running the FOH gear because that makes the band sound good (I hope :))....but I don't feel I am responsible for providing them a wedge to hear their vocals, etc.
Our unspoken agreement is - 'if YOU need something, then you bring it'.
It didn't used to be that way (I used to provide wedges), but we have evolved to our current state over time and it's the best model I've found so far.  If/when we have fill in members (which is rare), then they are told what they need to bring.  It has not been a problem yet.

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2016, 02:05:28 pm »

Why is providing the PA different to providing instruments?

Because individual instruments are an extension of the instrumentalist.  The PA system is necessary to perform as a *band*, at least to a large degree.

Quote
Each of you brings talents and equipment (capital) to the venture.  The level of both talent and equipment will have different values (commercial and aesthetic.). Maybe your vocalist brings nearly no gear, but maybe people are showing up for the vocalist and not the bass player?

The singer made the choice to front a band, the bassist made a decision to play the bass.  These are consequences of personal choices.  One might argue the singer needs the benefits of the PA more than the bassist, should the singer make a bigger contribution toward the PA expense? Both parts are essential to performing *songs* for an audience...

Quote
If this is a hobby band, I'd recommend not charging for the pa.  It's just too divisive an issue.

If this is a working band seeking to make some fraction of a living out of playing there needs to be frank discussion and an agreement reached.

Would you feel ripped off if the vocalist showed up one night with a $5000 mic and demanded the band fund it?  Put youself in others shoes.

If it's a hobby band these details should have been worked out before the first gig was booked.  If it's a working band these details should have been worked out... hey, there's an echo in here... here... here...  Jay's second post illustrates one of several ways buddy bands can deal with it.  I've been with working bands where the PA & operator was hired with front line wedges, but everyone else brought their own wedge/power or IEM rig.  As an operator it was easier for me to provide everything but that wasn't the business model used by the client.  Nothing like having to ring out the horn wedges every other gig because we had a different trumpet player (with a different monitoring situation) that night...

If the bassist shows up with a new Alembic or the singer with a new Neumann and wardrobe, those again are individual choices made by the *artist* to be part of their individual parts of the performance.  Those can go with them no matter whom they perform with in the future.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc

ps.  The company I manage today was stated when my boss bought out his bandmate's financial interest in their PA system when they broke up.  The company made its initial profit by renting the rig back to the 2 bands that evolved out of the break up.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Rick Powell

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2016, 03:43:55 pm »

My son and I provide the sound and lights, and our arrangement is None of the Above.

When we first started out, I owned the sound and lights, and I gave the band a break on hiring out the system "IF" they pitched in with the load-in and out and the setup. It soon became apparent that the band members, for various reasons, either couldn't or didn't want to pitch in in the majority of cases (have to be at work early the next day, drums take as long to set up and tear down as the entire system, etc.) We then decided to just treat the sound and lights as a straight hire...the band would get a consistent quality system that would not be in danger of being unavailable due to an outside hire, and we would get paid the going rate for outside hire of production, and do all the set up and tear down ourselves.

In the past, I have been in bands that "pitched in" and pieced a sound system together, with no clear line of ownership or responsibility, and it's always been a mess, especially when the band breaks up and it has to be decided how to liquidate everything and who gets what. When it's one person's responsibility, things seem to always go smoother.  I have been in bands where one person owns the system but everybody was conscientious about pitching in and everyone had a set responsibility, and that worked pretty well, too. These days, it's easy (at least in our area) to hire out the sound and lights (if you can afford it) thus leaving the production out of the muso's worries so they can just concentrate on showing up with their instruments and playing.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 03:47:00 pm by Rick Powell »
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Rick Powell

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2016, 03:53:03 pm »

This is pretty good advice.

I have had this discussion with many of my friends that are in a similar situation to me (band leader for a weekend cover band)....and we all agree - if you play with the same group of guys every week (and you are already friends, or become friends), then charging money for PA is eventually going to cause problems (as many above have mentioned).

It's mainly a problem if you are playing the level of gigs where the lion's share of the $$ is going to production, leaving little to share among the band members, and where resentment might build. If the band is making good money and playing the type of gigs where they'd be paying for outside production anyway, it hasn't mattered in my experience whether the rig is hired from a band member/provider or an outside provider, as long as similar or better quality is delivered. In my instance, none of the other band members have any interest in owning all or part of the sound and lights, or setting it up and tearing it down, so it works out OK.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 04:45:05 pm »

Assumptions
  • most band members do NOT have a wedge or IEM of their own and would need a rental from somewhere
  • some band members have much more invested in their instruments (e.g., saxes, multiple keyboards), than the singer who owns only a mic and an acoustic guitar
  • no other band members are familiar with production "norm" that, while backline is the responsibility of the performers, PA gear expenses are a collective burden.
If you did not own a PA, the band would have to rent one and it would come out of the gross pay.
How does your ownership of the PA equipment change that?
Maybe cut a deal but charge for the PA.
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Re: Policy for renting gear to a band in which you yourself play.
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 04:45:05 pm »


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