A performance agreement is a deal that you, the performing artist, strike with a promoter or venue owner (also known as the purchaser). While you can have a verbal agreement, a written agreement – even in an email – containing the essential terms may help avoid potential conflict or getting screwed over by the purchaser, and may prove to be more helpful in enforcing the agreement.
3. What the artist provides versus what the purchaser provides
Does the venue have a sound and lighting system, or are you supposed to bring your own? A sound system generally contains the PA speakers, stage monitor speakers, microphones, and the mixing board. You’ll need to know who’s going to be operating the mixing board and lights, specifically if the venue provides personnel (a “crew”), or if you need to bring your own. If you’re playing a club that has bands performing every night, it’ll likely already have sound and lights; however, if you’re playing a catering hall, you may need to provide your own sound and lighting system.
In this same vein, does the venue have amplifiers and drum kits (a “backline”) in-house that you can use, or do you have to bring your own? If you can use the club’s, this would be contained in the rider. As your band grows and gains leverage in its negotiations with purchasers, other additional terms and conditions may be negotiated. For example, are you getting a meal and beverages (water, soda, beer, etc.) for all band members and crew? And for bigger shows, are you getting hotel rooms, complimentary tickets, or a guest list as part of the rider?
Can you sell your own merchandise? Is the venue taking commission, and if so, how much? Who is selling the merchandise? There could be many different scenarios. Some venues will take nothing on merchandise, while others may take a commission, which may range from approximately 10 to 30 percent of gross sales. Some venues may charge a lower percentage on recorded material, such as CDs and DVDs (“hard goods”) and a higher percentage on T-shirts, baseball caps, posters, etc. (“soft goods”). Some venues require you to sell your own merchandise, and other venues provide personnel to do this for you.
While performance agreements may differ in their length and scope, they should always contain the basic terms outlined above.
Remember, playing shows can an exciting way to get your music in front of new fans with an opportunity to earn some money, but unless you do it in an informed and professional manner, you run the risk of mishaps and road blocks along your journey.
[Reprinted from: http://blog.sonicbids.com/]