Occasionally I am asked to critique a band performance and give a score. With price verses performance as only one of the ten criteria with which I calculate a total score, the following formula will be shown only for the purpose of identifying whether you are charging too much or too little. Most often, bands charge whatever the venue is willing to pay them for the gig. However, I think that with a little more knowledge of calculating your value, that knowledge will foment the confidence that will help you to begin to demand more money. Whether you actually get more or not is entirely up to you. The following formula requires honesty. For the most accurate depiction of your bands score, have each and every member calculate their own number using this formula and then, to get an average score, divide all scores added and divide that number by the number of band members. The formula may not seem like a very accurate way of determining stage value to you and that's okay. But when I use it to test the current bands that I book for, it proves itself every time and serves as a witness when compared with the monies they receive on a regular basis.
Just two more quick notes. Bands rarely charge too much and get away with it consistently but, frequently, and almost too frequently, bands charge too little. Some bands play for fun and don't need to get paid a lot. However, some do it as a living and it is these bands that would really benefit from the "raising of the bar" by those that are under-pricing. Here we go.
In my book there are 5 basic levels of musicianship.
- BAD These guys will be your last minute fill-in's. The "never agains!"
- POOR These are they that don't have any ability to improvise, play by ear or solo well.
- AVERAGE Average musicians hold their ground but don't stand out either.
- GREAT Great musicians improvise well, solo well, learn songs easily and stand out.
- STELLAR These are the ones that are an inch away from leaving you for a touring band.
Score them (25-BAD) (50-POOR) (100-AVERAGE) (200-GREAT) (300-STELLAR)
Example; Paul/Drums Peter/Guitar Mary/Bass Tim/Vocals Leroy/Keyboards
50 100 100 50 300 T= 600
These scores represent your worth in dollars. Hold on!
Now I calculate transport, set-up and tear-down price by adding $25.00 for each person.
Example; Paul-25 +Peter=50 +Mary=75 +Tim=100 +Leroy=125 T= 125.00
(Venue's don't recognize that this should be an added expense but it certainly is. Your time has value. Perhaps this item would be more respected if playing didn't seem like such a party opportunity (gulp, gulp, glug, glug) for ya.)
Now, add $50.00 for each of these qualities if the majority of the band members possess them.
Remember that in a four piece band, 2 is not the majority but 3. Not $50.00 to each band member, just $50.00 total per quality.
- Tightness with other members (musically)
- Professionalism (on and off stage)
- Members dressed in accordance with music style and or venue clientele (baseball caps are for baseball players)
- Crowd interaction (not just the singers job)
- Showmanship (not standing room only)
Finally, Add $200.00 if you'll guarantee the venue that 10 of your friends will show up and each drink $20.00 worth of Pabst. (just Kidding) But seriously, for some reason venue's do find value in how many Facebook "likes" and/or "friends" you have. I'm not touching on that one but, always use whatever you can to your advantage.
Remember that this formula is what I use to determine if a band is out-pricing their performance only. Trio's should multiply their total point score x 1.25.
In order to calculate your value as a wedding band (if your repertoire allows for it), multiply your total dollar value by 1.4
In order to calculate your value as a corporate event performer, multiply your original total value by 1.8.
I would be very interested in your feedback. firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget to check out the new website at www.musicmenuonline.com
D. Carl Larson