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Oh, Sleeper Guitarist Explains Why ‘Mid-Level Bands’ Make No Money

Oh, Sleeper guitarist Shane Blay recently took to his Facebook to explain why ‘mid-level bands’ make little money on the road. You can find his take on the situation below:

“Hey Everyone,

For the past 5 years my brothers in Oh, Sleeper and myself have sacrificed our lives, our time, relationships, birthdays, holidays, health(haha) to travel around and play shows for our fans. Not to say that isn’t been a fun ride!

I would just like to bring a few things to our fans attention:

I would like to show you guys an average day in finances for a “mid-level” band like us. Im going to breakdown the average monetary in and outs of a day on tour.
On tour bands have two ways to make money. Guaranties, and Merchandise.

On tour bands have big bills. The biggest are: Managers, Booking agent, Merch Rates, Merch bills, Food, and of course.. the Gas bill.
Our last headliner tour was an east coast run with 3 other bands. The average guaranty per band was 300$ per band, and around 300$ in merch. This was the average for all 4 bands, for the entire tour.

So we have a 600$ gross income per night. Now lets break this down.
Merchandise is bough, printed, and shipped on the bands dollar. We print most our shirts on American Apparel. They obviously offer the best fitting shirts, and kids are smart about looking good now days. They wont sell unless you have slim fitting, soft shirts. The demand for better quality shirts from bands is higher in last few years.

American Apparel shirts are very pricey to print. usually $7.50 a shirt. More for v-necks, 3/4 sleeve shirts, etc.
We sell our shirts for 15$ at our shows, UNLESS we are on tour with a headliner that demands we price match them.
SO $15 – $7.50 = $7.50. So half is profit. So out of the 300$ the band made in merch, they owe 150$ to the printer.

BUT HOLD ON! Merch rates!
Most nice venues have merch rates, we have seen them be as high 32% gross. Usually they are 25%.
—–
So out of the initial $300 in merch the band made. 25% goes to venue. Thats $75.
$300(gross) – $150(merch cost) – $75(merch venue rate) = $75 (Net profit for the band.)
BUT the breakdown doesnt stop there. If the band has a manager, he takes 15% of Net profit of merch.
SO MERCH TOTAL PER NIGHT:
$75 X .15 = $11.25
$75 – $11.15 = $63.75( TOTAL Net profit in merch for the band.)
——–
Guaranties:
The breakdown in deductions from this money is: 15% to Manager, 10% to booking agent.
$300(gross guaranty) – $45(managers cut 15%) – $30(booking agents cut 10%) = $225
Average Gas bill is around $150. some days way better some days way worse. We have done 17 hour drives..leaveing show and showing up to next one right before we play…many times. Those are a bit more expensive. Most west coast tours we do the average gas bill is around 200-250…but ill use 150 for this example.
$225(guaranty after manage and agent deductions) – $150(gas bill) = $75

We have 6 people on tour, our 5 Guys, and our merch guy “The maze”. We give everyone $10 bucks a day to eat on. (This isnt enough when your 6 4 and 200lbs like micah and i by the way)
6 people x $10 = $60
$75 – $60 = $15
$15 Total net profit in Guaranties.
——-
$63.75(Net merch) + $15(Net guaranty) =
$78.75 for the band for the night. out of $600 gross.
if you divide that 6 ways its $13.12 a day per band member.
——-
This doesnt include hotel costs. which are usually 50-60 bucks. Most bands dont get hotels or shower to save money to pay for phone bills.
This does not include Tires/Van payment/Oil changes/Van upkeep registration bla bla/Trailer tires/Gear/etc.
This doesnt include taxes. This doesnt include ROAD TOLLS. Which in the northeast can add up to 20-40bucks a day.

Thanks for reading.

MERCH RATES HAVE TO GO.
STOP STEALING OUR CDs PLEASE.
WE DONT MAKE MONEY WHEN YOU BUY IT FROM STORES, COME TO SHOWS.
WE DONT MAKE MONEY FROM LABELS.
BUY MERCH FROM US AT SHOWS IF YOU LIKE WHAT WERE DOING.”

Comments

  • http://www.myspace.com/Chris_Kandi_Chaos ChrisChaos

    i like where these dudes are coming from
    We only STEAL to make sure the music is good.
    and because maybe your music is good.
    if we dont go to your shows its probably because
    we are busy or you guys just suck. Theres my two cents.

  • EL ROV

    ya, its fucked. I feel his pain. I’m about to head out on a dirt tour myself.

    one solution i can think of is to play at parties/ Keggers. Venues, Taxes, Toll roads and all these things are just too much to deal with. And then some label puts you into debt and you’re starving.

    Get a party going 20 minutes from a downtown and you can gross $1000. Do this a few times a tour and maybe come back with some change in your pockets.

  • TheDude

    Mid-level band such as “Oh, Sleeper”? I’ve never even heard of them before reading this article. When I think “mid-level” band, I think bands that headline bars/clubs that draw a capacity of 500 – 1,000 or open up for a big band on an arena/amphitheater tour or something.

  • http://www.1punt5.nl Da-peeR

    He’s 100% right, this biz is not as pretty as people like to think

  • EL ROV

    and wasn’t this guy in BTAM? i bet they are making some dough these days :)

  • TattooPanda

    less QQ, more music. either that or find a new job.

  • adamonfire

    I’m part of the project to bring a festival-like show to my school next month, and we offered them a spot – due to budget constraints we were not about to offer them payment up-front, but we did offer to let them keep 100% of the merch. We’re about 3.5 hours away from where they’re headquartered from, and we are anticipating a few thousand students. Unfortunately, they had to turn us down….. I hope we can work with them in the future, though.

  • DirtyWarriorMan

    I sympathize completely. He’s right, these bands (mid-level, as someone else pointed out, is a bit of a stretch) don’t make shit. They often lose money going on the road. One piece of advice, though: fire your manager! What the hell do you need a manager for? To make phone calls? Do it yourself. There are plenty of bands bigger than Oh, Sleeper (terrible name btw) that function without a manager.

    • http://www.myspace.com/onkay stuckpig

      Yup, the Dillinger Escape Plan is a good example. Ben Weinmann handles managerial duties. Has been since the band’s inception, I believe.

    • tenwestchaser

      This. I’ve always wondered why any band would need a manager. Or anyone else really (I do get the need for a merch guy). I’m not going to pretend like I have any clue about being in a band or being on tour but come on….what are you doing all day when you aren’t playing or being the one who’s turn it is to drive? I don’t see the need for anyone else but the band (and a merch guy) to be involved. Even bands who really are “mid-level.” Why do you need to squander what little bit you make to have the convenience of someone else setting up your drums for you? I guess the leson I’m learning is: most band members aren’t savvy business men/entrepreneurs.

      • tenwestchaser

        *lesson

      • mrvictorick

        Most of “those” bands need managers because they don’t know the side of business that deals with contracts and the laws and making sure things stay and they don’t get f••ked. That being said a lot of times the managers don’t know that much either when they are with bands that size. So it’s a sh•t circle. But I’m still kind of with you guys….if you can’t afford the “nicer” things like a tour manager then don’t use one. So I understand both sides.

  • robichaud1

    Good information here. Also, never heard of Oh, Sleeper. If bands were more vocal about this stuff, fans would do what’s best for the band. A nationwide kegger and basement show tour would be pretty awesome. Screw venues, play in my backyard! Wave of the future?

  • buttcrackguy

    Unfortunately for Oh Sleeper, they are never going to be more than a “mid-level” band. They aren’t even a “mid-level” band right now. They are a bottom of the barrel band. Get used to it guys, enjoy your time playing on the road while it lasts, and start preparing yourselves now for life after you break up, which will probably be within the next couple years. They need to ditch the manager too, they aren’t close to being a big enough act to need one.

  • Tom

    mid level lol

  • grantbrochill

    Unfortunately, calling his band “mid-level” is only the beginning of his illiteracy problems, so hopefully things do work out for him because getting a better paying job will be awfully difficult without the ability to form coherent sentences. At least he can do math, though.

  • vampiregato

    This is why touring is lame, I am not in a ‘Mid Level’ band (lol) so we do not even attempt this, it seems like now a days if you don’t have a label you are better off, if you have a good sound that has traction itunes profits are somewhere near 75%. In theory not making a physical CD should garner pretty good profits if you are a band with some buzz, make a few grand doing that, THEN go on tour where sales were the best. I think Oh, sleeper is pretty good, but you gotta play the hands your dealt..

  • http://www.facebook.com/josechristsuperstar rasputinmetalguy

    Of course he fails to mention the money that goes towards strippers, weed and beer. And instead of spending hundreds of dollars on high-end t-shirts, buy 50 packs of white tees, dye, and something that can print out a logo or cool picture of a wolf or something and make your own shirts.

    • Darkdevout

      You watch too much tv…

  • clevetheripper

    I often wonder why bands don’t put “tip jars” on their myspace or official page. I realize that bands get a very small percentage of the $ I spend on their music, shirts, tickets, etc… I personally would jump at the chance to directly give them a couple of bucks if I knew that 100% (or close to) was going to the musicians directly.

  • STUKE

    Spell check is free. Its returns are limitless in where it prevents you from portraying yourself as a total dipshit. Want to earn more money? Make better music. Mid-level = mediocre.

  • anti-dentite bastard

    nice plethora of information. i knew the bands were the usually the least to benefit financially, but i didn’t know it was that bad. makes me feel somewhat good that i usually always buy a shirt from every show i go to. but yeah…i’d still rather make a living playing music than get an actual job.

  • graves dizzeaze

    WTH are some of you talking about them not being a Mid-Level band?? Any national (or even REGIONAL) touring band with exposure is “mid-level”…. Local/garage bands that just jam for fun or play in small local bars and don’t tour are the lower-level… He wasn’t fluffing up his band IMO. And contrary to a lot of these comments, you may save $$$ by managing yourselves but it’s a LOT more complicated than it seems and almost always much safer and professional. Bands need help in today’s era – otherwise they wouldn’t be able to keep up (and wouldn’t even be getting $300-expenses). The industry is the most brutal -and this article sheds a lot of light on what sucks about it. The bands that say they’ll play for 2 people in a crack shack are wonderful – but it isn’t very prosperous. Every aspect is just nuts in this industry and now with technology n shit – it’s always changing/unpredictable/having to reinvent itself. I graduated in 2008 with a BoS in Music Industry Management and even though we studied very current trends at the time, it has all changed again… Such is the way of trying to make $$$$ from art that goes through trends – it’s too bad really when people think it’s feasible to make a living in this type of thing…

  • Bitter Old Man

    It’s no news that the music industry is dead and you almost have to be a Slayer status to actually be financially successful as a metal band. That’s why I gave up on being in the music biz and have sold my soul to corporate America so I can actually make a living for myself. It’s the sad and hard truth. As much as I do feel for them in this respect, they should have been aware of this reality before dedicating their lives to being in a touring band.

  • http://www.myspace.com/disarmthetyrant disarmthetyrant

    Even the upper levels are fighting for scraps, so a band like Oh Sleeper is dumped into the thousands of other bands that have label representation but aren’t even below the radar for attention. None of his info is news, it’s simple band mechanics and I don’t sympathize, move the fuck on to pop music then if you’re not happy about being a band in a genre that is about art and community… And a bunch of broke asses… Metal is definitely grass roots and less than profitable unless your going for the mainstream. It is what it is, plus you guys were probably doing presell tickets to open up for a mid level band not too long ago, so don’t expect to be treated like anything over than another band. Nya!

  • onedefiance

    being in 2 different signed bands Hollywood records and Eulogy Records, this is 10000% true.. BUT HERES THE CATCH.. if you want to be in a band YOU NEED MONEY TO SUCCEED. which is why you have to be very very very smart about what you do with the money your band DOES have. everyone in the band needs to have a Job or sorce of income when you come BACK from tour. and if you want to become MORE than just a Mid level band, you need to have the GreenBacks to Provide for it. if you want to be a big band, from expierience, all you have to do is get some MAJOR hype, Pay 20 Grand to buy on a Sold out Arena Tour. Thats 20,000 + people a show, get your name out there and turn fucking heads for the 6 months the tour goes for… if you want exposure YOU HAVE TO PAY HIGH PRICES. kinda like the economy these days….. its just the way the world works guys… and if you cant take the heat….. then find a different career, EVERY BAND knows what needs to be done to be sucessful… in my opinion they are either LAZY AS FUCK, or have the worst Business plans in the history or the Biz.

    DONE!!

    • LunyAlex

      So Randy Blythe is in Two bands. Huh.

    • jordanick

      Where the hell can you buy onto a sold out ARENA tour with a draw of 20,000+ a night, for $20,000 ??? lol

      • jordanick

        I’ve been missing out on some big tour opportunities…

  • 9 Ounce Prime

    @onedefiance. if 20k gets you a six month ride to “turn fucking heads” in front of 20,000+ people per show, i’ll eat the asshole out of a dead rhino.
    a sold out arena tour sounds fun, dad! can me and the boys borrow 20K? if you do this for us we will go rip it up for 6 months. if it were that easy, any band could borrow a tour. i’m not saying it can’t be done, just that 20K might get you a few weeks on a “sold out arena tour”.

  • onedefiance

    totally agree, but thats SERIOUSLY how much it costs, its about 20-30K to buy on a tour of that calliber. give or take… it cost 15K to buy on Taste of chaos for instance, usually its about 5-10k to buy on any “package” bands and the bookie have set up if theres an open slot.. this being for usual Venues where theres a 1,500 capacity. by 6 months i was pushin it.. but you get the idea… it was a “For Instance” post..

  • onedefiance

    bottom line reguardless…. dont be in a band if you dont have the money to support it…. END OF STORY

  • XdeathburgerX

    Having Toured with a band for many years i’m all to familiar with how much Money we Actually make. Although all what Shane said was True, it’s not always true for all “mid-level” bands, some make it, some don’t, Some get lucky and piggy back on big tours. It all boils down to if you like the band, and are going to the show, help them out by buying merch, it’s one of their biggest asset’s while on tour, so every little bit helps. Although being a merch guy, I don’t know if i’d agree that buying American Apparel would be too money Savvy for a touring band, they ARE nice shirts and all, but Gildan and other shirts can be made cheaper, which will save you way more, Spending $8 a shirt doesn’t sound rational to me, if you aren’t making money, change the brand of shirts, but that’s just me. :)

  • ohshitter

    More proof that most of these shitty christian bands aren’t doing it for “Jesus.” Also, it’s more proof that “god will take care of us” is a bullshit lie. Why the fuck else would you make it a point to tell people this shit? $$$$ fail.

  • wtf

    Thanks to all for the advice. good topic…good conversation. IMO, member..opinion….the bands I really like end up breaking up due to the industry, or they never really blow up as big as the bigger bands. Right now..whats in like all the deathcore/metalcore and so on seem to barely make it..but its whats in and everyone is buying…mostly the teenagers and a lil older. And some of the Bigger bands in metal and rock…I think their music is eh, but everyone is buying. Its just kind of a downer to know there are really good bands out there..but dont blow up to Godsmack/Disturbed/Korn level you know. They deserve it IMO..but for some reason never get there..and they end up breaking up. I asked some signed bands “What makes me think I can ever get anywhere with my music if the bands that are HUGE in my eyes cant even make it”. They told me not to think like that..but its hard not to think it you know.

  • adamonfire

    I would consider Emery a mid-level band, but their merch and tech guy flew first class on my flight. Oh, Sleeper just put out their sophomore album, and they seem like they should be on Warped Tour instead of shitty Christian music festivals.

    • G Scotty

      Its actually their third album, believe it or not.

      • adamonfire

        Look at the date on the post.

  • will

    mid level shit. not band. sucks about how all bands take it up the ass these days but, spend more time crafting music, less on t-shirt designs and american app. t’s. 20 years from now, some kid will say he can’t remember an oh sleeper line, but man they had good t-shirts.

  • AMeN

    This seems like a somewhat educational rant; heard of the band but I would definitely not call them mid level, more like ground level.

  • http://www.nassauchainsaw.com El Don. (The Don)

    I just listened to a kid at my job come back from tour gloating about how much his band made while out in europe. So i pried deeper

    “So how much did you guys make on merch?”

    Like $4800 after the euro dollar conversion…

    “And how much did you give back to your label?”

    about $3800

    “So for 30 days out you came back with less than a grand?”

    Yeah…

    “You should have got that accounting degree. Welcome Back to Guitar Center.”

  • Thembones

    I dig this band. Just a dude being honest with how things are on the road.
    If anything it was insightful not something to get upset over. I mean if this makes you angry then you’re living a very sad life.

  • HonoluluBlueBalls

    Mid-level bands typically make enough to support themselves. Delusional low-level bands whose members have no sense of self-awareness? Not so much.

  • glasspsyche

    @ohshitter So by supporting Jesus you have to automatically take a vow of poverty? Yeah, you go ahead and believe that’s what it is all about. Maybe he’s commenting on what it’s like trying to make a living as a musician.

    As for all those dissing about mid-level, let it just be a reminder that it’s not about about anything but label classification. Somebody with music management all ready said that’s what it referred to. Nothing about their following or how well you do or don’t like them.

  • nigre

    Mid-level compared to who?? Its a huge difference if youre comparing yourself to other rock acts as opposed to just any touring act. I dont know who these guys tour with but my guess is anyone that they would tour with is maybe mid-level at best. You have to remember theres people like Lady Gaga out there touring and these bands arent worth the shit on her heels. The rock/metal/whatever market you wanna call it is so over saturated anymore with the same shit its impossible to make money and its the bands own fault for just jumping on the bandwagon. Quit crying and play music for the love of it or quit being lazy and get a real fucking job.

  • mikerockstar

    Why are so many people on here such dickheads?

    Even if you haven’t heard of Oh Sleeper … the guy just used the term “mid-level” to make it easier to explain and set up the context for the rest of his blog. All he meant was: mid-level band = signed, accompanying tour manager, etc. The guy didn’t really mean that much by it, so those of you commenting with things like “Mid-level WTF” and taking away from some actually pretty good discussion on the topic can f*** off, seriously. Stop picking away at such a pointless detail and contribute something useful to the discussion.

    Having said all that, I realize the irony inherent by posting this; I’m not contributing to the discussion at hand, either :)

  • http://www.envymyhealth.com mjclementz

    I would argue that this band is mid-level. Think about it. There’s bands playing in garages all over your localities that can’t even get a gig without paying for it. That’s LOW-level. Somebody actually wants to pay these guys to play (as little as it may be). On the flip-side is Metallica or any of the Big Four, who are being offered ridiculous sums of money (more in a night than any mid-level band will make all year) to do a stateside tour. So… who’s in the middle? A band that comes to mind is Machine Head, a band that has a large fanbase but still consistently chooses to open for bigger acts in order to gain more exposure. But isn’t that quite possibly the exact same MO as Oh, Sleeper? I don’t know because I’ve never heard Oh, Sleeper (heard OF them, though) and can’t tell you a damn thing about ‘em. I would simply argue that Oh, Sleeper falls in the lowest tier of mid-level bands and Machine Head or a similar act would be the high end. Still reading? Goooood.

  • MidnightMachete

    Most of you are missing the point. Most people assume that if you get signed on a label you start making the big bucks, but you really don’t. All they are trying to do is shed a light on how the business works.
    This is not just a job for them, it’s a lifestyle. Most of us work, finish up our shift, then go home. These guys take their work with them and live it 24-7. So what the fuck is wrong with trying to make some money?
    And what is all this talking about being Christian, and doing it for God, and not the money? Reality check. You need money to live. Or playing music for the love of it? Yeah, of course you play music because you love it, but at the end of the day, the bills still need to get paid. Or being lazy? You spend your life out on the road, rocking out for people that don’t give a shit, get paid enough to make it to the next stop, and do it all over again. How is that lazy?
    Some of you I think comment to try to be witty and funny, but you’re really not. Others are just plain ignorant. Bottom line, if you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about, just don’t.

  • nigre

    I went through 5 years of college to get an art degree only to graduate and not make much doing it… so I went out and got a real job and still do the art on the side. My point was, I didnt stick with JUST doing art and bitching about how nobody bought my shit. Everyone knows the music business is shit and in todays economy you have to do what you have to do. Supply and Demand, and the supply of shitty metal bands is too abundant to go out and buy everyones records and support them on tour.

  • AMeN

    @mjclementz I can’t believe you just compared Machine Head to Oh, Sleeper. Wow… seriously Machine Head are signed to a major label and play worldwide arena tours annually, they are definitely not mid level. Anyway at the end of the day this band is generic as fuck and does nothing to stand out from the crowd. And the fact that he doesn’t even use spell check or read what he writes, just reaffirms my belief that this band both sucks and blows (in case you didn’t think it was possible).

  • Anadivine-sadistic

    Labels = money sucking band crushers. american apparel shirts = dogshit. There are the first two errors right there they could saved some $$$ on.

  • glasspsyche

    @nigre just because you couldn’t cut it as an artist doesn’t mean you have to be bitter. These guys actually had a shot at making a living off of it (and took it). You didn’t. That’s the first difference.

  • buttcrackguy

    Fact is if you want to make real money in this business, you have to do something that makes your music better than other music, or have some kind of gimmick, or craft a song that is catchy as hell and get that hit single. Then after you get that hit single, the label will hook you up with their producer, who in turn will “alter” your sound a little bit to get you more songs on the radio. Payday. Ask Avenged Sevenfold. We all have bands that we loved, but they don’t appeal to the masses, so they never get that payday. Ask Dog Fashion Disco. You can play your music for the love of it, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to get rich.

  • revstevo

    i totally agree, buttcrackguy (arguably the greatest sentence i’ve ever typed). if you ignore the comments from people dissecting the term ‘mid-level’ and the spelling errors, this thread actually turned into a good discussion. most show-goers don’t realize the truth of touring bands. i did it for 5 years, never got signed, never blew up, never made a dime, but fucking loved every second of it. “making it” in this industry doesn’t necessarily mean making money, it means being able to consistently do it. if you can get back from a tour and still be able to leave for another, it’s a victory. my old roommate’s band is on Translation Lost and he still works two jobs when he’s home, but if you ask him, he’s ‘made it’.

  • adamonfire

    Someone asks who they play with, I saw them open-up for Every Time I Die, Bring Me the Horizon and Architects on the Zune tour late last year.

  • MustardTiger

    Although music should be played for the love of it, I can def. see the problem with playing for what essentially amounts to zilch. Also, I don’t agree with the whole downloading for free thing, but personally, if I like a band, I will support them with paying for the CD. I usually only download to hear stuff for the first time, and then go from there. Some people get payed 20m to play basketball, others save lives on the daily and get 75 g’s. This world aint fair for sure, so go write a song about it!

  • AssistedLivingDracula

    didn’t know who these guys were so i checked them out on youtube lol (mid-level right?). shitty music video with some shitty music. comments say their a christian band. well maybe the zombie jew in the sky will help them get the amount of money the require to live.

    • Tkelly426

      dude, your a fucking cancer! get the fuck out of hear you trolling bastard

      • damn (your mom’s balls)

        You should both just butt fuck each other at the same time…. try and wrap your mind around that.

      • damn (your mom’s balls)

        And he posted that in 2010 you idiot. He might not even be living anymore for all you know.

  • Surly

    Well…these guys are touring AU in September. Tickets are only $18! I’ll go and buy a mid-riff top or something and boost their profits and my sex appeal….

  • Soldier

    I understand where these guys are coming from cause I did the band thing for a while. I know what it’s like to have only the other bands see you play and not make any money that night. These guys need to either A: learn to negotiate better contracts in the future with labels (cause they do still give big signing bonuses if you hold out for them) B: suck it up and keep on doing it their way (which seems to be making them very bitter) or C: quit making music and get a real job like most musicians have to do.

  • Soldier

    Ok I thought up D: Maybe they should talk to some of the other bands on their label who seem to be a little more successful and get some pointers from them. Their labelmates include Underoath, Norma Jean, Haste the Day, Living Sacrifice, Inhale/Exhale, The Chariot, Demon Hunter and August Burns Red. I’m sure that any of those bands would be more than happy to give them a little advice so that they could stop complaining.

  • Brell

    I don’t even think Oh, Sleeper is a “mid-level” band. When you use that term, I think of bands like Suicide Silence, White-Chapel, maybe even a band like Shadows Fall.

  • bizko

    midnight machete is right. it’s obvious that all the ppl talkin crap about this band (which i dont really like its music) have never been out on tour DIY style.

  • Dave

    they’re not nobodies, theyve got a label, they’ve been around for a few years, and they don’t have that much commercial success. thats good enough for ‘mid-level’ for me.

  • schuler

    Jesus, I remember reading this story when it ran.

  • mad_hiddy

    Maybe if artists realized that getting an education as a back-up plan was a good idea, they wouldn’t be complaining about people downloading their music, or merch costing them so much money. Play music because you love music, not because you expect to make a living off of it. Musicians, and the entire entertainment industry don’t realize this. Everyone believes that they have the “right” to become a star, or become rich and famous. You have to have more than talent these days to impress the masses. Especially since those masses are already near-broke.

  • usedbinpop

    Who the fuck is Oh, Sleeper?

    • adamonfire

      Who the fuck are you?

  • http://www.joeyhendrickson.com JoeyHendrickson

    Rule of thumb: Own your music.

    At mid-level stage, the label must be raking in thousands against Oh Sleepers hundreds, on the same music. Despite CD sales through retailers, labels are raking in on radio, TV, or commercial royalties associated with Oh Sleeper. Even college radio and commercial performances at most venues kickback royalties to whoever owns the music, in this case, the label.

    Do you really think Tiger Woods made $600 million winning golf tournaments? If a band is popular, royalties and commercial licensing agreements will be the foundation of their pay check. The labels know this….which is why labels help bands become more popular, while handling distribution, promotion, etc. and barring bands any rights to these streamlines. In this case, looks Solid State is making thousands against Oh Sleeper’s hundreds, through royalties they collect while Oh Sleeper eat McDonalds 3x day on tour.

  • EyeOfEveryScorn

    This guy should be working some accounts payable job and quit this shitty band. The guy is just bitter he never finished his degree.

  • Waldorf

    Unless their management is paying for the merch, they shouldn’t be taking a cut of it from shows…

  • bumble_d

    This is the right way to “rant”… the guy makes a clear argument with figures to back it up.. It’s funny, when the dude from Norma Jean just posted some whiney rant about being broke, I got all pissed off posted a really scathing comment/reply because he was essentially complaining as though he was the victim of some randomly perpetrated and purely malicious crime.

    I actually really like Oh, Sleeper! They deserve more attention than they get (and more money, it seems). I just have to wonder, especially when this dude seems to have a firm grasp on the factors in the equation and where they are making/losing money, why they don’t get creative and work around it?

    Merch fees too high? Don’t sell merch at the shows, push your website and make it the only place to buy your merch. Get screwed on fees through your website? Do a little research on the best way to set up a barebones site with the lowest fees possible.

    Manager/booking fees too high? Find a freelancer on craigslist that’ll help out for an hourly rate, not a percentage.. or just do it yourself. Worried that venues will only work with booking agents? Then don’t play at those venues and tell your fans why, you’ll probably save time and money anyways because they’ll be the same venues that seem you on merch fees. You’d probably make more money off a $15 ticket at a small show with self-administered cash-only ticketing than you would on a $25 ticket at a venue tied to a major ticketing company like ticket master.

    Confined by restrictions imposed by your manager and/or record label? Then do whatever you have to do to satisfy whatever contract you may be under and then drop those motherfuckers and do it yourself.

    You guys (Oh, Sleeper!) are crazy talented and apparently no dummies. Make extra money with creative “products” — handmade artwork by the band, tour videos (you can shoot HD video on an iPhone), VIP show tickets, sponsorships, etc. Give away free copies of your albums at low bitrates, but charge for high quality/lossless versions, sell vinyls, make unique posters for every show and charge $25 each, make everything limited edition, and for the last time — don’t sign a record contract. Albums, especially metal/rock albums, can be recordly inexpensively (use KickStarter if you need some startup cash), distributed instantly (who goes to a music store and buys CDs anymore?!), and sold for next to nothing (ever heard of Louis CK???). Hang in there guys. As a successful entrepreneur, I almost wish I could sit down and help all bands like you continue to do what you (and we) love and make a good living off of it for yourselves and not for someone else.. but that’s easier said than done.

  • dmoe

    Cool story band I never heard of bros.

  • rreddrop

    if you became a metal band to make money, you were doomed to fail from the beginning….

  • http://www.bondage.org monkeywithagun

    I never listeed to these guys anyways…
    Let me get this right you don’t make money if we buy a cd from the store. what if your band does not come through a fans town or even close to that town then what? Expect a fan to drive 4 to 8 hours or more to just come to your show, and buy your cd. Sure some people can do that, but not everyone does it’s called not having the money to pay for road Gas/plane tickets/greyhound/train, food, and a hotel room. Some people have bills to pay.

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