If you want to book and play paying gigs (the foundation of any successful music career), you need to have artist booking prices set in advance. It’s tempting to go with whatever amount a venue offers you when you’re just starting out, but it’s always best to have established rates that reflect the surrounding market and your fanbase.
The “Take What You Can Get” Approach
Many musicians spend entire careers taking what they can get from venues, which is not always a bad thing. If the venue tells you what they pay for artist booking prices, you should compare the rates to what other similar acts are being paid for comparable gigs. There is no harm in not negotiating and accepting the offer outright if you feel that it is fair!
If a venue asks what you charge, you need to have an artist booking price ready to go! Unfortunately, many artists second-guess their worth and end up drastically under-pricing themselves out of worry that the venue will cancel on them if they ask too much. If you plan on making your music into a career and full-time job, you need to take another approach.
The Right Artist Booking Prices
When choosing a 9-5 job, most people start by figuring out what salary they need to live on. Then, they search for jobs that can satisfy that salary requirement. Musicians should be doing the same if they are working full-time playing music. How much do you need to live off of, including travel expenses and equipment, and make ends meet? You might soon realize that 2-hour coffee shop gigs are not enough to live off of. Many of the most successful career musicians find creative gigs that come with a higher price tag attached, like ones at schools, grant-funded concerts, libraries, community events and workshops.
Setting Your Artist Booking Prices
Now that you know how much you need to live off of, you need to determine how much you can fairly charge for your services and how many gigs you would need to play a month to make the two meet in the middle. First, consider your skill. How good are you compared to other musicians in your community? Are you the best at your instrument? Are you the most popular musician in a certain genre? Supply and demand come into play when pricing yourself locally.
Next, you should consider your experience level. How long have you been doing what you are doing? Are you more or less experienced than other local musicians? When factoring your experience in, remember that who gave you the experience can matter just as much as how much experience you have. Next, you should also consider the work volume in your area. Are there many full-time musicians where you live and opportunities for them to work?
Finally, remember that every artist is constantly refining their booking prices. If you aren’t sure what to charge or find yourself changing your quotes often, don’t overthink things!
Work with the Professionals at ECHE Music
At ECHE Music, we help independent Christian recording artists brand themselves, find and engage their unique fanbase, and make money with their music. To join our community, please visit our website.