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

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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