Master your craft - How to manage your bookings, Part II: The Contract

As an artist, DJ or musician, one always has to maintain a certain level of professionalism when running their business affairs. This of course include, having all necessary documents in place for a performance booking.

Having said that, many performers are familiar with the experience of not being paid the full amount, or worse, not being paid at all, for the event they were booked to perform at.
 Unfortunately, this bad practice has become quite common in the music industry and performers are getting ripped off every day.
 This article will look at some of the crucial issues that you need to consider before you start taking bookings, so as to avoid these problems.

As in any business, it is essential that you have a contract detailing all the necessary information before you even confirm your availability for a performance. The contract should include the amount you are charging, what you will need for the performance, the expected time of your performance, what would happen if the event were cancelled, accommodation if necessary, and any other details you feel are necessary to include.
Include everything that you feel is relevant and important. This piece of paper will protect you should anything go wrong at the event or should you feel you were not treated in the manner agreed to in your contract.

If you feel that you are not able to draft a basic contract yourself, use internet to find contracts for artist booking. These will give you some idea of how to lay out your contract. Alternatively, there are professionals like music lawyers and industry consultant who can guide you.
It is essential that you get this contract signed by whoever is booking you so that you have proof on an agreement. Remember to make two copies of your contract - one for yourself and one for the other party. Each page should be initialed by both parties and should have the full signatures of both parties on the last page. Ideally, one or two witnesses should also sign the contract.

Stay Professional:
If you want to be taken seriously, your approach to your work must be serious and professional.You need to be clear about who you are and what you stand for.

Contact Details:
At some point in your musical career, you are likely to come across the occasional shady character. Since you never know who you may have to deal with, this is unfortunately, inescapable. To avoid unnecessary problems, make sure that you have all the relevant contact details of those who are intending to book you.

Your contract should specify all the necessary aspects of payment. You will need to detail how much you are billing for your services, the method of payment and the payment period prior to the event. You need to ensure that the full amount is settled before the event, if you are to avoid becoming a victim of non-payment. It is important that you also make it clear that you will not render your services if the full amount is not paid.

However, based on the working relationship you have with the person or company booking you, you may be forced to receive the remaining balance after you have rendered service. However, this is not advisable, unless you feel you are dealing with a regular client who is true to his or her word. Other than that, don't take risks; get the full payment prior to the event. Ideally, make sure the payments always goes into a specific account to limit any possibility of fraud. Avoid cash payment if possible, unless this is the only payment method you use and feel comfortable with.

Payment reference:
If the payment is being made electronically, or by bank deposit, ensure that your contract stipulates how the payer should reference the payment. This will help you to know exactly where the money is coming from.

It is useful to keep a schedule of your final bookings, venues, dates and times that you are expected to render your services. This will help you to have a clear picture of open dates and time for other possible bookings.

This article is adapted from original article here



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