Etiquette for Tipping Musicians

Tipping etiquette in any industry, profession, or even country can be a nuanced topic. As the holidays roll around with all sorts of seasonal events, we’re often asked by clients and fellow entertainers alike what the appropriate rate is for showing your appreciation to live musicians. While there’s no set standard, we have a few guidelines — and tips, if you will — for when, what, and how to tip live musicians.

When to Tip Musicians

Foremost, tips shouldn’t be expected. They’re the result of great service and performance, and given at the client’s discretion. They are, however, always appreciated, and a common gesture to acknowledge the musicians’ contribution to any ambiance.

What qualifies as great service? Consider the following:

  • Did the musicians have a sizable setup or a complex load-in process?
  • Were they early to arrive and on time to start?
  • Did they exhibit good showmanship and professionalism?
  • Was the music and entertainment first class?
  • Were they required or asked to work longer than expected or without a break?
  • Did they take song requests from guests in stride?

These are just a few questions that’ll help you land on an appropriate tip amount.

What to Tip

Every client and circumstance is unique, so don’t feel pressured to give any certain amount extra. Some may feel most comfortable calculating a percentage of the total cost — such as 10% for good, 15% for great, and 20% for outstanding. Others find it easiest to set aside $25 to $50 per musician.

Is there a tip jar? Guests may feel inclined to contribute anywhere from $1 to $10, depending on the setting. Of course, these are just conventional tipping amounts, and are not requirements.

How to Tip

There are a couple of options for how to go about tipping as the primary client: toward the end of the event, once they’ve completed their sets, is most typical; however, some clients choose to tip before they’ve even begun, in order to thank them from the start. Forget to stop by the band before the end? They’ll completely understand that event hosts and coordinators get very busy on the scene. Sending a little extra in the mail is not unheard of, and always serves as a pleasant surprise!

Whether you have a check prepared for the band leader or cash in individual envelopes for each performer, we guarantee the tip will be appreciated in any form. In the end, it’s an honor just to be selected to accompany your event or add to the atmosphere you’ve curated.


If you’re looking to book music for an upcoming holiday event or learn more about our services, contact us today, and we’d be happy to help!

2017-12-06T00:00:33+00:00 December 6th, 2017|