what to say when someone offers a gig but doesn’t list the pay!?!?

What do you say when someone gives you all the info for a gig but leaves out the pay.

Brutal! We’ve all had this. You definitely need to know and are offended they didn’t tell. At the same time you don’t want to offend them or lose the gig in case it’s a good opportunity.

One thing to keep in mind when they do this is that THEY DEFINITELY KNOW HOW MUCH IT PAYS. They know cause money is very important to them with any live performance or artistic budget.

From my experience when pay isn’t mentioned the gig pays terrible or it obviously pays so good you don’t need to know right away. Aka Sting at MSG or something huge. Ber careful though! Myself and many people I know have said yes to big concerts or recordings assuming the pay is good only to get 100-200$ after. Remember, a lot of these producers are pinching pennies any chance they can get. They don’t care if you killed it and are a seriously trained musician that practices and gigs all day. If they can get the track for 100$ . they will! However, that being said, I’m sure Sting tells you the pay. lol

I asked some of my most admired and busiest professional musician friends what to say. They basically had 2 ways to get it out

1. Just ask “how much does it pay?”. Because it’s ridiculous not to know. And, your allowed to ask how much your getting before agreeing to work. In any business.

2. Find a polite and sneaky way to get it out of them.

Here are some direct quotes from my musicians I asked.

““I’d like to try to do it. Can you fill me in on the pay details”
Yeah I don’t really beat around it, and make it clear that the fee will determine my availability- but generally if it’s too low I’ll say I have another gig
Unless it’s someone with a lot of power, and then I’ll just say yes”
- bassist in NYC

““How much does is pay?”
Optional- “how much does it pay…. motherfucker””
-NYC, pop, r and b Guitarist.

“I just go right ahead and ask ”
“I just tell em what I need to get. Unless it’s someone I like working with. Then I don’t care.”
-top call Guitarist in NYC

“I just ask straight up if I don’t know the project or people behind it.”
- guitarist NYC

Just tell ‘em, “I’ve already got a gig that night, but I can sub it out if needed.” That usually loosens their tongue a little bit. If that doesn’t work, you’ll just have to flat out ask them. Argh.
-NYC rock and pop bassist

I usually say, “what’s the budget?”
If they know they’re doing it (not telling pay on purpose), then fuck them. ”
-jazz and theater drummer NYC

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