Just a reminder to all certified musicians of productions: Please keep me updated on availability at all times, ahead of any enquiries/quotations.
There's been too many incidents where I quoted provisional availability for the client's date, only to be told later that the musicians are not available, and these absences or replacements have been negatively noticed by clients. It benefits us all to avoid these 'unhappy client' situations.
Once a production is live, all certified musicians need to keep me updated on your availability continuously. You can do this on a weekly or monthly basis, however you prefer, or link me up to your online calendar so I can check when quoting availability to clients.
Note: I only send offers out to you if the client responds favourably to a quotation; many inconclusive enquiries you won’t hear anything about. Please do let me know if you want to sign up to advance notifications (an email notifying you that an enquiry has been received and quoted for). This will result in you receiving more emails, but it will provide you with more notice and may help you remember non-availability dates that you need to update me on. (You can turn these on or off at any point.)
Please note: a confirmation does not constitute a contract. We still require a contract to honour our original quotation, even if the date(s) are confirmed. An additional holding period may be allocated to allow for the contract signing, subject to our discretion. Otherwise, our original quotation only applies until the end of our original quotation's reservation period, regardless of whether the date(s) are confirmed or not. We cannot be held to honour our original quotation if a contract is issued after this point.
Our quotes increase incrementally according to the notice at which we sign a contract, and it is our policy to close all enquiries 5pm Friday the week before at the very latest, to avoid costly trains/hotel fare hikes. We appreciate your understanding.
We reserve our best deals for enquiries made in advance. For more information, please visit www.redandblackmusic.co.uk to find out how more money could be saved by booking in advance.
We ask all of our musicians to make sure that they keep us updated with their availability at all times, ahead of any enquiries/quotations. Quoting 'provisionally available' (rather than a straight 'available') allows us to respond more quickly to enquiries (which don't always become bookings) without having to harass everyone every time there's an enquiry. We then re-confirm 'finally available' once the client has confirmed, at which point we would let them know if, for example, the lead vocalist isn't available after all but we can provide a deputy, giving the opportunity for the client to back out prior to the contract being signed.
It's really vital for us to know in advance any date(s) of non-availability that are likely to change or challenge the availability of the production, so that the client knows who they are booking from the outset:
When we receive an enquiry, we issue 2 pieces of information:
Note: I only chase enquiries if we have pencilled it into our diary. If you prefer not to receive "chase emails": please let me know and I'll keep this in mind for future enquiries. Unfortunately, we won't be able to notify you if a date has been filled by another enquirer if we haven't pencilled your enquiry into our diary. Alternatively, you can check our availability anytime via our live Event Diary.
3 satisfying slices of ignorance from Essence Music Agency.
The agent displays:
At Red & Black Music, we believe in free trade. This means that trade is left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.
We have experienced first hand a wide range of professionalism among musicians (documented in this blog). We believe that the rates should be relative to this: i.e., a musician cannot justify charging professional rates if they do not conduct themselves in a professional, accountable and reliable manner. We've seen it many times that musicians are too quick to adopt politically correct standpoints and 'blindly' quote Musicians' Union rates, but never think twice about the implications and repercussions of breaching a contractual agreement, even if it results in financial losses for the label and other musicians. In our opinion, this widens the disparity between available opportunities and musicians who are prepared to be compliant.
Just to clarify: while the Musicians' Union rates are a useful reminder not to undermine our worth, there is a narrow line between knowing what you 'could' be quoting, and what you 'should' be quoting. For example, it's unrealistic to expect musicians to be paid minimum £144 per head for a jazz club gig; the promoter will simply hire another production. In other words, it's both an enforcement and a denial of what actually happens.
What if musicians are hiring a venue and promoting an event themselves? Will the musicians still demand the standard Musicians' Union rate? Who will enforce these sorts of regulations at ground level if it's a less 'formal' arrangement such as a 'group' venture? Who will be liable for picking up the pieces (financial losses) when the lead vocalist cancels, the show has to be pulled as a result and the label/musicians are charged a hefty bill from the venue (staffing and technicians) and marketing overheads?
For the above reasons it's completely unrealistic to expect all promoters to adopt a 'one size fits all' approach: pay the same rates to all musicians regardless of the circumstances. It's a lovely thought, yes, but in practice it's implausible.
By the same token, Red & Black Music was prohibited from disseminating an advertisement for a paid recording position among students at the Royal College of Music. As we all know, many 'bands' expect their musicians to record for free and it's rare that these paid opportunities are put forward to an educational establishment in such a transparent, straightforward way.
On 10 Sep 2014, at 19:07, Jason @ Book Live Music & Entertainment wrote:
Red & Black Music has often come under fire from agents and promoters for its quotes being "too complicated" (admittedly so). While we openly admit we are trying to simplify things as much as possible there is a historic traceable reason/rationale behind our controversial "Technical" (bottom up) and "Quick Quotes" (top down) guides in terms of our accountability and how we communicate this to our clients. Much of the "confusion" arises from people simply not reading emails because they're too "busy" (= i.e., too disorganised to manage their workload). By extension, people fail to engage or negotiate, and for those reasons, simple truths and facts aren't sufficiently read and understood. We don't play the "cloak-and-dagger" game. We don't pull random figures out of thin air depending on our mood. So, then. Why are our quotes so "complicated"?
Read below for the answer.
Read also our master article regarding Complication.
Recently, there has been some confusion regarding pricing and representation.
Read more about the styles of music here:
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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.