What Should You Be Paid as a Musician?

So the age old question is how much to charge for a gig. There are many factors to consider in all of this so lets make a start.

Firstly, the venue has the space that you need to perform in. They pay for the right to have this space, rent utility etc. You have to realise that they have these overheads. They would love to see huge amounts of people coming to see your gig but this isn’t always the case. The number one reason why is because bands don’t think they have to market themselves.

If you are consistently ensuring that people come to your gigs then there will be no way that a venue won’t hire you. Without getting off topic here I just want to stress that your fans are the real way you make money from music. Why would the venue want to pay you if you had no fans? That means no one is coming to spend money┬áin their establishment.


Once you realise this then you can appreciate your worth. There are two models at this point. Firstly, you charge an entry fee for the gig and take all the money from entry sales. This is a great way to establish who you are bringing in and who are coming regardless, as they will not pay to see the band. The venue doesn’t interfere and lets you keep all your earning, they obviously profit from people being there in the first place. The second is less common, splitting the bar sales. This isn’t as advised personally because it’s hard to find a percentage and draw the line but it can work.

I don’t believe a musician should play for free unless they want to. Of course you can play for free to support a charity or cause worth playing for. The trouble is that you have to understand who is putting a worth on your music, because generally the venue doesn’t. They put a worth on your audience. Obviously this changes when talking about private events that are booked to which I say charge however much you want but don’t undersell yourself.

Let’s get a conversation started about this in the comments below. I want to hear your thoughts

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