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Gig Contract

by Ben McLane, Esq.

For musical artists that perform in clubs, especially artists that intend to tour, the best form of protection is a "performance agreement" ("agreement") between the artist and the club. It is not always possible to get a club to sign an agreement. However, it is worth requesting. Having your own ready- made agreement to present to the club will ensure some comfort that there is proper payment, etc. Such an agreement is imperative if the musician is traveling out of town for the gig.

A performance agreement should contain the following provisions:

Place Of Show

Date/Time And Length Of Show

Wages - It is best to get a "guaranteed" fee agreed to in advance. This is generally paid 1/2 at some time prior to the show and and 1/2 at the gig. Sometimes there is a guarantee, plus a percentage (or else just a percentage alone). It is important to specify what the percentage is based on and how it is calculated. Is it a percentage of ticket sales? Is it a percentage of the door? Is it a percentage of the bar? Is it based on gross or net (after expenses) receipts? If the deal with the club is for a percentage of the door, put a friend at the door with a clicker counting people coming in. Stipulate in the agreement that there are no free entries for anyone (unless they are part of the music industry) if they are not on the guest list.

Sound/Lights - Make sure the agreement specifies who provides/pays for the sound system (PA) and the sound operator, as well as when/if there will be a sound check. Also, specify who provides/pays for the lights and light operator.

Insurance - Although this is often overlooked, it is important that the club have a liability insurance policy in place which covers the artist's performance so that if some injury occurs in relation to the show on the premises of the club, the artist is not liable.

Cancellation - From the artist's perspective, if the club cancels, it should pay the artist a specified amount of damages (preferably the guarantee).

There are some other points that can be covered such as promotion/advertising commitments of the club, allowing the artist to sell merchandise at the club, etc. Above all, make sure the club signs and dates the agreement.

By entering into the above agreement, the artist will find that there are less hassles because there is certainty as to what is to take place and how the artist gets paid. Although there is always the possibility that a club might renege, at the very least, the agreement offers some form of legal protection.

Copyright 1998, Ben McLane
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