How Much Does the Guy Who Rolls Blunts on Tour Earn? A Breakdown of Touring Biz Jobs
Billboard followed the money to determine who's pulling in the largest (and smallest) paychecks in the industry: from the tens of millions in equity awards reaped by Apple executives to a radio-station mascot's minimum wage.
* PRODUCTION MANAGER -- As the person responsible for all of the technical aspects of a tour -- sound, lights, staging, pyro -- as well as the planning, budgeting and procurement of those elements, the production manager is one of the most critical and highly paid positions on the road. The salary range for the job is wide, with production managers for rock and pop tours generally making 15 to 20 percent more than those who sign on with top-shelf country acts. The reason for this disparity comes down to pure economics. Ticket prices for country music’s biggest headliners rarely hit the $100 mark, while topline rock and pop tours shattered the $100 ceiling decades ago.
Still, according to Jason Aldean’s longtime tour manager Joseph Lloyd, country acts manage to lure and keep top talent because their touring schedules tend to be less of a grind than those for rock and pop acts. Country tours are often set up so that the artist plays only Thursday through Sunday, leaving the crew three potential days for “standing by the Yeti with the party lights plugged in,” as Aldean sings in “Sweet Little Somethin’.” “I’ve always preached that the country genre offers a quality of life that rock can’t match,” says Lloyd, adding, “I’m home more often.”
All salaries are annual unless otherwise specified.
Reporting by Jem Aswad, Megan Buerger, Ed Christman, Shirley Halperin, Andrew Hampp, Glenn Peoples, Alex Pham, Jeff Rabhan, Phyllis Stark and Ray Waddell.
This story first appeared in the June 27 issue of Billboard.