Let’s face it. The world won’t change unless we change it. Society is not going to magically wake up unless there are pressures to do so. Part of this pressure to do so is to make sure that the revolutionaries are compensated. Not all revolutionaries should be compensated. Some have brought it to my attention that some revolutionaries have created more harm then good. I’m talking about the revolutionaries like Gabe Dominguez of SHAKE YOUR PEACE! How do we get these types of artists pay for what they are worth in this world? You as an artist have an obligation to first and foremost do the best art you can possibly create. Then, create yourself within the marketplace where you want to be. Musician’s pricing slides from $0 to $1000+ per show, depending on the artist, the cause, and the industries inability to unite. If all professional artists set a standard pricing and then from there, negotiated and moved from that area or price, I’m guessing art would have a higher economic value in our society. So this article is to help educate ourselves on price points and what we are worth for which type of business and how music-makers can stand together to create the value that we are in the industry.
Good music is rare. If you craft your skill and take the countless hours of time to hone it, then figure out a price that makes sense with all of your time invested in. Here are some factors that I think about before pricing myself for a gig:
- Start at your desired rate. You can always go down and offer a discount to a client based on your excitement for a show
- Factor if this is a non-profit or community event, or a corporate or private client. The latter should always be at industry rates. The former is up to you and may allow you some flexibility to give back to society in the ways that you want.
- If there are corporate sponsors for an event, makes the artists are compensated fairly by asking straight forward questions, and then naming your pricing accordingly.
It’s not far off to ask for $550 to $1050 per musician in a band. DJ’s get $1050 to come out and do something that sometimes is way simpler then bringing live instruments and mixing sound and performing live. How can we up these prices and make more per person? By doing your homework as a musician, and a business person.
Cuts and Takes
I currently have my own business of Soul Graffiti that runs transparently and offers opportunity to musicians and performers to get gigs more often. I also collaborate the same way with other Label’s and bookers in the same dynamic. Here is how it’s broken down:
- I negotiate a price with a client that works for them. I often start at $750/musician, selling the style and type of band, plus sound, lighting, staging, and anything else that the client wants.
- If the price is too high, I start giving discounts to the client that is reasonable to the efforts that will be conducted by the booking/management, and the artists involved.
- I generally have a rule that the artists take on a corporate gig is 50% of the price negotiated. This head room leaves money for managing multiple artists and figuring the next plan to satisfy current and future clients. The bonus to artists that are involved is that they get hooked up on recording audio and video opportunities both live and in studio, and they get solid paying gigs the more often they are booked.
Bottom line is that you are doing a disservice to all artists in your community by not standing as tall as you can with your price points. Ask fro what you want, and then move from there. Trust me, there are many people with money out there to pay you your worth. Find them, and connect.
If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments on this subject, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write a comment on this blog post. We would be happy to open a discussion and event take a poll on price points based on some factors. As a matter of fact, here is a poll I’m starting now to gather some stats for us all and how we may uplift the value of music and art in our communities at large, Together!