Cancelled Gigs = Lost time, money and sometimes relationships!

When a venue cancels a gig with an agent

As an entertainment agent who has and is still sometimes a performer I find it shocking when we receive an email saying:

“we would like to book entertainment, but we need to know your cancellation terms so that we can cancel an artist without paying any cancellation charge if tickets don’t sell, or if we need to cancel last minute.”

Believe me, as an agent and a person with other businesses outside the music industry, the last thing I want to be doing is sitting at my desk for a few hours, finding and sourcing available acts, liaising with the venue, booking the act in, issuing contracts to the venue and the artist for 15% commission. Then sending images and sometimes posters for advertising, for it all to be cancelled “without charge.”

Its soul destroying having to deliver the news to an artist. If it is within the “terms of cancellation” and fees can be paid for the cancellation, we always obtain the money for the artist and ourselves, because we issue contracts stating what the terms are.

However, what if a cancellation is outside the 60 day terms…….

I have been told by venues that they would just go to another entertainment agency who would offer the free cancellation “policy.” Im not talking about pubs and clubs here. Many of these venues that I had these requests from were 4-5-star hotels.

I have a BT business contract with one of my old business lines. Even though I don’t use that line anymore, I cant simply cancel it without charge. I signed and agreed a contract. They are charging me for FIVE YEARS! (Extreme I know! There is a longer story here, but I wont get into that now).

We as an agency we very rarely get cancellations, we do our best to filter out the venues that might do such a thing, or the acts that might be regular cancelling offenders. Ultimately, if a venue cancels outside the “industry standard” 60 days terms, the act loses their money, but may find a replacement gig and we lose our commission too as an agent.

If a venue wants to simply “swap a date” to another (last minute), I personally don’t believe that’s right either. The act is loosing out on the money that they could have had for the original booking and the agent is doing more work for the same commission.

I understand that sometimes exemptions can be made. Perhaps if it was something that happened which was out of the venue/clients control. Or if perhaps that venue was a regular booker of that artist. But to be specifically asked the question stating that “we want to be able to cancel a date without charge!”

Cancellations I take them to heart. I have been told that I shouldn’t!

I would love to know your thoughts about cancellations.

Are you willing to waiver the fees?

How far in advance is it ok to cancel?

What exceptions would you make on a cancellation fee?

We want to look after the artists that we work with. We know for most of you, like ourselves its your full time job. How can bills be paid when you are cancelled last minute and the venue doesn’t want to pay.

Its almost become the industry norm to see artists messages on facebook saying “they have been cancelled yet again!” and for artists to accept that they don’t get paid for those cancellations!

What are artists doing about it though?

For more information about what you can do about not getting paid speak to Franklin James Show Business.