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Want Justin Bieber To Play Your Birthday Party? One MILLION Dollars.
May 21, 2014 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to some insider information, you now know how much it costs to hire your favorite band or performer. Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Taylor Swift and the aforementioned Bieber are in the rare one million dollar club. Others can be had for much, much less.

Get your 80's and 90's on for about $5k a performance, from PM Dawn, The Bodeans and Jill Sobule.

I was upset I couldn't find A Flock of Seagulls, because that would be awesome. Either them or Spandau Ballet.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box (147 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I was on the student council at Lewis & Clark College (1997), we hired the Reverend Horton Heat to play our cafeteria. The cost then was about $7,000. Totally worth it.
posted by norm at 7:55 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Beyoncé isn't on the list, so she must be in the hundreds!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:56 AM on May 21


Bruno Mars is still kind of a bargain! And you can get Creed for a song (no pun intended).
posted by Mister_A at 7:56 AM on May 21


I saw this yesterday and noticed that Minus The Bear was on this list. I happen to be friends with someone in Minus the Bear and asked him if the figure was accurate and he said that it was. Gave me more faith in these figures than I would have had otherwise.
posted by josher71 at 7:56 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


$100k for Merle Haggard? Well, OK, maybe.
posted by COBRA! at 7:56 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Wait, Dave Matthews? I mean, I can see all the other million-dollar acts, because they're either huge now or were huge enough that they don't need the money, but Dave Matthews just seems... neither.
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 AM on May 21


I feel sorry for PM Dawn. Bottom tier and spelled wrong.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:57 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


...and I didn't realize that there was still an extant Steve Miller Band to be charging $100-$200k.
posted by COBRA! at 7:58 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


you better hurry; after he's deported to canada and barred from re-entry, he'll be unavailable at any price. it can't happen soon enough.
posted by bruce at 7:58 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Jessica Simpson is 150k, but Ice Cube is 30 ?

It's a cruel world.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:58 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Dave Matthews was about as big as it gets for a while there, live shows sold out arenas cross country. He still has a rabid following among aging douchebags.
posted by Mister_A at 7:58 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Get your 80's and 90's on for about $5k a performance, from PM Dawn, The Bodeans and Jill Sobule.

Also, if you don't think this party would fucking own for $15K, then you're just incorrect.
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Wow... Candlebox got back together.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 7:59 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Nope. If Justin Bieber wants to come to my party, he's going to have to bring snacks.
posted by Naberius at 7:59 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Perhaps more to the point on Dave Matthews, he really doesn't want for cash after all those sold out shows and zillion-selling albums.
posted by Mister_A at 7:59 AM on May 21


Holy shit you're telling me that if I had $20,000 I could get Everclear to play at my birthday? They were absolutely absolutely no question my favorite band when I was fourteen and they were really important to me (with surprising regularity I read this comment from my husband about that). I've seen them in concert a couple of times and I have daydreams about being able to tell Art Alexakis how much his music meant to me. I know that I'm not going to be able to scrape together that $20,000 and if I did I'd spend it on something else but that seems like a small price to pay for helping me feel something when I didn't know I could.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:00 AM on May 21 [8 favorites]


And, wait, $150k for 311? Not even in 1997.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:00 AM on May 21 [13 favorites]


The Flaming Lips are a steal at $125K.

And I might consider raising $100K to pay Morrissey not to sing.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:01 AM on May 21 [10 favorites]


Let's all book Alien Ant Farm just for sympathetic reasons alone. I mean, damn.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:02 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Morrissey would just cancel at the last minute anyway.
At least if you're in Florida he will.
Been there, done that, got no t-shirt.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 8:03 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


yes, but if you had the flaming lips play at your party, you'd have to invite wayne coyne to your party. that has to lower the price a bit...
posted by nadawi at 8:03 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Shit, son, I get 9 friends with $1000 each, plus my money, and I can have Tone Loc telling me about the funky cold medina.

LET'S GO.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:04 AM on May 21 [22 favorites]


(Note: as a reader pointed out, these are asking prices from a third-party booking agency that specializes in college shows; as such, the numbers are likely inflated. Actual prices negotiated by many of these performers are contingent on a variety of factors.)

From the Priceonomics link in the article. They're not getting this amount in every market.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:04 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Looking at the $10-20K section.... for $200K you could put together a hell of a '90s festival where everybody gets up, sings their one song that we all know, and gets pulled off by a vaudeville style hook.
posted by graymouser at 8:06 AM on May 21 [52 favorites]


as a reader pointed out, these are asking prices from a third-party booking agency that specializes in college shows

God help the college that's booking the Steve Miller Band.
posted by COBRA! at 8:06 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Poor Tone does not get paid much to do the wild thing.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:07 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


The Flaming Lips are a steal at $125K.

Not sure I really trust Wayne Coyne to show up and not embarrass himself these days.
posted by kmz at 8:07 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


ohhh $65k could get you a reunion of the bens (as long as no one brought their bands).
posted by nadawi at 8:07 AM on May 21


Also, $25-30,000 for Hanson? I think my cousin's spent more actually going to see them than it'd cost to hire them for a concert-for-one.

(Well, two, her last photo consisted of her showing off her baby bump while wearing her newest Hanson shirt. I don't even.)
posted by Katemonkey at 8:07 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


God help the college that's booking the Steve Miller Band.

Not necessarily. Jokers, smokers, and/or midnight tokers never seem to go out of style on a college campus.
posted by jonp72 at 8:08 AM on May 21 [14 favorites]


You can get Bob Fucking Dylan for 150-300k. I don't know how to feel about this.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:09 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Knock it off there Maurice.
posted by Mister_A at 8:09 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


Whoa I didn't know you could book .38 Special without the use of a time machine.
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


That's not PM Dawn listed...it's PM Dawm. Caveat emptor.
posted by malocchio at 8:12 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


PM Dawm
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 8:13 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


but.. but.. There's no Tom Petty..
posted by k5.user at 8:13 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


DJ Pauly D is the same price as Ben Folds? That's a crime against Ben Folds.
posted by Gronk at 8:14 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


does metafilter have a pompatus?
posted by bruce at 8:15 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


You can get Bob Fucking Dylan for 150-300k. I don't know how to feel about this.

I felt ripped off when the ticket cost $50, so...

(It was literally the single worst concert I've ever been to, and I was in a ska/punk band in high school so that's really saying something.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


PM Dawm?

Of "Get a Rift on Emery Blip" fame?

Bring me my wallet!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:16 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


> Wait, Dave Matthews?

I'm assuming the megabuck price is fuck-off money. Private parties are not gigs he wants or needs. The time he spends not on tour is the time he wants to spend on things other than stage shows.

One of the guiding rules of the entertainment industry (well, of the freelancer/contractor in any industry) is that you never say "no" to a job, but you use whatever leverage you have to control the conditions. Musicians who don't have regular tours or aren't routinely fully booked are likely to be more affordable. Acts who don't need the work are going to set prices just high enough to drive away everybody except the most dedicated.

I recall reading somewhere -- might've been Metafilter, even -- that in the 90s you could get the Rolling Stones for your private party, for the right price.
posted by ardgedee at 8:18 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Of "Get a Rift on Emery Blip" fame?

♪ Gravy through Benji... ♪
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


If Justin Beiber came to my party he'll have to bring a few million dollars in negotiables, grease himself into a gimp suit upon arrival, get tossed by mutant bloodthirsty dwarfs into a terrifying GWAR and Pigface supergroup and leave in several dozen small boxes as party favors.
posted by loquacious at 8:24 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Wait, Dave Matthews?

If it was only, you know, $50k, someone might accidentally take a flyer on it and then goddamn Dave Matthews would show up at their kid's birthday party and wreck everything. It's a safety mechanism.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:27 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


What makes me lol is the prices for some of the has-beens/never-weres. I mean, 200K for Train? 90K for Darius Rucker? 20K for Hobostank?

Wait, Dave Matthews?

And if you're looking for something in another price-range, for 5K there's the Dave Matthews Tribute Band. And for a hundred bucks and a bar tab, there's the Dave Matthews Tribute Band Tribute Band.

Now what I'd do if I were a party-minded rich man is hire Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Tribute Band, put them next to each other, and then make them play "Satellite" in different keys.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:30 AM on May 21 [16 favorites]


I saw Richard Buckner in a living-room concert Saturday. Maybe 40 people there, at $20 a pop. Great show, but very revealing about what it's like to be a niche musician on tour.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:31 AM on May 21


Where are The Wrens? Something tells me that they are really inexpensive or priceless.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:31 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


darius rucker is far away from being a hasbeen. he had maybe the biggest single in country music last year.
posted by nadawi at 8:32 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


100K for Weezer sounds like a bargain if you can put a few, ahem, restrictions on their setlist.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:33 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


norm, I was at that show, and at LC from 95-99. I always loved the bands at Sunburn.
posted by togdon at 8:33 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


This list explains so so much about the quality of acts at our local summer festival in Sherbrooke, QC. But on the other hand, the organizers of the Fete du Lac des Nations paid way too fucking much for Collective Soul in 2012.
posted by Kitteh at 8:33 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


You people don't know how to negotiate. I was able to get Justine Timbalake for only $400.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:35 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


King's X for $5000, that hurts.
posted by goethean at 8:35 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


and those weezer restrictions would be "just keep playing pinkerton - and you have to bring matt sharp."
posted by nadawi at 8:35 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I can't believe ICP ain't on the list.
posted by Mister_A at 8:36 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Morrissey just opened for Tom Jones in L.A. I guess that is what he's been doing. And Flock of Seagulls just played an 80's night with Richard Blade at the Sportmen's Lodge in Studio City, so they're definitely available.

Frankly, I'd sell a kidney to see Oingo Boingo play again (if you're listening Danny - please play a date other than Hallowe'en night!!!).
posted by Sophie1 at 8:38 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Now what I'd do if I were a party-minded rich man is hire Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Tribute Band, put them next to each other, and then make them play "Satellite" in different keys.

Reminds me of one of my favorite sight gags on The Simpsons... a casino marquee with "Nights in White Satin: Covering the Hits of the Moody Blues. Opening act: The Moody Blues"
posted by kmz at 8:39 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Why yes, I am 43 years old...
posted by Sophie1 at 8:39 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I would allow songs from the blue album that aren't Sweater Song, Say it Ain't so, or Buddy Holly.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:40 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I can't believe anyone would give Asher Roth money. My friend bought pot from him at his dorm room back in college, and is/was a big rap fan. Asher was playing his music, and didn't tell my friend, and asked my friend what he thought. My friend told him it sucked. Asher was cool about it though.

Anyway, 20k is a steal for Soul Asylum.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:41 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Morrissey just opened for Tom Jones in L.A.

Oh man.

"It's not unusual to be loved by anyone ..."

"Except me."

"It's not unusual to have fun with anyone ..."

"Except me."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:44 AM on May 21 [29 favorites]


There's actually maybe one artist on that list I think I'd actually want to see and that's Regina Spektor. There are a few others but I've already seen them. The Flaming Lips being one.

I was kind of hoping I'd see more of my favorite electronic acts or DJs on there, and maybe some experimental acts but I already know the prices for many of those and they range from "room and board and a plane ticket if it's a good party" to "affordable and reasonable" to "unobtainable at any price because fuck airplanes".

What's really alarming is seeing "big room" festival DJs like Steve Aoki on there for 50k+. The dude doesn't even DJ. He basically just shows up and hits play on a pre mixed set, throws cake at people and waves his hands around. If you're lucky he might pretend to diddle the fader or EQ knobs between circus clown antics on a trampoline and throwing cake.
posted by loquacious at 8:46 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


norm, I was at that show, and at LC from 95-99. I always loved the bands at Sunburn.

Then you must have also seen Buckethead and Midnight Voices (featuring Mohammed, from Real World: San Francisco) in 1995!

Man, I love Metafilter.
posted by norm at 8:47 AM on May 21


> Myth Busters: $100-150k

⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎★
I tried booking the cover band version but they sent a Bill Nye impersonator instead. He only knew jokes about Isaac Newton being hit on the head with an apple. Would not hire again.
posted by ardgedee at 8:48 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


King's X for $5000, that hurts.
posted by goethean


Again, I'm amazed that there's still a King's X to be charging $5k.

Anyway, 20k is a steal for Soul Asylum.
posted by MisantropicPainforest


At this point, the entitity calling itself 'Soul Asylum" is just Dave Pirner and a bunch of ringers, so $20k might really be kind of high.
posted by COBRA! at 8:48 AM on May 21


I think that Dave Matthews gets a premium because rich white people in their 40s and early 50s listened to him in college.
posted by humanfont at 8:48 AM on May 21


i'm guessing this list has to be at least a year old, but no more than about 3 years, since they list kitty pryde (who no longer uses the pryde part).
posted by nadawi at 8:50 AM on May 21


Curious Artificer: And I might consider raising $100K to pay Morrissey not to sing.

A week ago, I would have spoken up to defend Morrissey, but after seeing him I have to ask: he's super proud of his Irish roots, but where is the Irish vigor? Instead of being full of piss and vinegar, he's just full of piss. We get it, everything sucks. And you're saying we can't change it? Or you're just going to stand on stage, shaking your fist at the world? (At least he performed "I Have Forgiven Jesus," which is such a ridiculous song that it made my night.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, Ricard Blade is alive? Is he preserved in Aqua Net and DAP extra hold gel?
posted by loquacious at 8:51 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


So, are these the prices for a facility to book the acts in, perhaps as part of a tour? Or is this what it costs to have the artists play Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:52 AM on May 21


It'd be interesting to sort these into two lists of which is still an actual act and which is its own cover act.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:52 AM on May 21


I knew Steve Aoki in my early 20s when he was in a hardcore band called This Machine Kills. Anyway, he was a super awesome dude who was called "Sanders" by his friends after Steve Sanders from 90210. Yes, this was a long time ago. Anyway, his sister was famous by this point and was dating Lenny Kravitz. I have fond memories of drunkenly watching friends of Steve's call her on the phone and beg her to put Lenny on.
posted by josher71 at 8:52 AM on May 21


This might be a little out of date - St. Vincent's only $20K? I'm tempted to set up a Kickstarter for my birthday if she's that affordable.
posted by phong3d at 8:53 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


He basically just shows up and hits play on a pre mixed set, throws cake at people and waves his hands around.

But subtract 50K for Cake and he's doing it for the exercise.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:53 AM on May 21


humanfont: I think that Dave Matthews gets a premium because rich white people in their 40s and early 50s listened to him in college.

And younger crowds, too. My younger brother, who is in his early 30s, was a fan for a while, and I remember some rabid fans from my college days, and I'm only in my mid 30s.

There's a rabid bunch of fans who will happily see DMB repeatedly on the same tour, as they fall in that "every show is different" jam band crowd. There's an active show trading community online, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 AM on May 21


> i'm guessing this list has to be at least a year old, but no more than about 3 years, since they list kitty pryde (who no longer uses the pryde part).

I'm guessing less than two years old, because it puts PSY in the >$100k club. I doubt he was in demand in the U.S. before "Gangnam Style".
posted by ardgedee at 8:55 AM on May 21


The Spits will do it for beer
posted by Hoopo at 8:56 AM on May 21


King's X for $5000, that hurts.

Dear AskMetaFilter,

Am I really going to need that IRA money when I retire, or could I maybe scrape by on Social Security?
posted by straight at 8:56 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


You people are doing this wrong.

Hiring a band to be your own personal dancing monkey for your birthday? Fuck that.

When you have power like this, you need to use to contribute to the overall confusion of the world.

Rick Springfield is enough of a bargain that it would be worth it to start a kickstarter to fund him to open for Jonathon Coulton just so he could come out and sing "Je Suis Rick Springfield" with JoCo.

And now I've earwormed myself for your benefit. I hope you're happy.
posted by plinth at 8:57 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Now that I think about it, if a booking agent asked me what I'd charge to drop everything and play a birthday party concert for anyone willing to pay, I'd say, "One. Million. Dollars."
posted by straight at 8:59 AM on May 21


Right now, the angel on mathowie's shoulder is pleading to use the influx of money to keep MeFi afloat while the devil on the other shoulder is screaming "screw those jerks, haven't you always wanted Kenny Rogers AND Ke$ha to do Islands in the Stream" in your living room???".
posted by dr_dank at 9:01 AM on May 21 [22 favorites]


I have a friend whose dad is a fan of weird electro-acoustic stuff, ambient/noise artists and the like, and the dad has pooled money with some other friends to fly out their favorite artists for intimate "house parties." Of course, these artists are a lot cheaper than most of the bands on the list, but I was still impressed by the idea.

I was really looking forward to hiring Gogol Bordello for my wedding anniversary party in a local park, but $50k is way out of our budget. Luckily, A Hawk and a Handsaw are local, and "still play weddings, bar mitvahs, circumcisions, quinceaneras, saints day feasts, general parties, etc."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, Ricard Blade is alive? Is he preserved in Aqua Net and DAP extra hold gel?


Richard Blade is currently hosting a noon-1 show in L.A., but if you think that's amazing, Rodney Bingenheimer is still alive too, and still DJing on KROQ. Creepy little perv that he is.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:04 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


> Rodney Bingenheimer is still alive too, and still DJing on KROQ. Creepy little perv that he is.

Does he still have and use his Fuzzbox?
posted by loquacious at 9:10 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Some days I wish I were an eccentric billionaire. Then I could pony up the $505K to have Katy Perry and Jill Sobule perform at a picnic in my back yard, and I could make them both play "I Kissed A Girl" at the same time, and then all my friends could look pensively at the two stages before slowly meandering over to better hear Jill Sobule, and then Katy Perry would feel really bad.
posted by Mayor West at 9:12 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Then, they would kiss each other and rip the very fabric of reality.
posted by dr_dank at 9:14 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


You could meet somebody who really loves you (Smiths)
but when I see you hanging about with anyone (Tom Jones)
So you go, and you stand on your own (s)
And you leave on your own (S)
And you go home (S)
And you cry (S)
It's not unusual to see me cry, (TJ)
And you want to die (S)
oh I wanna' die (TJ)
posted by Sophie1 at 9:17 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I notice that the Old 97's are only 20K. Hmm. I need to learn how to swing that because THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
posted by Kitteh at 9:17 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


The un-justice of the world we live in can be demonstrated solely by the fact that Pat Benatar commands more money per performance than Joan Fucking Jett.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:19 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I think that Dave Matthews gets a premium because rich white people in their 40s and early 50s listened to him in college.

I'm in my late 30's and he was really only entering widespread popularity in the mid 90's. No one over say 41 or so was listening to him in college. And the real cohort is much closer to my age.

I once saw Dave Mathews at Wetlands. Opening act? Hootie and Blowfish.
posted by JPD at 9:19 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I was really looking forward to hiring Gogol Bordello for my wedding anniversary party in a local park

They might do it for free if you have vodka and red herring.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:23 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Wow, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray... Does anyone really want to see guys in their late 40s perform couch-surfing slacker anthems like "Hey Jealousy" or "Every Morning"? Seems kinda gross.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:28 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Anything for Twisted Sister to bust into the command tent; anytime. Bonus for an air drop.

Whoa, MC Chris for 5k! Double down indeed.
posted by buzzman at 9:31 AM on May 21


I think that Dave Matthews gets a premium because rich white people in their 40s and early 50s listened to him in college.

And younger crowds, too. My younger brother, who is in his early 30s, was a fan for a while, and I remember some rabid fans from my college days, and I'm only in my mid 30s.

I'm in my late 30's and he was really only entering widespread popularity in the mid 90's. No one over say 41 or so was listening to him in college. And the real cohort is much closer to my age.


Yeah, I went to college at DMB ground zero, and they released their first three albums (Remember Two Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, and Crash) while I was there, and I'm 38. People in their 40s listening to DMB because he reminds them of college were either non-traditional students or went to my particular school (or maybe somewhere closeby). They had just graduated from being a frat party band a year or two before I got there.
posted by LionIndex at 9:33 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Rufus Wainwright for 25K? That just ain't right but if I ever get that kind of money, he gets to play warm-up for my annual Eurovision party. I'd pay WELL over 25K to hear Rufus cover ABBA but don't tell him I said that.
posted by kariebookish at 9:50 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


For scale: Ben Bernanke - $200,000.
posted by Naberius at 9:57 AM on May 21


Yes, but can he sing?
posted by Kitteh at 10:02 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Luckily, A Hawk and a Handsaw are local, and "still play weddings, bar mitvahs, circumcisions, quinceaneras, saints day feasts, general parties, etc."

Funny, I saw them open up for Swans, which is kinda like all those things rolled into one.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:04 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


"I've got a slug."
"Can he talk?"
(beat) "Yeah."
"Right, I'll have that one."
posted by norm at 10:04 AM on May 21


For $15-20k I could book the Indigo Girls, which would make my wife really happy, but for only $10-15k I could get Biz Markie. Decisions, decisions.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:17 AM on May 21 [4 favorites]


The next time somebody complains about Pride not booking Lady Gaga, I will point them to this article.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:24 AM on May 21


Not musical, and a little dated, but... about 12 years ago, I was at a 1940s-themed Live Action Role Play game in one of the many hole-in-the-wall theaters in Hollywood. About thirty or forty people, maybe 60/40 split between men and women. Nice atmosphere, pretty calm group, but not a lot of logistics--no big set design, we just used the theater as we found it. We were all pulp-fiction villains plotting and scheming and such in "pre-war Paris," as it were. The host got up on stage and announced that he'd arranged a show for us. We all quieted down and listen.

And then Dita von Teese came out on stage and did her burlesque act. Her name has gotten bigger since then, but literally everyone there had heard of her. She was super pleasant to talk to afterwards, too, and she hung around for a while to chat and do autographs and such. I asked the event organizer how he pulled that off. He just shrugged, said he looked her up online, called her agent and found out that the rates for private shows like this were "surprisingly reasonable" given her level of success at the time. (Apparently she thought doing a show for a LARP would be fun, too, so personal interest may have been a factor.)

Best. LARP. Ever.

(Except for the live-action Godzilla LARP where we all smashed a cardboard city. Gotta admit, that may have been more fun...)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:31 AM on May 21 [12 favorites]


If I turn into a bridezilla, I'm totally hiring the English Beat for the reception (only $5-10k!).
posted by sfkiddo at 10:31 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I always imagined that if I won the lottery, the first thing I would do was buy a kickass mansion near the beach. The second thing I would do is throw myself a sweet party at my new mansion, with Basement Jaxx and Thievery Corporation as the main entertainment. How can I make a mock budget if I don't know how much it costs to book them!?! Come on people.

On the plus side, I can get The Crystal Method for only $10k.
posted by Arbac at 10:45 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I loved Pink Floyd's attitude after they did the Live 8 show. Apparently after that one-off reunion they were besieged with offers to mount a tour. Nick Mason (the drummer) did a press conference and basically said we're old, we're rich, sod off.
posted by Ber at 10:51 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Damn I'm going to have the English Beat play our next status meeting for that kinda money!
posted by Mister_A at 11:18 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Wow, Toots and the Maytals for 25 or 30k! One of the most important bands in the history of Jamaican popular music, full stop. I would have them play my party if I had the money, no doubt about that.
posted by Mister_A at 11:26 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Jessica Simpson is 150k, but Ice Cube is 30 ?

Almost positive that's Ice Cube's fee for a speaking engagement, not for him to come out and rappity-rap-rap. He's way too "big leagues" for 30k for a full music set.

Also, echoing the commenter that noted these are very much the starting asking price. One of my best friends is a talent buyer for a mid-sized venue, and I am consistently shocked when he tells me what you can talk various famous-ish acts down to.
posted by joechip at 11:26 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


For $15-20k I could book the Indigo Girls, which would make my wife really happy, but for only $10-15k I could get Biz Markie. Decisions, decisions.


My alma mater had Biz Markie at its annual Flunk Day this year and now I know how.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:27 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


In 2003-2004 I was working security for a Vegas hotel where Biz Markie played a Jewish wedding in a conference space. It was surreal on the whole, but when he warbled "Shalom ya'll muthafuckas!" I lost it.

And yes, he closed with "Just a Friend".
posted by lattiboy at 11:30 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


St. Lucia is $10-$15k. That can't be right.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:43 AM on May 21


WTH is up with the DMB hate folks! We're talking about a bartender who couldn't read music but could write some cool riffs and decided the best way to become awesome was to try and get the best musicians he could possibly find to play with him! Have you people never taken a close listen to Carter Beauford's drumming? The man is fucking tight as shit.

DMB came out while everyone was playing power chord pearl jam bullshit and was like we will write really weird songs with crazy guitar parts and have an electric violin player and sing about monkeys in weird time signatures and our live shows will be 4 hours long.

So whatever haters! If you need me I'll be under the table and dreaming.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:44 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Dave Matthews did not choose the coral necklaces people! The coral necklaces chose him. Place blame where it belongs!
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:46 AM on May 21 [7 favorites]


dmb made some delightfully filthy music that i still like to bop around to (for people charting the age range of a dmb fan, i turn 33 this year).
posted by nadawi at 12:33 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


The Toasters are playing a show by me, and tickets are $11. I was surprised, but now I see them on this list at $3-5k and I guess that's about right. I see Less Than Jake is asking $15-20k. Now I'm wondering how much The Aquabats would cost.

Also right above The Toasters I see The Gay Blades, who are awesome. Saw them live at a very small venue a few years ago and it was one of the best concert experiences I've had. They would totally be worth $3-5k.

I also enjoy that Of Montreal commands more money than Drowning Pool.
posted by CrayDrygu at 12:34 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


No Weird Al? WTF
posted by Melismata at 12:34 PM on May 21


Damn straight that Weird Al don't sell out.
posted by Etrigan at 12:36 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


NOW I can plan my wedding.
posted by brina at 1:00 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I've got my entire wedding planned, except for one thing.
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


First i was reading all these names i never heard of (UK), then all the 'they're still together?' comments and 'it's just the lead singer and some hired help now' comments and i was reminded of trying to buy a radio recently. I knew Bush were a good make, and Roberts even better, so i'm looking up reviews online for items i've priced and - Bush is now the brand-name for Argos own-brand and Roberts is now a brand name plastered on bog standard stuff made in China. Ten years ago i rang Roberts about a fault and was put through on the phone to the engineer in the factory, now it's closed and all the jobs gone... and the government's sold off most of the NHS, or huge chunks of it, now Richard Branson Virgin Care and others are running it with NHS on the front as a brand name, and i thought: it's only a matter of time before, say, Dave Matthews (whoever he is) sells his name as a brand with rights to someone else. Authors have, and most big acts just mime, why not? Inevitable?
posted by maiamaia at 1:19 PM on May 21


For scale: Ben Bernanke - $200,000.
Yes, but can he sing?


Dunno, but Alan Greenspan was a professional level clarinetist.
posted by Jahaza at 1:50 PM on May 21


Having never heard of them, when DMB played a club where I worked in 1994, I assumed no one was going to show except my friend Aricha who mentioned that she had grown up with the bassist (she'd previously given me a cassette tape from them--with a stereogram on the front I think--but I hadn't liked it).

I was SHOCKED by the insane turnout--a thousand fraternity and sorority kids who'd never set foot in the place before (this was in Gainesville, FL). While I've never been into the music, that drummer was amazing. I'd put him up against any drummer alive (except maybe the one for Driving and Crying, whom I saw in like 1989).
posted by whatgorilla at 1:53 PM on May 21


DMB hate is one of the most reliably tedious and uncritical things I see on Metafilter.

I suspect the rate listed for DMB is on the order of "one MEEELION DOLLARS", i.e. a "don't really want to do this, but if you pay us enough, why the fuck not?" To suggest that Matthews and his cohort don't need the money is to make an enormous understatement; they've been cited over and over as having made incredibly savvy choices about the business of their music (something probably only possible because they created a huge fanbase on their own, without a record company, so they could negotiate from a better position when RCA came calling).

"No one over say 41 or so was listening to him in college"

Not entirely true, at least in the southeast. Matthew's first records, noted above (Remember Two Things (which was released independently), Under the Table and Dreaming, and Crash) came out in '93, '94, and '96. I became aware of him accidentally, because at some point I was meeting friends in a bar he was set to play in, so I saw him only incidentally (and for like a $5 or $10 cover). That would've been between my graduation in '92 and when I left Tuscaloosa in '94.

He was touring the southeastern college circuit for years before then, playing in bars big and small plus the occasional very rich frat party. The kind of success they enjoyed with the second two records represents the sort of "overnight success" that only comes after years of hard work, but the point is that you could be as old as mid-40s and have been part of the first wave of college-age DMB fans.
posted by uberchet at 1:56 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


(Whatgorilla: the stereogram one is Remember Two Things.)
posted by uberchet at 1:57 PM on May 21


uberchet: Yeah, the fact that it was a CASSETTE shows it had to have been very early 90s. And that college show I worked a year later may have been in 93 instead of 94.
Regardless, a TON of fraternity and sorority people knew all the lyrics to this band I only knew because a friend had grown up with the bassist. So I think there are a lot of people who--if they hadn't worked at a college club--wouldn't have heard of them until the end of the 90s when that "crash into you" song hit it big.
Note: they all appeared to be pretty old even in 1993/94--the bassist was the only young one.
posted by whatgorilla at 2:07 PM on May 21


The kind of success they enjoyed with the second two records represents the sort of "overnight success" that only comes after years of hard work, but the point is that you could be as old as mid-40s and have been part of the first wave of college-age DMB fans.

If you were a senior at UVa when they formed in 1991 and got to hear them play frat parties or local bars before their residency at Trax, you'd be around 44 now, so that's the bleeding edge of their fandom's age (for college kids). The vast majority of their fans are going to be a bit younger than that and around my age or younger. They weren't really toiling under the radar for a whole bunch of years prior to putting out their first album, although the members of the band had been working musicians for quite some time prior to forming.
posted by LionIndex at 3:15 PM on May 21


Ack. 4th year at UVa in 1991

FTFM.
posted by LionIndex at 3:41 PM on May 21


off by a year or two then. And then only in Va and other fratty parts of the SE.

(My friends and I were intro'd to him by a buddies W&L attending brother)
posted by JPD at 3:46 PM on May 21


I'm 53, and DMB's Under the Table and Dreaming came out twelve years after I graduated from college. I am a Virginia boy, though, so I became aware of him early on. Though not one of my absolute favorite bands, I've seen DMB perform several spectacularly good concerts. And Carter Beauford is, hands down, the best drummer going.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:46 PM on May 21


Next to Manu Katche, of course. :)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:48 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Real 50+ college buddies listen to Little Feat, not DMB, is what I'm saying.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:52 PM on May 21


Mister_A: "Perhaps more to the point on Dave Matthews, he really doesn't want for cash after all those sold out shows and zillion-selling albums."

Also, he realized he could become a lot wealthier if he scrimped on proper sewage disposal in his tour bus.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:42 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Rule Number One of any tour bus is NO Pooping On The Tour Bus.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:48 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


oh my god you people need to listen to some funky drummers
posted by Benjy at 5:59 PM on May 21


St. Lucia is $10-$15k. That can't be right.

I dunno if you think this is too low or too high (I'm guessing you think it's too low), but if the prices are just a few months old they could be way off. When a band gets hot their price can change very drastically very quickly.

(Note: as a reader pointed out, these are asking prices from a third-party booking agency that specializes in college shows;

Also, echoing the commenter that noted these are very much the starting asking price.

Yup and yup.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:03 PM on May 21


I haven't read the thread yet, but there's no 'insider information' here.

Want to know what a celebrity costs? Call their agent and ask. They will straight up tell you. Seinfeld's agent told me his cost, major riders, and told me to call back if I was still interested, with dates. In ten seconds, on the phone, without knowing who the fuck I was.

It's really not hard to get this info.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I work for a bunch of different promoters and venues and I see contracts for bands on this list every day. Like other folks have pointed out, a lot of these prices are very wrong. Most of them are just way too high. Folks booking college shows typically have large budgets and minimal experience and, as a result, they get completely fleeced. If this list really came from a third party booker then he or she is walking with a considerable chunk of this money. Even the agents for most of these acts wouldn't quote so high even when trying to fleece someone with little experience. Most of these 50k+ bands have walked away from shows I've done with them having collected somewhere between ten and twenty grand. (Most of the venues I work in are less than 6000 capacity so most of my experience is with those kind of mid-level bands or bands that are on their way up or down.) Point being, if you're shelling a portion of that total overinflated guarantee out to whichever booking agent provided this list, you're dumping most of it into that agent's pocket. So yeah, should you be in the market to hire one of these bands, don't do it through this booker because he or she is ripping you off... even more so than regular agents do...which is already quite a bit.
posted by Siempre La Luna at 9:42 PM on May 21


And Vinnie Colaiuta. And Omar Hakim. And Copeland, if he counts.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:54 AM on May 22


Though Carter Beauford is indeed amazing.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:56 AM on May 22


//Again, I'm amazed that there's still a King's X to be charging $5k.//

They are touring this summer. f you are in the DC area you can see them for $20 in July. I saw them last year at the M3 Rock Festival and they sounded great. I plan to be there for the full set in July.
posted by COD at 5:46 AM on May 22


Want to know what a celebrity costs? Call their agent and ask. They will straight up tell you.

Well, true, fffm - that's what agents are for, after all, getting gigs for their artists. I guess the "leak" part is more about the fact that it's a giant list of a bunch of bands, cause I can't imagine you'd get very far calling up an agent and asking, "How much do these guys cost? How 'bout these guys? What about those guys?" before the agent says, "Dude, I've got better things to do," and hangs up on you.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:48 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that reminds me of when people starting getting upset about government records being put online. Yes, they *were* always public...if you were willing to go down in the basement of the courthouse and dig around for a few hours.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Sophie1: "Richard Blade is currently hosting a noon-1 show in L.A."

He does a daily show on the First Wave channel on SiriusXM, too. He's always going on about running into the bassist from Kajagoogoo or whatever.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 AM on May 22


Flock of Seagulls: $40-160k
posted by Urtylug at 12:02 PM on May 22


Well, true, fffm - that's what agents are for, after all, getting gigs for their artists. I guess the "leak" part is more about the fact that it's a giant list of a bunch of bands, cause I can't imagine you'd get very far calling up an agent and asking, "How much do these guys cost? How 'bout these guys? What about those guys?" before the agent says, "Dude, I've got better things to do," and hangs up on you.

Wrong. I have done exactly this thing. I have called an agency (CAA and William Morris included), and simply asked for a roster of their talent that does X, or costs less than Y money, or has been in a movie in the past ten years or whatever stupid criterion was so important at the time.

Thirty seconds later there'd be a spreadsheet in my inbox detailing rates, major riders, transpo requirements (Cher requires an entourage of 40, half of whom fly out of a dozen different states, for example), hotel requirements, and availabilities.

Some were further broken down into e.g. Aretha Franklin shows up for 20 minutes and does a walkby, $225K. Songs will start costing you $250K, per song.

Some performers deliberately price themselves out of the market because they hate doing paid private gigs--thus whoever it was, JLo? Beyonce?--getting paid well over a million to perform in Iran, for example. May as well make the cash if it's there.

My pricing is out of date, but the $1million club was much smaller back then. Madonna, Cher, U2 was a couple million if memory serves. Not too many others commanding those fees.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:40 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Looking at the $10-20K section.... for $200K you could put together a hell of a '90s festival where everybody gets up, sings their one song that we all know, and gets pulled off by a vaudeville style hook.

I have worked the 80s version of that party. It was by a Bay Area tech company party on Treasure Island. Oracle was it? Big-ass carnival with games & rides and a concert. Huge event.

Any road, they distributed day-glo headbands and shit like that to us staff, because 80s. The band Notorious was the "house band" for the night. They're awesome.

Martha Quinn was MC. Tone Loc played a song or two, Howard Jones, Tears for Fears, Flock of Seagulls. Then headliners were B-52s & Devo, who each did longer sets.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:15 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


Avicii is worth 10X The Crystal Method? smh

On the other hand, I could have 10 Crystal Method concerts for the price of 1 Avicii gig...
posted by Monochrome at 6:40 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


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