Have you ever wondered how those bands can afford those fancy Sennheiser transmitters, those beautiful amplifiers and those in ear headphones that are at least a 1000 bucks each? Well… keep reading to find out.
Mr. A: “Last time when
Mr. B: “Wait… don’t they all have those new Blerblerps??? I mean… These are 1200
Mr. A: “Hmm. Maybe you’re right.. Their drummer has six Shlamees… And they’re headlining Glurp-Fest in august. Sooo…”
Some reality for you at first.
They buy equipment from their band money. This is happening BEFORE they pay themselves. At least that is the impression and experience I have from most bands I know at a higher level.
This is not a lie. Bandguys have jobs. Parttime jobs. Some have fulltime jobs and work from the road because they’re some kind of internet-wizards.
This goes much further than you think and it reaches levels that you didn’t think it would. Bands that are higher on the Festival Order. Having the sickest stage setup but are behind on their own bills at home for the past 3 months. It happens and it happens regularly.
I do not know how some individuals make it work. I really don’t. But I’m very happy for them that they still have the inner fire to somehow make it work.
About the fancy gear.
Option 1: They paid themselves less or nothing for a past tour and bought something
Option 2: They have an endorsement and bought something a little cheaper than the normal price
Option 3: (IT REALLY HAPPENS RARELY AND
They got it for free.
Option 4: They actually have a good paying job and buy that stuff personally.
YOUR BAND IS A BUSINESS
Whether you like it or not. It just is.
And you’re doing yourself a huge favor if you start treating it like that.
Because no matter where you’re from – The tax authorities do not give a shit about it if you’re “just having a band”.
Bands get fucked by this. And you do not want to have that.
Inform yourself about your options in your country and just do it. Register your business. Whether if you’re alone or you set it up with the band. Just do it.
Track every dime that’s going in and out.
I’m just going to assume that your band is an official business now so
Next step. Get a Band Bank Account. As fast as possible so everything is in one place.
No one has to ask you
If your personal Bank account is
Now start setting up a simple spreadsheet for the beginning. Track every buck you’ve made or spent. With a date and what it was for. Of
This is crucial for financial stability as a band. I hope you see the analogy to an actual business.
If you don’t track stuff, how can you know you made real progress? Every step counts, no matter how small it is.
Extra Sheets For Shows
You should make extra sheets for show days. As in:
-How much money did we spend getting there and getting home?
-How many shirts, cd’s, hoodies did we sell? (separate spreadsheet for every day!!)
–What expenses do we have? (Crew, Concessions, etc.)
-What fee did we get paid?
You’ll have a balance for each day. You want that balance to be positive as often as possible.
Yes – There will be days where it won’t be.
You Can Do It!
This may already sound overwhelming. But it actually isn’t. Once you see – on paper – that you actually MAKE MONEY, it can be fun to do the bookkeeping. Once you earned yourself a couple of hundred bucks you can invest in new merch, new equipment… Wait – There’s something to say about buying equipment.
Please play a couple of more shows and sell a couple of more shirts to get the more stable guitar transmitters than shooting for the 200 bucks-stuff right away. You will be disappointed as soon as you’re standing on a slightly bigger stage. Trust me,
Wait a little longer to get the
Make smart investments.
DON’T BUY STUPID SHIT JUST BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU LOOK COOLER. (Unless it is your image to dress like pirates, or aliens or something)
Do you REALLY need those two
Do you REALLY need a new backdrop just for the sake of having a new backdrop? (please have a decent backdrop in the first place!)
Do you REALLY … (insert stuff)
There may be a day where you get the offer to play Festival XY… And they can only give you 250€. But you have a sound guy, and you need to drive 1200km, and you have to rent a van. Because – believe it or not- even if you’re a band with a little success you do not always get your costs covered 100% and you really should play that thing because you can break into the market of the Czech Republic or Finland.
You really want to have those 550 bucks you’ve spent on something stupid that the opening band last week didn’t have but you did. And you can’t stretch it from your own account because you just bought an engagement ring and you’re going to purpose next week in Sicily.
And there you are… Fucked… By stupid
OWN YOUR MERCHANDISE
Maybe you’ve already realized it. Maybe not (if not, please inform yourself).
Merchandise is where you make your money. If you just play shows and roll up with one logo shirt and your weird 4-Track-Demo from 2011 it’ll take a very long time to get to a point where the “Cashflow”-Terminology really makes sense.
I suggest you follow bands like Bring Me The Horizon or Behemoth or Der Weg
“We’re a T-Shirt-Company that happens to write music” – I don’t know who said that. If you know – please let me know.
It sounds funny but it is what it is. Your show-fees should always cover your costs and your merchandise-sales are what comes on top. Your merchandise-sales make it possible to thrive as an artist.
People expect your music to be listenable for free. So don’t be a dick and make it streamable. PLEASE.
See what you can do to OWN your merchandise. Make it unique. People like to have something unique. And don’t you dare driving to a show without bringing merch. I see people doing that and
Here comes the next To-Do. If you do not have an online shop yet… GO MAKE ONE RIGHT NOW. RIGHT THIS SECOND.
There are amazing platforms out there to do it. I LOVE Shopify.
Your band doesn’t only happen at a show. Your band happens 24/7. People can buy stuff from you without coming to a show. (This fact should fire you up. If it doesn’t – something is wrong with you and someone else should do it for you.)
I have to stress the factor of diversification again. Please make different products to buy. You rather want to make 25 shirts of one design but have four designs than having
People that are coming to your merch booth are buying stuff off Amazon and Thomann and other big retailers. They want to choose from stuff they like and don’t like.
Please treat them as customers.
So to close this for now – yes there’s a lot more to say – please think about your bands’
If you’re in
Thank you for reading!
Tell me what you want to have more of. Ask questions. Share this with your friends and please have a great day!