14 Ways Musicians Can Increase their Tips
Bard Marc Gunn
September 29, 2003
I was listening to NPR the other day when
they did a report on tipping in the restaurant industry. One they had a list
of tips on how wait staff can increase their tips.
That got me brainstorming and surfing the net
for other ideas to boost tips. That combined with lots of performances at
Renaissance Festivals helped me to develop my own list of ways musicians can
improve their tips.
- Introduce yourself by name
Too often musicians forget to introduce themselves on stage. Make sure
you tell the audience your band name, but to really boost your tips, you
should also introduce yourselves individually. Let people know who you are
as an individual and you'll see greater tips.
- Go out into the audience with a tip jar
You really can't be passive when it comes to getting tips. You have to
walk out into the audience with some visual reference that says "Tip Me!",
and they will tip you.
- Meet your audience at their level
Take the time to talk to your audience members at their level. Holding
a discussion from a stage puts a wall between you and them. So instead, go
out into the audience and talk to them face to face. Kneel if they're at a
table, so you're at eye level. And if you have your tip jar with you, you
will you will not only gain a fan, but you will also improve your tips.
- Make your appearance personal
We wear kilts to most of our gigs. A kilt adds a very personal touch
It links us to a certain culture and makes people take notice. Course you
don't have to go that route, instead find some piece of clothing that
reflects your personality and you will boost your tips.
- Recommend your favorite CD
If you have multiple CDs, your audience will always ask for your favorite.
Tell them what it is. If you only have one, you can do the same by
recommending other artists that you like. That adds a two-fold advantage
of helping your audience find music they like and helping your fellow
A bright, confident smile will bring fans back again and again with
lots o'big tips.
- Involve your audience in the music with
a joke or game
Next time you're up on stage, see what happens when you joke around with
the audience. Your personality will glow all the more and so will your
- Chat with fans by name
Music fans love nothing more than to be recognized by the bands they love.
So do your best to remember their names. They will feel that much more
attached to your music and feel like your friend. And these friends will
tip you better for the courtesy.
- Touch your audience
When you're out socializing with your audience, touch them (in a
non-sexual way). Whether you shake their hand, pat them on the shoulder or
back, or just brush against them, wait staff find that that even that will
boost their tips 50%. And it will yours too.
- Use tip jars with the VISA/Mastercard
According to studies done in restaurants, just seeing those logos is
enough to encourage customers to tip more. I know it sounds crazy, but
give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Give your audience something in return
for their tip
People love feeling like they're getting their money's worth. And many
people don't realize you should tip bands. So give something in return. It
could be something as big as a sticker or magnet, or as simple as a
business card that might include a $1 off your CDs. Or hey what about
feeding their sweet tooth with a piece of candy. Whatever the case, that
little gift will mean big tipping results.
- Draw a picture
On a similar note, if you give them a business card, draw or make a
comment on it. That piece will be more valuable to them and will result in
- Make tipping a part of the show
Why wait until the end of the set to ask for tips. Sing a song about
tipping, or get your audience involved in the tipping process by shouting
something. Or offer a prize to the first tipper. But integrate it into
your show and it won't seem like you're just begging for money, rather
you're making it fun to tip.
- Thank your audience
No gig would be complete without an audience. So thank them for taking
the time to watch you perform. They will feel the personal touch and
respond when you ask for money.
- Bonus Tipping Suggestion:
If the change is five dollars, never return a five-dollar bill. Always
give back five ones. This allows the customer to tip you with some of the
dollar bills you returned. You will rarely get a $5 tip and returning a $5
bill will turn off tippers. In general, it's good to return all ones
the change is less than $8. You want the customer to have at least two
ones so they can give it back as the tip.