How Much Can You Earn In A Function Band?
The following is an excerpt taken from our e-book - Be Seen, Be Heard: Making Money As An Independent Musician - downloadable here.
Function bands or corporate gigs can often get a bad rap. If your mind immediately raced to the idea of a dead-end gig, a no-passion performance, playing ‘Wonderwall’ with a band in the foyer of an accountancy firm in an industrial estate on a grey Tuesday lunch time you’re not alone. It’s not quite how you imagined spending your time and using your talent. The good news is however, that not all function work has to be like this - in fact if done properly, being part of a function band can provide a stable and regular income. It might have its up and downs but then again most jobs have the same.
Function bands or corporate gigs can range from weddings to Bar Mitzvahs or birthdays and Christmas fairs. Most of the time the music isn’t original, and will usually be a collection of songs written by other artists, songs which have become household names over the years. If someone - whether an individual person or company - wants music for their event then one way or another you’ll usually find a function band filling in that role.
So why play in a cover band? For starters there’s a huge amount of autonomy with this job. You get to set your own hours, you can build your timetable and you report to yourself (unless with an agency). The downside to that however is that if you don’t have a business mind you could quite easily falter at some of the hurdles found early on.
Make no mistake though, with cover band gigs, the money speaks for itself, especially if you’ve spent time on the circuit and worked on perfecting your craft. It’s better paid work than other type of gigs and the work is regular too - something you can rely on if you’re looking for make a career out of music in the long haul. So what are you options if you want to generate additional revenue from playing in a covers band or a function band? You can go full time or part time but If you’re tempted to go all-in, going full-time can really pay off. You’ll be earning a good amount of money and you’ll also be playing music on a regular basis as a career - something a lot of musicians would love to do.
But what can you expect to earn as a full-time band member? A full-time band member should successfully boast a repertoire of 30-60 songs. It’s easier to play in multiple bands where you can technically drop in and out of a line-up as the knowledge and repertoire should be established. The earning capacity is therefore higher than before because you have more options. Loosely speaking, the average rate for an artist with that repertoire is around £175 - £200 per gig, but understand that this can depend on the quality and type of band that you’re playing in.
Although you might be really good at what you do, don’t forget that ultimately with cover bands or functions bands you need to be supplying what the client wants. People might not necessarily care about your vocal riffing or that slick guitar lick you spent a week learning - you might be playing a far less complex group of songs night after night but if you’re able to do that to a good standard and work efficiently and professionally as a band you could technically demand a higher price than if you were to play something much more complicated - something that engages you more. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re a great singer so you can therefore ask for the top tier fees.
We’ve calculated that you can earn around £15,000 by doing one or two gigs a week - whether a birthday, a wedding or a corporate gig. Do keep in mind however, it’s not unheard of for top-level musicians to receive £200-£600 per gig, taking that figure of £15,000 and doubling or even tripling it.
What’s the secret to getting your foot in the door with a good function band or function band agency? We’ve written about this in depth in our second FREE e-book - Be Seen, Be Heard: Making Money As An Independent Musician - downloadable here. We show the independent musician how they can earn up to £24k extra each year as a musician based on first hand knowledge and experience from the pros who have been there and done that. We promise you’ll learn a thing or two and look at your earning capacity as a musician in a new way.