How do mid-range bands make money on tour

I went to a really good concert last night, the lineup was 5 bands and the ticket price was $15.

Of the five bands, at least one had a gold record and another (the headliner) was platinum at least once. Several of the bands had hit singles that have been on the radio. However for most of them the peak of their fame was about 5-10 years ago.

I can understand local bands charging $10 or so for a concert of 2-3 bands, but how do you make money in that kind of situation where you have a collection of 5 good bands and $15 tickets? There were only 500 or so people there.

Bands like you are talking about make their money from t-shirt sales and on-site CD sales, not from concert tickets.

Also, remember, it’s not the BANDS charging $15 it’s the venue. The venue will pay the bands.

A mid-range single hit band, for example…

I once looked into booking one-hit (but excellent) wonder Cowboy Mouth for a private party. Their managers opener was ‘$17,000 and local sound and lights’. So they wanted $17K and I had to arrange everything except getting them there and their instruments.

If you use that as a baseline that comes to maybe $50-$60k for that five band show (presuming two were bigger than Cowboy Mouth and three were smaller).

At good sized club like the 9:30 in WDC holds about 1200 or so. So at $15 per that comes to $18,000. Not enough! So the venue likely wouldn’t do that at that price unless they were confident that a LOT of beer/mixed drinks were going to be sold.

I don’t know who your bands were but likely they were cheaper as a package than I’m laying out here. But the main point is this: it’s not the band that takes the risk it’s the venue.