Harsh realities in the entertainment industry,
such as declining sales of concert tickets, merchandise and CDs,
have artists looking for other income avenues, allowing skilled
planners to pursue top performers who are usually out of reach.
Intrigued? Follow the parameters below to pull off what used to
Choose wisely whom you deal with to hire the talent.
Event promoters. Companies such as San
Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel Communications and Berkeley,
Calif.-based Another Planet Entertainment promote big concert
series and usually own their own venues. Many are seeking corporate
event work. They offer services such as production and vendor
subcontracting but can be weak on branding, marketing and event
Talent brokers or booking agents. These firms,
such as Sports Marketing and Entertainment of Los Angeles, deal
with agents or directly with performers. They often work with
corporations and sometimes offer event-managing services.
Agents. Firms like Monterey Peninsula Artists
in Monterey, Calif., represent and negotiate for the talent.
The talent. Sometimes you might be able to
start the negotiation process at the source. The advantage is
enormous especially for charity or nonprofit events since most
artists are kept completely out of the negotiation loop when you
deal with promoters or agents.
When working directly with, say, a rock band, the performers
personally can weigh in on extras, such as agreeing to a longer
meet-and-greet or donating items to be auctioned. You’ll have more
work, though, finding vendors such as lighting designers and set
designers, who often are provided by an event promoter.
Get Many Bids
Performers usually are represented by a combination of the above
brokers. So do your homework once you know which performer you
Get at least three proposals, but don’t be sidetracked by the
costs until you evaluate each bid. Paying more for the service,
experience and relationships of a venerable player could give you
more value, but you could be paying for some hidden agendas. For
instance, they might push an entertainer to whom they owe a favor,
rather than finding the talent you want. Working with a younger
firm might offer the more logical and devoted return for your
After identifying a reputable team with experience (and
testimonials to prove it), find out which ones have worked with
your industry. For example, if you are planning a nonprofit event,
testimonials from a corporate planner might lead you astray.
It is extremely important to convey to the performers’ managers
that the organization’s message always takes precedence over the
entertainment. If the talent agrees to play these types of events,
they have to understand they are not the main focus.
If any firm attempts to convince you that contracts are not typical
for A-list performers, cut off negotiations and find another
Insist on using your own contract, and ensure it is fully executed
before publicizing any event information. Otherwise, you
significantly weaken your leverage.
Don’t sign a contract without a solid mutual indemnity clause.
Remember, as the event planner, you are liable for any potential
Similarly, if your force majeure clause is not accepted, don’t sign
Performers’ riders lists of things they want generally are not
enforceable. They will ask for universe; tell them you only agree
to give them a few planets. Of course, the hotter the talent, the
more you might want to comply.