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Business Basics for Musicians

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Advice > Question Of The Moment

Question Of The Moment


Sideman Wages For Touring

Hey Bobby, I recently picked up your Musicians Handbook Revised.  I've found it very useful since I'm starting to get a lot of pop/rock sideman work in NYC including the opportunity to tour with a major label hopeful. My question is: What do you think is a good weekly rate to ask for, for touring? 


Hey Daniel, thanks for picking up a copy of The Musician’s Handbook Revised. You’ve taken the first step in treated your career more like a business. Be sure to take it along with you on the road for reference.


Check out Chapter Three in The Musician’s Handbook called "How To Negotiate Your Employment Agreement.


The wages you can expect from employers that have larger budgets will naturally be much greater than the compensation offered from employers with limited budgets.


When negotiating your fee, take notice of the strength of the record company for whom you’re recording, the capacity of the venue in which you are playing, the time of year in which you’re working, and the length of the tour on which you may be embarking.


Consider other factors as well: How much work will you be giving up to take on a new job? What are your personal monthly bills? How much will you net after your basic expenses? How long will you be able to survive financially after the completion of a tour? I also suggest you also contact the appropriate musician’s union, refer to the minimum scale wages, and use these as a starting point to negotiate your fee.


Unions can be found in Chapter of The Musician’s Handbook Revised.


Good luck.



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