Why don't lead singers have to foot the bill for the rest of the band?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Antigua Tele, May 12, 2019.

  1. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    another counterfactual is Slash
    because they are more risk-averse than singers. that's why they join bands.
     
  2. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    There are exceptions to the dominant trend, as there always will be.

    I'm not sure I follow. The largest amount of risk goes to whoever makes the largest sacrifice, with no certainty of success, which could be any member of the band.
     
  3. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    For any given trend, there will be exceptions. Even so, I don't think Genesis is a clear cut exception. Peter Gabriel left the group because he was becoming the main draw of the group, while the sophisticated musicianship was taking a back seat to his theatrics. Then, exploiting what remained of their fan base, Phil Collins takes the vocals, and once again, outgrows the band in the capacity as vocalist front man, and not as the drummer. Genesis is not a story of instruments outshining vocals, it's exactly the opposite. I'd put Van Halen in that category, though.

    You're talking about show boat musicians, like lead guitarists that make the "guitar face", stand at the edge of the stage, and flirt with the crowd. That's not something most musicians can get away with, and it would be obnoxious to see every member of the band doing something gimmicky to draw attention to themselves. Every musical act would look like Kiss, it would be visual and audible cacophony. The fact is, while the lead singer is supposed to be a showman, the musicians are supposed to be a support role, and not steal his/her thunder, and yet despite that, the rest of the band is made to think they're all on equal footing.

    This all reminds of "employee of the month" awards. If they really appreciated you, they would pay you a bonus, not put your picture on the wall in the break room. I think the equal billing is probably a way to get the other band members to feel like they're more important than they really are.
     
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  4. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I would guess that there's a difference in risk tolerance between people who join a band and people who want to front a band

    drummers, bassists, rhythm guitarists, keyboardists, and everybody else are more like followers and don't want to risk being out front and visible in front of everybody -- they like to hang back and contribute, be part of a team

    lead singers are different: they tend to be uninhibited risk-loving thrill-seeking solitary egotistical extroverted crazy people

    it's a broad brush, ok
     
  5. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    What you're saying is that if the other band members weren't such cowards, they would be out in front, but that's not how things work, for a number of reasons. That's suggesting that serious musicians amount to nothing more than coat tail riders.
     
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    you just asked why other band members take the business risk, and I'm suggesting it's because they're more risk-averse when it comes to their role in a band
     
  7. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Should singers foot the bill for the band?
    Well, singers usually invest less money in gear than anyone else.
    So they should foot the bar bill for the band, IMO.:rolleyes:
     
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  8. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    or at least all the gas
     
  9. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    What role in the band? If you mean as a musician, the risk is all the same, in terms of opportunity cost. Most of the risk is assumed by the member(s) who spends the most time lining up gigs and doing promotional work. In my last band, the drummer did virtually no promotional work, and I was OK with that, because it was just a fact of life that he was probably the most replaceable member of the group. If he decided to leave, we could hand a demo to another drummer and be back in business within a couple days, so I didn't really expect him to spill blood.
     
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    maybe there's a hierarchy in risk perception
     
  11. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Thinking back on it, maybe the lead singer usually ends up doing a lot of the promotional work. I was only in a few bands, and I only knew a few other bands personally, so my sample size was rather small, but for the most part, the lead singer pulled most of the weight.
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The biggest risk of all for any musician is deciding they want to play music as their day job. Once they do that, they are placing a huge bet. Most of the money goes
    to the producers and songwriters, as I said earlier. It's extremely difficult to make a living at it nowadays....

    If someone has tremendous chops as a player and is easy to get along with then they have a shot at possibly being a side man. Next level up is if they are a member of a true "band"
    and the band stays together. Then when they go on tour the player typically gets a more decent salary. Although if he isn't given any songwriting credits he's going to make a lot less
    money than the band members that do get songwriting credits.

    This is assuming there are ever any net royalties that the band actually sees, since the labels typically subtract 100% of expenses--
    studio production, distribution, tour costs, promotion costs-- before owing the band a penny. The musician salaries for touring also get subtracted as part of tour costs so when you are getting paid on tour
    it is actually coming out of any royalties. And if you produce yourself-- "yay, we're totally indie" that means you still have to subtract all those costs before any gross revenue is real profit. Fortunately, the cost
    of music production and promotion is much lower since you can basically do it all with a laptop, a DAW, a browser, some social media accounts, and an Internet connection.

    In the new world of music, there's a lot less money to be made from record sales: YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc., pay very little per stream. Around a tenth of a cent or less per stream.

    So the money is to be made from touring, from having your music used in TV shows/movies/commercials, and for cross-marketing with other lifestyle stuff- clothes, sunglasses, whatever.

    Bottom line is that it is risky for all involved. A charismatic, good looking singer with a great voice probably has the most potential of leveraging being a musician into doing other stuff--
    actor, model, TV personality, etc. You have to be a total social media whore and spend 24/7 promoting your personal brand. (No thanks!).
     
  13. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    in this new band I'm in.....the singer writes all the songs.
    I'm just a hired gun.....there's a million more where I came from...I ain't special.
    it's his intellectual property, not mine.
    he is paying out of his own pocket for studio time....lots of money....so he needs to be compensated.
    I'm not in this for the money. I don't care about that. I do it because I have to.
     
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  14. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The frontman is lit sacrifice rent asunder by unspeakable thoughts and desires, naked entrails and experiences trodden under the merciless clacks of desperate midnight footsteps.
     
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  15. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey 1955...why do I always feel like I've entered a film noir picture after reading your posts?

    ;)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  16. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Old, bald, fugly - that be me too.

    Hey if anyone wants a lead singer that looks a lot like Danny DeVito I'm available for parties and bar mitzvahs.
     
  17. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Singers can be ugly if they can really sing. Girls will still love them...Billy Joel, Ric Ocasek, etc.
     
  18. DaveTone

    DaveTone Tele-Meister

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    So ... there is no correct single answer and no incorrect single answer as each situation brings so many variables and scenarios.
     
  19. DaveTone

    DaveTone Tele-Meister

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    Janis.
     
  20. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    Hmm, so the OP seems to be focusing mainly on worldwide famous bands. I can’t speak to that dynamic (it might be pretty unique), but I feel a bit more comfortable commenting on the other 99% of bands that exist.

    A vocalist’s instrument is a part of their biology, and finding a good one that fits the style can be pretty hard. Usually when I am wondering about another musicians pay it is cuz they don’t help others carry gear and/or their playing is really bad. I expect the vocalists to help with the gear as best they can. If they show up 1 minute before the beat drops, just in time to clip their SM58s in and start singing, I’m not playing with them again unless they are really famous or something.

    There would be a vocalist riot if they started taking pay cuts (granted that might be entertaining, lol) Like lots of occupations, musicians wages haven’t seen their real pay go up in decades. I think a better question to ask the common musician is “are you ever gonna get a raise?” Jeez, it is almost like all the money in the world has been horded by 50 people or something...lol, I’ll digress.

    Sometimes the lead singer does a lot of booking and other side work. If that is the case it isn’t unusual for them to split the pay up by 1 more person and take 2 cuts. I’m fine with it if it means I don’t hafta book or schedule rehearsals. That person is usually the designated band leader.
     
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