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  #1  
Old 05-21-2007, 10:24 AM
S-L-A-C-K-E-R S-L-A-C-K-E-R is offline
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Default How much do you get paid for a gig?

Hi,

I'm new to this site and new to performing.

I'm hoping to get to the point where I can do solo acoustic gigs (guitar, vocals, and Looping with RC-2) at small coffee houses and bars and outdoor places.

I am in the process of seeing how I could manage this financially. I am married so I don't have a ton of money to drop on gear. So I am hoping that the money I can raise at gigs will pay for my equipment eventually (PA system, mics, mic stands, effects, etc.). So in order to put some numbers to my reasoning, can you guys who do similar type gigs give me some gig rates that you charge so I can do some calculations?

Thanks

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Old 05-21-2007, 10:48 AM
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This is really dependent on the market. If you let people know where you're planning to play, I'm sure someone around the area will be happy to help you set up a pricing schedule.

As for me, I play everything from paid gigs to gigs for just tips. I base the rate on what the market will bear.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:10 PM
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I charge $150 minimum for gigs I book myself. $200 for gigs booked through my agent. These are for gigs in resteraunts and bars playing covers. Guys playing originals make a lot less in my area. Parties are $400 minimum. Gigs are anywhere from 3 hours to 4 hours. The 4 hour gigs are brutal, but pay well.
Try not to play for small money as it waters down the market for people trying to make a living.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:14 PM
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Amen to that. That's why it's important to find out what others in YOUR area charge.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:39 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
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Default none....

if the dog pees on my feet....

I'm out the price of shoes...

if he just farts and walks away...

I break even...
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:54 PM
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Someone needs a new dog
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:07 PM
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How many songs, generally speaking, does one need to have worked up tohave enough material to do 3 or 4 hours at a gig?

How many sets and how long each?

Thanks
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:18 PM
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I generally charge about $25,000 so I only have to play two or three a year . . . .

don't buy that ? OK . . . I usually take a percentage of the door at paying establishments or rely on the kindness of the venue when playing houses of worship.

Like the guys said, depends on where you live and what opportunities there are.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pater Familias View Post
How many songs, generally speaking, does one need to have worked up tohave enough material to do 3 or 4 hours at a gig?

How many sets and how long each?

Thanks
Again, it depends. Some songs are longer than others and if you've got a duet thing, then you can always draw them out with long exploratory jams

But, if you figure 4 minutes per song, you should then figure around 60 songs for a 4 hour gig? Of course, factor in things like talking to the audience, how long of a break you're going to take. I generally take about 5 minutes every hour just to break it up and let my fingers rest or get a refill on my drink.

I think the last 4 hours show I played had around 40 songs, but about 35% of the show was played with my friend playing lead, so those songs tend to be more like 7-8 minutes. It differs for every gig though.

You should also figure that if you're going to be doing it regularly, you probably want at least 100 songs in your repertoire or people are going to get bored seeing the same thing over and over at every show.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:48 PM
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You take 5 minute breaks?! Round here, the 40/20 rule definetly works. Are you sure you have to? You may be working way to hard.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:54 PM
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Almost all my gigs are private events in and around Portland Or, and often Seattle. As an acoustic jazz soloist, I charge between $300 and $600 for two and a half hours of music. There are some variables, notably travel... and sometimes people will need a little less time, but thatís about average for me. I do about two of those gigs a week. I also play a regular restaurant gig here in Portland. Iíve played there every Friday for four years, Thereís almost never a private or corporate on a Friday, so that works out well for me. He pays me a very modest hourly rate, but I can sell CDís, receive tips, and drink a lot of great local pinot. That gig usually ends up only being about $100 or so, but itís fun, relaxing, close to the house...
It all depends on your market. When I lived in San Francisco I was able to charge more... but of course my mortgage was lot more too... I guess itís relative. You just have to ask around, maybe call a few musicians that are advertising themselves. If you want to make more in venues/ coffee shops you have to of course bring in people... If you want to make more in the private events it takes money up front. You need to get an advertising plan together, business cards, letterhead, at least one nice suite...
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:08 PM
lfyost lfyost is offline
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I go either 45-15 or 50-10.

Figure 12-14 songs per set.

You will play more songs per set in the beginning of your career due to nerves and lack of patter.

It get easier and easier.

Some years you may make hundreds and hundreds of dollars!
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Last edited by lfyost; 05-21-2007 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feedback100 View Post
You take 5 minute breaks?! Round here, the 40/20 rule definetly works. Are you sure you have to? You may be working way to hard.
I just stop and start when I feel like it. If I don't get back up and play more, I start getting antsy
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:29 PM
S-L-A-C-K-E-R S-L-A-C-K-E-R is offline
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For you guys that play the 3-4 hour gigs, do you do that out of your own free will or is that the amount of time places ask you to play for them?

4 hours sounds like a lot to me.

This music stuff is my hobby really. I want to perform places mostly for my own enjoyment. I'm hoping the money just pretty much supports my equipment expense so I can break even. 4 hours sounds like hard work. The last thing I want is my hobby to turn into a second job that I begin to dislike.

Do you think that places would let me play for less time? Say an hour or two? Of course, I would ask for less money.

Also, I don't have near enough songs to fill 4 hours. I'm just starting, so I still need to build my setlist up to an hour.

Thanks for the numbers so far guys. It's a big help. I'm sure I would be asking for quite a large sum less than what you guys have mentioned since I am a hobbyist and not a professional. I don't plan to play for free but I don't think I am good enough to charge hundreds of dollars a gig because I'm just not that good ...... yet.

Thanks for the help so far. Keep 'em comin'
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Old 05-21-2007, 02:52 PM
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It's not worth your while or theirs to play for an hour. Figure two hour minimum. Bar gigs are usually 3 to 4 hours. Restaurants, 2 to 3 hours. And always charge a fee, don't play for free. Also consider using a simple contract.

12 to 14 songs per set is about right.

You do have to take breaks now and then. 45/15 is pretty standard. I often play two sets before I take a break and I always end up playing more than agreed upon. I mean, I take fewer breaks and shorter breaks. But at least 10 minutes. You need to go to the bathroom, let your fingers rest, chat with patrons, etc. But you don't want to have them walk out the door, either. Breaks can kill a crowd.

You can use lead sheets if you have trouble remember words. It's best not to but if it's a problem for you, do it. Hardly anyone will notice. And undoubtedly, a musician. Who cares what another musician thinks?
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