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NEGOTIATIONS: Riders & Guarantees

This one is easy.

If you're touring, and you're:

A: Away from home,

B: An unknown, and

C: Unsigned...

You needn't ask for more than 150 to 200 dollars. An even sweeter deal would be to suggest that you can take 10 percent of liquor sales. As far as contracts go, many venues will not sign one with cash in the terms unless it has been cleared with everyone in their venue. This is hard to do because they are busy, ALL OF THE TIME!

So, your initial contract should not contain a monetary guarantee. In fact it should only state that the venue will hold the date for you and not double book, if that happens, you are the rightful designee for the events of that date at that venue. THAT IS IT!!!

Look, most venues won't even sign THAT contract, but it shows you are taking care of business. If they won't sign anything, then you have a choice:

A: Don't book with them, or

B: Book it anyway and hope they don't screw you over (A good way to prevent that from happening, is to keep in contact with the venues on a weekly basis, you calling them should not be about the date, and whether they forgot you, but rather to keep them up to date on the progress of the show. Keep the conversation about your commitment instead of theirs.

Sometimes venue owners, talent buyers, and entertainment managers forget who they talked to, and what date they agreed to... You must remember these two things:

1. They are human beings, and they are busy. THAT job is very busy, and most times, it's an auxiliary duty, so it just adds to their workload in the venue. So be patient.

2. No matter how unprofessional YOU think it is that they forget, they are STILL the venue, and they hold the keys to you performing for a living. So be FUCKING PATIENT!!!

You see, talking about YOUR commitments for the date will put your act in their minds when they think about that date. So even if someone wants that date they will know off the top, it's yours. So, without asking about it, you are securing your date more and more. You might even get them excited about it after a few calls and emails. Email them, yes. But call at least ONCE a week. And NO! Not at 7pm or 10pm. Yeah, you know they'll be there at those times, but a call from you during their business hours, will net you an enemy. You want find a formidable ally in these venues when you do plan you tour, get it?

150 for you isn't bad, you can charge 1 or 2 dollars for the show or make it free (which will increase the number of the crowd), If you charge, it is only fair to cut the locals in if you can.

Other than that, the #1 GOLDEN RULE is:

If the touring act is only seeing a small guarantee, the locals should not expect pay. Especially if the touring act does all of the promotion, this usually happens.

For the sake of starting networks and relationships; If you are able to put up the touring act at your place, you should. You would want the same love shown to you, I promise. IF you do a two week tour, and you secure a 150 dollar rider at all of the venues... And you take two rest days during that time (you will need them), your gross will be 1800 dollars.

Subtract about 500-600 for gas and lodging, it could be up to $700 if no one puts you up. You still have 1200 dollars more or less, for two weeks of shows preceded by 4 months of late nights and planning. Horrible, but if it's worth it to you, it gets better. You will begin to make more with this type of rider-style touring.

But since we're hip hop acts, we can't ask for the moon in some of these regions across North America. Keep it realistic, and they will bite. They will pay you more the next time if you put together one hell of a show. It has happened to me. And I know I'm not some special isolated incident. It happens all of the time.

A less appealing method and mixed rate of success, is liquor sale percentages. You ask for 10 percent for any sales over $1000. If you promote it well, and can get the venue to make some cheap fruity shot (you want the females on location to like it) or bomb in your name, you can see alcohol sales get to the levels both of you want to see, it is a risk, they may not do it. Or nobody comes and you make a Twenty.

So manage your expectations.

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