When it comes to how orchestras structure earned income by way of fee-based performance activity, not all agreements are created equal. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few areas within arts administration that share far more with the artist side of the labor equation than not because in the end, the shared goal is making sure performance-based revenue meets or exceeds minimum revenue goals.
For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about an 82-piece symphonic orchestra or a string quartet, the basic types of deals those groups strike with presenters is nearly identical. The only thing that changes are the number of zeros at the end of the final payout.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the way these deals get structured can become convoluted.
In fact, it’s one component within the business I’ve always struggled explaining to anyone outside looking in using any sort of concise description. Instead, they invariably turn into an academic lecture.
Fortunately, Joe Patti published what must be one of the most useful resources for how these deals can be structured.
He even provides an example of one structure I use quite often when both presenter and artist need a balanced risk/reward structure: a guarantee plus percentage deal. In addition to a description, he put together a wonderfully accurate visual example that lays out in line-item expense/income fashion how that deal can work for both parties.
I can’t recommend this article strongly enough and it’s an equally wonderful resource for both arts admins and self-employed artists.