What is Risk Factor?
A musician asked us why we don't produce music videos. The response was simple: "it's too much of a risk." After qualifying that statement by explaining the various logistical intricacies and recounting the horror stories of recent photo shoots and financial damages, the musician responded:
"But you trust us to turn up to gigs, don't you?"
To which the response was:
"Yes, because it's not my money on the table."
The bride booked a band of musicians to perform at her wedding and as far as she's concerned, she's getting a 6-piece lineup consisting of female lead vocals, male backing vocals doubling saxophone and flute, piano, bass, kit and congas. That's what was stipulated in the contract. That's what we've delivered. The bride doesn't know the musicians personally and she's not concerned about who is in the lineup. So, the "risk factor" decreases. What if it's a question of producing excellent promotional video material for an agent/promoter who wants to see the exact lineup as advertised in the publicity? What if it's a financial investment that's significantly closer to the creative vision of the investor? The "risk factor" increases. It's the dynamic between that closeness, that "trueness to form" aspect, vs. the value of the investment, which determines the "risk factor".
The term "risk factor" essentially equates to the amount of financial risk shouldered by a hirer/engager (whether it be an agent, promoter, manager, label or any other role that involves the hire/engagement of human personnel): in terms of how an arrangement/agreement is challenged by outside circumstances. It's a term we've adopted from promoters who book artists to perform at venues, a term used to gauge and quantify to which the artist makes back the venue hire/HR costs on attendance and ticket sales. In this context, it means musicians and technicians attending an event at an agreed time/place and delivering a service that they agreed to deliver. In this particular case, it means producing high-quality, sustainable promotional video material that justifies the venue hire/HR costs invested by the label.
Empower the individual
We understand the agent sometimes has difficulty addressing all details on the show advance. I can ensure the sending of an email to prompt the client directly to check these through. However, I am sure you understand that to ensure all arrangements run smoothly on the day of the event, the finer details must be outlined in writing so that everything is clear and known to all parties.
As you are the agent in charge of bookings, we can ensure that you are cc'ed into all communications. We are more than happy for you to explain these details to the client as part of your agency duties.
This prevents any unwanted surprises on the day. Due to the complications of hiring venues etc., we appreciate that not all details are possible to check off in advance, but we do try to check through as many as we can before the day to iron out any remaining issues so that the event can run as smoothly as possible.
Read this article and this article to understand why we devised a show advance in the first place (2014/2015), and this article to illustrate what can happen as a result of a contract not already being in place.
Further relevant reading regarding Show Advancing:
Read & Blog
The "Watch Blog"
Red & Black Music was set up in 2012 to stop musicians cancelling.
Please note: full names, addresses and contact details of private individuals are omitted for data protection purposes (unless already made public elsewhere online).
A category naming and shaming unreliable musicians to watch out for.
A category reporting unscrupulous venues and traders.
A category exploring the issues faced working via agents and promoters.