How to put a price tag for an artist for your event (a promoters guide to bargain)
Early this year self-idolized events promoter commonly known as Bajjo came up with a pricelist for different artists’ in the country based on his own understating. Of course there where mixed feelings from the different stake holders of the industry, however it can largely be observed that few spoke with facts. If you haven’t booked an artist in the past, you may not realize how stressful and complex the process can be. While it seems like it should be pretty straightforward for example find the artist, pay the price they’re requesting, have them show up.
We all have rights to opinion, Nowviba.com gives ideas to promoter on how to have a bargaining edge. There’s actually a lot more that goes into an artist’s booking fees than one might think. A lot of the minute details are specific to a particular artist, but there are plenty of higher-level details that are common for every artist that you may not be taking into account.
We are going to take a look at both the big-picture items and the higher-level details that you might not have considered.
Understand your event (and what you want the artist to do).
The easiest way to get an approximate number for an artist booking is by knowing exactly what kind of event you are having and by setting clear expectations on what you want the artist to do while they are there. An artist booking doesn’t only consist of performance, there are plenty of other options available to you depending on your budget.
For instance, if you don’t have the budget for a full performance from an artist, you can try and book them for a hosting or walkthrough agreement. These tend to cost less than a performance because less is expected of the artist. A hosting agreement just involves hanging out at the event or venue for a specified amount of time and interacting with guests and fans. And like the name implies, a walkthrough agreement means the artist just has to show up, be seen at your event or venue, maybe take a few pictures, and then they’re free to leave.
A lot of artists may like the hosting and walkthrough agreements since some have upcountry tours or gigs so any night where they don’t have to perform, they can still get paid is an attractive option to them. For example, Mudra has a show in Mbarara city on Saturday but a club in Masaka city has an agreement for him to pass by on a Friday night.
The booking fee isn’t the final cost. ( know the terms of the artist)
During the festive season there was news of Juliana Kanyomozi failing to perform at an event, on her social media platforms she posted it was due to the promoter’s failure to meet her terms of operation. One common mistake that promoters make is in assuming that the fee for booking an artist is the only cost. In almost all cases, the artist’s fee is strictly for them to show up and do what you’re asking them to do. There are separate costs that one will incur, and if you’re not careful, they can add up pretty quickly.
Like it is done for international acts so promoters should for local talent, you’ll also have to spend money to cover the cost of all the requirements specified in their contract rider, the cost of the artist’s travel and hotel and the group they’re traveling with artists don’t travel alone, the cost of any equipment they might need, the cost of transportation to and from your event or venue, and any food or drinks the artist and their group will need while they’re in town.
A lot of bookers tend to overlook these costs or assume that they’re scorched into the artist’s appearance fee, only to get a nasty surprise when they realize they have to pay extra money that they didn’t budget for. In some rare cases, you can try and include these costs in the artist’s appearance fee during the negotiation process.
Timing of booking the artist.
An artist’s booking fee can also depend on when you want them to appear at your event or venue. Artists often charge more for weekend and holiday bookings, while weekday bookings are a little less expensive.
And if the artist isn’t on tour that means all those additional costs listed above (travel, hotel, etc.) could go up. Many bookers prefer to wait to book an artist until the artist is touring, and even then, they prefer to book the artist when they’ll already be in the area. You’ll still be responsible for the artist’s hotel and travel costs, but since the artist will already be in your area, it won’t be as expensive as it would be if you were transporting them up country to attend your event or venue.
Of course, touring for an artist is an exhausting business, so there’s still a chance that even a touring artist won’t want to add another performance to their schedule. In that case, you can consider hiring them to host, either at your event or at an after party at your venue. This will allow you to utilize the built-in publicity and momentum from their tour to promote your event and get more people in the door.
Fees differ from artist to artist
Not all fingers are equal that also applies to talent. While it might seem like artists’ booking fees are dependent on the caliber of artist you want to book, there’s actually a lot of variance from one artist to the next in terms of their cost. For example, you might think Grenade official and Fik famieka would cost the same for an appearance, but their prices are probably not as similar as one would think. One thing that makes it so hard to determine what you should pay for an artist is the fact that their fees are not public information. Approaching their management is the only way to know their price.
knowing how to negotiate is crucial.
This is where both the promoters and artists business acumen takes charge. Just because an artist quotes a particular fee doesn’t necessarily mean you should pay it, nor does it mean that they expect to receive it. Knowing how to negotiate is a key way to save yourself some money, and being willing to negotiate on their fee can save you a lot of upfront costs. As with any negotiation, though, you have to know when to push and when to ease off. If you don’t, you run the risk of ensuring the artist will never consider doing a show with you again.
There are a few easy ways to give yourself a leg up on the negotiation process.
Make sure never to make your first offer your best offer: set a limit for yourself based on your budget, then take 10% off of that number as an initial offer. If the artist’s agent doesn’t go for it, you can work from there, but at least you’ve given yourself some room.
Always be willing to walk away. In order to effectively do that, you’ll need to have some backup options in mind if your first choice doesn’t go through. But showing a willingness to walk away from a negotiation gives you significant bargaining power.
As mentioned above, each artist will likely have specific demands as a condition of their booking fees, so you’ll have to be prepared for those whenever you’re dealing with a particular artist’s agent. But using this information as a guide, you should now have a much clearer expectation of all the commonly overlooked details and fees that come with booking an artist, and it’ll prevent you from loosing money.
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