How much do heavy metal bands earn
After “CJ” McMahon, front man of Thy Art Is Murder, threw down Parkway Drive shortly before the tour due to acute financial worries, there was great horror in the community at the fact that a thoroughly successful band like the deathcore formation that had been tours intensely, just making ends meet.
Now Derek Brewer, manager of bands like Dying Fetus, Veil Of Maya or Volumes has put the cards on the table in an editorial on metalsucks.net and has calculated in detail how much a band earns that tours 30 days in a row and 500 tickets per Sold in the evening. Brewer's example is based on a tour in which the band and crew consist of a total of 15 people. In addition, according to his own statements, he expects average fees, a more conservative merchandise sale per show, a cheap crew and cheap hotels. According to Brewer, the following list is based on a tour budget that he himself billed for in 2015.
The calculation looks like this:
$ 2000 guaranteed fee per night (30 shows) = 60.000$
$ 750 merch sales per night (30 shows) = 22.500$
Total income = around 82.500$
Merch / Commissions:
Estimated expenses for the merchandise (items, venue fees, shipping): -9.000$
Commission / management's share of the fees (around 15%) = -9.000$
Commission / share of the booker in the courses (approx. 10%) = -6.000$
Commission / management's share of net sales for merch: -2.025$
Total Commissions: $ 26,025
Output for the crew:
Tour manager / sound: $ 1,000 / week = -4000$
Merch Sellers: $ 650 / week = -2600$
Driver: $ 600 / week = -2400$
Stage Technician: $ 450 / week = -1800$
Total crew cost: $ 10,800
Vehicle and travel expenses
Cost for a van with a trailer for 32 days: -5200$
Gasoline cost on a US tour (12,660 miles, 10 miles / gallon, $ 2.50 / gallon): -3150$
Parking and toll costs: -500$
Hotels (25 nights x $ 100 / night [double bed, tape brings air mattresses]): -2500$
Total vehicle and travel cost: $ 11,350
Small light set-up, fog machine, strobe (rental): -2000$
Other costs (equipment, taxis, Uber ...): -1500$
Total cost of production: $ -3,500
Per Diems for the crew and band (daily payments, "pocket money")
$ 10.00 / day for 5 band members and 4 crew members = $ 90 / day for 32 days: -2880$
Estimated total expenses: $ 52,060
Total revenue (82.500$) minus expenses (54.555$, something probably always costs more) = $ 27,945 profit (!)
After this list, each band member would join after a month and 30 shows 5.589$ go home. Much more ($ 3000 / year (!)) Than McMahon mentioned in his reason for the exit. Sure: A band doesn't get overly rich like this and a tour of this size is often hard work, but the often six to nine month tour cycles after an album are probably sufficient to develop a solid standard of living.
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