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Month 9 – The Song Is Performed On A Headline Tour


Live show

Pure-Horse have hit the road in a converted 1987 Ford Transit Van; the proud owners of a Greggs discount card and a Premier Inn business account. Their initially ambitious thirteen-dates-across-fifteen-nights tour has proven, in hindsight, to be pleasantly achievable, with them having to upgrade the venues in two of the cities they’re set to play to larger capacities. We join them half way through their jaunt, with tensions beginning to simmer somewhat between the designated driver (bass player – only one with a license) and literally anyone else who gets in their way.

“Who was the genius that booked the Inverness gig in-between the Stoke and Birmingham dates?” the bass player shouts over the sound of an angry clutch to their bandmates who are trying with all their might to stay awake out of solidarity, but are failing quite majestically.

“I’ll be honest”, the guitarist replies meekly, “I *might* have got Inverness mixed up with Barrow-In-Furniss, but hey, at least we get to go to Tebay services now, right?”. At the mention of Tebay, the entire band smiles a genuine smile, their hearts full with the glow that only a trip to the country’s leading motorway service station can provide.

“I can’t stop thinking about opening night in Norwich”, the singer chips in, “do you think we crossed a line performing The Song as an encore? Four times?” 

“Nah mate. They were chanting for a fifth by the end!” the drummer responds, “anyway, we had to do it the third and fourth time because of those guys who wanted to propose to their girlfriends during the middle eight. Couldn’t let them down, could we?”

The rest of the tour passes in a haze of budget lager cans and room temperature hummus that has been snaffled from entry level riders. By the end of it, Pure-Horse both love and hate each other more than they have loved and hated one another ever before.

So when do they get paid? – Approximately 6-9 months.

You’ll remember that earlier on within Pure-Horse’s journey we discussed live income generated via the ‘Gigs & Clubs’ scheme. Well, as they’ve gone up in the world and they’re playing larger venues, the income they receive now falls into a scheme at the PRS entitled ‘Major Live Events’. As the name suggests; these are bigger gigs where the amount of performance royalties you get is dependent on:

  • The ticket price
  • The amount of tickets sold
  • Your set length and billing position

Currently in the UK, the major live event tariff is 4.2% of the gross ticket sales. So let’s do some hashtag quick maths…

  • You play a venue with a 1,000 person capacity
  • You sell it out (well done you)
  • Tickets are £25 a pop
  • 1,000 x £25 = £25,000
  • 4.2% of £25,000 = £1,050
  • That £1,050 will be split between songwriters who wrote the songs performed by the headliner and the support act (weighted in favour of the former, as they have the larger audience and will be on stage for longer).

As you can see, there is some really significant income to be collected out there, and depending on the kind of gigs you’ve been playing (and in which territories) it’s sometimes possible to go back six-to-twelve months in the past (sometimes further) and collect your royalties for those as well. We have an entire team at Sentric whose sole jobs are to make sure that all these gig performance royalties make their way to the artists that use Sentric’s service and they’re rather incredible at what they do.

How about a cheeky real life example? We look after an artist who was asked to support a well-known British indie band on a month-long tour around the UK in venues circa the 2,000 capacity mark. They were offered £50 a night to cover their petrol and food so they did it knowing they’d lose money overall but decided it was worth it in a bid to sell copies of their album and make new fans. Around three distributions later they brought home £4.5k in performance royalties alone which was more than they’d ever generated through any other income stream before, including record sales.

And another? Over a decade ago we had an artist win a competition to support Bon Jovi at a football stadium. They did a quick 20-minute set early on in the evening and they bagged £8,000+ in performance royalties. That’s nice eh? So if you consider the fact that if they received that much for twenty minutes, then Bon Jovi would have pocketed £72k for their three hours on stage. And that’s per gig on a worldwide stadium tour. Basically, as soon as you’ve finished reading this post go and write the next Livin’ On A Prayer.

NEXT: Month 10 – The Song Is Synced On A European TV Advert.