Music Performance Agreements #Natasha Bedingfield #Unwritten


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What is a Performance Agreement?
A Performance agreement is usually a 1-2page contract that outlines the legal expectations of both artists and promoters where an artist is expected to perform live on stage.

What Goes In a Performance Agreement?

a) Date of Performance
b) Time of Performance
c) Length of Performance (when event starts, doors open, how long you will perform as an artist)
d) Location
e) Fees
f) Equipment (sound, lights etc)
g) Termination
h) Liability
i) Signature

What about Rider Terms i.e. the Perks
Perks are categorized as “riders” or Rider terms. They include terms on hotel/accommodations, dressing room, tickets, hospitality, sound check/sound system, cancellation, ushers, security etc.

When a promoter takes on the task of bringing an artist to perform, it creates conflict where an artist decides to do their own advertising of the event. That is a promoter’s job. So, for the most part, performance agreements call for the promoter to do all the advertising and if artist should seek to do any kind of advertising regarding the event, artist must discuss and get approval first with promoter.

Where the Legal Battle Usually Lies

Deposit Fees: Promoters, at times, can be shady refusing to fulfill the terms of an performance agreement, for example playing deposit fees.

How Do Deposit Fees Typically Work?

Initial Deposit: Promoter pays artist a non-refundable deposit fee prior to appearance on stage. That amount secures the artist. It is non-refundable because artist can be booked with Promoter A to perform at A’s event but has given up that opportunity to perform at promoter B’s event.

Full Balance: The balance of an artist fees to perform is usually due within 24-48 hours prior to performance. Obviously depending on the relationship an artist has with a promoter, they can work the details out on the time when the balance is due.

Cancellation: In the music world, this is a common issue.  Lawsuits abound of artists canceling shows and not performing. I have covered a few like the J-Lo & Mos Def situation. Artist, perform when you are asked to or else you risk exposure to a lawsuit and bad publicity. Promoters, be sure to include a clause that provides for what happens if artists cancels through no fault of your own and how you get your money back.

Touring can be quite expensive. Historically, bands/artists have covered the costs of touring/performing through selling merchandise. They sell CDs, hats, posters, t-shirts etc. Artists kept these monies. Now, everyone wants a piece of the pie. Promoters now negotiate a certain cut from these sales, anywhere from 15-40%.

That’s it from me. Obviously, it always makes sense to hire an attorney to draft a performance agreement for you that way your interest is protected.


Natasha Bedingfield ‘Unwritten’ Live Performance

Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her firm’s fashion and entertainment law practice areas. Ms. Uduak has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts. She has also handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients including network television and licensing deals. Her work and contributions to the creative industry has been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA: ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also the author of Fashionentlaw™ and also has over two decades combined hands on industry experience in the creative industry which includes modeling, retail, fashion production, public relations, digital media, journalism and publishing. For further inquiries or if you are seeking legal representation, please email ( You may also follow her on twitter at @uduaklaw

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