What Fans and Bands Ought to Know About Having a Concert in Fort Collins

We learned a lot by having our own concert in Fort Collins last week. Please enjoy this picture of Steve from Pateros Creek and an infographic that shares all the details, numbers, financials and how much each of our member bands made.

  • robotkiller

    This makes me feel all goey inside to hear about how well you paid bands … BUT …

    You don’t need to be Steve Albini writing “The Trouble with Music” to see how inflated and self-congratulatory these numbers are.

    It’s a stated requirement that a band needs to log more than 48 hours of practice time at Cohere to be eligible for this sweet, sweet payday. At $20 an hour, that’s an investment of at least $960. Cheiftan played 58 hours, dropping $1,160 in rehearsal-space costs; Wake Breakers did 67 hours, spending $1,340 in rent. Bummer dudes, that’s a shit ton of money.

    There are probably a lot of bands who’d be down to do this at Patero’s, but have practice space elsewhere, so don’t qualify because of that. So I’m going to say that rehearsal space is undeniably a cost that wasn’t figured in these calculations. I’ll just figure the minimum amount to qualify, and say, yes, they were (hopefully) also rehearsing for other gigs, so let’s just meet halfway and say each band spent $480 as a buy-in to this show. That’s going to need to be recouped.

    And that merch doesn’t just grow in the back yard, either, man. There’s an investment there that needs to be recouped as well. Let’s just figure a 100% markup on everything. That means Chieftain really only netted $125 in merch, and Wake Brakers got $70.50. I’ll make it $71.
    So let’s talk real-world numbers, starting with expenses. Chieftan’s expense was $480 (practice space) + $125 (merch production), bringing it to a total of $605. Wake Brakers’ was $480 + $69, for a grand total expense of $549.

    Okay, so now they split the door, and get $330 each, with $250 in merch rev (Chieftan) or $141 (Wake Breakers). That’s a gross revenue of $580/$471.
    So, Chieftan’s bottom line is -$31, and Wake Breakers lost $78. That’s a lot of money to pay just to have the chance to have a beer that tastes like dirty feet (come on, it’s Patero’s) named after you. Womp-womp.

    Yeah, I get it that these bands aren’t doing it for the money, it’s a passion and all that. Cool. That’s awesome and I don’t fault them for this. I do, however, take massive issue at Cohere and Pateros acting like they’re some sort of music-scene savior, when, really, all you’re doing is buying branding. And you’re not even really paying bands well, either. So come off your high horse.

    • halforcshamen

      I have to chime in here as well. I wrote a post bringing up all these same things, but refrained from posting it. I even used the term “self-congratulatory” in it since this article reeks of it. This article is fantasy. Just because the band members “got paid” doesn’t make this a successful show. They DID conveniently overlook the $20/hr rehearsal rental the bands fronted to get in on this show. Plus the band would have had to pay for the initial merch costs, so the profit from that isn’t just icing. Either way, the bands are in the hole again. Cohere, The Artery and even Facebook all got paid and the bands are in the hole. Even if you remove the bands costs, 67 hours of rehearsal divided by $82 would mean that each band member made $00.82 an hour preparing for this gig (all other professional indiustries get paid for practice, right?).

      This is the same thing that Spokesbuzz/Bohemian are into. Spending and making tons of money in the name of promoting local musicians. Meanwhile the people creating the music and art are working multiple jobs, losing their houses, selling equipment to pay for rehearsal space, etc. Talk to the actual musicians in the community and you’ll find this is the case. Spokesbuzz was spending $250,000 a year to put on a SXSW showcase. That money easily could have been raised to put on more shows, ACTUALLY pay musicians, create a musicians hub, education, recording space, etc.

      Bottom line: The organizations and people who are “elevating bands” and “promoting local music” are making and spending money hand over fist while the people who create are getting shafted. Age old story, but it still sucks.

      • Myke,
        I will point you to my reply above to Matt and also gently remind you that two of the Vertical Arrays band members sat and provided video testimonials for our crowd funding campaign three years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX4SYJAx6i8.

        I founded Bandwidth because of musicians and we always, always consult musicians on decisions.

        I’m not some independently wealthy inaccessible pantsuit. I’m a real flesh and blood Fort Collins resident. I clean the toilet at Bandwidth just like my two employees…who are musicians. I also wrote all about Bandwidth’s financial situation, so you can take a gander at that as well. http://coherebandwidth.com/blog/backstage-pass-stats-financials/.

        We’ll probably run into each other at the grocery store one of these days so please don’t vilify me or my business OR insult the musicians who practice with us by insinuating that they are stupid and can’t do math.

        • halforcshamen


          I obviously don’t represent anybody but myself, so I can’t speak for the other members of my band. I don’t feel that I’m vilifying your business or insulting your customers. I think you guys offer a great service, for those who can afford it. I’m sorry if this offended you. You obviously have a lot personally invested in your business. I have a lot personally invested in music, hence my frustration. I’d love to have an actual discussion with you on this offline if you want to discuss further.

          • Myke,
            Let’s have a coffee and chat! You are obviously passionate about the music scene so let’s talk more, get to know each other and see if anything interesting comes out of it! Can you use the contact form above and ping me? It goes straight to Shane and I.

      • Hi Myke, I would also offer to answer any questions regarding SpokesBUZZ. I will limit my comments here to this: I would love it if $250,000 could be “easily” raised — ever — and certainly to directly support some of the local initiatives you suggest. Donors, grantors and corporate sponsors have their own ideas about what they’ll fund, how much, why, and where. We’re working on it.

      • 16th Sara

        “Bottom line: The organizations and people who are “elevating bands” and “promoting local music” are making and spending money hand over fist while the people who create are getting shafted.” Your comment is duly noted.

        • halforcshamen


    • Matt,
      I’m not going to apologize for feeling proud of this event. It was a fuck ton of work and we were five tickets short of selling out so yes, I’m proud. I’ll never apologize for creating a business around providing safe, secure, backlined rehearsal space for musicians. Especially when we built the thing because our friends band’s were ROBBED from their shitty practice space.

      If Bandwidth’s entire business model was “get a beer and a concert for paying $1,500,” then yes you are right and that value proposition makes NO SENSE and I’d be ashamed of myself.

      Our business model is safe secure hourly rehearsal space and 95% of the bands who use us don’t opt for membership. It doesn’t make sense for them. For the 5% who do, we try really hard to add extra value by finding discounts on any service a band finds useful as our way of saying thanks for being super loyal and dedicated about their practice. One of the 21 extra benefits a member band gets is a fun concert to showcase their work and that concert is not the fucking point.

      Many bands have access to a basement or garage to rehearse. Some bands don’t. We serve those bands and we serve them with great love and care and honesty about our process.

    • Sara Durnil

      You’re economic argument is full of holes, Matt. You have overhead, expenses, and income on a whole for the entire year. There is no splitting rehearsal costs between two gigs, and never would you consider rehearsal time as a buy-in to a show. Musicians cultivate their art and delivery as a whole on an ongoing basis and put it in their financial model as such.If you want to play the break-it-down-per-gig game, though, let’s do it for Chieftain. $1160 in rehearsal costs/year for (let’s go low) 15 gigs = $77 per gig. But wait. Rehearsal also contributes to their recordings and distribution income, does it not? Musicians invest way more time in rehearsal preparing for recordings than preparing for an hour-long show, but for calculations, let’s say it’s twice as much time. Do you till want to break it down by gig? We’re now at $26. They receive $330, minus your per-gig rehearsal space cost of $26, they netted $304 from Cohere, plus $125 merch sales. That, ironically, just paid for 40% of their rehearsal costs. Oh, and the Pateros Creek comment? Not only did you try to slam people’s hard work by calling out Cohere Bandwidth with false logic, you successfully bit the hand of a local business who is very good to the music community. They also produced excellent products for this event at their own expense, without skimping on ingredients.

  • twmiller

    My band is sitting here somewhere between 30-40 hours (I’d guess) since we joined about six months ago or so. We didn’t join for the ‘Collaboration Concert’. Honestly, I’m not even sure it was a thing when we signed up for our membership. We didn’t join for the various discounts that comes with the card, or the social functions like Play Dates, or anything else like that. Those are all just perks.

    We signed up because we wanted a place to play (relatively) loud, with dependable gear that we didn’t have to lug around, and no noise violation tickets. (We started practicing at Cohere already in the hole $325 bucks for a nice little noise violation ticket we got playing at the drummer’s house.)

    As for the numbers, seems to me that both bands got a decent amount of practice and some good PR they can use to leverage into other gigs to further offset the cost of the rehearsal space. Cross-marketing is good for Cohere. It’s good for Pateros. Believe it or not, it’s actually good for the band, too.

    Anyway, kudos for being open about it. Having played many gigs in and around this town, in my experience, that level of detail is not the norm when it comes to how much money a particular gig brought in and how it was divided between the various interested parties. Hell, at a lot of venues around this town, you have a hard enough time just getting a straight answer about how much the bar took in. :/

    • Thom,
      I super appreciate you chiming in with your experience at Bandwidth. I do much of the behind the scenes maintenance while Shane and Adrian do the bulk of the face to face stuff. I’m going to make an effort to be more present in person at Bandwidth in the evenings to make sure all our bands are having a great rehearsal experience!

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