What is a Door Split and How Does it Affect You?

As an independent or an up and coming band the phrase “door split” is not an uncommon one. There seems to be a lot of discussions when it comes down to this subject but the vital question is how does the door split affect you as an independent artist?

As an indie musician the door split is something that you can’t ignore. The idea of relinquishing a set fee can cause a bit of a cold sweat because the underlying factor is: Are you losing out?

In most cases the door split can be of advantage to the band especially when the common door split rate is between 70% to 80% to the band and 20% to 30% to the promoter. With these rates in favor of the band, the remaining factor is, what is left? Firstly the promoter takes the door proceeds; he recuperates his or her costs of renting the venue and then for the promoting of the show. It is only after all these costs have been paid with that the remaining percentage is split between you and the promoter. Another type of door split rate is 50% band and 50% to the promoter – which is acceptable.

One door split that should be avoided at all costs is where the promoter takes the larger portion of the split rate. This is assuming that enough ticket sales where made to cover all the costs involved in setting up the show. Here the door split can be to a disadvantage especially if a band is just starting out with the likelihood that the band could leave the venue with no earning to show for its hard work.

This is where you have to consider your future as a musician. If you feel that this is a career you’re willing to pursue then your goal will be to promote yourself as much as possible – even if it means making less that you expected.

Musicians also have to look at promoters as a component for their future success. In most cases the promoter is often willing to take new acts of any genre as a newcomer and risk a poor outcome if you as the musician are willing to risk earnings or even losing money on a performance or gig. Some promoters may accept a deal where you are guaranteed a small percentage opposed to the door fee so check before you start performing so you understand the financial picture.

With all performances your shows will be better for your career and pocket book if you have a good relationship with the promoter. A good promoter can get you repeat shows to enlarge your fan base, obtain press passes to attend shows as well as signing people onto your mailing list.

Being aware of performance splits and the role of the promoter will help you become a better musician and can lead to your band gaining recognition in the music world and industry. If you are lucky, paying tour dues as a musician may lead to a lucrative music contract and once you make it to the “big time” you can look back on door splits as one of the sacrifices you had to endure on your way to the top.