… and on we go through the clauses…
- PA SUPPLIED BY THE ARTISTE: Where The Artiste supplies the PA it is for their sole use only unless otherwise agreed in advance with The Agency.
Where artists supply their own PA, then their sound set up will be tailored to their set up. It is important that promoters don’t assume that because they have a PA with them it can also cover the needs of other acts. Nor can they assume that an engineer is being paid to do the sound for other artists that may be on the bill. Sometimes it is possible, but it must always be discussed in advance. This can also become problematic for private functions where they intend to play music through the PA after the band’s performance. There is nothing worse than having to wait for a late-night DJ to finish before the band or their crew can pack down. When dealing with the general public don’t automatically assume that they understand this. It really needs to be spelled out at the time of booking and not left to the advancing of the event. Keep this high in mind when booking private functions where the band is supplying the PA.
- LIGHTING: The promoter agrees to supply stage lighting according to The Artiste’s technical rider. Where no lighting specification is supplied in the technical rider, it is expected that lighting appropriate to the venue is supplied.
It’s quite unusual for bands working in the sub 500 capacity space to travel with a Lighting Director (LD). Consequently, they are usually reliant on the lights that a venue has installed and their own staff. In this case, this clause is here to ensure some consideration has been given to lighting the show. In larger spaces, the band may hire an LD and distribute a lighting rider to the promoter. This may involve significant expense on the part of the promoter, so sufficient costs will need to be allowed for in the original offer from the promoter. Where this happens agents need to be aware of this and check the costs allocated are sufficient – as should management when they receive the offer from their agent. Where promoters need to hire in extra lighting staff from the venue or outside, these costs can be significant. For larger shows, where touring bands carry their own LD and specific lighting equipment, then these costs are built into the fee along with everything else, so it is important that agents are very aware of the minimum fees they must achieve to make a show viable – I wider point perhaps, but worth highlighting here as well.
- STAGE CONSTRUCTION: The size of the stage must allow enough space as proportionately shown in the stage plan provided. The stage area should be of solid construction, flat, and without irregularities. It must be clear of any obstructions and capable of supporting The Artiste’s equipment and personnel. In the case of outdoor performances, The Promoter will ensure that the stage is properly covered and watertight, The Artiste’s stage equipment must remain absolutely dry.
Stating the obvious perhaps, but you might be surprised how many outdoor events happen without electrical equipment being covered or stages being of inadequate size for the band’s equipment, let alone the PA. Remember agents have a duty of care to the artists they find employment for. When in doubt agents need to question this.
- INADEQUATE VENUE EQUIPMENT: If the equipment provided proves to be inadequate on the day of performance, The Artiste reserves the right to cancel their performance, in this instance the guaranteed fee will be payable immediately to The Artiste in full.
The band is there to perform, do their job and get paid. They want to do that. It is completely unreasonable to expect them to be able to work without the equipment they need, as specified in their technical rider. So this clause is here to highlight what the band is entitled to if things go wrong and the incorrect equipment is supplied.
- NATIONAL ADVERTISING CONTRIBUTION: Where a national advertising contribution has been agreed, The Promoter agrees to pay this in advance on receipt of an invoice from the Tour Promoter managing the National Advertising budget. The Promoter gives the Tour Promoter permission to spend this on advertising The Artiste’s tour. This contribution is non-refundable. How the budget has been spent will be available on request.
A national advertising contribution (NAC) is where all promoters contribute to a central pot to pay for country-wide advertising of one form or another. NAC should be indicated to the promoter when The Artiste’s tour is pitched to the promoter and not as an unwelcome surprise later in the process. Nevertheless “most” promoters are happy to contribute since they are designed to benefit all shows on the tour – “lift all boats”. The advertising campaign is usually organised by the “lead” promoter who is promoting more of the shows on the tour than anyone else. It’s largely pointless for agents to carry out the task of invoicing promoters for their contribution and then promoters invoicing the agent – so this clause highlights the fact that the organization overseeing the NAC will be invoicing the other promoters directly for their part. The campaign may be handled by the lead promoter or they may engage a third-party specialist company to look after the advertising, either way, the separate promoters should have a right to see where their money is being spent, so this clause highlights that point to. It is also very useful for promoters to know when advertising is happening so they can highlight that in their promotional efforts. It is a frequent point of contention between lead promoters and other promoters on a tour and so, should be handled sensitively.
- FOREIGN ENTERTAINERS TAX: Midnight Mango Ltd is part of the HMRC’s “Middleman Scheme”. We are authorised by HMRC to arrange payment of any Foreign Entertainers Tax owed by The Artiste to Her Majesty’s Government. Any fees due to The Artiste by The Promoter may therefore be paid in full WITHOUT deduction of Withholding Tax. For further clarification please contact Midnight Mango Ltd.
The fees of foreign artists is subject to Foreign Entertainers Tax. The tax is often referred to as the FEU (which stands for The Foreign Entertainers Unit which is a specialist division of HMRC that was set up to ensure that artists correctly account to HMRC for tax due when non-UK artists/entertainers and sportspersons perform in the UK) This is usually collected or withheld, as a flat rate of 20% from the fee unless HMRC have advised otherwise. Consequently it is often referred to as Withholding Tax. It usually the responsibility of the venue, festival or promoter to withhold this tax and pass it to HMRC. We’ll get into this in more detail another time, but to cut a long story short, there is another scheme rather anachronistically called the Middleman Scheme which allows the tax to be collected by an authorised third party. Midnight Mango is part of that scheme – essentially this means that the full fee is ALWAYS collected from the promoter and we deal with any tax payments. Tax can get very complicated and ultimately it is the responsibility of the band’s management and accountant to get this sorted. We can advise the band to a certain extent and we can pay the tax they owe to HMRC from the fees we have collected on their behalf. It is important to note, we don’t do the band’s touring budget – the band will need to pull their budget together and submit it to FEU directly. Of course, we can and should advise.
- CORONAVIRUS TESTING: Unless otherwise agreed at the time of booking, all expenses incurred by The Artiste and their crew to take any required Coronavirus tests in order to be permitted to travel in home, transit, or host country for the purpose of this performance shall be paid by The Promoter. The Artiste will provide an itemised and verifiable invoice.
This is a new clause that will hopefully become out of date very quickly. There has been occasion where the cost of a band doing the tests required to get to a foreign festival and perform have been sufficiently prohibitive to make the trip a loss making trip.
To be continued…