“You’re gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it.” By Doc Brown

Alright, now that we’re past the death threats from douche bags, lets move on to something new. A short conversation I had yesterday on the Facebook page raised a good question in my mind. How much should a band require as a guarantee to play a show?

I know, every promoter in the world just had a fucking heart attack, because how dare they pay the band!?

Fuck you guys, get the fuck out.

Bands need money, it’s that simple. They need to pay for gas, food, merch, equipment, transportation, and sometimes court-fees. Promoters have a bad habit of expecting a band to pay to play. That shit is getting real old my friends, so stop with that shit already.

If you book a band that lives three hours away from the venue, you could at least throw them a reasonable amount of gas money. Handing them $10.00 and telling them to have a great night is not a reasonable amount. Booking a show takes money. You need to pay for the bands, the venue, the sound, the lights, and someone to run everything. If you can’t afford to pay the bands you book, don’t book shows. 

Why should a band drive hours to play a show where only the promoter makes money? What does the promoter actually do, what is their talent? Often times a band does all the promotion, so why exactly are they getting a dime of the money that bands bring in?

I want to know right now what you guys think a reasonable guarantee is for a local band. 


11 thoughts on ““You’re gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it.” By Doc Brown

  1. its pretty simple $50 outside of your city. $100 out of state/ 3 hours or more drive.

  2. With gas prices the way they are. $15 per 20 miles (one way) driven. This will guarantee the band, assuming one (large) vehicle is being taken, can get to and from the venue. Figure $10 for food/drink, or the venue can not be assholes and offer complimentary drink (and food if they offer it) to the band(s). Of course this should be bare minimum, and is quite conservative. For a band of 5, that’s only 2 items each off the dollar menu!

    You also mentioned merch. This should pay for itself, and still be able to bring in a small profit. My band was hand making the shirts, selling them for $5 and making a $2 profit off each shirt. That’s almost 50% profit! And we could still buy the materials to make more as we sold out of what we had.

    Great article. Just giving my 2c.

  3. hello my name is mike. i play drums for deleted by god, and every time we book a show ourselves we try and give each band at least 80 bucks or more. so i can tell you that if the venue pays us 400 dollars and we have 4 bands, we will take 140 maybe 150 and split the rest up. so each band leaves with about 83 dollars. most of the bands we play with only have to drive about 1 hour maybe an hour and a half to play with us. and the reason we take 140-150 is cause we make the fliers bring our p.a. system. our vocal mics and drum mics. i myself usually end up running sound for every band until we play. i think 80- to 90 bucks is fair guarantee. what do you think?

  4. Promoters making money off a show??? You make me laugh. (but you’re talking about promoters for big shows, not the kind I book). But anyway, when it comes to shows I book, I often have an out-of-town band on the bill, and I have in mind a certain amount I’m going to pay them. After I pay the out-of-town band, the remaining money is divided between the local bands.

    So, I don’t think a local band should have a set “guarantee” when they’re playing in their own town (unless the band is huge and will definitely draw lots of people, that’s an exception to what I’m saying). I always pay local bands some amount, even if the turnout is crap, even if it has to come out of my own pocket. Of course they should ask a guarantee if they’re playing in another city or out of state. But requiring a guarantee in their own town (if they’re a fairly new band or haven’t established a huge fanbase of people who will actually attend), could end up hurting the band, as a show is always a gamble, and I choose lineups carefully to ensure the show will draw enough to pay the bands amounts that are satisfactory to me and the bands. If a local band asks for a guarantee and I’m not sure the show will draw enough to pay them that amount along with what I need to pay the other bands, I won’t put them on the show.

  5. Promoters of ANY SIZE who don’t make money off of a show should not be a promoter. Absolutely a band should demand a guarantee when they know and the Promoter knows that they will draw. If the promoter doesnt know or have the confidence, or know how to market or god forbid, actually ‘promote’ a show or band, then they shouldnt be trying to be in the business. they are doing the bands and the venues a disservice for doing so… this is evident by looking at the above post and the fact that bands have come to accept this! When a real ‘promoter’ puts together a show, they BUY talent—pay what they’re worth and invest out of their own pocket to make sure, along with the bands, that a good marketing & PR plan is in place to get the best draw. When a promoter invests in a show, you know damn well, theyre going to work their asses off to make a PROFIT AFTER EXPENSES…You know what happens when promoters don’t make any money? venues dont ask them back and don’t let them book for the venue.

    Everyone thinks that they can be a promoter now a days.

    Absolutely you can ask for a guarantee if you are a good and respected band, havent played within 90 miles in the last month, you know you have significant fan base there, you have multiple show offers that you’ll participate in the promoter’s pre-show marketing and promotions plan and you’re confident that they venue and promoter will actually do their job. I think nothing of negotiating a $150 guarantee plus food for a show 90 miles or more away. Promoters need to stop thinking that they are doing the bands a favor, good bands are doing you a favor by playing your show instead of another.

    This further backs the notion and need for professionalism in the industry…and another thing—i hate the use of ‘local describing the ‘scene’…if you think small, you will be small. If you think locally, you’ll stay right where you are at. Don’t support local metal, support METAL period…support Indiana Metal, support Ohio Metal…those are the relationships that you’ll need to make so you can stop playing the same f’ing venues, shows for the same fans and same bands in the audience.

  6. Could not agree more, “your mom”. I’ve only worked with one that poured themselves 150% into the show, and was happy to walk away with just $2. Made an excellent flier, set up everything from sound and lights to how to sell more merch, and did mad amounts of street promo all out of his pocket. Unfortunately he is no longer working as a promoter but he holds the example of what these “promoters” running around NEED to be doing as opposed to the laughable amount of work they are calling acceptable.

  7. Ok, I wasn’t even going to dignify that garbage you wrote with a reply, but first- when I said “I don’t make money,” means I, personally, do not take money generated from the show and put it into my pocket. It goes to the bands. You read it as “the show doesn’t make money.” If that were the case, what would be the point?? If somebody booked a show that made no money, their “booking career” would be over after a couple of those fiascos. As for your personal attacks on me:

    You don’t know me, you don’t know about Heart Like a Lion Booking, and you obviously don’t know about the scene in Detroit. You accuse me of “only thinking of local,” when almost all my shows have an out-of-town or out-of-state band. I’m not a person to brag, but the shows I book are a lot of fun, have great bands playing, people buy drinks and the venue makes money, people pay at the door and the bands make money, and people have a good time and make new friends and new connections that help their bands or whatever it is they do. Try attending a show before you start acting like Internet Tough Guy.

    And guess what, dickhead, a promoter can be good at what she does without having to throw her personal funds into the door money. The shows generate enough money to pay the bands amounts that satisfy them, and satisfy me. There can be specific reasons and cases for putting up personal money for a show, but generally it’s not needed. If you feel the need to pay cash out of your own pocket for every show, I’d call that “lacking confidence” much more than when I refuse to put several bands that all have large guarantees on a show because I’m not sure the show can make enough money to meet all those guarantees. Which would you prefer: I tell you I can’t put your band on the show because you want x amount of $ and there are already multiple out-of-town bands on the show, or I promise you I can make your guarantee but at the end of the night, tell you, “sorry, the show didn’t draw enough.” I’m all about underpromising and overdelivering. Little talk, all action.

    You make me laugh so hard when you say I don’t promote. Tell me, have you ever seen me at a show?? Do you go to them? Where are you from anyway, who are you?? I don’t know the answers to those questions, so I’m going to keep the personal attacks to a minimum. But, I know you haven’t seen me because you would have seen me handing out flyers. Do you go to tattoo shops or record stores around the Detroit area?? You would have seen my flyers at them.

    Have you ever talked to a band that’s booked with me?? This is about working with bands and helping each other out, and creating a great time for everybody. There are several bands that I book on a regular basis, and I know they have many good things to say about what I do.

    So, the moral of the story, know what you’re talking about before you talk shit, or you just make yourself look stupid. Quit hiding behind your keyboard, and come to a show. Tell me how you feel afterward about what you said about me. You’ll be on the guest list. Eat my period chunks, lick my asshole, and have a wonderful night, you macho pricks. (I hope you start spreading rumors about me, it’ll really help get my name out even more)


  8. is this chick talking about me? i don’t know who she is nor am i talking about her—i am talking about promoters IN GENERAL…

    Who’s talking shit? i am talking basic business. Music industry business. Common industry practices. I don’t know one legitimate promoter who doesnt invest his own money—that’s not lacking confidence at all, its called investing in a product that will return a profit. Every label does it, every promoter does it, every festival organizer does it. Hell, how much does Kevin Lyman invest of his own dough before the sponsors come on board?

    You have to spend money to make money. It’s the money that you don’t spend that costs you the most. I’ve put quite a bit of dough into a little local band that just signed a big record contract and I have and continue to invest my own money along with the label’s money to grow this band to their potential. When they play the machine shop, I buy radio ad time, I buy facebook ads, I do press releases…basic marketing and PR that any business, label, venue, would do…and who remembers when we used to have the burlesque dancers between sets when i did put together a few shows to showcase said band?? Well, those investments paid off…Flyers are only one small portion of an overall marketing/PR plan for a band. Im online daily to monitor ad analytics determining who are our fans, what city theyre from, which ad they are clicking on, what time of day they’re being clicked on so that i can make better decisions in allocating our marketing and promotion dollars…and if geotargeting my ads to the zip codes where shows are being held would be worth that extra $1 per 1000 impressions, i’d make that decision then… Flyers? ha.

    I’d hardly say, and any business theory, or hell, business period, that investing money is because you lack confidence…that just goes against everything we all know about business. who would invest into something if they’re NOT confident in it?. You don’t invest into something if you’re not confident in achieving an ROI. Think the stock market, or any business for that matter. You invest to achieve results. If you invest in somethiing and youre not confident, youre an idiot

    Geez. who wants to start a rumor? why the hell would i want to do that? what the hell would that accomplish? please, local bands need all the help that they can get. I hope you continue doing what you’re doing….please. But please, you’ll do everyone a favor if you do it to make a profit—because when you make more, the bands make more and you teach them a little bit about business in the meantime.

    No interest in coming to your shows to ‘see what a good time everyone is having’. Its about making money, honey. for you and for the bands…and legitimizing the business. Everyday, i deal with 25 year old novices booking global tours and label heads, and they;re learning a few things from this businesswoman.

    ‘…a promoter can do a good job without investing her own money…” wait, didnt you say that you don’t make any money? how is that a good job?

    In case you’re not talking about me…my bad. BUt i sure the hell wasnt talking about you.

    eat your period chunks? classy.

  9. oh yeah, and i ‘obviously don’t know about the scene in Detroit’…lol

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