How Much Should You Charge For Gigs? Discover Our Complete Guide to Knowing Your Worth in the Music Industry

Tue Feb 09 2021

Today we’re addressing one of our most commonly-asked questions: How much should I charge for gigs? We’ll cover all the things you need to consider to make sure that you can make a real living from your talent.

One thing we have discovered through running various artist focus groups is that many independent artists don’t seem to know their worth. They find it difficult to set adequate gig rates and to stick by those rates. We understand that it can be hard to know exactly how much you should charge for any individual gigs, especially when dealing with experienced venue owners and promoters who know how to try and drive your prices down. 

Luckily, we’re here to help. Jamma is a community that can make sure you are paid properly for your work, using our expertise to guide you to make the correct decisions for your career. Our experience in the industry means we are well-aware of this issue. 

On our new and improved platform, Jamma Reloaded, we have a brand-new feature: Set Your Gig Rate. This makes it clear to any interested parties what your average gig rate is, to deter them from taking advantage of you. Our new chat function will also allow you to discuss any additional charges in a safe, controlled environment, and will help you to build a trusting relationship with any potential bookers and collaborators. As always, we don’t take any commission, so you will get 100% of your hard-earned money. Additionally, our 10% booking fee, charged to the public, is one of the most competitive out there. 

Later down the line, we will be using the data we collect from users of our site to inform more specific and data-driven pricing advice for artists. This intelligent approach will allow us to help you become more and more competitive as an artist as time goes on. 

So, what do I need to consider when deciding my gig rate?

Look at the industry averages 

It’s always good to look at the industry averages when deciding your gig rate. Whether you are a group or an individual, knowing approximately what other similar performers are charging is a great place to start. 

As of April 2021, the average rate for groups performing in pubs and clubs for up to 3 hours was £129. For those performing at functions for up to 4 hours, it was £172. But, based on our research and experience, we recommend you consider charging between £250-£700 as a solo singer, £200-£800 as a DJ, and between £700-£4500 for a band, depending on size and experience. This is excluding travel. And remember, the gig should be payable at the full hourly rate from whatever time you are required to have your instruments and equipment set up. 

If you end up performing overtime, consider setting out an hourly rate of around £43, payable at time and a half; therefore £64.50 per hour. 

Consider breaks, overnight stays, and subsistence charges

You can’t just think about the performance itself. There are other factors to take into consideration.

For example, set an expectation for breaks. The average is a minimum of 15 minutes per 2 hours of playing. Don’t forget that you would expect breaks with any other job, so don’t skip on them just because you are self-employed. 

Also consider whether you’ll have to stay overnight. Charge these expenses to your booker - you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket. The industry average is £110. 

As well as needing to sleep, you may also need to eat. You know, that basic human requirement. If you went on a business trip, your company would probably cover your subsistence expenses. The same should apply here; you don’t want to waste half of your performance fee buying food. Consider charging around £50; more or less depending on whether you are a group or individual artist and how many meals will need to be covered. 

Travel fees

A great part of the job is being able to travel; either all over the UK, or potentially even abroad. Don’t let someone try to force you to cover your own travel expenses - if they want you to perform, they will need to pay for you to get there. The average distance fee is around £10.80 per hour pro-rata. For fuel fees, consider charging around 52p per mile. If you have to travel through any congestion zones, or tolls, or cover parking, make sure you charge those to the booker, too. 

Depending on what kind of performer you are, you may have a lot of equipment to transport. This can be troublesome and expensive - so add it on! The average porterage charges in the industry are as follows: 

  • Electric guitar (incl. amp); Bass guitar (incl. amp); Double bass - £29.98

  • Bass sax, Tuba - £25.89 

  • Contrabassoon; Baritone sax; French horn + 1 other brass instrument; Trombone + 1 other brass instrument or bag of mutes; Two saxes; Cello; Bass clarinet; Pedalboards - £20.63 

  • Drum kit; Percussion; Harps; Keyboards; P.A. - Negotiable 

Charge 15% of that fee for each additional instrument involved. 


We’re here to help

We know this can seem like a lot to consider, so don’t hesitate to contact our team for more specific advice. We want you to earn a living from your music, so it really is necessary to take all these factors into consideration. Alter them based on the size of your group, your experience, and your training. Ultimately, our key message here is to know your worth. We’re here to support you every step of the way.