Performance Contracts: For private events, weddings, and special performances, a band contract is key.

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Imagine this scenario: Your band agrees to play at a private event at a local hall for a healthy fee. You learn six new songs requested by the person that hired you and are counting on the gig and the fee you will earn. Two days before the show, you get a text message saying that the gig is off because of a mix-up between the person throwing the party and the owner of the hall. What do you do?

If you had a written performance agreement signed and in place, you likely would be in a position to negotiate all or part of your band’s payment. Without any type of written music contract, the chance of your getting any money is minimal.

To learn more about performance contracts, we’ll check in with an expert on the subject, Michael A. Aczon, a veteran entertainment attorney and author of The Musician’s Legal Companion, a no-nonsense guide to navigating the business of music. In his more than 25 years as an entertainment attorney, he has advised a wide range of clients, helping them protect their interests.

First, what are performance contracts? According to Michael, “These typically refer to any agreement that spells out the details of a live performance. They can range from oral agreements or simple one-page documents or email for one-time performances (often referred to as ‘casuals’), to elaborate touring agreements that are dozens of pages long.”

Although many bands and musicians perform without them, usually without a problem, a gig agreement “serves as a roadmap and anticipates various issues that may arise between parties. It will address those issues before the performance, so everyone has a reference point if there are any problems along the way.”

There are four main components in a simple band contract. We’ll go over each of these four main areas.

1) Scope of performance. Exactly what are the musicians being contracted to do? The agreement should clearly explain the pertinent details. For instance, how long will the performance last (time, number of sets, breaks allowed, etc.)? What group is contracted to perform (including how many musicians)? Are there additional performance requirements (play at the wedding ceremony and the reception; appear at a press conference and at the local radio station the week before the concert)? Are rehearsals expected/required?

What you’ve been hired to do may seem obvious to you, but putting everything down in writing for both parties to review and agree to up front will help eliminate disagreements later on.

Michael adds, “Another aspect that has become a major issue these days with performers is whether or not video or audio recordings of the performance can be made and/or distributed. Some artists may not want to have a gig recording posted online or on any form of social media if it’s inconsistent with their professional stature or the image they portray as an artist.” As a result, many artists include clauses in their contracts that prohibit any audio or video recording at their performances unless they provide explicit advance permission.

2) Day, time and place for the performance. The exact date, time and location for the gig must be specified clearly. What time is the venue to be open for load in? When, and how long, is the sound check – especially if there are multiple bands performing)? Is a rehearsal needed at the venue to set lighting or stage cues? Do you have day of performance contact info for the club owner, booker, or person hiring your group, in case of a mix up?

As an example, Michael explains, “One of my clients did a street fair that had two stages that were blocks away from each other. Without the specificity of the exact locations, the load in times, and places for each of the stages in the agreement, this would have been a logistical challenge. As it was, we knew about it all in advance and arranged the schedule accordingly.”

If there are promotional appearances expected from the act (such as a radio or newspaper interview), those arrangements need to be included in the contract as well. Artists should be flexible and do their best to accommodate these duties as they are valuable win-win promotional tools that can be used by the artist to help build the audience.

3) Compensation. What are the various payment arrangements and which are most common for club, casuals, and opening act gigs? Guarantees, percentages (sometimes referred to as “contingent fees”), deals with a smaller guarantee plus a piece of the door or bar, etc. are all options. What is typical for bands starting out? What are pitfalls to watch out for? For example, what if you’re asked to perform beyond the scope of the original gig agreement, such as play an extra set at a wedding reception or party?

According to Michael, “The range of payment terms is so wide, it’s difficult to even speculate what a ‘typical’ or ‘standard’ arrangement is these days. It’s negotiable and depends very much on a variety of factors such as the performer’s demand, the scope of the gig is, and if the venue is one that the performer wants to be associated with. Building in bonuses or other compensation – such as another $200 for an extra set because people don’t want to leave the party, $100 to learn and perform a special song, or a percentage of the door receipts if more than 100 people come to the gig – is a good idea. This last option lets the promoter know that you are forward thinking and that you’re confident that you can bring in an audience. Doing so will almost certainly result in being asked back.”

When it comes to private engagements, weddings and such, Michael suggests that it’s a good practice to insist on a deposit from the client for such casuals. “It secures the date and makes sure that you’re at least partially covered if the gig doesn’t happen for whatever reason. Sadly, sometimes a bride is left at the altar or the frat house you were going to play gets put on social probation. When the band finally hears about it, it’s often too late to get another gig.” Based on the clout of the band and who was at fault, the deposit may or may not be returnable if cancellation occurs far enough in advance for the band to have a reasonable chance to land another gig. Once again, these conditions must be spelled out clearly in the gig agreement.

If there will be any other consideration for the band, such as provided meals, drink tickets, hotel rooms, comp tickets for family and friends, airfare, etc., this should also be detailed under the compensation section. If you travel with a soundman, are they to also receive the same benefits? Again, being sure to include all the expected compensation in any form up front in the gig agreement will help minimize problems later.

4) Technical requirements. Who will provide the sound system, stage lights, any crew that is needed, and the all-important disco ball? These important details are usually covered in the last section of the gig agreement or for larger gigs, in a separate document known as a “rider.” For a casual gig, the band most likely will be totally self-contained, that is, they will bring their own sound system and lighting, if any is required. For gigs at established clubs, the band will normally be asked to provide a sketch of their onstage placement of instruments and vocalists (dubbed a stage plot) and a mic input list. Michael goes on to explain “as you move up the ladder to larger venues and concerts, a standard rider, is usually attached to the performance agreement, and will be used to spell out the specific and unique requirements that the performers need to put on their show.” He also mentioned that for national touring acts, such riders may be dozens of pages long and cover the most minute details.

Riders often have two sections: the technical rider, which details what equipment, staging, lighting, electrical power, labor, and special effects (like that fog machine) the concert promoter or club owner is responsible for providing as a part of the performance agreement. The second part of the rider is the courtesy and comfort rider that details the backstage items required by the artist, some of which may be necessities (bottled water, dinner for band and crew) while some may be viewed as perks (a certain brand of beer or wine, case of cigarettes, Godiva chocolates, etc.). The more clout a band has, the more extensive both parts of the rider are likely to be.”

In Case of Emergency
What if the club can’t fulfill its end of the contract? For instance, sections of the Midwest were recently hit with record floods, some of which likely affected venues in the towns that were underwater. What if the band can’t fulfill its end of the agreement because the lead singer was in a car accident, or the band’s van and equipment were stolen the night before the gig?

“The term ‘Acts of God’ describes fire, flood, natural disaster and now acts of terrorism,” Michael explained, “and these absolve both parties of their responsibilities. However, things such as the crumbling economy, poor ticket sales, a side musician being unavailable (as opposed to the main attraction artist) may not rise to level of being an Act of God.” For less severe issues, but ones that still end up killing a gig such as a wedding being called off or a club owner having to eliminate music on off nights due to poor attendance, Michael urges musicians to “use common sense and not burn any bridges in the business. In the long run, working with the other party to see if there’s another way to make something happen” will go a long way toward maintaining the band’s reputation.

Selling Merch at the Gig
Selling T-shirts, CDs, posters, and other types of merch during and after a performance can play an essential part in keeping your band in business. However, depending on the gig, the type of audience and other parameters, you may or may not be able to sell your merch at a particular show. Don’t pull out your box of 100 t-shirts after the sound check and ask the bartender if she has a spare table you can use. Nothing will bring down the mood of the band right before their set than a bouncer angrily grabbing your merch off the table in front of your audience and throwing it in a pile backstage. Instead, be sure to discuss the merch option up front with the booker and determine if it can work for both parties.

Spell out the three “Ws” – in writing. That is, what you can sell at the gig, when you can sell it, and whether or not the club or venue will provide space to do so. Be clear as to whether or not the venue expects to get a share of the merch sales. For some concert venues, they will have a dedicated staff and tables to sell your merch. You’ll give them a starting inventory before the gig and then after the gig they’ll give you the unsold merch, and an accounting of what sold along with your sales receipts.

In the end, while there’s a little bit of a learning curve to using a gig agreement for many musicians, as well as those who may book us, doing so will help make the actual performance, as well as getting paid, a whole lot less stressful. And once you have one that works for your group and use it regularly, it’ll become just one more part of the overall process of booking and playing gigs. Finally, in the rare event that a booker reneges on his or her agreement, you’ve got a legally binding written agreement that you can use to help secure payment through small claims court or other means.

Keith Hatschek is a contributing writer for Echoes and is the author of two books on the music industry, Golden Moments: Recording Secrets of the Pros and How To Get a Job in the Music Industry. He directs the Music Management program at University of the Pacific.

Michael Aczon is a San Francisco Bay Area-based entertainment attorney and artist manager. As a lawyer, he has represented a variety of clients in virtually every musical genre from unsigned local artists to internationally recognized artists, writers, and media clients. For more information on his books, articles and law practice visit www.aczon.org.

Story Links
The Musician’s Legal Companion (second edition) by Michael Aczon
Forum on Gig Agreements on Harmony Central

The Complete Marketing Process

Read More
Getting the most from your entertainment attorney
Gigging, touring, and performance contract tips
The “who” and “what” of finding a music manager
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46 thoughts on “Performance Contracts: For private events, weddings, and special performances, a band contract is key.

  1. Nothing is an always. And there ARE good clubs that are beneficial to a band’s exposure that a band SHOULD play, however they would not sign a contract of any kind. That is a reality. There is no “business” in many clubs, even those that make good money. Bands have to deal with the fact that there are a lot of pretty words and soft woobies out there that the more successful musicians out there like to promote. Follow the money….and the obvious rears its ugly head.

  2. At GigPay we have a contracts tool that helps users easily generate and manage performance contracts. We’re trying to do our bit by directly marketing it to promoters and venues and have found that they are receptive to signing contracts. They just want favourable terms to them AND control, which is understandable. Who wouldn’t?

    My advice would be to just negotiate everything beforehand and don’t go requesting stuff from a run-of-the-mill venue that would put them off.

    You also need to be mindful of the way you present a contract. When presented in a professional manner with reasonable terms and all the main points agreed on getting your contract signed shouldn’t be a problem. If they won’t sign your contract or give you their one on the terms you’ve negotiated then courteously fish for an explanation. If you conclude that the venue or promoter just wants the opportunity to stiff you, then you really shouldn’t be playing there because sooner or later they will do it and you’ll wonder why you played there without a contract.

  3. Thank you, request to use info. on Howcee Productions Gospel Blog Talk Radio.
    Helpful information for knowledge about the music business.
    Freddie C. Howard
    Howcee Productions Gospel
    P O box 104, 231 Six Ave.
    Beatrice, AL. 36425

  4. For what it’s worth – if a musician is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, he/she already has access to performance contracts.  Simply contact your Local and they will be happy to give you the contract forms you need.  Also, if the musician files a copy of the duly signed contract previous to the engagement with the Local  and the employer defaults on any part of the contract, the American Federation of Musicians will assist the musician in getting what he she is due, at no cost to the musician.

    1.  
      When I was in American Federation Of Musicians, several years ago, they were quick to come out and see that we weren’t breaking any of our bylaws. Once when we had a contract with a certain venue, whose owner hired another (non-union) musician to perform with us we were instructed to be there on time, have all our equipment set-up and ready to play, and stay until after the time on the contract ended.  In other words, do everything except perform.  The BA was there every night for the duration of the two week contract to assure that we did not perform.  After we did EVERYTHING by the book, with observation, the union did absolutely nothing to help us to receive our pay.  We would have been better off to have performed with the other musician, who we all knew and had nothing against in any way, and paid our fines.  The union couldn’t do anything to the club owner or the non-union musician.  They could only fine the union members.  We gave all the allotted time required, turned down other gigs available, and made ourselves look quite foolish for nothing.  I still am a firm believer in contracts, but don’t count on any other entity to help get your money.  We just tonight were cancelled on a gig that we had for about 6 weeks.  We were told they ‘double booked’ and the other performers were booked before us.  We were told this about 2:00 this afternoon.  The show was at 7:00 tonight.  I just found out we were replaced by a ‘DJ’ and everyone had left by 7:20.  I am researching contracts to find either a contract or ideas I can use to build our own. I really regret that the strength a ‘handshake’ has come to this today!

  5. He’s telling the truth. If you approach this from a business stand point, and a band stand point, for that matter, this is exactly what you want to do. If a venue doesn’t want to sign a simple “this is what we’re going to do, and how we’re going to do it” agreement, which protects him as well as you, the artist.. its the same kind of place thats not going to be doing things like paying ASCAP, or BMI, or the other critical revenue stream producing activities.. that help the musicians earn an income. If there’s no paper work, there’s no reporting of performance, there’s no royalties where they should be paid. Do you really want to play for a business like that? As a band, you have to say no, and start treating this professionally. IF one or ten say no.. the ONE that says yes, is THE one you want to play for. And you find more like that. Its the same as getting record deal.. you are going to get one million no ways.. until you get the one yes.. because they see your talent.. and know you are a market item. Time to consider yourselves a market item, and not some cheap exploitable artist. Look at that type down your guitar strumming, and drum battering noses.. with disdain.. grow a spine and say “ah hell no, you’re one of those.. Id rather play to my dog and little sister then get ripped professionally like that”.
    Im not kidding..and am a professional performer.. and we all want to eat. THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE SURE YOU HAVE FOOD MONEY!
    To the naysayers.. mark my words.. when you go pro.. the real places wont touch you without a contract in place.. its simple business.. in fact, this is the simplest part of the business you’ll be doing. The rest requires actual managers, accountants and attorneys. So while you’re getting your word out.. start practicing whats coming.. buck up, and be professional.. In fact, push back “dude, you really need to do this, it protects you, as well as us.. if we dont show up, it guarantees you’re getting paid.. then you can just run bar songs over the over head, and people will just buy their beer regardless.. and do what they usually do at bars.. get drunk, hook up or talk.. its nothing off your back to do it right”..  And if he’s still a booger tell him “Dude, times are changing, its not like the old days, everyone’s using theses now.. you are a real business, right?”
    If he throws you out.. wait.. then hit him up again a few months later.. “Just wanted to see if you’ve reconsidered”.. in writing.. send a nice business letter.. then stop by a few times “didnt mean to get you upset or anything.. its just business.. so hows business going?”  .. consistency, keep the ball moving forward.. train your market how to do it right!.. and dont burn bridges. At some point, when you become a social networking God of viralness.. hes going to hear about you.. and, probably  beg to sign that darn paper! Ive seen it.. it really happens.. more than you realize. So just do it right from the beginning.. and learn good form.. its going to benefit you down the road.

  6. As mentioned, get a good manager or booking agent. The clubs will usually be intimidated by them (and their title) and sign the contract. Without a good manager/agent, it is almost impossible to get club owners to sign the contract.

    Also mentioned, if the club won’t sign a contract, then they are most likely very shady.

    EXAMPLE: I was asked to play a big Industrial Festival, and I asked the promoter to sign a contract before I agreed to perform. He said he would have a contract to sign when I get there. I said “no, and that I won’t do the gig”. After the big event was overwith, I heard horror stories from the bands that played there, and they said only 1 band got full pay, and another got half. The rest of the bands didn’t get paid at all (about 15 in all)…….this is a good example of what to expect from promoters who won’t sign contracts.

    For weddings, etc., they are paying out big bucks for caterers etc., and they have contracts with all of them, so don’t let them get away without signing a contracts for events like that……but for club gigs, the best advice is to get a good manager/agent. My manager got me paid after the event was canceled at the last minute. The rest of the bands who didn’t have managers didn’t get paid……so it does help quite a bit to have a good (professional) manager, who has the guts to stand up to the bar managers when they refuse to pay.

    1. I am so appreciative for all the comments from everyone.  It’s like reading an extension of the article and could fill a book of the actual real-life experiences you all share.  Thanks so much for sharing.  It all  is so vital information for all artists trying to make a living at this “music business” stuff.  

  7. I can relate to part of that. I was in a country band. We were booked into a club for a month. Each member made $200 per week from the club. After the first week the club owner canceled the remaining three weeks. The “leader” of the band did NOT have a contract-just a hand shake!! I lost $600 on a MFin hand shake!!

  8. When you are doing a major feature like this why  are there not some sample contracts provided??
    UGH!!! A Blunder!!

    1. There are a ton of them available from the link at the end of the story – the Forum on Harmony Central. Click through and check them out.

  9. I have no idea where you guys are playing.  I have never heard of a venue…even a bar…and I’m originally from THE STICKS… that refused to sign a contract when presented in a professional manner.  It would seem that any establishment that would refuse to honor their word with a written agreement wouldn’t be anywhere most working musicians would be interested in playing at all.  If as, Phillip said, you’re there for the party and are willing to take any compensation, then…rock on.  I’ve certainly played a few in my day.  But I don’t think this article isn’t really talking about those types of shows.   

    1.  Oh believe me, I’m equally astonished that you have not experienced this. Where do you live? I mean geographically? I’m not saying that Phillip’s advice isn’t great, because in fact I am to a certain degree playing devil’s advocate- he is absolutely correct. However, that being said, I have found the preponderance of club owners and booking agents look at you incredulously when you present them with a contract.  I even had a guy in Portland OR who wanted us to travel down there and perform (were based in Seattle) and he said he would present us with a contract. Week of the gig- no contract. Then he said he would outline our agreement in an email. No email. We ended up not doing the gig. Driving 5 miles to a club on a verbal contract is one thing, but driving 172.8 miles (one way) is quite another.

      One thing I do have to point out is that I have suspected for a long long time that this experience seems to be relegated to “rock” venues in major cities. I mean between Tacoma and Portland there are probably close to 100,000 bands competing for the same shows. There’s a surplus of eager young bands willing to do ANYTHING just to get exposed to an audience. I have a very dear friend with whom I have discussed this subject many times and he is Seattle’s Polka King (I know don’t get me started). He is a virtuoso accordion player and runs a band that travels alot. He asserts that this phenomena seems to emerging from the rock clubs. For instance: his audience demographic is older people ususally, playing at ballrooms for Elks lodges, Oddfellows lodges, city government parties, heaps and HEAPS of octoberfest functions. These people holding the events are usually pretty keen to get a contract. It’s just par for the course with them.

      Secondly. If you are in a band in Shreveport Mississippi, probably a lot easier to get a contract than it is say Seattle. The sheer numbers of eager and willing bands trumps that every time. Unless you’re like Motley Crue

      Thirdly, I agree with all of the points of this article,.. I just don’t think it is largely applicable to its target audience with a blog name of “Insights for Independent Artists”.  This information is in fact correct, however, it really applies more to artists that have attained a certain degree of success already, and are playing the premier stages, commanding better pay. I find myself somewhere in the middle of this,.. On one hand I am playing the casino’s of Washington, Oregon and Northern California and we DO get a contract for that, and maybe the week after I’m playing Bender’s in Renton WA, a divey little dive that absolutely WILL NOT give a you a written deal.

      My point is, if you are just starting out (at least on my neck of the United states) and you think you’re going to walk into the local club here and tell them “Can we please commit our agreement to writing?”,..  Just isn’t going to happen. 

  10. Good advice, however for any special event (anything needing extra work for the music) I always require 50% deposit upfront and if they don’t want to cooperate, I’d rather not play for them anyway.

  11. Wow actually we’ve been booking bands since the 60s and none of our acts, or any of our buyer affiliates would expect to do any kind of business without a bona fide contract. No contract, no act. Get a pro agent and/or manager and this will never be something any band ever even has to think about. Any buyer, or venu that refuses to sign a contract, isn’t worth playing.

    1. “Any buyer, or venu that refuses to sign a contract, isn’t worth playing.”  
      Wow. That is just so easy to say. So what you are saying is all these middle ground venues that wont sign contracts I should forget about? You know, like 300-400 venues in the greater Seattle area,.. None of those are worth playing??  I should just go straight to the top venues and tell them to book me?  And they will do it just because I’m me???   Because we all know that is how THAT works, right?

      “Get a pro agent and/or manager and this will never be something any band ever even has to think about.”

      Wow. Seriously?  Such a pat answer.  Because pro agents take on EVERY band that comes along right? And if they actually DID take on every band that wanted them to represent them, they sure would have the time to do a good job on each and every band right?? Man I never thought of that,.. “just go get a pro agent or manager”. Wow.

      You know, Im in a band that has a respectable and reliable following. We don’t have millions of fans, but we have a rather large following of people that respect what we do, and have for 6 years. It just keeps growing. That having been said, even though we are playing casinos, halls, festivals, and the like, it would be impossible to do what we do without occasionally playing the clubs. The clubs usually balk at contracts.  Not all of them, but 90% maybe.

      Now for you to say these venues aren’t worth playing is ABSURD, because more times than not, the DO honor their verbal agreement. Sure there are exceptions, and sometimes modifications, but for the most part the agreement is honored.

      That having been said, if I were to categorically just not deal with them because (and I quote) “they aren’t worth playing” I would lose half my yearly profit.  Seems a little arrogant to me actually. Arrogant and careless. 

      I think it’s great you have been booking since the 60’s.  Bravo. You probably have heaps of contacts that you have been working with for decades.  

      I bet, however, if you had to start from the ground up all over again in TODAYS music industry, you would find it a much different experience.  If you were a newly formed band striking out into the current music scene no matter how GREAT your band is, you might find yourself eating your words, actually.

      1. Thanks for having the courage to speak the truth.  You are so right on all your comments. Most people in the “music business” have no idea what’s going on with regular, independent musicians and how difficult things are out there.  Organizations like “Sonicbids” are killing musicians.

  12. I had a venue stop contacting me after I sent them a contract – for a $75 show. Crappy venue. I have a coffeehouse I love to play that pays even less – almost nothing – but sends its own contract to the bands. Great venue.

    All you haters in the comments take from that what you will.

  13. Thanks for the article. I’m the co-founder / producer of a benefit concert series at a restaurant/bookstore in DC. No one taught me how to do this. I just assumed you have a contract for these things so I made one up (write me at soundsofhopebooking@gmail.com if you want a copy). I was surprised at how many performers work without a contract, but after checking with my friends in LA, they agree with most of the other comments and say it’s just “part of the music business”. I also agree with Philip in that attitude is everything and we usually get what we expect (though it takes courage to ask for it). Thanks again.

  14. Excellent and common sense tips in the article. We never do club gigs however and in 5 years of doing private parties and wedding events I have never had a client who refused to co-sign our one page “Performance Agreement”; indeed by their reviewing the draft, I have made minor clarifications to the complete satisfaction of both parties….Bob

    1. I have done hundreds of private affairs in and around the Baltimore washington corridor and alwasy had a contract signed on all private events. When I ran a talent agency in the same area I had contracts with both Military and private venues and one with the band also….Never really had any trouble with getting them…..Don

    1. email me at wtrix at aol dot com, i’d be happy to email you a performance agreement that i use.

      for me, i play many weddings, private events, and clubs/bars. this is what i do;

      i use performance agreements, collect 50% deposits in order to block out a specific date, and collect full payment 1 month before the scheduled event. i “snail mail” contracts, and put a stamped envelope (SASE) to make it easy for the client.

      95% i get paid in full a whole 30 days before the gig.
      keep in mind this is for private parties, and weddings. wedding couples do not want to hassle with searching for a new band two weeks before their big day, it’s too much stress for them. we even get tipped after the wedding. one time someone was late paying us, i told them we were not going to drive two hours to their event until we were paid in full as stated in the agreement. they ended up using paypal to pay me, we waited until the money was put into our account and told them we’d start driving once it cleared.  if we were to go down without any payment, chances are we’d get stiffed. we would of lost our leverage.

      LEVERAGE is KEY.

      for clubs, i limit and play clubs pay a guarantee, most of the time there is no contract, and the average pay is around $200-$400. i’ve gotten stiffed on a number of occasions, that’s just how it goes. so, i  work with promoters that i know and trust, after a while you figure out who pays and who doesn’t. i book the band at clubs and bars once every few months to show face and to invite potential clients to come see us live, so we play private gigs 80% of the time, and clubs/bars 20% of the time. clubland is not fun business-wise, but can work if you have a system and are choosy where you perform…

      i play in a reggae hawaiian band by the way…
      ricky

        1. no problem at all, it’s good to help out our fellow musicians, we work hard at what we do, it’s not just a party for us, we have accountability and responsibilities, especially if it’s a wedding, it’s the biggest day of the couple’s life.

          if your band is looking to make it big with your own original music, then i can see playing for exposure and wanting to get your name out there, but if you’re doing this as a source of income, playing for food and beer doesn’t sound as appealing.

          i always tell other bands, you are only worth as much as you say you’re worth. if you set a minimum to come out to do a show, stick to it or adjust with the number of members according to the budget, make it worthwhile for you and your band members. word gets around that you play for $xxxx. stick to your guns, be firm and polite at the same time. i tell clients we do this for a living, i’d be happy to barter my services for whatever they do as a career. ex) 5-6 hours of lawyer advice or clean my pool. they quickly understand that it does take time out of our lives and it’s not always just a party for us to perform live music.

          anyone else wanting a copy of the performance agreement i use feel free to email me at wtrix at aol dot com. it’s a word doc (microsoft word 2003), i usually PDF it or “protect” it after filling in the blanks when giving it to a client. (so they can’t alter it)

          one thing though, i am trying to “lock in the lines” of the document where people fill in the blanks (when i email it rather than snail mailing it to a client), so that when someone types in the blanks the lines won’t move. can someone help me do that? i’ve tried it and failed… lol (i snail mail almost all of the time, but occasionally email the agreement if client requests it)

          i also have a “hold harmless agreement”, on a few occasions we had to get insurance for events, we either get the client to add insurance from their home insurance or renter’s insurance for one day, or we waive our rights to not sue in the case that an accident happens. this agreement does put you at risk if you injure yourself or if a speaker on a stand falls on a guest, so be forewarned. chances are slim but accidents do happen.

          sorry for blabbing, anyone wanting to check out my band go to
          k2kuaana dot com . i have a simple “booking questionnaire” link where clients fill in info so i can customize a quote for them. helps out tremendously…
          wtrix

      1. Wtrix, thanks for the info. This is what was missing in the article.  I hope you don’t mind if I request  a copy of your contract, too. I’ve been stiffed a few times, too.

        1. I thank you alot. I have a band. I’ve been wanting a contract. I’ve stiffed a few time, too. So I would be highly appreciative if you would send me a copy.

      2. Wow, you have given us such useful advice! I think I’ll drop you an e-mail about a contract, too. It may become useful in the future. Thanks for being so helpful to us musicians!

  15. Total fantasy. Except for rare high paying gigs, no one signs contracts. The average band going into a venue expecting a contract will be laughed out. You can get a contract for a wedding generally, or a huge corporate function, but that’s it. At least that’s the way it is in the New England region. Professionals know not to even ask for a contract for the average gig. If you want respect in the community, sound good. Seriously, contracts are not standard until you get to about 1K pay level.

  16. Total fantasy. Except for rare high paying gigs, no one signs contracts. The average band going into a venue expecting a contract will be laughed out. You can get a contract for a wedding generally, or a huge corporate function, but that’s it. At least that’s the way it is in the New England region. Professionals know not to even ask for a contract for the average gig. If you want respect in the community, sound good. Seriously, contracts are not standard until you get to about 1K pay level.

  17. Well that sure is a purty story. And all those nice points covered in detail,.. wow,. sure did his thinking,..  Exceptin’ for most venues don’t give a damn about a contract because there are 5000 other bands they can get that will work without one. They don’t want to put anything in writin’ cuz they want to be able to change the deal in the 11th hour, and if yer band doesn’t like it there thousands of starving artists who will do the gig without a contract and for free even!  I mean, you know, if you’re playing a casino or something then chances are the WILL want a  written agreement because they don’t wanna get sued.  But if yer playing say “The Central” in Seattle, and you walk in with a written agreement they are going to laugh at you.  I’ve had verbal agreements with bar owners and at the end of the night he walks up and gives us half the money he promised because he says he didn’t do well on the bar (which is a lie, because the bartender TOLD me they did $7k on the bar that night. This just isn’t Seattle it’s pandemic. The musicians unions have no teeth- good for only one thing: collecting union dues.   I think a BETTER story would be “How to get a booking agent or bar owner to sign a contract”. Now THAT would have been a great article.

    1. David,

      I disagree, you need to put up a professional front and ask the club/venue to sign a contract. You might be surprised. If you act like an professional and expect to be treated like one you will gain respect in your community as well as becoming someone who can be relied on to do what they promise. If, however, you are there for the free beer, then party on brother.

    2. David,

      I disagree, you need to put up a professional front and ask the club/venue to sign a contract. You might be surprised. If you act like an professional and expect to be treated like one you will gain respect in your community as well as becoming someone who can be relied on to do what they promise. If, however, you are there for the free beer, then party on brother.

      1. I suppose you think I haven’t tried that yet?  Heh Heh.  Like it never occurred to me to ask for a written agreement,.. or maybe bring one along with me that’s already made up?   Joe is right- weddings, corporate events, festivals, casinos, stuff like that then you can expect a contract,..  but Joe’s Bar and Grill in Decatur Illinois?  Walk in there and tell “Big Lou” you want him to sign a contract. I dare ya.   

        1. I hate to point out the obvious, but the title of this article is: For private events, weddings, and special performances, a band contract is key.  not:  For (insert name of a bazillion mid sized clubs, dive bars etc), a performance contract is key.

        2. I hate to point out the obvious, but the title of this article is: For private events, weddings, and special performances, a band contract is key.  not:  For (insert name of a bazillion mid sized clubs, dive bars etc), a performance contract is key.

        3. And I hate to point out the NOT so obvious, but if you actually read this article it references the aforementioned mid-sized clubs throughout, obviously inferring that this advice is meant to be applicable at all levels. 

    3. Type your comment here.This article is from a guy who is just one more in a chain of people who take atvadntage of all the wannabees out there…lets go run and “pay money” for his book…wonder what his last gig was and where….thanks for your truthful commentary…

    4. Was thinking the same thing. Been performing live music for years and you ask a person working at or owning a club and they will get scared and just book a different band.

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