My band plays events in small and large venues like a bar to a bike night outdoors. We pay for sound at large events which they bring sound equipment to setup and tear down. is paying 30% of our pay is a little high. That would be $210 for a $700 gig with each of the four member making $122.50. Is this a typical fee for bands?
It really depends and most sound guys will tell you what they charge per gig. Personally I would not go for the cheaper option, I would go for the better sound guy as a good sound guy always makes you sound your best.
It may seem strange to pay a sound guy more then a member of your band, but really do a lot for band including:
- Setting up and tearing down equipment for you.
- Providing a sound check to adjust the sound for the room.
- Providing monitors for musicians and being able to adjust them for you while preforming.
- Mixing sound live and adding effects like delay and reverb.
- Most typically have lights to enhance the the look of your performance.
I would talk to bands in your area to see if they have certain sound guys they would recommend (or avoid). I look at it this way, while you probably can find a cheap sound guy a better sound guy will make you get more gigs and make your overall show better.
I've been lucky enough to work with monitor and FOH engineers who were being paid multiple thousands of dollars per week. The value they add is ridiculous. Having to go back to standard house engineers or beginners is really painful after that.
Your sound guys are pretty much the most valuable item/thing/asset a touring band can have.
In answer to your question: Pay what you need to if the guy makes you sound great (offstage and onstage).
The sound guy is not a band member. He may be friendly with a good attitude and have a cool job but: it is a job. He's not part of the musical creation process and unless he's been accompanying you to the studio and on residency for your show, there won't be much creative production on his side either.
- He's not a producer (His salary is not dependent on the gigs revenue; as opposite to a manager or a booking agent who make a bet on you).
- It's a profession, not a hobby. It's what he pays his bills with
- He'll be there long before and after the band members
- He works in the dark, not on stage with all the perks and glamour that may bring.
I read somewhere something very interesting: nobody will have trouble hiring a musician who works part-time in a bar. The general public knows how hard it is to make it as a musician. But who will hire a sound engineer working in a restaurant to make ends meet? No one, because he would be seen as unprofessional. And if you think hiring professionals is expensive, hire an amateur and put him in front of your best customers.
Also, standard rate is a minimum of 250 EUR per gig in Belgium (usually calculated on a 10hr shift) or 300 CAD (obviously in Canada).
This isn't about 'fair shares', it's about what it costs to hire in sound gear and an operator. Negotiate the best price you can for what you need. If this is more than the whole band is making, consider going into the sound-hire business instead!
From what I'm reading, people are keeping their minds (options) open for something they can relate to or adjust to. Having said that, now their needs have to be met in a sensible and mature fashion.
I'm a sound engineer in Chicago, and I charge by the event. I chose to emit hourly rates and that has helped me gain access to many other groups and events. Charging by the hour makes it difficult to achieve any success and can be a horrendous business choice.
My success comes from the audience due to them being the main concern of any event. They're the ones that put money into your pocketbook and they can make or break you. They give me data and stats that take me into the world of entertainment. Ask them questions and they'll give you the answers!
Here is the outer core of my business
$100: Bars & Taverns $140: Lounges & Pubs. (they have separate space for the stage and audience). $180: Weddings & Corporate Events $220: Festivals & Small Concerts
Everything I do is mainly for the smaller events and venues. I enjoy making money from doing 6 to 8 events a month. Keeps me going! I stay away from the large events. That hasn't helped me at all! Smaller events have opened my eyes and given me ample opportunity to succeed. It comes from personal experience!
Occasionally, I have to hire someone to help me with festivals and concerts.
The prices you see here are very reasonable and are a reflection of my personal experience due to having the right size equipment and this has paid off for (4) four years, consecutively.
I started out as a musician and did some investigating and ended up doing sound. I've made more money as a sound engineer than being a musician.
It was painfully difficult in finding the right people to make some magic music happen on stage and that pushed me to the limits and before I knew it, I was bought my own PA System, just for the audience to hear me. Controlled everything from the stage.
The string players made it difficult for the audience to hear me as I played drums. Now, I look back and say to myself... "I should have done this a long time ago!" As for the prices you see here, they are very reasonable in today's market. For large concerts, the price ranges into the thousands of dollars.
Back in the 50's, 60's 70's 80's and 90's, the sound man had a hard time getting the prices they were asking for and as times have changed, so has the pricing of equipment. This was the major breakthrough that has changed the sound man's dream into a money-making reality and with good reason.
Many sound engineers have a difficult time dealing with terrible business-like musicians and that leads to no where land. These prices have done me more than good! I suggest that you follow my lead and take my advice! Use these prices as a guide line to help you succeed.
I've been here as a musician, promoter, booking agent and a business manager. You can't go wrong with this sound man's winning price formula! With this set up, you'll be laughing your way to the bank as long as you take care of business and know how to communicate with your clients and associates.
Remember to give the band a quality sound that their audience will remember, time and time again because it's the audience that puts money into everyone's pocketbook! The audience is the core of everyone's business. The pricing is the outer core of your business and these prices will affect your outcome and income.
Music Will Always Be... "Ear & Eye Candy" To The Audience. Remember To Feed Them The Good Stuff That Has A Good Taste Til The End of The Night! Keep 'em Coming Back To The Store For More!
Let The Audience Reveal Everything To You! They're The Ones That Set The Pace and Tone of Your Business. They Have Served Me Well and My Business Is Still Going.
RADARLOVE & THE RADAR SOUND SYSTEM
I bill at $650/ day. Why on earth would I want to mix your band? What about your band would make me get out of bed? Reading these comments its understandable why I was poor for the first 20 years of my career. I was really good too. When I mix a band these days, you can be assured its for the fun. I expect to be paid, but my regular mixing gigs pay as much as you are charging (which is too low btw). If bands would stop giving it away, DJs would stop giving it away, sound and lighting techs would stop giving it away, we would all be making a living wage doing what we love. I mix for corporate events which is easier, but not as much fun. Music is my passion and its why I became a sound engineer. I am in the top 5-10% of skill level and worth every cent I make. It took me a lot longer to learn sound than it took you to learn your instrument. I promise you that. I noodle at various instruments and have had 3 kids in band. In school we had our own bands and all picked up instruments never having played them before and had it pretty much figured out in 3-5 years. There is a lot more to sound than what you get from your typical cheap or free bar soundman. These days in addition to all the acoustics issues, I also have to know networking! I'm a dang IT guy. That's what it takes to get the gear all working. I have certifications in this area. I teach a class on calibration of sound systems in acoustic environments. Sound guys pay $750 to attend this class. They leave having more questions than they did before they arrived. Before you can get a good mix you need good sound. Mixing in a studio is dead easy compared to live. If you want me to mix your band for $200, I would probably do it, but my conditions are that I be treated with respect as a professional, I get fed (could be a grilled cheese, not fancy), have plenty of water to drink, and your band better be tight. This was NEVER a hobby for me.
Wait, you don't have your own sound guy? That seems a bit reckless to me, whether you set-and-forget for small gigs or hire someone for large ones. It also teaches bad habits that can drive a sound guy crazy, like sound-checking at less than full volume so you can all turn yourselves up by effectively different amounts during the show and make him scramble to get a good mix back. A sound guy that can do that seamlessly deserves to be paid more than one that just babysits the equipment.
You really need your own dedicated sound guy and sound system. They don't need to be particularly good at first, just a consistent place to improve from, and the sound guy needs to act and be treated as the important band member that he is. He plays the board with sometimes comparable intensity as you play your instruments on stage. If you hire someone else on occasion, your own guy should still be there to advise the hired guy on your desired sound and to learn what he can.
We'll figure out the wages later.