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  1. #1

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    Just wondering what a gig pays for a jazz band these days. I know "Fourplay" is playing at the Blue Note in Tokyo this 29th of December till the 31st, but I don't know how much they make.

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  3. #2

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    When you get to the point of being a touring artist like Fourplay, the money you make from ticket sales and such basically covers your overhead, and the real money is made from merch sales. To answer your question, the most profitable thing that they can do is sell a ton of CDs, T-Shirts, etc.

    Think about all the overhead that Fourplay would incur to go to Tokoyo...
    - Ship and insure all gear from the US.
    - Hire a crew to set up and maintain equipment. Plus room and board and food for said crew.
    - Hire people to sell merchenside, again room board and food.
    - Room board and food for the band.

    Those are just a few things off the top of my head. You see that the costs add up pretty quick! That is why those T-Shirts that artists sell at concerts are usually $50-60. The artsist has to actually make money some way, and ticket sales usually only covers their expenses.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mississippi View Post
    Just wondering what a gig pays for a jazz band these days.
    I think the jazz band members each pay about $200 per gig.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  5. #4

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    On insidemusicast.com there is an interesting extended interview with Steve Khan. They cover a lot of topics, including the business side of making CDs and touring, which is very interesting.

    Steve says that probably the only two guitarists who can afford to even bring their own amp across the ocean are Sco and Metheny.

    The money side of things is a very interesting topic, naturally you won´t get too much reliable information about it...

    That´s a question to keep in the back of your head until you happen to sit down with a major booker for a couple of beers at a holiday club/a music retail trade fair/the local bar randomly...



    Cheers,
    H.


    ps: Also, a lot of american players don´t bring a whole band with them when they are touring Europe but play with renowned european musicians as their sidemen/rhythm section.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helgo View Post
    Steve says that probably the only two guitarists who can afford to even bring their own amp across the ocean are Sco and Metheny.
    This is why you have seen so many players over the last few years using amplifier modeling technology. A Line 6 Pod, might not sound GREAT, but it will probably sound good enough in conjunction with whatever backline amp you are using. Best of all, you can just throw it in your suitcase and you're done!

  7. #6

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    We have a concert venue called Humphrey's by the Bay and Fourplay plays there almost every year. It's in San Diego, just down the road from LA where the members of Fourplay live (I think they live there, as they are studio musicians. Nathan East grew up in San Diego).

    Fourplay tickets are in the neighborhood of $75 (they charge the same for every seat), the venue has 1400 seats. The least expensive tickets for other shows (not Fourplay) at the venue are $38.

    So let's just say ticket costs and the venue take is something less than $38 per seat, let's be conservative and guess $35.

    So my conservative estimate is Fourplay's gross revenue is $75 - $35 = $40 * 1400 seats = $56,000

    I have no idea what their expenses are. They bring one big rig for the 100 mile trip, a couple of sound men, several roadies (unless the venue is providing the sound men and roadies?), not sure if they have a bus. I have no experience at what that would cost. Regardless, they are making a lot.

    Merchandising - They have two tables, one of shirts and such and one of CD's. Based on my observation of the amount of people buying, maybe $5k at most is my guess and they have costs associated with those items. For this show, merchandising is pretty small.

  8. #7

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    I also think that the real money is at the merch table, both for rock and jazz artists. My son is in a major touring classic rock group and was in another that had a #1 single and a double platinum album, and their merch money was crazy.

    It depends on logistics. Consider what it cost Metheny to run around the world with the Orchestrion setup. And his guitar tech has been with him for years, as has his sound man, both of whom are even involved in the trio gigs.

    Then again when it comes to jazz guitar probably nobody has done it bigger than Metheny. Way back in the beginning of the group, they carried their own Steinway around and he's said that at the end of the day if they had a room and $25 in their pockets back then, they were happy.

  9. #8

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    Big name acts with crossover appeal can make a good living. The top smooth acts have no worries about where their next pair of linen pants is coming from...

    As far as no name musos like myself, I prefer not to leave my house for under $100, unless it's going to be really fun or I'll be playing with musicians I can learn from.

    Sadly, this means I leave the house less and less these days...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmstritt View Post
    ...and how much does Fourplay have to pay to rent the venue? Does the venue rent for less if Fourplay doesn't sell to capacity? Keep in mind that income and revenue are two completely different animals.

    I don't have any affiliation with Fourplay, so I can't speak to their numbers specifically, but I have played backing several pop and R&B artists and the ticket sales were never considered to be serious money.

    I am just speaking from my experience. Sometimes we idolize musicians we admire and think that they have achieved a certain level of financial sucess, when in reality the only people the really understand how much many the artist is making are the artist and the artists' accountant.

    Even when you see music videos for Pop and Hip Hop artists where they are riding Lambroghinis and Rolls Royces most of those are rented from exotic car rental places by the day. The thing is that all that glitters is not gold.

    For folks that want more insight into the business of being a national artist I would reccomend the book the Musician's Handbook by Bobby Borg. Definitely a great book!
    Yes I know the difference between Revenue & Income, I was careful with my language. I'm a CPA.

    When you mention "renting the venue", didn't you pick up on that some bands are only charging $38 per ticket? That should give us an idea of the max that a venue charges for rent. I took that into account.

    And Fourplay does sell the venue out.

    It is my understanding that the members of Fourplay can make serious money being studio musicians. Why would they tour then if they couldn't make good money? If they just want to have fun performing they could just play at the Baked Potato in Hollywood.

    Not all that glitters is gold... Well I would say it's pretty ridiculous for the the majority of jazz guitarists to think they can make the kind of money that Fourplay does. What would you guess they represent, less than 1% of professional jazz musicians? (just a wild guess)
    Last edited by fep; 12-20-2011 at 05:51 PM.

  11. #10

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    "So my conservative estimate is Fourplay's gross revenue is $75 - $35 = $40 * 1400 seats = $56,000"
    That's the promoter's gross. He pays for the venue, staff, security, ticketing costs, insurance, takes his cut, pays the band, manager and crew get their cuts. Probably other costs involved before the musicians pocket some. A lot of slices cut out of that pie.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyaleT View Post
    "So my conservative estimate is Fourplay's gross revenue is $75 - $35 = $40 * 1400 seats = $56,000"
    That's the promoter's gross. He pays for the venue, staff, security, ticketing costs, insurance, takes his cut, pays the band, manager and crew get their cuts. Probably other costs involved before the musicians pocket some. A lot of slices cut out of that pie.
    What about the $35, where does that go?

    Regarding insurance, this concert series is put on by the venue. It's from the spring thru the fall. There are maybe 100 acts. The promoter works for the Restaurant. The venue should pay the insurance, right?

    Remember there are bands that play at that concert series for as little as $38 per seat, as a conservative estimate I only gave them $3 a seat left over, which would mean that the cost is $35 for the venue which would give Fourplay $40 a seat left over for their costs (whatever that would be), and the resulting gross income.

    I'm not saying I'm right as I don't know all the facts. But my assumption seem logical. Since you seem to not acknowledge the logic behind the #35, it seems to me that you either don't understand my logic or didn't read carefully enough.

    I read an article of an interview with the promoter, and it was a dream of his to bring Bob Dylan and Van Morrison to the concert series. But, it was out of reach in that he'd have to charge too much per seat, in the neighborhood of $250 per seat for Van Morrison. Van Morrison wanted $300k to play there. So 56k for Fourplay doesn't seem unreasonable.
    Last edited by fep; 12-20-2011 at 07:24 PM.

  13. #12

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    Unfortunately, us little guys don't make much at gigs. Typically I'll do a solo gig for $150-200, when I start adding musicians- then that goes down as the price of the whole combo goes up (usually 100 bucks a man). It's pretty tragic though that jazz musicians are still making the same amount now that they made 30 years ago. I had a teacher that played the same restaurant for 22 years. They paid him 100 bucks back in 1987, and then paid him 100 bucks in 2007.

    Why is this? Well, for some reason we're willing to do it. What makes it worse is when guys "undercut" you for gigs. Say you've got a gig for 150 bucks a week at a restaurant and somebody else comes in and says they'll do it for half that. Now you're out of the gig, and you've sent a message to every restaurant in town that there's guys willing to work for cheap.

    I could deal with this through college as 100 bucks made me feel rich, but post-college I went in to the USAF Band so I could actually make a living and support my family!

  14. #13

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    Here's the bottom line on money and jazz:

    It was once said that God only put a certain amount of money on earth for each type of jazz musician.

    In the case of clarinet players, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw took it all.

    In the case of jazz guitarists, George Benson got it all - but only because he started singing.
    Last edited by newsense; 12-21-2011 at 03:45 PM.
    Have no secrets, hear no lies.

  15. #14

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    I play in the Netherlands as a non-pro player (I have a fulltime day job). I play a lot of bars and jazzcafés (because it's fun) and those typically pay around 150 euros (around 230 dollar) for a gig. And that's for the whole group, profesionals or not. We also do (jazz)festivals and they typically pay 200 euros (around 300 dollars) for a 45 minutes peformance - again, for the whole group. Of course when you get known and popular and your name can be used to attract an audience the fees goe way up and the sky is the limit.

    I know that most pro players in the Netherlands can't make a living without some sort of other income next to performing - teaching, worshops, seminars or even partime jobs outside the musicbusiness. Interestingly, it's a lot easier overhere to make a living as a perfoming artist when you don't play jazz......

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  16. #15

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    Oh and playing private parties or companny parties is much more lucrative, even for jazzplayers. I usually ask around 100 euro per hour per person ex taxes and expenses.

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ybjazz View Post
    Why is this? Well, for some reason we're willing to do it. What makes it worse is when guys "undercut" you for gigs. Say you've got a gig for 150 bucks a week at a restaurant and somebody else comes in and says they'll do it for half that. Now you're out of the gig, and you've sent a message to every restaurant in town that there's guys willing to work for cheap.
    I know a couple of newbies to Jazz that said once they get good enough, they will be willing to play for free. Your posts, as well those of other forum members, has reiterated the fact that these guys will be taking money out of some other artist's pocket and food off their table.

    The idealistic idea of making music for the joy of it runs headlong into the fact that it is also a business - and people need to eat. The club owner owner is trying to survive, so he/she would take the guy who plays for free, but the artist is also trying to survive, and that is one less gig available.

  18. #17

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    Where I live, we don't get paid much because there is a very small scene for straight ahead. The players outnumber the audience so there is always competition for gigs unless you're a europe or world class player. Players often have to play other styles as well to make ends meet, and most of them have day jobs. The bigger the group, the less money per band member. I think this is why duos or solo gigs are popular. It is just about the only way to make ends meet as a player unless you're at the top of the jazz "food chain".

  19. #18

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    The tickets to see Fourplay in Tokyo on the 29,30 and 31st are all sold out, but they went as high as ¥11500 per seat. About $115.00

  20. #19

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    Hi everyone,I'm Hitesh from Shillong and I'm begginner in Jazz so help me out guys,Thank you