Even though negotiating with an agent-or an artist, for that matter-might seem overwhelming, it's totally tackle-able if you break it down. We're here to help you, and we've broken the negotiation process down into four easy steps. Let's get negotiating!
Step one: Let's Talk Price
Your first point of negotiation with an agent or artist should always be price. To help you put this into practice, we'll break "price" down into three different, important points of negotiation.
Question one: "Is the price negotiable? Talk with the agent to see if you can agree on a price-point that works well for both of you.
Question two: "Is this a flat fee, or is it plus expenses? It's crucial to understand upfront if you'll be expected to reimburse the artist for his or her expenses incurred while under contract. This means negotiating about who's paying for travel, food, accomodation, etc.
Question three: "Can this be routed or block-booked?" Block-booking is when you receive a lower rate since the agent's client will already be performing in your area. It's always a good idea to check on this, as it may allow you to negotiate a lower rate.
Step Two: Choose the Date
This step is less about negotiating with an agent, and more about accommodating them.
It's always a good idea to cover all your bases; in this case, that means doing your venue homework. It's good to check in with multiple venue options before nailing down your final location; this allows you to ensure that your potential venues can accommodate your artist as he or she needs.
Here's a crucial checklist to complete before committing to a venue. Check that your chosen venue can accommodate your:
-event start time
-event end time
Step Three: Technical Rider
A technical rider is, possibly, the most complex element in your negotiation. Here's a quick refresher on the contents of a technical rider: a technical rider is where your artist or performer will communicate all of his or her specific a/v needs, hospitality needs (i.e. food), and other specific stipulations they'll need to perform.
The best advice here is to be prepared with your follow-up questions to their requests, and to decide in advance about what you'll be flexible, and about what you'll be firm. Here are a few examples to get you started:
-What is our policy on alcohol? Do we provide alcohol? Am I willing to reimburse the artist for alcohol-related expenses?
-Am I prepared to accommodate any allergies/food sensitivities?
-What are my client's hotel requirements? How many rooms will he or she need?
-Who is booking the artist's travel? If it's you, do you have the traveler's full name, seat preference, and meal preference?
-How will the artist be transported while in the area? (Will he rent a car, and if so, will we pay for the car upfront? Will she need to be driven around? If so, does the driver have a valid license?)
Step Four: Finalization
After you've received the signed contract and technical rider, it's time to seal the deal. Check over everything a second time-especially the contents of the technical rider-and then make sure that everything is approved by your supervisor (if you have one.)
Great job! You've successfully navigated your first negotiation with an agent. If our tips were helpful, feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.
Adapted by ArtistHub from Contracts 101
Assistant Director/Programs, K-State Student Union
Kansas State University