One of the questions I frequently get from artists/Djs is how does one determine their proper value or fees. This is probably one of the most hotly debated topic these days. From the major acts such as Tiesto or David Guetta making millions to local residents in different cities struggling to figure out their proper value in the market. From an agent’s standpoint, we determine an artist’s value by utilizing a number of different criteria. I’ve listed a few of these below.

1) The Market: Understanding the market that an artist is performing in is a good starting point for determining fees. If an artist is performing in a smaller market, there’s a good chance it won’t be able to support a higher artist fee; however, in bigger markets, they can usually support stronger fees (as a general rule of thumb). Also, it’s good to be knowledgeable about other similar artists that are entering that market to help determine their rate.

2) Day of the Week: Fees tend to differ based on the day of the week a performance is on. For example, we typically get lessor fees for artists mid-week in comparison to weekend performance dates. Consequently, holidays usually command bigger fees. It’s standard for a New Year’s Eve fee to be 3 times (or more) the normal rate of a typical gig.

3) Capacity of the Venue: This is an important part of determining fees. The bigger the venue, the more capacity for the venue to make money; therefore, this increases an artist’s fee. The smaller the venue, the smaller the fees tend to be. Also, the hours of operations can be a factor, as well as the longer the set times. It is standard practice for a headlining act to make upwards of 1/3 of the revenue that a venue can be making so this is another factor so the artist’s fee will reflect this.

4) Cover Charge: If the venue has a cover charge for the entry that makes a difference as well. The cover charge means that there is more propensity for the venue to make money; therefore, increasing the headliner’s fee (generally speaking). If the venue is not charging a cover for entrance then less money is earned by the venue – meaning less fees for the artist. The age group of the crowd plays a factor as well. If the venue is 18+ it typically means there are less alcoholic beverage sales which means less opportunity to make money for the venue, therefore, affecting artist fees.

These are just a few of the many factors that agencies tend to use to determine a headlining artist fee. At the end of the day, we all know this is a business and artists need the venues as much as the venues need the artists; so, it’s important that financial fairness is adhered too across the board so that both venues and artists can continue to succeed.

Troy Gilmore
Vice President

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