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It's Just Business

Detailed Breakdown Of How Much A Metal Band Earns & Spends Playing To 500 People A Night

Posted by on January 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm Follow on Twitter | Follow on Instagram

A few weeks ago, we were shocked when vocalist CJ McMahon announced he was leaving Thy Art Is Murder when he revealed the band was pulling in "$16k-$18k each over 6-7 years." For one manager, the numbers didn't quite add up. Derek Brewer is a name you might not exactly be familiar with, but he has managed bands like Dying Fetus and Veil of Maya for Outerloop Managment for the better part of a decade now. He posted an incredible editorial over at MetalSucks that is absolutely worth going out of your way to read. Perhaps

The most fascinating part of the article is this detailed breakdown of all potential tour income and expenses. This breakdown assumes you are a mid-level band playing for 500 people a night with a few crew members, renting a van and a trailer. Again, this is not for a band just starting out. These are numbers for a band at the level that Thy Art Is Murder got to. Looking to "make it" in the music business? These are the type of financials you can look forward to on a 30-day tour…

Tour Income

$2,000.00 per night show guarantee (30 dates)= $60,000.00
$750.00 per night in gross merch sales (30 dates)= $22,500.00


Tour Expenses


Estimated merch expense (cost of goods, venue fees, shipping )= -$9,000.00
Management commissions of guarantee (15% gross) = -$9,000.00
Agent commissions of guarantee (10% gross) = -$6,000.00
Management commissions of NET sales of merch= -$2,025.00
Total commissions: $26,025.00

Crew Expenses: (weekly salary per week for 4 weeks)

TM/FOH $1,000.00 per week = -$4000.00
Merch seller $650.00 per week= -$2600.00
Driver $600.00 per week = -$2400.00
Stage tech $450.00 per week= -$1800.00
Total crew cost: $10,800.00

Vehicle and Travel expenses:

Estimated cost for 32 days van rent w/ trailer= -$5200.00
Estimated cost of fuel for full US tour at 12,660 miles ($2.50 gallon/10MPG) = -$3150.00
Estimated cost of tolls/parking= -$500.00
Hotels (25 nights x $100.00 per night [double bed, cots, band brings air mattress]) = -$2500.00
Total vehicle/travel cost= $11,350.00

Production Expenses:

Small light rig/fog machine/strobe rental = -$2,000.00
Misc. costs (gear, taxis, uber, incidentals) = -$1,500.00
Total Production cost s= $3,500.00

Band/Crew Per Diems:

$10.00 per day for 5 members/4 crew/ $90.00 per day total for 32 days = -$2,880.00
Total per diem cost= $2,880.00


GROSS INCOME = $82,500.00
Subtract EXPENSES- $54,555.00

Remaining Profit = $27,945.00

Amount that each of the five band members receives: $5,589.00 for the month-long tour.

Again, this assumes you are renting your vehicle, there are five band members, a driver, a front-of-house sound guy/tour manager and crew. These shouldn't be seen as hard numbers, but rather a loose reference of what to expect on the road. This only takes into account ticket sales, and not VIP sales, licensing, royalties and advances. This is just money you would make on the road.

Once again, we highly recommend heading to MetalSucks for the full analysis.

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