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Ephi82

Compensation Of Heartbreakers

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I've been wondering what kind of money a guy like Mike Campbell, Ben Tench, Ron Blair, Steve Ferrone or Scott Thurston makes when they record an album with Petty, and then when on tours with him?

 

Anyone have any industry insight?

 

My guess is that most folks who are Rock fans would be amazed at how much more Petty makes than his bandmates. 

 

A lot of this disparity is from the great rewards from songwriting credits that Tom clearly deserves and gets. 

 

But:  would his records sell as well, and would his concerts be as well attended without the excellent riffis, and other contributions made by his bandmates, in studio and on the road.

 

I can tell you that as a fan of TPATH, I love Tom's ability to write great songs, but I am a fan of the band for many more reason including the playing of Campbell, Lynch, Tench, Blair, Epstein and Ferrone.

 

Without them, Tom would have lost me as a fan back when he went solo.....great songs but no SOUL at all

 

 

 

 

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 I can give you a "clue."  Look at the house Tom Petty & Tony Dimitriades live in.  Then look at Benmont, Mike, Ron, Steve and Scott's house.  You will see the differences.

 

Awhile back I did some research on this.  Tony made it clear.....

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Besides being the songwriter, Tom is the bandleader and lead vocalist, besides rhythm guitar. Tom is the star of the show, with great support from the best band touring today! Since everyone seems happy, I'm sure their compensation is good and fairly distributed. Tom values the Heartbreakers, as he says in many interviews. I'm sure he wants to keep them all happy!

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I thought I might get the answers I got.  I am not putting Petty down at all,

 

and I certainly hope he is more than fair.  I dont mean to be controversial either, but I do think its interesting to discuss the topic.

 

I have read in several sources over the years that band members dont make as much money as a lot people think they do.   Remember, they dont get any songwriting revenues, even though they create a lot of the "music" that make TPATH records so great.

 

By example, the Who.  John Entwistle was broke in the years preceding his death, and Daltry could have used a few more bucks in the bank.  Daltry had to appeal to Pete Townshend to tour again.  Pete didnt really want to, nor need to, but fortunately he did, for his friends.

 

Reading between the lines, I dont think Tom Petty "needs" to tour ever again for money, but I am sure he does because 1) being on stage is a big part of what he" is" and 2) tours allow his friends and band mates the ability to make good livings

 

My point is that as brilliant as Pete is, would we have bought his "songs" on a record without the incredible contributions of Moon on drums, Daltry on vocals and Entwistle bass playing?  It's my understanding that Pete has had at least 20x the income from Who activities compared to his buddies?  (because he was the songwriter) Is that fair?

 

Same thoughts with the Heartbreakers..........

 

For all these reasons, I think an overhaul of the way songwriting credits are allocated is long overdue. 

 

The ability of a "song" to generate revenues (through purchases of a recording) has always depended a lot on the excellence of the contributions of the musicians who put the song "across"......

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Believe me, they all make plenty. No one is complaining...

Ok, certainly hope so!  Can I ask how you know?

 

You know all things are relative.  A lot of people think that $200k a year is huge, and rightfully so.

 

I have long wanted playing music to be my work of life, and I am not without talent, but there are very very very few opportunities to make $200k a year as a musician in R&R, with talent 10x mine.

 

I am simply grateful that I can afford to buy anything TPATH puts out, including the most excellent box set with the live stuff a few years back! (and maybe even scalp some tickets for the West Palm show in September)

 

The question is what the Heartbreakers are earning relative to what TPATH, "the corporation" pulls in annually in total, songwriting included.  I am sure we wont know, but my guess is that Ben and the rest of the guys should get a few more bucks, that's all

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You have to separate songwriting, record sales, and touring revenue.  Historically, artists don't make squat from record sales.  The publishing rights for the songwriting is where Tom makes bank compared to the rest of the Heartbreakers.  I would think - and I have no direct knowledge of this - that the touring revenue is much more evenly split.  I doubt that it's like the Eagles where Don and Glenn split a huge percentage, and the rest of the band gets the scraps.

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I know they made the agreement way back that Tom would be frontman...and although he reaps greater rewards, he also has greater risks from the "fame" thing. I am sure Mike is well compensated for being co-captain and co-writer. He can afford a house in Hawaii and a $250,000 guitar, so he isn't hurting. Then I am sure Benmont is rewarded for his writing and musical contributions also. If all that was a given, the three should be rewarded for remaining loyal to the band for so many years. My guess would be that the other band members do not recieve as much but are certainly making enough to be dedicated only to TPATH. Remember, Steve has played many many other groups and toured with Eric Clapton, so he has other offers for sure.

 

I agree that Tom probably doesn't need the money at this point. He has royalties galore coming in (music and TV). I am sure they are earning retirement money at this point and money for family once they (heaven forbid) depart this realm. Remember they do not have retirement plans and insurance benefits that go along with unions and certain jobs. I am just grateful they are still rockin because I didn't get to enjoy them as much back when I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. :)

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I think Mike has done quite well, too, given that he has songwriting credits on some of the biggest songs, and producing credit on some of the biggest songs/albums. Those 2 things help a lot.

 

Benmont and Ron have probably made less, but are still in good shape. Touring would net good money for any on stage member.

 

For them to be together after nearly 40 years, I'm sure Tom has kept them happy.

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Oh I am sure Nurk that they don't need help from anyone. We were just discussing compensation....but of course we are just flapping our fingers anyway, lol! I have no idea really. I can't even imagine any amount past thousands of dollars. Just making conversation..:)

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Such an interesting discussion. I'm sure we'll never know the exact amount that any of the Heartbreakers make.

Like the rest of us though, I imagine that how 'well off' they are depends on how good they are -or have been- with money management. For some people, no matter how much income you have, there's never enough; throw in the trappings of fame, and you can say bye-bye to a whole pile of money in short order. Line up your favorite indulgences and throw down the cash and/or credit: booze, drugs, sex, acquiring property, gambling, etc.. Then there's the actual business side of things to manage and maintain - crew, managers, publicists, blah, blah, blah.

So naturally, I googled "how much do musicians make?" This article from December 2013 looks at 10 working musicians and how they make a good living, including dollar amounts and top income sources. Interesting stuff - many make 50-100k+  and a lot of that from shows and merchandise. One composer/musician quoted $20/hour during rehearsals and $1000 per show. So (fun with math time) -

  • 40 hours of rehearsal per week for three weeks: $2400
  • 40 show tour? $40,000

I'll wager our beloved Heartbreakers are bringing in more than that, especially during a tour year.

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I was told by a good source that Tom pays both Mike and Benmont $1m a year as a retainer. I dont know if its true but it wouldnt surprise me as Mike and Benmont are two of the finest musicians out there and I'm sure they would be much in demand if they were available. Mike's work outside the Heartbreakers seems to have tailed off in recent years but Benmont still does a lot of session work, I guess he just loves playing with other people.

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I was told by a good source that Tom pays both Mike and Benmont $1m a year as a retainer. I dont know if its true but it wouldnt surprise me as Mike and Benmont are two of the finest musicians out there and I'm sure they would be much in demand if they were available. Mike's work outside the Heartbreakers seems to have tailed off in recent years but Benmont still does a lot of session work, I guess he just loves playing with other people.

 This is an interesting data point. 

 

I would think that the level of compensation might vary when touring, or putting in many studio hours, but I expect that "TPATH" the corporation, would pay Mike and Benmont this kind of money. Its certainly reasonable relative what I expect that the corporation makes each year.

 

From Petty's, and "TPATH's" management perspective, their compensation has to be calculated both in creative and business perspectives.

 

IMO, "TPATH", the business, would suffer a huge loss in fan loyalty (and this revenues) if Campbell wasnt in the band, and he's absolutely critical to Petty's ability to make great records. He probably should be paid an amount equal to Petty, leaving aside songwriters revenues.

 

I am not sure that Benmont carries quite that amount of clout with the fans, so I think he has a little less leverage, but his creative/musical contributions are immense.  However, they are not as readily recognized by the average fan as Campbell's. Ben doesnt get anywhere as many solo spotlights as the lead guitaristoes d.  Just the nature of Rock n Roll

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I hope they are all being well paid. They certainly deserve it!

 

I could be wrong, but I think maybe they do deserve a cut from some of those hit singles; true, Tom and Mike wrote them but the playing from the band is so distinctive, it's hard to imagine the same songs without their tasteful playing. Just check out the making of Refugee or Here Comes My Girl online and see how layered the song is and how thoughtful (just as an example) Ben's playing was.

 

cheers

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I think it's fair to make pretty accurate assumptions based on the 'real estate' principle....clues on other thread on this site. Tom & Mike appear to have 'estates' the rest of the band appear to have lovely houses in nice areas. Prices for desirable houses in desirable areas in California are not cheap. Successful song writers can afford estates. :) 

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I'll take yours and others words for it, regarding estates and homes.

 

Certainly even owning a nice home in Cali is pretty good.

 

I just think, well...Tom and Mike could have the larger percentages of those hit songs but surely a few percent here and there for the others wouldn't hurt.

 

Not that it's any of my business!

 

It's easy for me to speculate.

 

Well, again, I hope they're all being well compensated, even if estates are outside their price range.

 

cheers

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I don't know how much they make, I can't imagine how much they make, and I'm not sure if I want to know how much they make.  ;) And anyway, I don't know if it matters that much to them... I think they're smart enough to be grateful they got that lucky to be able to make a very good living being a musician. I bet they know enough people who can't.

 

Concerning the retainer: This is a very smart move. Tom needs those guys. Songwriters usually are somewhere between a poet and a musician, they're neither of the two, and at the same time both things a bit. They always need real musicians who can shine on their instruments to "upgrade" their songs and do them justice arrangement-wise.

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