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20 Things Every New Band Needs To Know About… Managing Money

Tish Hart
Tish Hart 20 March 2015 at 15.35

In the new issue of Rock Sound, we tell you all about the 59 bands we think you need in your life right now. And as they're all fairly new faces, we asked them to give us THEIR tips on getting your band off the ground. We've already had them coaching you on social media, hitting the studio and even buying you first van, but this time it's all about managing money. You know the drill. 

1. Manage it. Simples. 
"Manage it! Always know how much is going out compared to how much is coming in."
Sam Velde, Obliterations 

2. Keep it cheap and cheerful. Sometimes what you think is a necessity might just be a luxury. 
"Every penny that you put into the band goes back into the band. Do everything as cheap as possible (while still remaining professional), keep your receipts for everything, budget for everything you do, keep a log of your ingoing and outgoings to see what you are over-spending on, run your money ship and run it tight. It’s simple stuff really; don’t sleep in a hotel if you can sleep on a floor."
Josh Bannister, Milk Teeth


3. Pay your bills before you get excited that you've been paid. 
"It's always important to know your finances and to pay your bills. You should always know where your money is going and how much it will cost to buy merch or driving to a show ect. And before you pay yourself, you need to pay your bills. It's really easy to get in debt and that will ruin your band."
Matt Marshall, Palisades 

4. Be prepared to struggle. 
"One of the more difficult things about being in a band is money. Especially in the early stages. Unfortunately it's one of those things; you need to print merch, pay for recording and get to shows, so for a little while you may not be breaking even, but you will eventually. Make sure you make a spreadsheet and note all your outgoings and incomings down. It will save you hours of stress."
Henry Cox, Boston Manor

5. But seriously. You're gonna be broke. Deal with it. It's what being in a bands about. 
"Money is one of the most important thing for a new band, it's not about having loads of it and throwing it at people in the hopes you will get opportunities that others might miss...that's some bullshit. Every member of the band has got to be prepared to make the band their primary financial focus, if only for enough time so you can get an EP recorded and have enough to help you travel to play as many shows as possible! You also need to be prepared to be broke for a long time."
Tobi Duncan, Trash Boat

6. Keep your band account topped up, and stop getting pissed. 
"Face it: being in a band costs money. Set up an account and put a small amount in every month. Keep records of all your sales. Buy less beer. Then when the time comes that you need to record, it won’t be such a struggle. Also, it’ll make touring just a bit less minging."
Tom Marsh, Cardinals 


7. Friends are great, especially when they're you're roadies. 
"Budget wisely and record accurately. Try to include your mates as much as possible when looking for crew, there is no touring party like an ACTUAL touring party."
Austin Dickinson, As Lions 

8. Have a long hard think about whether your investment is actually worthwhile. 
"When it comes to managing money, one of the most important things to remember is not to spend more than you know you're going to make. Write up as detailed a budget as you can prior to any tour. Keeping good records will help you not only know exactly how much money you make and spend at any given time, but will also help prevent problems in the future. Sometimes, you do have to spend money to make money but make sure your investment has a worthwhile return whether it's monetary or not."
Dan Gow, Against The Current

9. You know that little bit of paper you get when you buy something? It has a purpose.
"KEEP THE RECEIPTS!!! Managing money on tour can be pretty stressful but as long as you keep on top of keeping all of your receipts it's really not that bad. Keep a folder with them all in and keep notes on your phone of what you've spent or received and you'll be fine." 
Alex Adam, ROAM

10. Avoid selling your mum by preparing for costly situations.
"There will be gigs you won’t get paid for, T-shirts you won’t sell, and van breakdowns you’ll have to flog your own mum to the AA to cover. There are costs you may never, ever recoup, so the best way to handle it is to do so plainly, and head on. Make sure everyone understands that this isn’t a money-making swindle, that everyone’s going to have to put in repeatedly, and that’s just the way it is. If you can afford it and nobody’s stormed out in a fit of rage, set up a web-based bank account and have everyone transfer in a defined amount every month. The chances are it’ll be gone in minutes, but hey, you’ll have some band stickers to show for it. Or a working exhaust."
Rob Vicars, Wars

11. Loans? NOans. 
"When we first started off, we had 'invisible money' which we used for food and booze. Mostly booze. This was a 'loan' that never really got paid back. We learned very quickly that this isn't a sustainable form of economics."
Andy Gillan, Palm Reader

12. Prepare for the worst and be realistic about what's actually an expense. 
"Be smart with your money because things change quickly, tours fall through, sales sometimes dip and expenses pop up and you can go broke quick if you're not paying attention. No, a bottle of whiskey isn't a band expense." 
Kevin Ghost, Ghost Town

13. Were you hoping for coke and strippers? Sorry, wrong era. 
"I hate to kill the dream, but cast aside those visions of backstage cocaine and hooker parties. The reality is much more like 5 guys scrupulously dividing a pack of ham between two slices of worst-of-both bread, buttered using a crisp for a lack of cutlery. Savour every bite because it's probably the only thing you'll get to eat that day. And don't neglect that fruit on the rider, you want any traces of nutrition you can get!! And finally, unless it's a matter of life and death, resist the urge to buy anything from a service station if your trying to make your funds last." 
Josh Gurner, Hacktivist 

13. If you're in it for the long run, you'll hopefully begin to make an income. Until then, keep a chart of what you're selling. 
"Have several pots kept in different places so if someone gets robbed you still have the rest saved elsewhere. Keep charts on what you've sold for merch and always count up your takings at the end of the night. Save all your money until you really start making an income!"
James 'Jibs' Taylor, Oceans Ate Alaska

Oceans Ate Alaska

14. Keeping a note of what you're making will avoid a man hunt for the £50 you thought you earned but actually just spent on beer.
"IT IS IMPORTANT! Quantity is never so much the issue in regards to money management, but keeping your records and on top of it is. Even just keeping a scrap of paper detailing your ins and outs will save a lot of confusion."
Eddy Brewerton, Moose Blood

15. Trust nobody but yourselves. 
"Whatever amount of money you have, big or small (for us it's small), make sure the only people that have their hands on it are the people you trust without question. For me, that's my three band mates. Keep your eyes on everyone else." 
Jami Morgan, Code Orange

16. You're gonna need to fuel your band with your own money before you can think about withdrawing the cash you've made. 
"Never take from your band. Save everything your band makes and put it in a band account. Use this for merch and fuel money. And don't expect to make money out of what you're doing. Bands that are in it for the wrong reasons never make it far."
Josh Floreani, Trophy Eyes 

17. Grind. It. Out. 
"Don't spend money when you don't need to. Touring smart and grinding it out a bit will give you way more of a chance at paying the bills then a bus and massive crew will. Put in the work and you'll see the benefits."
Caleb Shomo, Beartooth

17. If you know it's likely you're going to piss away all your money, put another band member in charge. 
"Try and leave this down to one or two responsible people in the band. Money can get tricky when there's constant spends and outgoings - especially for DIY bands who manage themselves. Be sensible, try and embrace saving money and the mentality that sometimes you have to spend money to make money."
Drey Pavlovic, Allusondrugs

19. Nope, not that guy. 
"See the band member you'll most likely find at the end of the bar covered in their own vomit? They don't look after the money."
Jamie Jazz, Bleach Blood

20. And finally... what he said. 
"Don't spunk it."
Will Bottomley, Marmozets


So, there you have it: 20 tips on managing money as a new band. We didn't say it was going to be easy, did we? If you want to read more from all of this lot, they're in the #newnoise issue of Rock Sound (alongside another 39 GREAT new acts we think you need in your life right now. If you fancy checking that out it's available today from all good UK stores. Alternatively, you could order it to your door, or download it straight to your phone. 

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