A “door-split” is the term for the financial arrangement between a band and a promoter/club when the performers forgo a set fee (the “guarantee”) for a percentage of the ticket sales or cover charge. With a door split, payment is directly related to attendance. With a guarantee, you’re promised a certain amount regardless of turnout. Typical door-splits favor the performers when it comes time to settle up at the end of the night (80/20 is pretty common), but some promoters will want to do 50/50 if they think that your draw is limited.

Drawbacks to a door-split:

* If turnout is low, you might not make any money. And the promoter could lose money, depending on their costs.

* You might want to get your own door person or keep a close eye on the numbers in the crowd to be sure the club is being honest about concert attendance figures.

Benefits of a door-split:

* Lower risk in terms of your reputation if you have a bad draw one night. Since the club or promoter isn’t paying you out-of-pocket, they won’t hold as big a grudge if the show is slow.

* You’ve got incentive to really get people in the door. The more you promote, the larger the crowd, the more money you’ll take home.

Drawbacks to a guarantee:

* Slow night? The venue will remember and count it against you next time, since they might resent having to pay you the agreed sum when turnout was low.

* If you exceed expectation, it’s the club or promoter’s gain, not yours.

Benefits of a guarantee:

* You know what to expect as far as pay. Besides the obvious win of getting paid at all, it’s almost as big a bonus to know ahead of time how much you’re getting.

* Budgeting tours is way easier with guarantees. You can add up what is coming in, estimate your expenses, and know roughly how fat your wallet will be when you return home.

What’s the better approach in your opinion? Please feel free to leave comments in the section below.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

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