In this post, I’ll take you through the process of booking a one-off show from its beginning to its end. It could be a festival, a ticketed show, or a private event. It could also be a workshop. There’s a lot to get through!
This is an overview and there are many different variations of how this can happen. We’ll dig deeper in future posts on the Learning Hub, however, these are the basic steps. They are in a general order.
The Basic Steps of Booking
- Agent pitch or purchaser approach
Someone has to make the approach to say there is interest. This can come from the purchaser approaching the agent or vice versa. In this step, money is not usually mentioned. Though sometimes the price of the ticket will be advised by the agent – since this may inform any financial offer. If the approach comes from the purchaser then they will likely ask the agent to quote. Occasionally the purchaser will send an offer in this step, but it is unusual.
- Quote or offer
At this point, the agent needs to decide if they are going to send a quote or ask the purchaser to make an offer. To some extent this will depend on the status of the band and how much the agent thinks the purchaser wants the booking. For a high-status band, it is more likely the agent will ask the purchaser to make an offer and then take the negotiation from there – in the hope the purchaser will offer high to secure the show quickly. For lower status acts, it is better for the agent to make a quote that is higher than the going rate, which gives some room to reduce the fee if required.
- Consider the offer, capacity, ticket price, and costings
Before a deal is struck these three things need to be considered. If the show is a festival slot or a private event, the offer will be a flat fee. However, if it’s a headline show then the offer will need to be considered in the light of the gross sales income of the show. This is deduced by Ticket Price X Capacity. You will definitely need to ask for the purchaser to send through their costings. Many promoters send their costings at the same time as their offer. Essentially the costed sheet is the offer. From this, the agent can work out if the offer is reasonable and how much the artist can earn related to the number of sales.
- Consider availability, travel distance and show radius
If the purchaser is after a specific date this step may happen right at the start to save time. On the other hand, it can be good to work out the offer and then place it on a date afterward. The agent may have several offers on the same date and they want to work out how they can do all show options or go with the optimal offer on that date. For low tariff shows distance is important – travelling from one end of the country to the other for a low fee could end up costing the band. It is important also to consider any other shows the artist may have nearby in space and time. Other promoters will not thank you if they face competition.
- Consider rider
The latest tech and catering riders for Midnight Mango artists are freely available on the artist’s page on our website. The purchaser may ask for them and negotiate their contents. The most frequent example of this is where festivals have a fixed rider for low tariff acts. NB riders may update riders.
- Consider payment schedule
This may not be mentioned at all until confirmation – however, for events where an upfront payment is needed a “binder”, it’s wise to bring this up at this point. The number and timings of deposits must also be considered. Occasionally the artist will want to pick up some cash on the night of the show, though we discourage this. The payment schedule will form a fundamental part of the agreement and although it may not be communicated until the contract is issued it must be considered by the agent at this point.
- Consider the on-sale date
This is important if other shows are on sale at the moment nearby, it’s normal for one show to complete before another goes on sale in the vicinity. The artist or their management may want the show on-sale to coincide with something else that is happening in the artist’s calendar. Or it may be that the show can go on sale once the contract is signed. Festivals will usually announce their line up in a staggered way – and they will likely not know the exact date yet – so for that, it’s “TBA by the promoter” if the artist doesn’t know yet and they make the decision, then it’s “TBA by the artist”.
- Take offer for approval
It’s important to note, up to this point the agent has not agreed to any fee, they have worked up an offer from the purchaser – which forms part of a proposition they can take to t the artist for approval. And so the agent submits the offer to the artist’s point-of-contact. Once the offer has been approved the agent can confirm the show.
- Issue contract
Once the show is confirmed the contract can be issued (NB we don’t issue deal memos, more on that in another post). We at Midnight Mango usually issue an invoice for the show, dated on the day of the show, at this point as well. If the show has a % element then this will come after the event.
- Advise artist of confirmation
Finally, we advise the artist’s point-of-contact that the show is fully confirmed as well as any information we have about the on-sale date.
What Happens Between Confirmation and the Show
- Ticket link
Unless the event is private, the artist needs the ticket link to put on their website and social posts. This is requested in the confirmation email to the promoter, though unbelievably, we still have to chase promoters for this from time to time.
- Artists assets
The key artist’s assets such as image, logo, video links, social links, quotes, etc are available from the artist’s page on our website. It is the artist’s responsibility to update the agency when they want these changed, but they may need reminding about this. Again this is mentioned in the confirmation email so in theory, the promoter should use these to produce artwork for the show. To make sure they are using the correct assets, they must send proposed graphics to the agent, who will then pass them on to the artist for approval.
- Social networking advertising
The promoter may want to be added to the artist’s socials as an advertiser, so they can run adverts on social media. Again, when they do, they must clear any social ads with the artist via the agent, before they are implemented.
- Ticket counts
These are not usually needed for festivals, but for headline shows the promoter should be sending them to the agent on a weekly basis. This is particularly important where the show is a split deal. Ticket counts inform how sales are going and highlight failing shows.
- Liaise between promoter and artist
If the promoter wants the artist to give interviews on radio or in the press, then the agent can join the dots here. Similarly, if the artist is announcing releases or other important things, then the agent can tell the promoter this. If the artist employs PR then they may be part of this conversation as well.
- Record and chase deposit payments
If deposits are late coming in then the agent needs to chase those up and record them as they come in.
What Happens After The Show
- Request the settlement
After the show, the agent needs to thank the promoter and request the settlement. If this is a flat fee then the full fee may have already been paid, in which case this step can be skipped. However, if the balance of payment is due after the event this will need to be requested. If the show was a split deal, then the settlement breakdown will need to be requested. This should include costings that should be broadly similar to the costings in the original offer. Where there is a question mark over costings then they should be challenged – may promoters will not adjust marketing costs unless that is asked for.
- Issue an invoice for any overage
Where further overage is due, a second invoice needs to be issued by the agent.
- Finalise all payments
Before the show can be signed off the agent must be sure all payments have come in.
- Ask for feedback
It’s helpful to get feedback from the promoter and the artist about the show, performance, and venue etc. Where appropriate it may be a good idea to share this feedback with the wider team at the agency. This may be in general agent chat or recorded in the notes section of the promoter or venue’s entry in the agency’s address book.
So I said it would be a long one – and I could have easily split it into three – but there is a lot to get through and limited time – and we really want to get on with booking shows in the real world as soon as possible!