Concert Promotion Question


I am very new to this concert promotion business and I am currently underway a negotiation with a major artist. I don’t to come across like a ‘newbie’ by asking him questions which may seem stupid to him.

The agent said “Normally we share profit 90% to the artist and 10% to the promoter.”. Does this mean there will be no guarantee flat fee if we do this way? And also, will the artist be paying for the expenses then? Since if the promoter still pays for expenses and only gets 10% share, surely this will be a loss of profit for the promoter.

I don’t have any real experience of this but if they said ‘share profit’ then yeah, there’s nothing guaranteed at all because presumably it would be quite easy for there to be zero profit!

That said, it depends on whose profit. If they’re negotiating directly with you then presumably you’re the one paying for the venue etc so in theory you are the one who determines when there’s a profit, i.e. when the expense costs have been covered.

The latter sounds like a dodgier proposition for the artist, so unless they’ve also requested a guaranteed amount or have some way to verify your costs upfront as well as the venue’s profits I’m guessing it’s not that?

I mean 10% for the promoter if we’re talking pure profits seems fair given your only real job is to get people in the venue and the more you get in the better you do. If you’re paying for all the promotion out of those profits then it sounds like you’re being screwed but that’s also not great for the artist in question is it, because they hardly want to play to an empty venue because you’re not being paid enough?

I guess @Antelope may have specific NZ experience of promotions, albeit in the theatre field?

Thanks for the quick reply! This was actually his full statement "…I suggest that if we have these costs then we can determine the potential profit and agree a share between us. Normally we share profit 90% to the artist and 10% to the promoter. We also are comfortable agreeing a flat guarantee once we know the intended profit."

So I assumed he meant we can have 2 types of profit: 1) Profit share 90% and 10% or 2) Flat guarantee.

The thing I don’t get is that why would the promoter want to put himself at risk of losing money. Wouldn’t he rather have the flat guarantee so even if there is 0 turn out, he still gets money. Whereas for 90/10 split, there would be risk for both him and the artist.

Looking forward to your hear your thoughts.

Or does he mean guaranteed AND shared profit? Surely this would be a bad deal for me, since I have to pay the guarantee and share the majority of profit…

Well I have no idea at this point really, sorry but like you say there’s no way they’d offer to pay you money so I’m guessing the flat guarantee would be the amount you’re going to pay them so that you can take the rest of any profit, hence you’ll be paid the most if you can sell the venue out but you’re obviously taking the biggest risk there.

I’ll be honest though, if this is new to you maybe take the 10% and see how it goes. Most of the entertainment business is about experience and proof you can deliver so even if this is a sell out the artist’s people are going to remember you as someone who succeeded and it’ll give you more clout to ask for more next time.

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Seems like that is what he is saying. Just for interest’s sake when I’ve had bands on a split it’s normally been 80/20 - 90/10 does seem a little high. Additionally, this split will be after costs.

Often the split is offered in a ‘vs’ deal, where the band gets a guarantee unless the split after costs would make them more money. So, for example, if a band was on a £300 vs 80/20 split, the 80/20 split would kick in if that would make them more than £300 after the promoter’s costs have been covered.

It’s worth checking whether he is talking about a vs deal. Percentage deals by themselves aren’t that common without some sort of guarantee in place.

Thanks. Who normally pays for expenses? Surely the artist in this case, since they hold majority of share (90% in this case)

Here it sounds like the guarantee means there will be a flat amount that you will get - then any further profits up to 10% will be yours? This is my understanding, but honestly, you won’t look silly just asking for clarification on that. Very normal. Don’t be afraid to ask - you won’t come across as a newbie, you’re just watching your back. They will be used to this, believe me. I’d definitely try agreeing to a flat minimum so you don’t walk away with nothing if it goes balls up - at the end of the day, you still did work that should be paid for, regardless of result. As Theo said though, might be worth seeing what happens and learning from the experience, as tends to be the way. I guess it’s up to you though to figure out whether you’re willing to risk that. I don’t think there’s anything malicious going on here, and 99% of the time you should be fine - but you have to accommodate for that 1%.

You’re better to be shrewd from the onset, rather than get yourself in a position where you’re having to claw your way back up. Don’t underplay your worth, especially in the entertainment industry. It’s better to ask / expect more from the start than have to justify more in the future. From experience, people will come to expect you being quite lenient, and be more annoyed down the track when you try adjusting your expected cost. It shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately it often is.

I do feel in situations like this though it comes down to the kind of client you’re dealing with, and it’s up to you to read them. If you’re just wanting to get your name out there though, then maybe go for it.

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Ok thanks. Was just wondering if it is the case of 90/10 split, will it be artist that pays for the expenses? And my 10% will be like a “service fee” where I prepare venue, rider etc??

Profit is after expenses so: no.

And I seriously doubt the artist will be funding that unless this is going a different way? The idea would be you’d sell the show and therefore you’d get the money from the tickets and the profit would be less all expenses for putting the show on (promotion included I would think).

From the sounds of things this leaves the situation where the artist could get nothing too so either they are sure there will be a minimum amount of people there or they are cool with getting nothing (which seems surprising but who knows).

The (understandable) oblique nature of your query makes it harder to be sure. But I agree with @Antelope that you should just be absolutely sure what you’re getting into. I mean unless you’ve sold this by claiming to them you’re an old hand at this game, in which case you’re on a dodgier ground!!

My only other comment is that I’ve only done very small promotions in the past, unsigned or very minor signings bands in venues that can hold like 150 people maximum behind bars.

The rule then was the same one you use for lending people money: expect to lose it all. You can’t get into this sort of game if you’re gambling with money you can’t afford to lose because you just never know what might happen to stop people attending.

If the costs involved here are going to affect you financially then seriously don’t do this, or don’t do it unless you can get someone a lot more solvent involved who’s happy to take the risk for you.

Nope - all the expenses (and ultimately risk) is with you as the promoter.

TheOGB - Prison Promotions


Yeah, that didn’t read the way I meant it. :smiley:

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Captive audience


Give up now

Ignore this idiot, he works for the opposition

Alright Barry Hogan

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How long does it usually take to negotiate a concert between promoter and agent? 1-2months?

Honestly, really depends on the agent. The problem these days is that you’re competing with the bigger acts who have months and months of advertising to pump through and get themselves in the public conscious - of course we don’t have that luxury so it’s about having a burst of quality but impactful advertising. NZ audiences in particular are typically really really bad with buying tickets ahead of time - you won’t get an idea of general sales until a week out - or even less. Contrast pretty sharply with the rest of the world who tend to lean more towards presales which give you a better idea ahead of time of what general sales are gonna be like. For walk in gigs though it’s obviously a lot more difficult to gauge.

If negotiations are happening over the course of more than 2 months for gigs then I think I’d start to worry. You have to begin to question whether it’s worth your time.