Are Too Many People Taking Too Much Money Out Of Banding

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Highnote, Jan 18, 2005.


Are too many people taking too much money out of banding?

  1. Yes

    27 vote(s)
  2. No

    13 vote(s)
  1. Highnote

    Highnote New Member

    As we see YBS electing not to compete in Europe, probably because of financial restraints, I pose the question 'Are too many people taking too much money out of banding?'

    Surely the time as come for bands at the top level to have a reality check regarding their finances. We hear of Deps charging up to £200, stand in MDs £500, corner men being offered £25000 p.a. Where is this all going to end - There just ain't that kind of money around in banding and sponsors are begining to realise that perhaps they are not getting value for money.

    Unless the top bands come to their senses it is inevitable that more of them will fold.

    It may be a good thing if banding became a hobby again rather than a money making machine.
  2. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member


    Those are ridiculous amounts of money!

    Is this speculation, or does this actually happen?
  3. kate_the_horn

    kate_the_horn New Member

    thats terrible!

    ive always seen the good old brass banding as a hobby, if it got to playing at weddings and the like, thats a different story!

    kel x
  4. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    I don't have a problem with people earning through banding, if music is their career, why shouldn't they be paid for it? People in other trades wouldn't be expected to put as much time and commitment into something they do for a living without being paid, no matter how much they enjoy it.

    Just my opinion. Wish I could get paid for playing!!
  5. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    It actually happens, yes.... with SOME players/conductors... you want the best, you pay for it, after all...
  6. philram

    philram Member

  7. I see nothing wrong in good players being paid for playing - why should banding be the one style that excludes being paid?

    It is because there is no paying public there to generate that money........

    Contesting Bands by definition bring themselves into an insular world of music - where they play to themselves - and have little regard to what the people that pay, want.

    Anyone can see that Brass Bands are " a thing of the past"........Some efforts are being made, for instance, Fodens joining up with Opera Babes.........but I cannot ever see Brass Bands becoming popular again (as they once were).

    A little like Ballroom Dancing - it is a dance style that has died. Strictly Come Dancing will not revive it........but we will see.
  8. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    So, why are there still several hundreds, if not thousands still in existance?
  9. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    it all depends on where abouts you are in the country about popularity.... and thats a whole different topic all together!

  10. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Which are all a pittance compared with other professional ensembles. Top class princpal orchestral players can expect to earn around £40K pa.
  11. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Personally, I think that the top sponsored Bands and players have had a very lucrative financial ride over the past 15 or so years, but I suspect that the party is very nearly over.
    If a player is a star exponent of his instrument and is offered good money to perform, he would be a fool to turn it down because it will only go into the pocket of a second choice player further down in the pecking order.
    If a large amount is offered, it is obviously because money is being made available by wealthy sponsors.
    This "Buying a Band" goes completely against the original Brass Band ethos as a local community activity, or a facility provided by philanthropic employers to give industrial workers a worthwhile hobby and keep them off the streets and out of the pubs (Little success with the latter eh ?)
    Sponsorship these days seems to emanate mainly from large Financial Institutions who do not actually employ band members as workers, but uses the band as an advertising tool payed for by monies that would normally be grabbed by the taxman, but can be diverted to a band as a business expense on the advertising budget - good business for all concerned !!
    I feel that we are about to see a change where companies are beginning to suspect that perhaps a Brass Band is not a very effective advertising medium as it is essentially a niche activity which may appeal to thousands, but not to millions.
    They are probably looking for something with a young, thrusting, trendy image that more readily identifies with the "Modern World"
    We have had a "Premiership" of Bands which are as financially distant from the majority of bands (us ) as the Earth is from the Moon.
    It's been a Hell of great time for top bands and players, but I suspect that the gravy train is going to dry up in the very near future and the big money will evaporate.
    The movement will benefit because we will still be left with some wonderful players who, I am sure, will continue to play and be an inspiration to the rest of us.
    Phew !!! - when I start tapping (one finger !) - I never know when to stop !!!
  12. Tuba Miriam

    Tuba Miriam Member

    I ask the question because I genuinely don't know, but is there a corrolation between the decline of the mining industry and the increase in 'mega' sponsorship from other industries to top bands? If I understand correctly, some top pit bands used to recruit players with the promise of employment and housing; in effect, they were paid to play, not to work at the coal face.

    However, I doubt this was the norm for the average colliery band, as I doubt large retainers are the norm for 'rank and file' players in top bands these days. I've read on this forum before that the Leyland Band, for example, don't pay their players.

    I stand to be corrected on any of the above, but if true, has the game really changed that much ... only the paymasters and method by which sponsorship is doled out ... ?
  13. GJPC

    GJPC New Member

    The "big money" aspect in banding is very much a double edged sword. When a band relies on a sponsorship deal because it pays conductors and possibly players, and that sponsor withdraws, the band has a real problem. Thankfully, most bands are successful in making alternative arrangements, but Sun Life is the band that really springs to mind in this.

    Although it was such a shame that this fantastic band folded there are 2 worthwhile observations;

    1. In their time they made a fantastic contribution to the movement.

    2. I suspect that most of the former Sun Life players are better players for their experience.

    So the conclusion has to be that "big money" does benefit the brass band movement - it gives the opportunity for the best bands to achieve their ultimate standards and gives a knock on effect which all of us lesser mortals benefit from.

    My cautionary note is that any band with a "small" sponsorship deal would do well to keep that money separate so that the band remains used to having to raise its own money to keep going. The sponsorship deal can then be used solely for capital, non-recurring expenditure, for e.g. workshops with the big names. The key is not to use the money for day-to-day items (e.g. conductor fees, contest expenses, music etc).

    And that's my twopenneth worth for now!
  14. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    It is true that there has always been a financial elite in banding.
    It used to be Works Bands and Colliery Bands who had advantages over Subscription Bands.
    The former were provided with uniforms, the best instruments transport costs, hotel accommodation on long distance gigs etc.
    Most players were given jobs at the workplace, which in some instances, enabled the band to rehearse for contests and take engagements during paid working hours.
    Subscription Bands had none of these perks and struggled to exist with engagements, members subscriptions and fund raising events - so things haven't really changed that much have they ?
    One major "Star" player recently told me that the next step was for top bands to seek multiple sponsorship like some football teams, each band with several sponsors each contributing smaller amounts.
    Perhaps we'll end up seeing bands at the Albert Hall taking the stage in jackets covered in numerous brand/product logos (Pepsi, KFC, Virgin, Flash, Loan Co's, Accident Compensation etc !!!!)
    Obviously that scenario is just a figment of my fertile, some would say, silly, imagination, and will never come to pass (Hopefully !!)
    IMHO though, think it will all level out, and overall, the movement will have benefitted in many ways, players/MD's got the loot, and now we will get all these highly trained performers back to the fold to inspire us with their expertise to improve our own playing techniques. (Make that occasional 15 mins in the bedroom into - 30 mins every day - if you know what I mean !!)
  15. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    This is correct, although in the old days of the JJB Sports and BNFL sponsorships it was a different case. There are still a fair few players who have been in the band through that period and continue to play for their own enjoyment. It is because of these players that the band faired so well post sponsorship.
  16. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Another important factor is that in the past the very best musicians were lost from the band world as they had to seek employment elsewhere. Willie Lang, Maurice Murphy and others swapped their cornets for trumpets and the band movement as a whole was so much poorer. And the notion of a professional euphonium soloist was a joke!

    We're not alone in witnessing a 'professional versus amateur' dichotomy - most sports have also faced this problem and found different solutions, usually either through segregation or a desperate attempt to hold on to amateur status for as long as possible even those at the top of their game were making a living from related activity - 'shamateurs'.

    It's easy for those of us who don't need to take money from bands (or don't have the ability to command a fee) to condemn those who do, but I'd far sooner have them around to inspire us rather than doing their playing elsewhere, in orchestras, big bands, the army or whatever.

    (Personally I'd rather spend the band's money on new music, instruments and subsidised travel, but every band has to make that choice according to their needs and resources).

  17. How many will there be ( in the present format of a brass band) in 10 years time?

    We will just have to wait and see, but I suspect that BBs may have to alter to keep going - maybe a "fusion" with jazz......... dunno.
  18. IanHeard

    IanHeard Member

    I think your missing the point.....banding is a amateur hobby and any money going to players is a false economy, the players/conductors who take money out of banding are the ones not good enough to make in professional circles.
    I would go as far to say that anyone taking money out of banding is hastening its demise!
  19. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    LMFAO - !!! - so some of our top players can't make it as professional musicians? they far outshine most professional musicians that I know!!!

    Why should banding be any different to any other hobby....some people are paid to play, some play for pure enjoyment. Is the same for any musical genre that I know - professional and amateur orchestras, big bands, ensembles...brass bands are no different.

    As others have stated before, being paid to play is nothing new. AFIK if you look at the old employment records of John Foster, Fodens motors, Fairey Engineering, Grimethorpe Colliery etc. you will find quite a few well known names as 'employees' and Im sure they weren't working at the coal face.

    Bands are in many ways no different from companies...if you want the best, you have to pay. In my business, if I want top class software developers or consultants, I have to pay premium rates - same in bands.

    Any demise is not due to people taking money out. Perhaps bands should look at what they are offering audiences...would you pay £5 to listen to a local band play mediocre music thats been played over and over for the last 15 years?
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    MMmmm!! - That is a very thought provoking question.
    In truth, the answer, in my my case is "No" - the only treason I would turn out as a listener would be to support mates and friends who were playing.
    I must admit that I would also be bored out of my tree listening to the hackneyed items that most bands play year in, year out.
    At least at Kippax we have to put on a fresh programme EVERY MONTH in our Band Club.
    This could be the start of a new thread - in fact I'll start it right now !!
    Look for :- Do we deserve audiences.