An almost coherent article or maybe it’s me. It does touch on licensing your cover or tribute act to play legally in a club. But basically, bottom line, is that bands doing tributes and covers are not making any money really, even, and/or especially, the touring ones.
“Gunnstaks says there’s a difference between Beatlemania, a “high-dollar production with big-name producers,” and tributes such as Dallas’ Hard Night’s Day, which, its manager says, doesn’t have a license. These smaller, local acts may receive good pay relative to what most musicians make, but they aren’t raking in enough to make them worth suing, Gunnstaks says.
“Dead folks are less likely to come after them cause they’re not in competition with them anymore,” Gunnstaks says. “The argument could be made that every Elvis impostor is actually helping Elvis’ estate by continuing to generate sales of original Elvis.”
Acts like Kiss — which still performs in full regalia and will in Dallas tomorrow — often conclude that a good tribute band is beneficial to their image and will also help them sell records. The Observer asked Mötley Crüe’s manager, Konstanze Louden, how the band feels about their tribute acts. “[Mötley Crüe] don’t do kickbacks,” Louden said via email.
“When you’re looking at bands that are touring on a club circuit, the profits are fairly minimal when you factor in lodging,” Gunnstaks says. “There’s no intent to cheat or defraud. They’ll say, ‘We’re not pretending to be AC/DC or the Doors. We do this to honor them. This is our tribute. We’re fans; we’re not businessmen.’”