Handling Money When Booking Talent
Half the battle in booking talent is finding the right celebrity, band, or comedian at your price. Once we’ve worked with you to nail down the venue, talent, price, and date, at some point the conversation turns to money and contract. We’re typically dealing with larger sums of money so it’s important to walk through that process before we go any further.
Keep in mind that in today’s world, you need some skin in the game…meaning a band is not going to come play your gig on the hopes of getting paid on the back end. For the most part, bands, celebrities, and comedians are performers and they expect to be paid whether your event is a success or not (assuming you’re financing the event). We, as your agent and the talent will do everything we can to make it amazing but there’s a host of considerations such as venue, pricing, and audience selection that figure into your ultimate success calculation. That being said, let’s look at how the money side of things processes.
First, understand that we don’t just take orders for talent and send them your way…we negotiate on your behalf. It’s always fascinating to us how many event planners will pay full pop for a given talent. We constantly see planners pay above full pop…essentially taking what the talent agency throws out with no argument. Keep in mind that the agency will gladly charge you $ 50K for a performer that really should be booked around $ 30K. If you’re willing to over-pay, they’re more than happy to over-charge. The only way around this is deal with us as ostensibly, your agency. We know when a price is too high and we consider it a primary function of our job (not to mention our existence) to go to bat for you. It’s a process and it usually takes the better part of 1-2 weeks to knock out the final price but you will come away in a much better position than without us. All things boiled down…that and the ability to match talent with needs is why we’re here. So once we have ironed out a price that you’re happy with, what happens?
Before we make the formal offer to be accepted by the talent agency (on behalf of the talent), we need to sign an agreement with you stating that we’re acting on your behalf and that you want us to make a formal offer to your chosen talent. We will then need an actual deposit in order to proceed with this formal offer which makes sense. Talent and their agencies are not going to commit resources, times, dates, etc without a deposit. To some extent, this weeds out all the daydreamers who think they’re going to have Eminem at their cub scout meeting (now that would be interesting!). The deposit is typically 50% of the agreed upon artist fee. If for some reason, the artist does not confirm the event, this deposit is fully refundable. It’s not too common this far into the process for artists to change minds but it does happen which is why we recommend starting the booking talent process as early as possible (see article on booking talent timetable).
Once the artist is confirmed and the final artist contract is issued, the deposit funds will be transferred to the artist. The balance due will be paid on the day of the event with certified funds. You can take a look at a common talent contract as a blue print on our site. Keep in mind that the money transaction above deals with the talent fee. This is solely the cost for their performance and does not address venue, production, and other services needed to pull of a successful event. We can help address what’s needed for most events and walk you through the process. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions.
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