General Question

plasticpen's avatar

What percentage does the venue take when hosting a gig?

Asked by plasticpen (43points) March 10th, 2009 from iPhone

I may have the opportunity to host some bands at my house because I have a lot of space. If we were to sell some cheap cans of beer and collect a cover charge, what is a normal cut for “the house” to take?

Note: this is not an opportunity to dispute the legality or “ethics” (“dude this shouldn’t be about money mannn!”), I just want to know the normal percentage of the revenue that the venue takes.

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8 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

In my experience, the cover goes to the band, and you make money on your alcohol or food sales. Since you aren’t a regular establishment (and what you are doing, if unlicensed, may be illegal), you may be able to negotiate a cut of the cover. You have to do it with the band, though. You’ll negotiate whatever you and the band agree to, but just be aware that they probably aren’t used to sharing it. You’ll have to do a lot of persuading, if that’s the case.

Jack79's avatar

It depends on many factors, including how big the band or the venue is. In London most places would not pay a single penny to up-and-coming bands, and sometimes the musicians might even have to pay for their own beer.

I’ve never played on commission, there was always a standard fee I’d get (plus sales from CDs, T-shirts etc) and the venue would keep everything it made on tickets or drinks.

It is often common to charge a ticket which either goes to the band (if the place normally wouldn’t charge a ticket), or split 50–50. But I’ve also seen 90–10 for the venue. Actually I’ve seen 14–1 (on a $15 ticket).

So basically there is no rule. If this was my place, and for an unknown local band I would:
1) let them have all their drinks for free (and maybe also some gfs, roadies etc)
2) let them set the ticket price and split that 50–50, but of course I’d be making my profit off the booze.

dynamicduo's avatar

I was going to give you an answer similar to the two above me, but then I saw that you say you will be hosting the bands at your house. If you mean your personal house, and you would be selling cans of alcohol presumably without a liquor license, this is a totally different game than having a pub downtown and asking the same title question you have asked.

I’m not being a nanny here, and this is not about ethics, it’s about law. I first just want to warn you that if you’re caught selling to underage kids or likely without a liquor license (depends on where you live), there are fines and/or jail time. The reason I say this is because typically the house makes the money off of alcohol sales and not off of door money, unless you somehow negotiate a way to pay the band a set price and take all door and alcohol revenue in. Additionally, promotion is a critical portion of making money with shows, and it’s hard to promote an event that’s in a basement of a house, not to mention these events sometimes get the cops coming and that’s when you find out an underage girl you didn’t even serve is drinking her boyfriend’s beer and you are in trouble.

OK, we’ve gotten that out of the way. Is your house the proper house to host loud live music? Is it a detached home on a large property? What is the seating and parking capacity? Who will be promoting the event? Are these people your friends? These are all factors in pricing and revenue distribution. Again, there are multiple avenues here: it’s different if you’re hosting 10 close friends versus 30 versus 60 random people, and this should affect your price point. Of course you’ll always sell drink above your cost, but if people will be drinking all night long, make the gouge much less than if they’re only buying one or two drinks. Or look into getting a keg for more profit. Be prepared that drunk people and music may mean damage done to your house (puke, spills) so you don’t want to end up in the hole after cleaning up your place!

50% of tickets and booze profits seems like a solid bet for a house party, provided the band gets free drinks which may cancel the savings out. If that’s the case, move down to 75% door profits for the band and they pay for booze.

cwilbur's avatar

The concept you want is a “house concert.” You might find some tips and pointers by googling for that.

And I concur entirely with what people say about selling alcohol: Don’t. Even with a license you’re opening yourself up to a world of legal hurt.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course, while selling alcohol is probably illegal at a house party, a lot of people do it. I don’t know what kind of band you will be hosting, but if it is a band that caters to teens and twenties, then the kids will probably be expecting beer. Fraternities hold these kind of house parties all the time. I think they charge at the door for the party, but the beer is technically free. You could tell the band that this portion of the ticket price is for the beer and the rest is for them.

Personally, being a musician, I’d rather see most of the money go to the band, and you keep enough to cover time and expenses and make a little money. But that’s up to you and the band.

gailcalled's avatar

I need new glasses. I thought you were hosting a pig.

robmandu's avatar

Alcohol would definitely need to be on tap for a pig gig.

rtgarden's avatar

usually venues charge flat rate for the room, and sometimes offer security and parking, pubs and concert halls do their own arrangement with the band manager and the road manager cashes out the agreed amount, it varies by how much draw you have.

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