Booking Agents 103: The Contract & Performance
Once the contract is processed by the booking agent he then sends it directly to the promoter to be signed. Once the promoter receives the contract he reviews it to make sure it contains the exact information he agreed too. If the contract is accurate, the promoter must sign the contract and forward the contract containing his original signature back to the booking agent. In addition to sending the contract back, the promoter must also send the artists deposit as stipulated in the contract.
Upon receiving the contract and deposit, the booking agent then forwards the contract directly to the artist for review and counter signing. If all well, the artist signs the original contract alongside the promoter thereby making it fully executed. In simple terms, it means both parties agree and the promoter can begin to promote and sell tickets.
When the Booking Agent initially receives the deposit, it is held in the booking agent's escrow account. An escrow account is a bank account specifically set up to hold money in trust specifically for artists. In years past, the deposit is normally held in escrow until after the artist has completed his performance. Nowadays, many booking agents release the deposit to the artist prior to the show provided they have a fully executed contract on file.
After the performance contract has been fully executed the booking agent still has work to do. So you understand, the performance contract is usually signed several months prior to the concert happening. During this time the booking agent must begin confirming that the promoter has begun to fulfill the artists travel, hotel, local ground, production, hospitality rider. This is extremely critical. The rider is almost as important as the performance contract. A promoter is also required to sign the artist's rider thereby acknowledging that they agree to provide those services. The rider is always signed at the same time as the performance contract is signed. This is important because If the promoter does not take care if the artists production rider, that means the artists will not be able to perform. As far as the hospitality rider, sometimes the promoter can negotiate items on that. The hospitality rider generally consists of food and beverage - artists generally need this to relax and prepare them for the show.
Once the booking agent has confirmed that the promoter has successfully taken care of the artist rider. He then will begin to focus on how the promotion and ticket sales are going. Why, you may ask. Well, a booking agent you must try and make sure that his artists will have a well-attended show. Remember, the artist is also concerned with his brand and how it's being promoted. A badly attended show could potentially hurt the artist's brand. If the show has bad ticket sales, there may be discussion of canceling or rescheduling. However, if sales are good then the booking agent only has one task left.
On the day of the show the booking agent must verify that the artist has arrived in the city and is prepared for sound check and the show. Sound check is a dress rehearsal of the live show to come. It is also the opportunity to complete vital transactions stipulated in the performance contract. At sound check, the promoter is generally required to pay the artist the 2nd half of the deposit. The transaction is usually done in cash or certified bank check. After sound check and payment it's on to the show. Once the show is completed, the next business day the booking agent gives follow-up calls to both the artist and promoter to make sure there were no issues or breach of contract on either part - believe me sometimes there are issues. Maybe the artist didn't perform a full set as required in the performance contract. Or maybe the production equipment failed. If there are issues, the booking agent generally tries to mediate and resolve the matter. If the booking agent can't resolve the dispute, then a court appointed arbitrator usually hears the dispute and gives a ruling. As this is happening usually the booking agent continues to hold the first half of the deposit in their escrow account. If the show was successful and had no disputes, then the booking agent releases the first half of the deposit held in their escrow account to the artist.
I hope this information provides some insight and knowledge to how a Booking Agent operates.... thank you.