Salary cap

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by George Fairhurst, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. Many years ago, longer than I wish to remember, I beleive that players in brass bands were only allowed to receive payment, for playing with a band, that was no more than 1/12 of their weekly income (this may not be the exact fraction, but it was pretty low). This included travelling expences and retainers. Does this still apply, I have attempted to find the relevent rule but without success. If it is no longer a rule then should it be reintroduced? it seems to have worked in Rugby League, Not the 1/12 but the Salary Cap. Would it improve the standard of our bands??????
  2. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I might be wrong here, but as far as I know playing in Brass Bands has always been a strictly amateur pastime. Obviously bands bend the definition of amateur to varying degrees, but I guess the basic rule is that you don't get paid to play per se. However paying travel expenses and suchlike are OK, which allows bands in a solid financial situation to "reimburse" players of their expenses while still keeping the movement amateur.

    As I say, I could well be ignorant of this, but this is the first time I've heard of any sort of wages being paid for people to play in a band, let alone a written rule of capping the amounts allowed.
  3. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    If you imposed a salary cap on Premiership footballers, they would go elsewhere, thus the Beautiful Game goes into decline. In Banding, as with anything, a player can only charge what people are willing to pay. Most banders do it purely for the love of it, some are in a position to charge for their services and bands choose (or not) to employ them. As far as I am aware, there is no rule in the banding world over how much somebody is paid; it's up to the descrecion of the band and the player.

    The rule you may be thinking about was changed about 20 years ago; prior to then, it was against the rules for a 'professional' to perform in a brass band contest. However, for a long time the rule was bent beyond recognition and some 'retainers' or 'expences' really amounted to a professional fee. Instead of hanging on to it, the brass band world did something intelligent (yes, I know, they only do it every 20 years or so) and let the rule go.

    My opinion is this; if a band cannot find a suitable player for free and have the means within their budget to pay someone, then why not? I am a pro freelance player myself and, had it been for the old professionalism rules, I would not have been able to play in brass bands and I would not have enjoyed the odd contest.

    (by the way, I've only charged a band for a contest once, and that was only because I was losing work elsewhere)
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Time for me to be an historical spod again :eek:

    There are wage books in the Besses Bandroom in Whitefield detailing the salaries of the Bandsmen who were on the World Tours. in 1906/07 1909/11...which, considering they lasted for 18 months each, is hardly surprising.

    OK, so it was a long time ago....and no, I wasn't one of 'em ;)
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    (... by the way, great attitude to have! :clap: )
  6. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Well OK, but I was more thinking day-to-day than something like a World tour. Are there any examples of players being paid specifically to play for a band? I can think of a few examples where players have been employed by a bands sponsors, which is another way of getting around the amateur rules but not any cases of someone being paid in the professional sense to play.
  7. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    The amateur rule was thrown out a long time ago, though.
  8. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Thanks, Brassneck. I suppose you can take the boy out of the band, but you'll never take the band out of the boy. Every professional player I know who has started in banding still has a real affection for the movement even though they may have been away for years.
  9. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    The Hannaford Street Silver Band is a Canadian professional brass band, if I understand it correctly from their website:
  10. Thanks Bass Trumpet, I think that you have sorted out my original question regarding not being able to find the rule about the amature side of the movement.

    "If you imposed a salary cap on Premiership footballers, they would go elsewhere, thus the Beautiful Game goes into decline."

    Also a good point, but don't you think that apart from the top six clubs in the premiership, who have all the money, the rest of the clubs are struggling with keeping up with the game. Sorry I digress its not like that in the band movement is it !!!!!!!!!
  11. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Way back in the 1960's, when I left school and joined a certain band, they found me a full time job with the company.
    The band also paid me £12 a quarter "Expenses" plus job money.
    Another player was brought down from the other end of the country along with Mother,Father, Brother, Sister and Grandfather ( non players) - they were initially given accommodation.
    The player, and both his parents were found employment within the company.
    No doubt there were other financial arrangements involved.
    At one point I reckon at least half the band had been imported in and found employment.
    Ah, those good old amateur days !!
    - Wilky
  12. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Which kind of confirms what I was striving at before - ie bands have always found ways round the supposed amateur status of their players - but I'm not aware of any that actually employed them to play and nothing else. I guess I'm arguing semantics here, but finding a job for someone (and their family in the above example) and paying someone soley as a player are different.

    FWIW I have no problem with professionals playing in Brass Band. In fact I think its a good thing - it gives the movement a "halo" effect. Would we have the massively impressive works we do if we didn't allow players who are good enough to earn their living playing into brass bands? The top flight also give players of much more modest ability - like me - something to look up to and something to strive for.
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Virtually all the great works bands at some point in their history had examples of players given "cushy" jobs in the works to secure their services for the band. Essentially they were employed to play in the band, but this was a way to get around the amateur requirements.

    I might be wrong here, but wasn't Harry Mortimer in this position, along with his dad and brothers, at Fodens?
  14. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    There are certainly players being paid, and offered, into 5 figure sums to play at the moment. Not just "salary" but other incentives as well.
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As has been said before this is certainly not a new thing: I recall a quote reprinted in BB a few months ago - I've wished ever since that I'd kept it! - recalling how one of the top players (I think in the '30s) was receiving a retainer equivalent to the then average weekly wage for each practice attended, with extra for any public performances.
  16. MrsBucket

    MrsBucket Member

    I must add ,but possibly many will remember, the system of the colliery bands for many years was to obtain players by offer of employment and often accomodation ( which is how I got here from Northumberland before I even started banding) in the Thirties!.. oops! getting on a bit, but not that old,,

    The colliery bands had so much to offer up until the early nineties, but so had a lot of 'works' bands.,

    Following those good old days possibly retainers have replaced the 'perks'.

    Apart from the 'rich' bands who pay retainers, wouldn't out of pocket expenses be enough these days?
  17. Teflon1961

    Teflon1961 Member

    I totally agree to that, I'm sure that most of us are happy with enough to cover petrol etc, if borrowed by another band.

    I've never been in a position to make income from my regular banding, though without bands going over the top I know smaller retainers from some bands for their players services aren't a lot at all. I'm sure we all know "Mum's n Dad's" who do their banding together and perhaps get a yearly "retainer" whereby the retainer wouldn't even cover babysitting bills without considering transport.

    Back to the point of 1/12, I just wonder if that was the word on the street, rather than a definitive figure?
  18. ssmith

    ssmith New Member

    Good luck to players who are good enough (and work hard enough) to reach a standard where they can be paid a decent wage for their talents. I for one believe this is the only way the brass band movement can keep hold of its most talented players, who often drift onto other ensembles who can sustain their wish to make a proffesion out of their talents.

    How many great players are now playing for top orchestras. What a difference it would make if they were still playing in brass bands. Think about it! I bet if you asked most of them they would admit to getting more musical satisfaction from playing in a brass band than countings bars rest in an orchestra.
  19. oddbod

    oddbod Member

    Things have changed a lot over the years. There is no brass band rule at contests about a proportion of a day job being paid as a player be it one twelfth or any other proportion.

    According to HM Revenue and Customs, there is no way to be paid money without being taxed. If it is expenses, there has to be an account showing both the expenditure and the income with intent to make a profit, in any other case, it is simply deemed income and it is taxable at source. I could go on, and on, and on with the qualifying criteria - because I have a very boring day job that does just that - deals with people who have second, self employed incomes.

    The other thing I think worth mentioning is that it is not a matter for either an individual or an employer do decide if some task has self employment status - it is a set of criteria stipulated by the Revenue such as - Does the person have money at stake? Is the person unsupervised? etc etc...

    It's an absolute minefield.

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