i have another question regarding how much to charge for a gig.

my bassist and i have been asked to play at a birthday party about 2.5 hours away from where we live. the party is 3 hours long, and we'll probably be playing for a little over 2 hours.

what would be a reasonable amount to charge?

please keep in mind i'm 18 years old, and the party isn't for a friend of mine, i've never met this person before.

thanks again!
There are 12 comments, leave a comment.
i know that if you live in new york or san francisco it would be $100 per musician hour for playing, $50 per each hour of travel after the first 12 miles, and another $50 if you have to take a digital piano and sound system. i do not know what other parts of the country pay. your gig will probably not pay those rates so if it was me i would pass.
if you're keen to do it (i.e. because you don't get that many gigs and this would be good experience), then i would say the minimum is $200-250 each and a $50 surcharge each for the travel (total $5-600).  that's assuming its just jazz piano and bass, and you don't need a pa for vocals (add another hundred bucks).  i think, depending how good and how experience you are, you could get away with asking around $800.

if you're indifferent, you might want to give it a miss unless the dollars are good (unless you think there are other benefits, e.g. opportunities to get laid etc.)
hm,  jazz,  i know several people playiing in new york and not one of them is making 100 an hour at gigs.  maybe the guys playing the dave letterman show are making that but i doubt too many others.  in boston and all its surrounding areas no pays by the hour  ever period  ... the best pick up gigs normally pay 100 to 200 dollars total for 3 to 4 hours work.  sometimes when you have a regular band that plays weddings or if you are a solo pianist you can manipulate/negotiate more.
i am just reporting about how much i and the musicians i work with get for events, not club/retaurant gigs. i do about two events per week in the summer and fall and about one per week in the winter. i also teach piano 25 hours a weeks at $60 an hour.
well jazz the person asking the question is an 18 year old playing a gig at a party.  you seem to be giving him the rates he should charge if he is a top call player in nyc.  is that really going to help him.  should he really charge the same rate as you do?
i think jazz+'s point is that doing a private event somewhere is and should be a totally different pay scale from doing bars and restaurants, most pros i know would completely agree here. hell, working in the private sector is one of the last places where any real money can be made doing live music.  

club and restaurant owners seem to think that musicians will gain enough satisfaction from just having an audience for their music that the musicians will be happy to play for next to nothing. they're fucking dicks.  

doing a private event, however, is a job that simply has to be done, and whoever is doing it has to get paid for it. it sounds and looks completely crappy to just have a dj, or worse, somebodies ipod, at your private party. whether or not the band is composed of nyc's top studio musicians may be a negotiating point for the final price tag of the show, but at the end of the day, it's still just a job that needs to be done. any event planner knows that.
hey jazz guy,

what do you feel comfortable making?  be sure to calculate your expenses:

gasoline  
wear and tear on your ride
miles on your tires, etc
travel time
food
will you be spending the night?

after those things are covered, how badly do you want to play the gig?  if you don't care too much, then charge whatever you want.  if you really want the gig for the experience or exposure, then cover your expenses and enjoy yourself.
for what it's worth, i don't think it's fair to say club and restaurant owners are bad folks.  their decisions are based on simple economics.  live music can be expensive, so it has to be profitable for the establishment to justify the expense.  and, like or or not, there are plenty of folks who enjoy playing for the fun of it, or for free drinks and/or food.  sadly, that is sometimes our competition.
well put doctor.
thank you dr. mike
here on central ave where i live we charge 500 dollars per piano minute plus twenty dollars a mile for travel and we only accept gigs that are  in our living rooms between the hours of 2pm and 11pm.  i have no idea what people who live on other roads charge but you know what if they dont want to pay i just stay in bed.
seriously jazz guy the rule in my life has always been.... charge as much as you think you can get.  the people who are hireing are mostly likely alwayse thinking (ill pay em as little as i think hell take).  if  you think the exact oppistite the result may be a fair compromise.
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