They're getting paid $1.00 too much if you ask me. It's just a series of ones and zeroes, and those are FREE!!
For serious: doesn't look flawed to me. I know people that get more back from retail CD sales than $1.00, and from a big label, even, but the $1.00 is fairly representative of what goes on. Obviously if you owe them money for the studio you don't even get that... if I'm not mistaken they take their cut and then pay themselves back from your cut.
There are a lot of 360 deals now, and maybe it shifts the numbers somewhat. I don't know.
I know a band that sells about 2000 self pressed CD (at $5) a month, but that's paying four people while touring constantly. Fortunately, the van and instruments are paid off already.
So, $10k a month plus the door of whatever clubs they're playing. Let's say the door covers your gas, food and lodging, which it wouldn't, but hey, I'm a nice guy. So $10k X 12 months = $120k, split four ways, is about $30k a year. Minus self employment taxes, you're looking at something on the order of $23k, and you live in a van with four other dudes.
Yeah, totally your expenses when you are touring are only gas, food, lodging. Most people in bands these days totally own their own property and have already paid off their mortgages, so they don't have to worry about rent AND they usually have super flexible internet and cell phone contracts that let them suspend service when they are touring. Also, gas prices have never been lower so now really is the time to $tart touring!
You don't tour because it pays well, you tour because it's fucking amazing.
Alright, let crunch some more. Say you play 20 dates a month and get 50 people at every show (you won't, but again, I'm a nice guy) who pay $5 a head to see your band. so that's 250 a show x 20 shows, that's another $5000 a month.
Say you stay a cheap-o hotels the whole time, $70x2 (2 guys to a room) while on tour, so 20 nights x $140 = $2800.
If the venues have a kitchen, your dinners will be covered, so let's say that's true. You'll still need to cover breakfast and lunch for each member, so let's go the cheap route and say $10 a head per day. so $40 x 20 = $800.
Gas. Let's say your tour takes you on a straight line from New York to LA. That's 2777 miles. A 2000 Chevy van gets about 17 miles a gallon highway and gas costs $2.85 a gallon, so about $500 in gas.
CD costs as noted above, are a buck a pop. That's another $2k a month.
So your $5,000 from the door is whittled down to 0, minus another $1100 or so. $1100, divided by 4 is 275 beans per member off the top. So your 30k a year is now $26,700. If you are a proud American and pay your taxes you're now under $20k and you still haven't paid your rent at home, cel phone, band posters, band websites, internet access, recording, rubbers, strings, amp and guitar upkeep, etc. You're pal there would be better off — financially — working at McDonalds.
A) of course you can cut a lot of stuff out, stay in hotels only half the time (or less), skip breakfast, live on the cheap, etc. But it's not a road to riches nonetheless.
B) I type, "So,...," a lot it seems.
You don't tour for the money. You tour because you enjoy it and because it's one of the best ways to expose your music to new audiences without a major-label contract. Which you aren't going to get without some exposure.
What kind of diaper baby band stays at hotels every night?
I spent years on tour and I think we splurged for a hotel room maybe 3-4 times. Usually we stayed at somebody's place or -- worst case scenario -- you slept in your van, because that's what bands do.
The ultimate hustle though was scamming some 17-18 year old kid into letting you stay at his place, because chances are they still lived with their parents, which meant that A) the place was clean and B) there's FOOD. We stayed with this 17 year old and his parents in Indiana once and his parents cooked us a motherfucking breakfast buffet.
Also, for those of you in bands who need floors to crash on:
Protip: Never sleep sandwiched between semis in a truck stop parking lot, because those things are as loud as jet engines and stay on ALL NIGHT.
GUISE COPYING ISN'T STEALING
This is a pretty loose definition of "fun"
My idea to never tour, record the album on home equipment and distribute the shit for free and break even on donations doesn't seem so odd now, does it?
|Syd Midnight |
It's sloppy to organize the list by "have to sell" instead of "percent of revenue"so mp3s are counted the same as albums. Several of these are out of order in the name of dramatic presentation because they compare mp3s, mp3 albums, and CDs comparably.
CDbaby is next best if the band can't sell to you personally.
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