RollingStone obtained a memo from Live Nation dictating new payment agreements for artists. Whenever major concert and festival venues reopen, the largest live events company in North America plans on placing the financial risks on the performing artists.

Live Nation plans on decreasing guaranteed pay by 20% across the board and will only provide a 10% deposit one month prior to the show. The most outrageous new law of the land includes a clause that states the artist will pay the promoter twice the artist booking fee if the artist cancels. This seems like a direct attack on the performing artists who drive the entire industry.

Many artists travel around the world and every stop along the way counts. If you are touring Europe and one country decides to shut it’s borders, an artist could miss out on several if not dozens of shows. This could cause a devastating impact on a tour without the appropriate money upfront. It is clear to the world that things will have to be different, however placing such a burden on the artist and stripping them of much needed financial protection doesn’t make sense.

Live Nation needs to protect the artists that perform for their events, not leave them tip toeing on a wire. There will be losses, there will be cancelled events, but there has also been great gains and a surplus of events for decades. It is important to adjust with the times, but scapegoating the artist cannot be the solution. You can find the memo provided by RollingStone below. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Live Nation Memo to Talent Agencies

The global pandemic has changed the world in recent months and with it the dynamics of the music industry. We are in unprecedented times and must adequately account for the shift in market demand, the exponential rise of certain costs and the overall increase of uncertainty that materially affects our mission. In order for us to move forward, we must make certain changes to our agreements with the artists. The principle changes for 2021 are outlined below.

Artist Guarantees: Artist guarantees will be adjusted downward 20% from 2020 levels.

Ticket Prices: Ticket prices are set by the promoter, at the promoter’s sole discretion, and are subject to change.

Payment Terms: Artists will receive a deposit of 10% one month before the festival, contingent on an executed agreement and fulfillment of marketing responsibilities. The balance, minus standard deductions for taxes and production costs, will be paid after the performance.

Minimum Marketing Requirements: All artists will be required to assist in marketing of the festival through minimum social media posting requirements outlined in artist offer.

Streaming requirements: All artists will be required to allow their performance to be filmed by the festival for use in a live television broadcast, a live webcast, on-demand streaming, and/or live satellite radio broadcast.

Billing: All decisions regarding “festival billing” are at the sole discretion of the promoter.

Merchandise: Purchaser will retain 30 % of Artist merchandise sales and send 70% to the artist within two weeks following the Festival.

Airfare and Accommodations: These expenses will be the responsibility of the artist.

Sponsorship: The promoter controls all sponsorship at the festival without any restrictions, and artists may not promote brands onstage or in its productions.

Radius Clause. Violation of a radius clause without the festival’s prior authorization in writing will, at the festival’s sole discretion, result in either a reduction of the artist fee or the removal of the artist from the event, with any pre-event deposits returned to the festival immediately.

Insurance: The artist is required to maintain its own cancellation insurance as the promoter is not responsible for the artist fee in the event of a cancellation of the festival due to weather or a force majeure.

Cancellation by Artist: If an artist cancels its performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee.

Cancellation Due to Poor Sales. If a show is cancelled due to poor ticket sales, the artist will receive 25% of the guarantee.

Force Majeure: If the artist’s performance is canceled due to an event of force majeure – including a pandemic similar to Covid-19 – the promoter will not pay the artist its fee. The artist is responsible for obtaining any cancellation insurance for its performance.

Inability to Use Full Capacity of the Venue: If the promoter – either because of orders of the venue or any governmental entity – is not permitted to use the full capacity of the venue, then the promoter may terminate the agreement, and artist will refund any money previously paid.

We are fully aware of the significance of these changes, and we did not make these changes without serious consideration. We appreciate you – and all artists – understanding the need for us to make these changes in order to allow the festival business to continue not only for the artists and the producers, but also for the fans.

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