Misha: "just have fun with it"

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by Hollowway, Mar 15, 2018.

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  1. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    [MOD EDIT: This thread has been merged with 'Making money touring?']


    So, on Facebook Fred ("the Shred" Brum) shared the Ultimate Guitar interview with Misha, where Misha said that he can't make enough money in Periphery to live, and needs supplemental income. But, it seems there's some debate as to whether that's generally true for all modern metal bands. Alain (who used to post on here) said, "If you can pack a club with a size of 1000 in any city you go to, then you can charge a guarantee of 20K per show. That is the truth no matter what he or anyone else says. Then you play 20 shows per month and make 400K. 200K is what you keep after touring expenses. 130K is profit for the band. You do that 8 months out of the year and each band member profits over 200K oper year and only has to work for 8 months with 4 months off and 10 days off per month. There is no excuse in todays market. You can still get rich, you just have to have a draw and actually tour. Now take my numbers and imagine a band who can sell out places with capacities of 10,000 or bands that have less than 5 members. Either Periphery doesnt have a live draw or they simply dont want to tour anymore and this is their way of telling booking agents and clubs that they will start asking for more money."

    I've never been in a band big enough to compare with Periphery (we were lucky to make a few hundred a night playing mostly covers), so I have no reference. But, 1000 people doesn't sound like a super difficult number to get to. So is this true? Like, can you make a lot of money touring? I always thought touring was mostly promoting, and not likely to make a huge amount of money. But, with music streaming (and a lack of album sales) is this now the way it is?
     
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  2. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    It depends on how you tour.

    1. 15 seater and a trailer versus bandwagon versus bus
    2. Sleeping in the van or at friends with only the odd motel/hotel stop versus minimal rooms for the band versus a room per member
    3. bringing crew (photographer, guitar/drum tech, merch person, driver) versus doing it all yourselves or with 1 extra person
    4. Selling a lot of merch versus a little (and the fact that some venues take a cut of your merch sales, which is *insane*)

    It also depends on what your expenses are at home. Do you have a car at all, if so how nice? Do you live in an expensive area? Do you spend way too much on things you don't need then complain that you don't make enough money?

    I can't answer that for Misha or any other members of other bands. I can completely agree with the idea that if you want to make a *decent* living in the music business, you need to diversify how you're getting paid.

    If our band can make enough where no members have band bills to pay, I'm going to be really excited. If we can do better then that, I will consider every effort since joining a smashing success.
     
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  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    >not making enough money to live
    >owns porsche and fancy pants watches
    :scratch:
    Unless lightbulb produces his w-2 to say otherwise, I'd assume he's making pretty decent money between the constant touring and whatever cut he gets from jackson/horizon/bkp/merch/spotify, etc.
    1000 people is a lot of bodies, I don't know if periphery can consistently pack shows in like that.
    Besides I don't think Alain ever toured with any group big enough to take his word as gospel.
     
  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    He's a businessman dude, a very busy one and cleverly utilising his popularity as a musician to make his business ventures successful. Periphery in general are the perfect model of how to make money in the modern music industry - diversifying. And this is the point he is trying to get across, what the interview was about. Records/touring isn't going to cut it anymore.

    I've been hearing for a long time that bands make money from touring+merch these days rather than records, so I guess so.

    I'd love to analyse a complete breakdown of income and expenses from a bunch of bands, because as a businessman myself whilst I understand expenses really add up to a huge degree, I honestly am very surprised at some of these bands claims about not making money. I know traditional record deals were a bitch to recoup from, but many bands now seem much more sensible about deals and record production, and are still selling a ton of records even if it's way less than before. But everyone seems to agree there is no money in it, so I believe it.
     
  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    There are so many factors at play here that it's impossible to really say for sure whether someone can make real money from touring.

    Also, if you have a minute, look up Alain's posts here [username: Leonardo7], yeah, I probably won't treat what he says as gospel either. :lol:
     
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  6. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    Yeah, it does seem questionable. Perhaps he just doesn't manage his money well. Who knows. But if that were the case, I would probably get a cheaper car and more generic watches.
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Read my post above :) His money doesn't come 'from the band'. The full interview with Rick is well worth watching
     
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  8. Stilicho

    Stilicho SS.org Regular

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    Watched this yesterday and it's a great interview.

    Still find Holloway's points interesting though, hopefully more people can chime in.
     
  9. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    Try touring on any level and see all the money you'll soon be rolling in...
     
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  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    There are a lot of layers to this situation.

    I've been in only a couple almost-seriously touring bands. To say that it's a lot of work to throw together a DIY tour would be an understatement. It's a lot of phone calling and tracking people down and that's not even dealing with flaky musicians yet.

    If you just want to tour and play and tour and play, then you will lose money, guaranteed. Not many venues are willing to pay even a penny to a touring original band if they don't have to. Some places might think that they're being extra kind by offering you a bag of popcorn and a toilet. As far as merch goes, you and your bandmates might end up giving most of it away, so selling those $7 shirts at $15/each and coming back from touring with an entire box of small and half a box of medium shirts, because you didn't understand that people aren't all an even distribution of sizes, means that you lost a little money on merch as well.

    Then there's the more-preapred tour. Say you aren't the only one making phone calls, and you actually have your band sort of organized with google calendars synchronized and open-source contacts lists and you have a decent idea what sort of merch will sell well and you know which venues to play at for which reasons, and say your band has just enough name recognition to get your foot in the door at said venues... Then, it is possible to make an income from touring, but it's still going to be rough - somewhat for other reasons. The more people come to see your band, the more shenanigans you get into with people trashing/stealing your stuff, people assaulting each other during shows, band mates getting stupid, etc.

    I really think it sounds unrealistic for an indie band to make $400k/month even in the dream scenario, but if you get on a decent roll, I could see $20k/month being a realistic expectation, but, in most cases, you are going to have a vehicle break down, you are going to lose whatever most expensive piece of band equipment you have, and someone in the band is either going to be arrested and need to be bailed out, or be injured and need to be rushed to the ER. So your $20k minus unexpected expenses is more like $500, then split that four or five ways and it will seem like you made the worst financial decision of your life by going on tour. But, honestly, if you are enjoying yourself, and you don't have dependents at home, then it's worth it. Maybe I'm overly cynical and/or have shit luck, but that's my take in a nutshell.
     
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  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've toured a grand total of once - and it was a very small, diy, frugal kind of venture: Sleeping on promoters floors and in the van, carrying a minimum of gear, no crew, just four dudes crammed into one vehicle and getting by with what we've got. Of all the bands I've played for this was the most popular, and sold a decent amount of merch, lots of vinyl and shirts and stuff going for reasonable prices. But it was clearly a loss financially, no matter how you stretch it.
     
  12. Womb raider

    Womb raider Drink from the goblet, the goblet of gore

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    I've had an opportunity to speak in depth with a guitarist from a well known DM band how being a musician isn't as lucrative as most people think.
    For him, making records and the recording process was pretty much a wash with the costs being involved. The upside is this gives them new material to tour with. On tour, management and promoters get a healthy cut so merch is a big source of income.
    Most of these guys supplant their income with other means, such as skype lessons when they aren't touring. Any other endorsements can go a long way, especially things like free guitars which is a huge expense.
    Compound that with the fact you could be playing in bumblefuck USA as a niche metal genre band on a Tuesday night, good luck getting a draw.
    Packing a club with 1000 people on a nightly basis is not easy even if your name is pretty recognizable. I've seen 3 of the "big 4" bands playing to a half empty venue on a weeknight.
     
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  13. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Exactly. When I saw Anthrax, there were maybe 200 people there. Maybe it was a slow night for them, but, being the fourth biggest band in thrash, I expected more of a turnout.

    Let's be realistic here. No matter how good your band is, it is not going to pull as many people as Anthrax, in general. Metal isn't as popular as it was, and even if you are the most popular rookie band, you'll still start out as a rookie band. If you plan out a tour, there is no way in hell that you are going to be able to get ~1000 butts in seats consistently 5-6 nights/week. I'm not buying it.

    I support bands when they come through my area. Like, a lot. Other people who go out to local concerts have told me many times that they are impressed with how I'm at every show. When a death metal band or prog metal band comes through town, I get psyched. They come play to a crowd of sometimes 6-7 people, and I enjoy the hell out of the show. Chances are that I paid $10 or less to get in. Chances are that ticket sales were under $100 in revenue. Chances are that these bands didn't have a deep-pocket sponsor to pad their revenue. So, they probably just played their asses off for nothing more than the fact that I, along with maybe a couple other people, enjoyed the hell out of the show.

    Granted, I live in the middle of nowhere, but it was absolutely no different in Indianapolis, nor in Detroit. The average touring band coming through town playing on a weekday night would expect to play for <100 people. I saw freaking Dream Theater, after Awake, one of their most acclaimed albums, play in a parking lot in Detroit to a crowd of maybe 70-80 people. It was awesome, but keep in mind that this was a signed band with a syndicated radio hit playing in a city with a large metal base at a time when metal was still cool, and it was a pretty well promoted show. If your band now is in the same shoes DT was in then, playing the same sort of show, I think you'd expect to see maybe 2/3rds of that crowd at best, so maybe 50 people.

    Say your new band is reasonably successful for a metal band, and you are playing shows like the above 3 nights a week, plus 2 bigger weekend shows where you open up for different bands with stronger followings, and you're making, in terms of revenue including merch, $500 for weeknight shows and $2500 for weekend shows. I think, honestly, that's pretty much on the edge of realistic. $6k/week. That's for the entire band and before expenses. Say our promoters take, on average, roughly half. Now you are at $3k/week. Split that up four ways, and say you set half of your income aside for the IRS. You're at about $400/week...on a banner week. Now throw in a couple shitty weeks where you lose money and mostly mediocre weeks where you make half that, and you're looking, more realistically at $200/week per band member, for your freshman tour, if everything goes spectacularly.

    Or, if you have my luck, your tour van breaks down, your singer has an epiphany and abandons your band one night, your speaker cab fries itself, and someone spills beer on your pedalboard. You successfully toured for only 8 weeks, made $1600, but spent $1100 on van repairs and $750 replacing/repairing broken gear, so you really just lost $250. But you had a hell of a time.
     
  14. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    People here also need to realize that metal bands are a small market compared to rock, hip hop and pop music.

    Also, who here thinks guitarists in touring bands need to buy a guitar a year? If you're doing that, frankly you need to re-assess your priorities.

    Touring is a break-even or loss event for most bands at the regional level, because those bands have bills to pay whether they're on the road or not. That's why some bands try to do as much themselves as possible.
     
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  15. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Some of these numbers, frankly, don't make sense.

    1. "pack a club with a size of 1000." I don't think you realize how hard this is to do. For one, the "big" venues that book touring metal bands in town, that arent stadiums or arenas, aren't a heck of a lot bigger than that - the Orpheum in Boston is 2700 capacity, the House of Blues is 2500, and I've seen Opeth, Satriani, Dream Theater, and Steven Wilson fail to sell them out. The Middle East, what I would subjectively call the "best" venue for unsigned metal in the city, has its largest stage at capacity of 575.
    2. "charge a guarantee of $20k a show." To do that, if you're selling 1,000 tickets, you would need to have a ticket price of $20 to merely cover your retainer, without covering other expenses for the club. To split 50-50 with the band, you're talking $40 a ticket, and more realistically $50 since we know the bands don't have an equal amount of negotiating power here. Now, when's the last time you paid $50, or even $20, for an independent band? Looking at the Middle East again, tonight's show has general admission tickets for $12. The next show with a musician I recognize is Stu Hamm and his solo band tomorrow night, and they're selling tickets in kind of an interesting manner, $25 for one, or buy-one-get-one for 2. Either way, this is a 575 person venue, so even if every single person bought one individually and didn't take advantage of the BOGO pricing, IF he sold out, the venue would see a max of $14,375 in revenue, and if they split evenly, Stu would get a little more than $7k. That's assuming you're the only band playing, and you don't also have to share the bill with another act, who will ALSO want to get paid.
    3. 20 shows a month. Ok, but that means you're playing a different city every night, which means in addition to the show, you and your band are also driving to a city far enough away that you can sell 1,000 tickets there, and not have already cannibalized all your fans who just saw your show the night before in a different city. So, one hour set, an hour of breakdown and setup at either end, and let's say a 5 hour drive... 8 hours of "work" we'll say. Incidentally, 20 shows a month and 1,000 tickets a show means you're playing for 20,000 fans a month. To keep that up for 8 months out of the year, you need 160,000 people to come out to see you live. That, to me, doesn't sound like an independent band.
    4. Touring expenses, profits, etc. These are all estimations, and unsubstantiated. I'd love to see where you're getting them.

    So, if the best metal venue in town for independent bands holds 575 and charges $12 a head, and this is Boston, a city where we have tons of people and everything is expensive, how do you expect to get a $20k guarantee from a venue once, much less 160 nights a year??
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    I saw periphery a few years ago at station 4 (a smaller venue in st. paul) and the place was packed with maybe 200 people. They were touring with Scale the Summit and Fair to Midland (who broke up literally because they couldn't make any money touring).
    I saw Mastodon a few years ago on their Hunter tour with Opeth and they had the place filled with people (capacity is around 3500).
    The first time I saw Dream Theater with Scale the Summit there was maybe 500 people in the audience (capacity at Roy Wilkins is 5000).
    I saw Muse at Target Center (it seats close to 20,000)-they had the place packed.
    Trivium and Slipknot played the Xcel center years ago on co-headlining tour (this is shogun era trivium) and had the place damn near packed(which fits close to 20,000 people). Some metal and rock bands definitely have the draw and can pull 1000+ people in certain areas, but I highly doubt they can do it consistently, especially one as niche as Periphery.

    I think we all get that touring and selling records is a very outdated way of trying to make money in this day and age, and that bands have to diversify (hence why in my other post I mentioned him getting cuts from merch/endorsements/streaming). That's not in question, the thing that's bugging me (and obviously other people in this thread) is the number of fans needed to show up to each venue to be profitable.
    So based off the monthly listeners/number of followers on Spotify alone (247,734 and 159,633 respectively) and assuming that they actually get 250k people to show up to their shows at 20$ a ticket. that's 5 mil in gross revenue. assuming the venues/promoters take their cuts (we'll say periphery gets 25% of the cut), then they're looking at 1.25mil for the whole band (not including merch) which breaks down to 200k per person in the band. On the flipside, let's say they get a quarter of the followers to show up at the same ticket price(40k*20) and now they're looking at 30K gross per person in the band, which is definitely not a livable wage, especially if you live in DC, and bought a porsche/some fancy watches.

    Granted this is all just assumptions/extrapolations since I can't find any hard sales data on their tours.
     
  17. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Wait, how did we go from Periphery playing with two other bands for 200 people to them playing to 250k people? Is that assuming they play 1250 shows a year?! Also, $20/ticket split with two other bands is less than $7 per person per band...I'm not following the maths...but oddly get basically the same result. :lol:

    By my count:

    200 people per show
    3 bands per show
    $20 per ticket
    ~200 shows/year
    200 people x 200 shows x $20 / 3 bands = $266 666.67 per band per year.

    Say the promoters and venues take a flat rate of half, and your operating expenses to make the tour happen are roughly $20k, then you have four people in the band, and you have to set aside 50% of your income for the IRS.

    ((($266 666.67 / 2) - $20 000) / 4) / 2 = $14 166.67 take home
     
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  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, once you start to look at the numbers, there's essentially no way you can make a living wage as a band on the road most nights of the year unless you have thousands of people coming to every show you play, and that's not the sort of success your typical guitarist can realistically hope to achieve.

    Not that there's any guarantee I would have found my way into a critically successful touring band anyway, but the fact that there's no money in it anymore is a big part of the reason I never tried to treat music as anything more serious than a personal creative outlet, and instead focused on my professional career. I'd like to retire one day, you know?
     
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  19. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Well, what you guys are saying makes way more sense. When I looked at those numbers I started to think maybe I should quit my day job and start touring. :lol: It's a sad state of affairs, for sure, but hopefully musicians will figure out ways to work around the loss of album sales, and other changes that make life difficult.
     
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  20. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Yeah if you look Alain was never the brightest bulb on the christmas tree... so not surprised his numbers don't add up :lol:

    Also the endorsement / product development / production revenue is exactly what Misha was talking about as far as additional revenue to make a living. He has been very good at building that stuff up and using the band's success to create additional revenue streams to be able to live well.
     
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