When it comes to booking live entertainment for an event, have you ever wondered what the process should be when doing so? As an artist who had been managed for years and now manages themselves and understands this process, here are some pointers that may help you down the line whether you are the one doing the booking or the artist/band who is being hired.
What Artists & Bands Need To Know:
As an artist who has been operating in the music industry for years and has learned how to carry themselves in a professional manner, it wasn't always this way. My advice for you is to know your worth, how to conduct yourself in a professional manner and to acknowledge that it's okay to say "no". I'll keep it real with you, I've been screwed over by promoters, event organizers and other personnel and have unfortunately had to learn things the hard way by not getting paid correctly or at all. My most important words of advice for anyone who is being booked for an event is to put it in writing or else it doesn't exist.
Some would agree that leaving a paper trail is one of the best ways to keep a record of any agreement that is made between an artist/band and the client that is booking them, for me I personally believe in creating a performance agreement. When creating a performance agreement it should clearly state the legalities surrounding who is involved, where the event is taking place, what date it is on, the amount of pay that is due on the date of the performance, if there is any deposit that is required prior to the event (which I personally feel is the best way to solidify the agreement) and any valid information pertaining to the event.
Artists/Bands or their representatives are to provide the client with a rate card to begin the negotiation process and to ensure a fair price is met for their work. During this time tech and hospitality riders should also be provided to ensure the proper tech is available for the performance and to ensure that the costs for hotel, travel and meal per diems are taken care of.
After a fair price is discussed, tech is taken care of and talks for hospitality are out of the way, the artist/band or their representatives are to provide a performance agreement to the client to make things official. Once the performance agreement has been signed by both parties, the artist/band or their representatives and the client will abide by the agreement. If cancellation should be needed, it should be clearly indicated in the performance agreement on what the process is for these circumstances.
Once the performance agreement has been signed, the artist/band or their representatives are to provide the client with an invoice for their services that clearly states the service that is being provided, the amount that was agreed upon and the date that it is due. Once the payment has been made the artist/band or their representatives are to provide the client with a receipt for payment.
What Clients Need To Know:
As a client who is looking to book an artist/band for an event it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold up your end of the deal that is created between yourself and the artist/band you are hiring. Agreements via email, text message, online chat or phone aren't as valid as a performance agreement and if you want to be taken seriously when booking an act, signing a performance agreement is the best way to do so to avoid any conflict or problems in the future. This means that if you have signed an agreement, you are legally bound to it and need to abide by what has been discussed between yourself and either the artist/band or their representatives.
In order to keep everyone happy, I always advise folks to follow this process:
1. Review artist/band rate card and don't be shy to voice that you may be working within a budget because that's where negotiations will come in.
2. Clearly review the performance agreement once it is provided to ensure that you are able to fulfill your side of the deal.
3. If the artist/band or your venue can't provide the proper tech, try to propose some alternatives to see if they may work for the artist/band that is being hired and if you are still unable to, the best practice in this case is to rent equipment from an outside source.
4. If the artist/band has to travel for the event, covering transportation, putting them up during their stay and providing meal per diems is always a great way to ensure that things run smoothly but also creates a better working relationship for future events.
5. Let the artist/band know when their soundcheck time is as well as who their main point of contact will be.
6. When the artist/band or their representatives have sent you an invoice for their services, pay them on time to avoid any conflict or being blacklisted from them.
Will security be needed for the artist/band?
Depending on if a liability agreement has been signed, you may or may not be responsible for providing security at your event. Normally if there are large crowds at the event it is always a good practice to have security present anyways to avoid putting their safety at jeopardy and to make the artist/band feel welcomed.
By following this process from both sides I have found it to be a great way to conduct business and feel that everyone should make this a practice when it comes to booking live entertainment. With hopes that this has provided insight to artists/bands and to those looking to book them for events, please feel free to use this for future reference and to share it with anyone you feel it could potentially be helpful for.