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Help with Gig Contracts

I have been playing cover song gigs long enough, and have gotten screwed over enough times by promoters, venues, etc. that I have decided it would be a good decision for me to make a contract for gigs. ESPECIALLY ones that are going to be a steady weekly occurance at a particular place.

I do two things, I play cover song gigs, and I am just getting into a simple DJ gig. The DJ gig is going to be happening every Saturday for the next 3 months. My cover song gigs are mostly hit and miss but I'd still like to incorporate a (similar?) contract.

I am coming to you guys in great hopes that you can give me some guidelines to cover, or how to word particular things. Or, better yet, maybe show me some examples that I can pick and pull from. I know it is important to include dates, times, services, pay, etc; but this is all new to me and I really dont have any background in this kind of thing. It doesnt have to be super official, but itd be nice if it could potentially hold up in court (if necessary!), and as always, look professional when I hand this over to the venue/promoter. Any assistance is greatly appreciated!


anonymous Tue, 07/15/2008 - 21:01

The only thing that will hold up in court is a Lawyers bill.

To do contracts you need witnesses, lawyers... Waste of money.

You can quote for a job, include on the quote that acceptance binds payment and if you do what you said you would, bill them.

If they don't pay, don't sue... Waste of money... You can either sell the debt to a collector, usually for about 30-50% of the total, something tells me no collector will take your debtors though... Small time.

Don't let people owe you too much money and if they don't pay up, just keep rocking up with unwashed friends, the more unhinged looking the better. Be really really polite whilst you over and over ask for your money. You will either scare them into paying with your mentalness or annoy them into paying.

Don't get me wrong, you can get a binding legal document prepared and get contracts worked out, but nothing will actually make people pay. Just don't be owed too much by one person, and don't let them ever think you will let them get away with ripping you off.

anonymous Tue, 07/15/2008 - 21:11

I understand.

I think the main thing I want to ensure is that this 3 month long DJ gig actually goes on for 3 months, seeing as how it will cost me the first 2 months to pay the new equipment off that I just got, solely for this gig.

Id just like to have something that is somewhat convincing and maybe even "threaten" (for lack of better word) them into making this gig last as long as they tell me it will. I really hate to take this gig and have something go wrong, then I am out a Saturday night gig because I've turned others down for this one, ya know?

I do, however, like your "acceptance binds payment" term.

Thomas W. Bethel Fri, 07/18/2008 - 05:23

We did Disco shows back in the good old days. We got an offer of a gig from a local hotel/resort to do a Friday and Saturday night DJ gig for the whole summer. We drew up a contract and had them sign it and it was witnessed. We went out and bought the extra equipment we needed on the strength of that agreement. Everything was going well and we were really getting a good crowds showing up at all the shows and the management of the motel were very pleased.

Then a man started showing up at the gigs who always wanted to be the guest DJ. He even started bringing his own records to every gig. We tried to humor him and let him do part of a set. But this was only the beginning. He "requested" that he be allowed to do 1 hour of the four hour gig. We went to the management and they said "he is a paying guest and try to give him what he wants" So he started doing one hour every night. Then he brought in a set list that he wanted us to play before and after "his" set which we blew off. The next thing I know the management is telling us that if we want to continue the gig we have to do what the paying guest is asking for.

Next he starts to bring in decorations and turned a very cool disco setting with great lights and great sound into a tropical setting complete with palm trees and fake birds. About this time the audience which had always been jammed to capacity started to thin out a bit. The guy who was behind all of this was always sloshed and made some pretty offensive remarks about some of the other guests as part of his "routine". We mentioned this to the management but they seemed "not interested".

The guy now wanted more and more time to "do my thing" and eventually we wound up doing one hour and he was doing three. I got a call from the manager asking us to give him a new estimate for the rest of the summer since we were only doing one hour a night. I said we were being forced into this position by the management not wanting to deal with the problem but it fell on deaf ears and they wanted us to reduce our charges or they "would find someone else" So we decided to pull out completely instead of supplying this guy with our equipment and not getting paid as much. We told the motel and they said that we had a contract and if we pulled out we would be in breach of contract. We limped along for a couple of more weeks and then the bottom feel out and the number of people who had been coming to the shows dropped to about 3 people. The motel pulled the plug on the whole project and we were out of work.

The man who had been at the center of the problem disappeared for a while and then one night I came to the hotel to pick up our last paycheck and low and behold here was the same BOZO doing a disco gig with two self contained record players with a microphone in front of each phonograph and a couple of Rat Shack speakers and a Rat Shack mono PA amplifier. We had been bringing over a completely professional setup with large speakers, a mixer, a professional lighting system and over 800 records. This guy had about 20 records and POS sound system and his lighting was a couple of par reflector bulbs in sockets on a piece of lumber with colored gels taped over them. There were all the same decorations and the same three people sitting in the audience. I went to the manager and asked what was going on. He told me that the guy said WE were the problem and that he guaranteed that he would have the crowd back up to what it had been or they did not owe him a thing.

Of course it never happened and finally the management of the Hotel pulled the plug or the final time and they got exactly what they deserved.

Contracts can work both ways and even with the most skillfully written contracts you still can run into problems. I would worry more about doing a GREAT job every show and let the chips fall where they may.