Published by Duncan McGibbon

How much should you charge for a gig?

Raise your hand if you've ever felt stumped when someone asks how much you charge for a gig! What do you say when someone asks if you will do a gig for free? Do you worry that if you ask for too much that the venue may laugh and never use you again?

When you get asked - "how much?" - do you say £70? £400? £800? Are you charging too little? Or perhaps you feel you're are asking for too much. Maybe you've been hit with the line - “actually on this occasion I am afraid that there is no money for the performers, but it is a good opportunity for exposure”. Unfortunately, exposure doesn't pay the bills, and you may have felt that it's bad enough performing for 50 quid at a local pub – never mind putting yourself and your new material out there for free!

If this sounds all too familiar, we have some good news for you. With our simple explanation of how to go about setting a price for gigs, it doesn't have to be that daunting. With the right knowledge and tools at your disposal, you could easily charge more than you do currently - all without the worry of losing the booking or getting ripped-off.

With this helpful advice from the experts at, you’ll have a better understanding of how much to charge for gigs and start earning more money from your next performance. Ready? Let's dive in.

5 questions to ask to make sure you're paid fairly for a gig...

Before you start deciding on a cash figure, you need to gather some important info. Just like you would rehearse and prepare before performing, you want to establish the following;

1. How big is the company booking you?

2. What type of gig is it - corporate or private?

3. Are you performing for a charity?

4. Do you know anyone that has done the same gig before?

5. What is your minimum fee?

Then, you can get a clearer picture of how much to charge and also feel more in control of your career. Keep in mind that the more information you can get, the easier it will be to arrive at a fair amount to charge.

How much to charge for live music...

After asking yourself these 5 important questions, you'll be able to focus on the mechanics and affordability of the company or venue employing you:

1. The size of the company booking you.

Who are they? Is it a major brand? Or perhaps it is a local business? You may be happy to work for a small business playing for a drink reception or a Christmas party for £200, but if it is the opening of a new shopping centre in Dubai for a major brand, then £800 is a good place to start - minimum!

2. The type of gig - corporate or private?

A corporation, especially if it is a large one will have a set budget for the entertainment at a given event. This may not be negotiable, but if you are asked how much you charge, you want to be careful not to suggest too low a figure. If dealing directly with a large corporation, don’t work for less than £500 for a gig. If it is a private event the budget may be smaller, but don’t go lower than your minimum amount.

3. Are you performing for a charity?

If so, you may be performing for free. However, if it is a large established charity then you are completely within your rights to ask for expenses that will cover your time and travel etc. Sometimes people may argue this, but don’t forget, if it is a dinner then the catering staff will not be working for free, so why should you?

4. Do you know anyone that has done the same gig before?

Ask your musician friends. Sometimes a music agency may pay less than they did the year before in order to increase their profits. Or someone you know may have had a problem being paid - or not being paid! It is always worth asking about other people's previous experiences with companies. Even if you don't discuss the actual fee, it's good to know that a company can be trusted… or not!

5. What is your minimum fee?

Last, but certainly not least, you'll want to decide on a minimum amount you are willing to work for that applies to any type of paid work. As a rule, I would say never work for less than £100 for an event. This way, you remain in control and won’t be pushed around by corporations or other bookers. But ultimately the most important thing to remember is...

Don't be afraid to say NO!