Bethan Hughes
(Rhyl Promoter Bethan Hughes writes…)

As I sit here, with Massive Wagons playing, fire on and nice cold pint besides me (I ran out of milk for a brew) I wonder just what should I write about? How much I love music? No. How much my life is made better with music? No. Even though all that is important, I feel we need more. Something that would make you sink your teeth into. What though? After a whole, 5 minutes and a few sips of my pint my brain kicks in and comes up with this…
People need to start realizing how hard these bands work. It is not all easy. They just don’t show up for a gig, and that is it. No. The bands have the process of writing the songs. That entails the writing their own lyrics, own music (did you read that, their OWN music and lyrics) mixing the songs, producing them, making the EP/album. All this just for one EP/album is done by the band. It costs money also. Let’s not forget that. Or the time and effort they put into it. Stressful yet the enjoyment for them is worth it. Now let’s talk about the cost. The cost the band has to pay in order for you to get your EP/album from the band you become to love so much. Shall we break it down to just what a band pays out? I think it is needed!

The list is endless, really is too long but I’ll give you this breakdown for an overall review first:

You’ll get 1000 CDs pressed and printed with packaging around £1k give or take.
Vinyl you’ll get 300 for around £1100 for good quality.
Artwork around £200 for a talented amateur, somewhere around £600 for a professional.
Music videos; if you’ve got a talented friend who can film and edit, then keep about £500/£700 back for costs to cover location, props etc.
Mid range filming around £1000 for filming and editing.
Professional video (one that isn’t like everyone else’s) £1500 to £5000 but you can go way higher of course.
Merch: a run of 100 shirts, 10 colours plus back print will cost around £1500. (you keep the films and screens to use again, so cuts costs)
Most bands don’t need more than 6 colours so closer to £900 for a run of 100.
Single colour shirts front print only, 50 for £150.
Getting to gigs: van hire is around £90 to £100 per day plus fuel.
Travelodge average £30 per night, you can sleep three per room!
Decent two phase PR campaign from £300 for someone very good.
Website build; £500 to £2k on average.

 tour bus
Now the breakdown from a band. This is actual facts from one band. What the costs were for the album from conception to having it in their hands. Who went to the USA to record it:

Rehearsals/writing: £300 a month for a permanent rehearsal space. For 3 months. Total £900
Pre-production demos: £500 for 10 tracks
Flights to USA: £450 each for 4 people. Total £1800
Travel insurance: £12 each for 4 people Total £48
16 days recording in the studio including accommodation $600 a day Total $9600 (£5870ish)
Spending/food/alcohol money for 16 days £250 each Total £1000
Mix $100 per track Total $1000 (£610)
Mastering £75 per track Total £750
Artwork £200
Photo shoot £100
iTunes upload £35
PR campaign £250pcm for 4 months Total £1000
Album banner for stage x 2 £60
Industry promo copy’s of album x 50 £125
First run of 100 CD’s £360
Grand total of £13,358
That’s before they have even thought about videos for singles etc!!!
For their last EP, they spent £500 on 4 days in the studio for 4 tracks.

Another band paid this:
£275 a day over 7 days = £1925
Mixing £50 per 2 tracks = £225
£250 to master it.
For the actual CDs it was £600 including postage and packaging.
Paid £45 for the royalties for the cult’s song.
Paid £95 to host and sell album on cdbaby and iTunes.
So the grand total is £3,140 and that’s not including practice room of £60 a week for a whole year practising and writing
“That’s just for the costs of an album. Then there’s the practice space, which is ongoing. There’s travel to and from practice. Your gear, which from time to time breaks or needs servicing then there’s strings and sticks. All in all I reckon a band probably is out of pocket by about £6000 a year. Then there are the countless shows they play for free or a bit of petrol. To be honest, when you’re in a pro band the costs are staggering but because we love what we do you persevere through it because when you get back how good you are from reviews, it seems to take the blow out of what you do” – Band member quote.

Don’t forget on top of that there are the general weekly expenses!
Equipment (strings/photos/sticks/skins),
Rehearsals (can rehearse twice a week and pay £300 a month).
I think on average, as a band, they spend about £6,500 a year on shows and rehearsals before they have even thought about recordings and merchandise.

battered van
Bands can be lucky to receive maybe £50 from a gig on a good day but 90% of bands gig, they do for free!! Not to mention time off from work to play these gigs is tough going on them also.
Yeah, it’s an expensive thing I hear you say but again depends on the bands! A band that takes it seriously and wants to make a career out of it then this is what happens! Bands that just do it for fun; the cost is a lot less! Remember in order to release a good quality album, would set you back about £2,500 for a decent recording. Then there are the music videos on top of that. I know a lot of bands take out loans to cover some, if not all the costs. The bands that are breaking through, no doubt have funding behind them, which helps out a lot. But can you see just how costly is has become and this is just the recording of the EP/album!

One band member quoted this:
“I haven’t had a holiday in 6 years as all my spare money goes on the band. On average I have about £25 a week to spend on food and ‘luxury’. I get up at 7am, go to work, get home at 7:30pm and either rehearse until 11:30pm or sit typing emails to promoters/venues/agents/labels… All trying to get the next push!! It’s a full time job!!!!”
I wonder if they ever have time to get laid!???

But aside from the jokes, next time you see a band gig close by you, or you can go see the band you love play. For the price of what, a £4 -£5 ticket to see them – buy a t-shirt/album/EP whatever merch they have. I think it is worth it.