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by
Christopher Knab - Fourfront Media & Music - August 2011


Back to Music Business 101

Local shows will likely be your first "major" source of income. Expenses involved in local/regional shows will be limited to gas and maybe per diems. To get booked at a local or regional club, you will not need the services of a booking agent, instead you will be able to do it yourselves. All you need is a complete and updated press kit, lots of persistence, and the ability and confidence to play a 45-60 minute set.

Once you've selected local and regional clubs you want to perform at, send the venue your complete press kit and follow up with a phone call within 5 to 7 working days. The club will then tell you whether they're interested in booking you for a show or not. If they are, it will be your turn to tell the venue how much money you want for your performance. Once you've negotiated a deal you will have to gather all the pertinent information and set up a contract. (Note that after you've played a club for a couple of times and established a working relationship, the venue might not insist on a written contract anymore.) Nevertheless, getting things is writing is a very good habit to get into.

Here's a list of issues you will have to address and specify in a contract:

"Purchaser" or "Buyer" (Name of the Club Promoter)
"Artist"
"Deal" - The deal you accepted and the amount of money you will get paid.

The four most common deals you will encounter:
1) Flat or Guarantee Ex.: $ 300
2) Versus Ex.: $ 300 versus 30% door, whatever's higher.
3) Plus Ex.: $ 300 plus 30% door
4) Points/Split Ex.: 50/30/20 of Net

You also need to address...

  • Date of Event
  • Set Length
  • Deposit (if any)
  • Who will pay to whom how much and when
  • Admission Fee (Ticket Price)
  • Capacity
  • Act of Nature (Force Majeure). The force majeure (literally "superior force") clause is applied when there is an unexpected event that causes performance of the contract to become impossible; it releases one or both parties from their rights and obligations.
  • Cancellation Fees
  • Recording by Permission Only
  • Promotional Commitment (This specifies the minimum amount of money you, the band, expect the club to invest in advertising the show.)
  • Merchandise: How much the club will take from the gross of merchandise sold (usually 10%)

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Christopher Knab is an independent music business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. He is available for private consultations on promoting and marketing independent music, and can be reached by email at: chris@chrisknab.net

Chris Knab's new book,
'Music Is Your Business' is available NOW from the Music Biz Academy bookstore.

Visit the
FourFront Media and Music website for more information on the business of music from Christopher Knab.


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